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Studies in Greek epigraphy and history in honor of Stefen V. Tracy

 | 
Gary Reger
, 
Francis X. Ryan
, 
Timothy Francis Winters

2. The Wider Greek Word

Chapter 21. A Prosopographical Study of Gnikon and Nikokles of Troizen

M. D. Dixon

Texte intégral

  • 1 I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Stephen V. Tracy for first introducing me to the f (...)

1Prosopographical evidence for late Hellenistic Troizen is extremely limited, save the names of a few Troizenians preserved within the epigraphical record1. Unfortunately these preserved names have shed little light on the history of the polis. Nevertheless, one previously misconstrued name preserved on an inscription from the Epidaurian Asklepieion may alter that situation dramatically. In order to illuminate our understanding of the name, three inscriptions that actually preserve two different documents are studied here. The first two are IG, IV2, 1, 76+77 and IG, IV, 752, which are duplicate copies of the settlement of a boundary dispute between Troizen and Ptolemaic Arsinoë (Methana). The third, IG, IV, 757 contains a record of contributions for the construction of a diateichisma at Troizen. Together, these three inscriptions preserve several Troizenian names, one of which, if properly understood, may allow us to assign more accurate dates to the inscriptions. Additionally it may enhance considerably our understanding of this polis during the first half of the second century BC as well as what must have been one of its most prominent families.

  • 2 For IG, IV2, 1, 76, see F. Hiller von Gaertringen 1925-1926, 71-75 no. VIII (ed. pr.) and Peek 196 (...)
  • 3 The inscriptions were associated first by Robert (1960, 159-160 n. 2), see also SEG, 22, 278 and P (...)
  • 4 Legrand 1900, 190-199 no. 5 (ed. pr.), see also, Nikitsky 1902, 445-467 and 1903, 406-413; Fraenke (...)
  • 5 Unfortunately no inscription from Athens has been identified as the third copy of the decision and (...)
  • 6 Chandler (1776, 262) noted that when he visited the temple of Poseidon he saw blocks “cut to the s (...)
  • 7 For the most recent edition of this stone, see Carusi 2005, 84-89.
  • 8 For attempts to produce a composite text on the basis of both copies, see Ager 1996, no. 138; Hart (...)

2The first inscription (IG, IV2, 1, 76+77), which is preserved in three fragments two of which join, was found in the Epidaurian Asklepieion and it records the settlement of a boundary dispute between Troizen and the Ptolemaic outpost of Arsinoë located adjacent to the Troizenia on the Methana peninsula2. The two joining fragments (IG, IV2, 1, 76, and IG, IV2, 1, 77, frag. a) preserve the right edge of the stone, while the third fragment (IG, IV2, 1, 77, frag. b) preserves the left3. The three fragments preserve in total fifty-four fragmentary lines. It is clear from the stone that prior to the dispute’s settlement, the situation between the two disputants had reached a state of war in which significant amounts of property had been seized. P. Legrand discovered a duplicate, but also fragmentary copy of this decision (IG, IV, 752) built into the façade of the Ag. Nikolaos chapel in Troizen4. Although found there, the stone was certainly set up in the sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia, as stipulated in lines 18-19, where provision is made requiring that three copies were to be inscribed and erected in the Epidaurian Askepieion, the Athenian Akropolis, and the sanctuary of Poseidon on Kalaureia (Poros)5. Undoubtedly, the Troizenian copy was moved from Poros for the construction of the chapel in Troizen6. The stele itself is gray marble and is broken at the top and bottom, although traces of the last inscribed line are preserved; the right and left edges are intact. The letters on the bottom of half of the stele are extremely worn as a result of its later reuse7. The stone is now located in the Epigraphical Museum at Athens (EM 3529). The first preserved line of the Troizenian stele corresponds to line 38 of the Epidaurian and the Troizenian stele contains an additional twelve lines not preserved on the Epidaurian. We can, therefore, restore a composite text, which although fragmentary allows us to determine the exact length of the original8.

  • 9 For the text, see Mylonas 1886, 136-147 (ed. pr.), see now Maier 1959, 140-144 no. 32, and also Mi (...)
  • 10 Welter 1941, 12-13 and pl. IV.
  • 11 See LGPN III, A, s.v. Gnçikwn, no. 1, p. 100 and s.v. Nικοκῆλς) hj, no. 10, p. 324.

