This short political pamphlet has survived to our day through the lucky chance of being included in the minor works of Xenophon, and for over 150 years it has been the subject of lively scholarly debate. The unknown author was a confirmed oligarch, but with an insider's insight into Athenian democracy. Though he cannot approve of this form of government, he is astute enough to see that the system works well on its own terms and that it is therefore popular; (...) it will prove very hard to overthrow. The work has proved difficult to tie down to an historical context. (shrink)
The famous eastern tour of inspection undertaken by Scipio Aemilianus, L. Metellus Calvus and Sp. Mummius is now generally dated 140/39 b.c., where Diodorus seems to put it. The accepted view, however, involves discounting an explicit statement by Cicero. It also presents historical difficulties. In 140 b.c. there was no need for such a high-powered Roman initiative, and scholars can discover only very minor political results. Sherwin-White indeed criticised the envoys severely, especially Scipio; they were culpably blind to the new (...) menace of Parthia, which was steadily dismembering the Seleucid Empire east of the Euphrates. This is fair criticism only on the 140/39 b.c. dating. Did Scipio and his colleagues fail to see what is patent to us today? It is time to reexamine rigorously the underlying assumption. In Acad. prior. 2.5 Cicero defends a Roman noble's love of Greek learning in the following terms: ego autem cum Graecas litteras M. Catonem in senectute didicisse acceperim, P. autem Africani historiae loquantur in legatione illa nobili, quam ante censuram obiit, Panaetium unum omnino comitem fuisse, nec litterarum Graecarum nee philosophiae iam ullum auctorem requiro. The date of the embassy must be 144/3 b.c., if we follow the logic of this passage. Scipio was censor with L. Mummius in 142/1 b.c. and their public quarrel was hardly less notable than the embassy, in which L. Mummius' brother shared. Another Ciceronian passage – written some six years earlier – seems to contradict the dating offered in 45 b.c. In de republica 6.11 the elder Africanus prophesies his grandson's future greatness in the famous dream. (shrink)
Stephen Tracy's neat demonstration that IG I3 35—authorizing the building of a temple and appointment of a priestess for Athena Nike—was cut by the man responsible for the Promachos accounts at first seemed decisive for the traditional c. 448 B.C. against my radical down-dating. Ira Mark then argued that this decree provided for the naiskos and altar of his Stage III in the 440s: the marble temple belonged to Stage IV over twenty years later. Despite these two powerful interventions the (...) matter is not closed. David Gill has, I fancy, convincingly refuted Mark on archaeological and architectural grounds. And there is still more to be said from the epigraphic angle. IG I 36, cut on the back of the stele, looks like a delayed rider to 35. But just how delayed was it? It arranged for the regular payment of the priestess's salary by the kolakretai in office in the month Thargelion. On the traditional view the gap would be close to a quarter of a century, since 36 is firmly dated 424/3 B.C. This is quite extraordinary, though reasons have been found for it. More serious perhaps is some neglected epigraphic evidence. We have eighteen other examples in fifth-century Attic epigraphy where decrees are followed on the same stone by other texts; but virtually all the gaps are short, never more than a few years. The relevant texts are IG I 4, 11/12, 41, 42/43, 52 A–B, 59, 61, 66, 68, 71, 72, 73, 89, 93, 101, 127/II1, 156, 1454. It is true that 42/43 are dated c. 445–442 and c. 435–427 B.C. in IG I, but this is quite arbitrary. (shrink)
The decree establishing an Athenian colony at Brea in the north Aegaean area was firmly placed by the editors of The Athenian Tribute Lists in 446 B.C.; they identified the troops mentioned in lines 26 ff. with the men then serving in Euboia. In 1952, however, Woodhead proposed redating the decree c. 439/8 B.C. and explained lines 26 ff. by reference to the Samian revolt. A decade later I put forward a more radical theory, which seems to have won no (...) adherents. I cannot really complain of this, since my arguments were inevitably far from cogent. For some Thucydides' silence alone will have been decisive. I would like to think that the issue has at least been clarified by now. The A.T.L. dating appears rather less plausible. Demokleides' generalship in 439/8 B.C. would fit excellently with his role as founder of Brea. This strongly supports Woodhead. It is doubtful whether Demokleides was general as early as 446 B.C, though conceivable that he returned to the board as late as 426/5 B.C. Woodhead may well be right in locating Brea on the inner Thermaic Gulf and, if so, this too tells against the A.T.L. dating. All our evidence suggests that real Athenian involvement in this area began in the 430's. (shrink)
Bradeen and McGregor with exemplary skill and patience re-examined the almost desperately worn front face of ATL ii List 26. They were able to prove that the lines of its prescript were precisely forty-seven letters long. This excludes the possibility of dating this list 430/29 or 428/7 B.C., since only six spaces are available for the first numeral. They rightly maintained that the ATL Lists 25 and 26 must be kept together, but unlike them I would challenge the ATL numbering (...) and order. I still think that this should be reversed. (shrink)
There can be no doubt of the primacy of Andronicus in Roman literature, but there is an interesting and unorthodox ancient tradition concerning his date. Modern scholars incline to place Andronicus' birth about 285 B.C. and to postulate either that he came to Rome as a slave from Tarentum in 272 B.C., or that the story of his captivity is a fiction. His first play was produced in 240 B.C.
The series of decrees concerning Methone throws welcome light on Athenian foreign policy and the imperialism of Pericles' successors. Here is historical evidence of the highest quality. Are we using it as fully and accurately as we should? This paper is written in the belief that we are being hampered by unsound presuppositions. Chronologically the second decree is our main fixed point. It was passed in the first prytany of 426/5 B.C. The third and fourth decrees followed in the next (...) two archon-years. They can be ignored in this discussion, since one is hopelessly mutilated and the other is missing from the stone as it stands now. The real problem rises over the first decree. What is its date? It used commonly to be put in 428/7 B.C. until West argued powerfully for January/February 429/8 B.C. His view won considerable support, but the editors of The Athenian Tribute Lists have since succeeded in establishing the summer of 430 B.C. as the orthodox dating. Now those who accept this should recognize that it creates an awkwardly long gap between the first and second decrees. By the first decree Methone was permitted to pay the quota alone, instead of its full tribute, and was promised separate, favourable treatment of its arrears in return for continued loyalty. (shrink)