PHRC008 : Decree of the city of Skepsis for Antigonos Monophthalmos - Troas (311/0 BC) Decree

This fragmentary stele, once erected within the sanctuary of Athena on the acropolis of the city of Skepsis (Kurşunlu Tepe), preserves a decree by which the civic institutions voted the dedication of a sacred enclosure containing an altar and a cult statue to Antigonos Monophthalmos, together with other honours for him, his sons and his messenger Akios. Such initiative was a direct response to the announcement of the peace signed by Antigonos, Cassander, Ptolemy and Lysimachos, bringing the 4th Diadoch War to an end (311/0 BC). Despite being the earliest known inscription mentioning cultic honours decreed by a Greek city for a successor of Alexander, the decree was meant to augment some already existing ritual honours, probably introduced soon after the declaration of the freedom of the Greeks by Antigonos in 315 BC. Such honours consisted of an annual festival comprising a sacrifice, a contest and a procession during which the citizens would wear crowns. The new honours completed the existing ones, by providing them with a specific setting integrated within the sacred topography of the city.

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Object Type: Stele
Three pieces of a marble stele, preserving the end of the motivations and the first part of the resolution of a decree of the city of Skepsis.
Material: Marble


The text is inscribed stoichedon, but with lines of different length.
Elegant letters of the late fourth century. The punctuation symbol : occupies the space of a letter. The writing is the same as in the letter of Antigonos ( OGIS 5), which was found close to this decree.


Date: 311/310 BC
Justification: content.
Provenance: Found at the hill top of Kurşunlu Tepe, the original acropolis of Skepsis, around September 1899, together with the stele bearing the letter of Antigonos. The identification of this place with the location of the sanctuary of Athena is inferred from the content of the text. Both stelae were brought to the nearby village of Kurşunlu, where Munro saw them on 24 September 1899.


Text constituted from: OGIS 6, with the exception of line 37, where we follow Michel 1919.

Other editions: Munro 1899, p. 335-336.

See also: Habicht 2017, no. 19; Kotsidu 2000, p. 310-312, no. 214 [E]; Bagnall - Derow 2004, p. 9-10, no. 6 (English Trans.)


Further bibliography: Welles, RC 1; Cook 1973, p. 345-347; Billows 1990, p. 131-134; Wallace 2011, p. 126-129.

Online record: PHI


0 [20.................... ἀφέσταλκεν]
Ἄκιον : ὃς [ὑπάρχει τῆι πόλει ἡμῶν εἰς τὸ]
[π]ᾶν εὔνους καὶ [τὴν πρ]ο[θυμίαν ἀεὶ διαφυ] -
λάσσων διατελεῖ, καὶ ἀ[ξιοῖ] αὐτῶι ἐμφα -
[ν]ί<ζ>ειν ὧν ἂν δέηται ἡ πόλις : ἀφέσταλκ[ε]
5 [δ]ὲ καὶ τὰς ὁμολογίας τὰς πρὸς Κάσσαν -
δρον καὶ Πτολεμαῖον καὶ Λυσίμαχον αὐ -
τῶι γεγενημένας καὶ τῶν ὅρκων ἀντίγρα -
φα : καὶ περὶ τῆς τῶν Ἑλλήνων εἰρήνης
καὶ αὐτονομίας τὰ πεπραγμένα : δεδό -
10 <χ>θαι τῶι δήμωι· ἐπειδὴ Ἀντίγονος τῆι τε
<π>όλει καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις Ἕλλησιν μεγάλων
ἀγαθῶν αἴτιος γεγένηται : ἐπαινέσαι
μὲν Ἀντίγονον καὶ συνησθῆναι αὐτῶι
ἐπὶ τοῖς πεπραγμένοις : συνησθῆναι δὲ
15 τὴν πόλιν καὶ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ὅτι ἐλεύθε -
[ρ]οι καὶ αὐτόνομοι ὄντες ἐν εἰρήνηι
[εἰς] τὸ λοιπὸν διάξουσιν : ὅπως δ’ἂν Ἀντί -
γονος τιμηθῆι καταξίως τῶμ πεπραγμέ -
νων : καὶ ὁ δῆμος φαίνηται χάριν ἀποδι -
20 δοὺς ὧν προείληφεν ἀγαθῶν : ἀφορίσαι
αὐτῶι τέμενος καὶ βωμὸν ποῆσαι καὶ ἄγαλμα
στῆσαι ὡς κάλλιστον : τὴν δὲ θυσίαν κα[ὶ]
τὸν ἀγῶνα καὶ τὴν στεφανηφορίαν καὶ
τὴν λοιπὴν παν[ήγ]υριν γίνεσθαι αὐτῶι
25 καθ’ ἕκαστον ἔτ[ος], [κα]θάπερ καὶ πρότερο[ν]
συνετελεῖτο· [στεφα]νῶσαι δὲ αὐτὸν χρυ -
σῶι στεφάνωι [ἀπὸ στατήρ]ων χρυσῶν ἑκα -
τόν : στεφανῶσ[αι] δὲ καὶ [Δημ]ήτριον καὶ Φί -
λιππον, ἑκάτερον χρυσοῖ[ς πεν]τήκοντα·
30 ἀπαγγεῖλαι δὲ τοὺς στεφάν[ους τῶ]ι ἀγῶ[νι]
ἐν τῆι πανηγύρει : θῦσαι δὲ καὶ [εὐ]αγγέ -
λια τὴν πόλιν ἐπὶ τοῖς ὑπ’ Ἀντιγόν[ου]
ἀφεσταλμένοι[ς] : στεφανηφορῆσαι δ[ὲ]
καὶ τοὺς πολίτα[ς] πάντας : τὸ δὲ ἀνάλω -
35 μα δοῦναι τὸ εἰ[ς τ]αῦτα τὸν ταμίαν·
πέμψαι δὲ καὶ Ἀκ[ί]ωι ξένια : τὰς δὲ ὁμολο -
γίας καὶ τὰς ἐπ[ι]στολὰς τὰς παρ’ Ἀντιγό -
νου : καὶ τοὺς ὅ[ρ]κους οὓς ἀπέστειλεν
ἀναγράψαι εἰς [σ]τήλην καθάπερ Ἀντίγο -
40 νος ἐφέστειλε[ν], [κ]αὶ θεῖναι εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν
τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς : ἐπ[ιμελη]θῆναι δὲ τὸν γραμ -
ματέα : δοῦναι [δὲ] καὶ εἰς ταῦτα τὸ ἀνάλω -
μα τὸν ταμίαν : [ὀμόσα]ι δὲ τοὺς πολίτας
πάντας τὸν ὅρ[κον τὸν ἀφεσ]ταλμένον κα -
45 θάπερ Ἀντί[γονος ἐφέστειλεν] : τοὺς δὲ
ἡιρημέ[νους 20....................]
νους [26..........................]