3The third inscription (IG, IV, 757) is opisthographic and also was found in Troizen; it is now housed in the Epigraphical Museum at Athens (EM 10287)9. It contains a record of individuals who made contributions for the construction of a diateichisma in Troizen, and substantial remains of this wall are still preserved there10. One contributor attested on the stone is Gnikon the son of Nikokles, which is the only attestation of the name Gnikon11. Reproduced here are the relevant lines (side B, lines 28-29) of the text:

  • 12 Lapis : NIKOKΛEOY (line 29).

ἒδοξε τοῖς πατριώ[τ]αις τοῖς περὶ Γνίκ[ωνα δόμεν.......τᾶι]
[πό]λ[ε]ι [ἐς τὰν σωτηρίαν· ἀνή]νικε Γνικων Νικοκλεο<ς>.12

  • 13 Mylonas 1886, 136. For the association with the Achaian War, see Maier 1959, 145 and Migeotte 1992 (...)
  • 14 Hiller von Gaertringen (1925-1926, 71-75) compared the letter-forms on IG, IV2, 1, 76 with Theran (...)

4The dates of the inscriptions under consideration have never been fixed adequately due to the lack of any reliable dating criteria; nor has prosopographical analysis yielded a secure date although these inscriptions preserve a relatively large number of names. Editors have dated the diateichisma inscription (IG, IV, 757) variously between the late third and the mid-second centuries BC on the assumption that construction of the wall must be associated with some military emergency in the Troizenia. Among the possible emergencies, Mylonas, who published the editio princeps, proposed that it be associated with the Spartan Kleomenes’attack on Troizen in 225 BC, but most scholars believe now that it should be associated with the Achaian War of 146 BC13. IG, IV2, 1, 76+ 77 also has been dated variously between the late third century to within the first half of the second century BC on the basis of letter-forms and Hiller’s belief that the Ptolemy attested on the stone is King Ptolemy VI14.

  • 15 All subsequent editors have retained Hiller’s reconstruction of this line. See most recently the c (...)

5IG, IV2, 1, 76+ 77 was dated originally by at least two different eponymous magistrates, but the fragmentary nature of the stone at the beginning of the text prohibits us from assigning any secure date to it or understanding completely what those magistracies were. Preserved in the first line, however, is an enigmatic name. All editors since Hiller von Gaertringen, who prepared the editio princeps, have read the name as the patronymic Nikonos preceded by the letter gamma, which he and others have interpreted as a numeral15. The first line has been construed consistently as follows:

6[--ἐν Τροζάνι -- τ]οῦ γ' Νίκωνος, ἐν ’Αρσι ⃒ [νόαι]

  • 16 Dixon (2000, 204-205 and 222-223) first proposed this suggestion.

7Since no parallel for this interpretation is readily available, the only reasonable way to read the name is to understand it as Gnikonos in the genitive case and presumably construe it as a patronymic16. The name Gnikon, as we have already seen, is attested nowhere else save the Troizenian diateichisma inscription (IG, IV, 757, side B, line 29) where it was accompanied by the patronymic Nikokles. The name’s rarity, therefore, permits us to consider [Nikokles] the son of Gnikon as the most plausible restoration of the name in line 1 of IG, IV2, 1, 76+77 and to interpret him as a member of the same family as Gnikon the son of Nikokles attested on the diateichisma inscription. In fact, the two inscriptions have been dated so closely to one another that we may even go so far as to suggest, if this restoration is correct, that one of the two individuals is the father and the other his son. Proposed here, therefore, is the following restoration for the first line of IG, IV2, 1, 76+ 77:

[--ἐν Τροζάνι-----Νικοκλέος τ]οῦ Γνικωνος, ἐν ’Αρσι ⃒ [νόαι]

  • 17 This Nikon is considered Troizenian by the editors of LGPN III, A, s.v. Νίκων,, no. 33, p. 328. If (...)

8The fragmentary nature of the beginning of this text had prohibited previously any clear understanding of the eponymous official and certainty concerning his ethnic, although Hiller von Gaertringen did suggest that he was Troizenian17. We can now restore his name with some confidence, understand his patronymic, and identify him without hesitation as a Troizenian. Unfortunately, however, the magistracy he held at the time of the dispute’s resolution remains unknown.

  • 18 Dixon 2003, 82-83.
  • 19 Dixon 2000, 214-220. Of considerable interest regarding the settlement of this dispute is the emba (...)

