Xanthos Trilingual, 337 BC

Xanthos Trilingual, 337 BC

This stele set up in the Letoon near the Lycian city of Xanthos records the appointment of one Simias as priest of the Caunian King and Arkesimas and describes the lands and funding associated with their cult.

The texts - written in Greek, Lycian, and Aramaic - were originally published in 1974 following the discovery of the stele during French excavations led by Metzger. The original notice of the discovery offers a sense of the archaeological context in which the stele was found (though it is written in French; H. Metzger and E. Laroche, ‘Notes sur la stèle trilingue du Létoon de Xanthos’ Kadmos 13.1 (1974) 82-84.). See the publications of the texts for more detail.

One might note that the texts demonstrate a high degree of cultural hybridity: Rhodes and Osborne point out that the deities are Carian, the priest a hellenised Lycian, and the Aramaic version of the text apparently adapted for Achaemenid adminstrative concerns (P. J. Rhodes and R. Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions, 404-323 BC (2003) No. 78 pp. 384ff.).

The Greek text can be found online on achemenet. The English translation of Rhodes and Osborne (2003 384ff.) reads as follows:

"When Pixodarus son of Hecatomnos was satrap of Lycia; he appointed as archontes of Lycia Hieron and Apollodotus, and as curator (epimeletes) of Xanthus Artemelis. (5) Resolved by the Xanthians and their perioikoi. (6) Establish an altar to the Caunian King and Arkesimas. And they appointed as priest Simias son of Kondorasis and whoever is closest to Simias for all time; and they gave him immunity (ateleia) for his property; and the city gave him the land which Kesindeslis and Pigres had worked, and as much as adjoins the land, and the buildings, to belong to the Caunian King and Arkesimas; and there is given to him each year one and a half minas from the city; and as many as become freedmen are to pay two drachmas to the god; and all that has been inscribed on the stele has been consecrated to belong to the Caunian King and Arkesimas; and whatever produce comes from these is to be sacrificed as an offering each new moon, and each year an ox. (26) And the Xanthians and their periokoi made oaths to do completely what is inscribed on the stele for these gods and the priest, and not to change anything nor allow any one else to do so: if any one does change, he shall be a sinner against these gods and Leto and her descendants and the Nymphs. Pixodarus shall have authority."

Melchert's more recent commentary (and translation) of the Lycian text can also be found online.