Line 37: Ἀκίωι (= Antigonos) Michel | αὐτῶι Munro, followed by Dittenberger in OGIS 6.


(S. Caneva, from, with modifications)
[...] he sent Akios, who is in every respect well-disposed to our city and always continues maintaining his zeal and requests us to inform him about whatever the city is in need of. He also sent the agreements he made with Kassander, Ptolemy and Lysimachos as well as the copies of the oaths and a report of his deeds for the freedom and autonomy of the Greeks.
The demos has resolved: since Antigonos has been responsible for great benefits for the city and for the other Greeks, we shall praise Antigonos and rejoice with him over what has been done; the city shall also rejoice with the other Greeks because in the future they will keep on living in peace, being free and autonomous. In order that Antigonos be honoured in a way worthy of his deeds and that the demos make his gratitude manifest for the benefits he has already received, we shall delimit a sacred precinct, build an altar and set up a cult statue as beautiful as possible. The sacrifice, the contest, the stephanephoria and all the rest that is related to the festival shall be celebrated for him, every year, in the way it was previously done. We shall crown him with a golden crown of the value of 100 gold staters; we shall also crown Demetrios and Philippos, each with a crown of the value of 50 gold staters. The crowns shall be announced during the contest that takes place on the festival. Moreover, the city shall make offerings of good tidings upon the arrival of Antigonos' messages, and all the citizens shall wear garlands on these occasions. The treasurer shall provide the funds for all this.
We shall also send gifts of friendship to Akios. The agreements and the letters of Antigonos as well as the oaths he has sent shall be inscribed on a stele, following the instructions of Antigonos. The stele shall be set up in the sanctuary of Athena. The secretary shall supervise this; the treasurer shall provide the funds for these expenses too. All the citizens shall swear the oath that has been sent to us, in compliance with the instructions of Antigonos; those who have been elected [...].