9As noted above, the rarity of the name Gnikon makes it nearly inevitable that our two Troizenians are related in some way, and that they are most likely father and son. What remains is to determine which of the two is the father and which the son. If [Nikokles] the son of Gnikon attested on the Epidaurian stele (IG, IV2, 1, 76+ 77) is the father of Gnikon the son of Nikokles of the diateichisma inscription (IG, IV, 757) then we can be fairly confident that the border dispute between Troizen and Ptolemaic Arsinoë occurred as much as a generation prior to the construction of the diateichisma. If the consensus date for its construction of ca. 146 BC is correct, then we might suggest plausibly that the dispute and its settlement occurred somewhere between ca. 175-165 BC. Such a date accords well with what we know of diplomatic relations between the Achaian League, of which Troizen was a member state, and Ptolemaic Egypt. An earlier dispute between Arsinoë and Epidauros, for example, had been resolved by arbitration between 236-228 BC (IG, IV2, 1, 72), undoubtedly at a time when a formal alliance existed between the two18. This alliance was abandoned during the Kleomenean War, but it seems, according to Polybios (29, 23, 1-3), that some form of alliance was likely renewed ca. 169/168 BC, although some diplomatic relations were restored between 188-186 BC19. It is quite possible that as part of the alliance renewed in ca. 169/168 BC, the decision was reached to settle the dispute between Troizen and Arsinoë by arbitration, but a slightly earlier date cannot be excluded entirely.

  • 20 Mee and Forbes (1997, 73-75) argue that Arsinoë remained a Ptolemaic possession until ca. 145. For (...)

10If the date of 146 BC for the diateichisma inscription is correct, it is highly unlikely that we should date the border dispute and its settlement after its construction, for the Ptolemies had abandoned Arsinoë by 146 BC and, as we have already noted, a Ptolemy is attested on IG, IV2, 1, 76+ 77 (line 5) indicating clearly that it was still in Ptolemaic hands at the time of the dispute20. Therefore, the settlement of the dispute between Troizen and Arsinoë cannot post-date the construction of the diateichisma as long as its date of 146 BC is considered correct.

11There is no reason, however, to exclude the possibility that the dispute and the construction of the diateichisma were contemporaneous. As we have seen already, a virtual state of war existed between Troizen and Arsinoë at the time the dispute was resolved by arbitration. This permits the suggestion that the situation had become dire enough for the Troizenians that contributions were requested for the construction of the diateichisma. If this reconstruction is correct, then it is also plausible to suggest that at the time of the dispute’s settlement Gnikon the son of Nikokles made a personal contribution at the time his father (or son) held an eponymous magistracy in Troizen.

12At least two possibilities now appear likely. First, the settlement of the dispute between Arsinoë and Troizen occurred some time shortly after ca. 169/168 and that the Troizenian eponymous official at the time of the settlement was [Nikokles] the son of Gnikon. Some twenty-three years later, on the eve of the Achaian War, Gnikon the son of Nikokles made a contribution to the city for the construction of a diateichisma in Troizen. The second possibility is that the border dispute between Troizen and Arsinoë reached such a state that many Troizenians, including Gnikon the son of Nikokles, contributed to the construction of a diateichisma. At around the same time, the Achaian League and Ptolemaic Egypt renewed their alliance and as part of this agreement, the dispute between Troizen and Arsinoë was resolved by arbitration. The eponymous official from Troizen at the time of the dispute’s settlement was [Nikokles] the son of Gnikon, the man whose son (or father) had contributed shortly before to the construction of the wall. If the arbitration and the construction of the diateichisma were contemporaneous we cannot determine whether or not a date shortly after 169/168 or ca. 146 BC is correct, although the former seems more probable, for it is doubtful that Ptolemaic Arsinoë and Troizen would settle a dispute by arbitration on the eve of the Achaian War. On the basis of the evidence currently at our disposal, it is impossible to clarify this issue further.

13This newly proposed reading of IG, IV2, 1, 76+ 77 (line one) allows us to draw a number of important conclusions. First, it places the construction of the diateichisma and the settlement of the border dispute between Troizen and Arsinoë within close proximity of one another, perhaps within no more than twenty-three years. Secondly, if the commonly accepted date of the diateichisma’s construction is correct, then the dispute must predate it, but we cannot exclude the possibility that the two are nearly contemporaneous. Undoubtedly the possibility remains that both father and son could have been active politically at the same time, thus allowing us to associate the construction of the diateichisma with the military emergency created by the state of war between the Troizenians and the citizens of Arsinoë. Although some uncertainty still remains concerning the date of the two events, with some confidence we can place them between ca. 169/8 and 146 BC, although a date as early as ca. 188-186 cannot be excluded. A proposed date between ca. 169/8 and 146 BC does not differ significantly from Hiller’s original suggestion (163-146 BC), but the new reading presented here and its prosopographical implications inspire far greater confidence than reliance upon the comparison of letter-forms. This newly proposed reading also allows us to identify the family of Nikokles and Gnikon as possibly one of the most significant in late Hellenistic Troizen.