(S. Caneva)
[...] ha inviato Akios, che è in ogni riguardo benevolo e continua a conservare sempre il suo impegno verso la nostra città, e ci chiede di informarlo su ciò di cui la città abbia bisogno. Ha inviato inoltre gli accordi da lui sottoscritti con Cassandro, Tolemeo e Lisimaco e le copie dei giuramenti, e un resoconto delle azioni compiute per la pace e l’autonomia dei Greci.
Il demos ha deciso: poiché Antigono è stato fonte di grandi benefici per la città e per gli altri Greci, si elogi Antigono e ci si congratuli con lui per quanto è avvenuto; che la città si congratuli inoltre con i Greci perché in futuro continueranno a vivere in pace, essendo liberi e autonomi. Affinché Antigono sia onorato in modo degno delle sue azioni e il demos manifesti la propria gratitudine per i benefici che ha ricevuto, si delimiti per lui un recinto sacro, si costruisca un altare e si eriga una statua cultuale quanto più bella possibile. Che il sacrificio, il concorso, la stephanephoria e gli altri eventi connessi alla festa religiosa siano celebrati per lui, ogni anno, nel modo in cui si faceva in passato. Lo si onori con una corona d’oro del valore di 100 stateri d’oro; si incoronino anche Demetrio e Filippo, ciascuno con una corona del valore di 50 stateri d’oro. Che le corone siano annunciate durante l’agone che si tiene in occasione della festa. Che la città compia inoltre sacrifici di buon annuncio per i messaggi inviati da Antigono, e che tutti i cittadini indossino ghirlande per l’occasione. Il tesoriere fornisca i fondi necessari per queste cose.
Si mandino inoltre doni di amicizia ad Akios. Gli accordi e le lettere di Antigono, e inoltre i giuramenti da lui inviati, siano iscritti su una stele, secondo le istruzioni di Antigono, e la stele sia collocata nel santuario di Atena. Sovrintenda alla realizzazione il segretario. Il tesoriere fornisca i fondi anche per queste spese. Tutti i cittadini pronuncino il giuramento che ci è stato inviato, secondo le indicazioni di Antigono; gli eletti [...]


The text of this marble stele sheds light on the honours decreed for Antigonos Monophthalmos by the city of Skepsis in 311/0 BC. Its date is made sure by the reference to the peace between Antigonos, Cassander, Ptolemy, and Lysimachos, which brought to an end the 4th Diadoch War, and by the close link between this text and the other stele found on place, which contains the letter of Antigonos to the city of Skepsis ( OGIS 5) concerning the peace treaty. The decree is the response of the civic institutions to this announcement.

The citizens of Skepsis decided to honour Antigonos by delimiting for him a sacred enclosure and by erecting, within it, an altar and a cult statue of the Diadoch. To date, this is the earliest attestation of rituals decreed by a Greek city for a successor of Alexander, as it predates by four years the cultic honours established by the Athenians in 307/6 BC, after the expulsion of Demetrios of Phaleron. However, it is clear from the text that this decree was meant to augment some cultic honours, which Skepsis had already dedicated to Antigonos, probably after his declaration in favour of the freedom of Greek cities in 315 BC. Lines 22-26 report the existence of an annual festival (Antigoneia ?), which already included not only a sacrifice, but also a contest and a parade of the citizens with a crown (stephanephoria); the latter was probably part of the procession implied by the statement “the rest of the festival”. The main features of the festival did not change (lines 25-26), but the new decree provided them with a new focal point, whereas previous celebrations might have taken place in a public space, perhaps the agora or another sanctuary.

The decree foresees a second occasion for a stephanephoria, besides the annual festival. This corresponds to the sacrifices by which the city would welcome future messages of Antigonos as good announcements (εὐαγγέλια). The decree also mentions non-religious honours for both Antigonos, his sons (honorific crowns, to be announced during the contest that accompanies the annual festival), and, if the reading proposed by Michel 1919 is correct, his messenger Akios, who would receive special hospitality gifts.

For centuries, the site of Skepsis was so dramatically pillaged to reuse its precious stones that by the 19th century, almost nothing had survived of the ancient monuments (Cook 1973, p. 345-347). With these premises, even a speculative identification of the processional route and of the location of the sacred enclosure of Antigonos is impossible. However, the dossier concerning the peace and the honours for Antigonos delivers at least one interesting piece of information concerning the ancient topography of the city: the findspot of the two stelae on the top of Kurşunlu Tepe, reasonably the acropolis of Skepsis, enables us to conclude that the sanctuary of Athena was located there.

One can only speculate about the destiny of these honours when, only a few years after the peace of 311/0 BC, Antigonos took the decision to incorporate Skepsis into his new foundation of Antigoneia (later renamed Alexandria Troas when the city passed under the control of Lysimachos; Cook 1973, p. 198-204). By depriving Skepsis of its autonomy, the synoecism certainly revolutionized the religious calendar of the community, perhaps marking the end of the cultic honours for Antigonos even before his death at Ipsos in 301 BC.

Stefano Caneva, 17.10.2018

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Travocial - Social Travel & Storytelling Practicalities of Hellenistic Ruler Cults
Marie Curie PISCOPIA project no. PISC14IGRU, University of Padova (2015-2017)
FNRS project no. 98368 (2017-2020)
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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme, under Grant Agreement n° 600376 (2015-2017), and from the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS), Belgium (2017-2020).
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