Notes

1 I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Stephen V. Tracy for first introducing me to the field of Greek epigraphy, for guiding me throughout my graduate career, and for his continued friendship and advice. I would also like to thank John D. Morgan for his insightful comments and suggestions on the topic discussed in this paper.

2 For IG, IV2, 1, 76, see F. Hiller von Gaertringen 1925-1926, 71-75 no. VIII (ed. pr.) and Peek 1969, 27-28 no. 31 pl. VI, fig. 9. For IG, IV2, 1, 77 frags. a and b, see Fraenkel, IG, IV, 941 (ed. pr.); Nikitsky 1902, 445-467 and 1903, 406-413; Peek 1969, 27-28 no. 31, pl. VI, fig. 9.

3 The inscriptions were associated first by Robert (1960, 159-160 n. 2), see also SEG, 22, 278 and Peek 1969, 27-28 no. 31.

4 Legrand 1900, 190-199 no. 5 (ed. pr.), see also, Nikitsky 1902, 445-467 and 1903, 406-413; Fraenkel, IG, IV, 752 and Addenda et Corrigenda, p. 381.

5 Unfortunately no inscription from Athens has been identified as the third copy of the decision and I have searched in vain through all of the published Athenian material.

6 Chandler (1776, 262) noted that when he visited the temple of Poseidon he saw blocks “cut to the size which is a load for a mule” and that his guide on the island was a stone mason “long employed in destroying these remnants of antiquity.” According to Chandler these blocks were being shipped to Hydra for the construction of a monastery. Strangely, no other commentator has tried to explain the why a copy of the inscription was found in Troizen.

7 For the most recent edition of this stone, see Carusi 2005, 84-89.

8 For attempts to produce a composite text on the basis of both copies, see Ager 1996, no. 138; Harter-Uibopuu 1998, 97-109 no. 12; Dixon 2000, 198-203; Carusi 2005, 93-95.

9 For the text, see Mylonas 1886, 136-147 (ed. pr.), see now Maier 1959, 140-144 no. 32, and also Migeotte 1992, 49-54 no. 21 (side A, lines 1-10).

10 Welter 1941, 12-13 and pl. IV.

11 See LGPN III, A, s.v. Gnçikwn, no. 1, p. 100 and s.v. Nικοκῆλς) hj, no. 10, p. 324.

12 Lapis : NIKOKΛEOY (line 29).

13 Mylonas 1886, 136. For the association with the Achaian War, see Maier 1959, 145 and Migeotte 1992, 51-54.

14 Hiller von Gaertringen (1925-1926, 71-75) compared the letter-forms on IG, IV2, 1, 76 with Theran inscriptions (IG, XII, 3, 331 and Suppl., 1296) datable to the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor. The use of parallel letter-forms on inscriptions from Thera to date an Epidaurian inscription is questionable methodology. Moreover, Hiller did not notice that the three fragments all belonged to the same stele. He originally assigned a first half of the second century BC date to IG, IV2, 1, 77. Nevertheless, scholars have continued to accept a date between 163-146 BC for this inscription. It must also be noted that the letterforms on IG, IV2, 1, 76+ 77 have no similarity to those found on IG, IV, 752.

15 All subsequent editors have retained Hiller’s reconstruction of this line. See most recently the comments of Carusi 2005, 100-101 and 133.

16 Dixon (2000, 204-205 and 222-223) first proposed this suggestion.

17 This Nikon is considered Troizenian by the editors of LGPN III, A, s.v. Νίκων,, no. 33, p. 328. If, however, the reading proposed here is correct, there is now no evidence for this Nikon.

18 Dixon 2003, 82-83.

19 Dixon 2000, 214-220. Of considerable interest regarding the settlement of this dispute is the embassy of Demetrios of Athens to the Achaian assembly on behalf of King Ptolemy V between 188-186. If we recall the stipulation recorded on IG, IV, 752 (lines 15-19) that the decision be sent to Athens for ratification and that one copy of it was to be erected on the Athenian Acropolis, then it may be possible to associate the embassy with the dispute’s resolution. Polybios (23, 3, 5-6) preserves our only testimony for this embassy.

20 Mee and Forbes (1997, 73-75) argue that Arsinoë remained a Ptolemaic possession until ca. 145. For Ptolemaic Arsinoë, see also Bagnall 1976, 135-136.

Auteur

History Department, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Indiana, USA

© Ausonius Éditions, 2010

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