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5. Letter of the Emperor Commodus to the city of Boubon, 190 CE
|Αὐτοκ̣ρ̣άτωρ Καῖσαρ, θεοῦ Μάρκου Ἀντωνείνο̣[υ]
Εὐσεβοῦς Γερμανικοῦ Σαρματικοῦ υἱός,
θεοῦ Εὐσεβοῦς υἱωνός, θεοῦ Ἁδριανοῦ ἔγγονος,
θεοῦ Τραιανοῦ Παρθικοῦ καὶ θεοῦ Νέρουα ἀπόγονος,
Μᾶρκος Αὐρήλιος Κόμμοδος Ἀντωνεῖνος Εὐσεβὴς
Εὐτυχὴς Σεβαστὸς Σαρματικὸς Γερμανικὸς μέγιστος
Βρεταννικός, ἀρχιερεὺς μέγιστος, δημαρχικῆς
ἐξουσίας τὸ ιε′, αὐτοκράτωρ τὸ η′, ὕπατος τὸ ϝ′,
πατὴρ πατρίδος Βουβωνέων τοῖς ἄρχουσιν καὶ τῇ
βουλῇ καὶ τῷ δήμῳ χαίρειν.
Kαὶ ὑμᾶς τῆς προθυμίας καὶ τῆς ἀνδρείας ἐπῄνεσα
καὶ τὴν κοινὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Λυκίων ἔθνους ἀπεδεξά–
μην, ὑμᾶς μὲν σὺν τοσαύτῃ τῇ προθυμίᾳ ὁρμήσαντας
ἐπὶ τὴν τῶν λῃστῶν σύνλημψιν καὶ περιγενομένους
γε αὐτῶν καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἀποκτείναντας, τοὺς δὲ καὶ
ζωγρήσαντας: ἐπὶ τούτοις δὲ τὸ κοινὸν τῶν Λυκί–
ων ὀρθῶς ἐποίησεν τειμὴν τὴν προσήκουσαν
ἀπονεῖμαν ὑμεῖν καὶ τὴν μίαν ψῆφον προσ–
θέν, ὅθεν ἠμέλλετε ἐνδοξότεροι γενήσεσ–
θε, προθυμοτέρους δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἀπειργά–
σατο πρὸς τὰ τοιαῦτα τῶν ἀνδραγαθημάτων.
Ἐκύρωσα δὴ καὶ αὐτὸς τὴν γνώμην τοῦ κοι–
νοῦ βουλεύματος καὶ ἐπέτρεψα ὑμεῖν τοῦ
λοιποῦ ἐν ταῖς τριψήφοις τῶν πόλεων καταρι–
θ̣μεῖσθαι. ἐπρέσβευσεν Μελέαγρος δὶς
τοῦ Ἀρτέμωνος. εὐτυχεῖτε.
Imperator Caesar, son of the divine Marcus Antoninus Pius Germanicus Sarmaticus, grandson of the divine Pius, great-grandson of the divine Hadrianus, descendant of the divine Traianus Parthicus and of the divine Nerva, Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Pius Felix Augustus Sarmaticus Germanicus Maximus Britannicus, pontifex maximus, holder of the tribunician power for the 15th time, imperator for the 8th time, consul for the sixth time, pater patriae, greets the magistrates, the council, and the people of Boubon.
(11) I have commended you for your zeal and bravery and I have endorsed the (decision of the) federal council of the Lycian league. For you set out with such great zeal to catch the brigands and you defeated them, and either killed or took them captive; and the Lycian league acted justly when, in response to those (deeds), it bestowed upon you the appropriate honor of increasing your votes by one. This was bound to enhance your reputation, and it made others more eager towards such brave deeds. I have therefore confirmed the decision taken at the sitting of the federal (body) and have permitted you to be counted henceforth among the cities that own three votes. The embassy was undertaken by Meleager, son of Meleager, son of Artemon. Be happy.
Limestone block with moldings at top and bottom. Seen and documented in 1966 by Bean and Schindler at the theater. The stone appears to have been in situ "at the border of the orchestra" (am Rande der stark verschütteten orchestra, wahrscheinlich in der Mitte der Begrenzung derselben). The locals at İbecik told us in 2004 that it was later buried under the orchestra to protect it from looters.
Height: at least 125 cm; length: 77 cm; depth: 77 cm; letters: 2.3-2.4 cm.
Schindler 1972, no. 2 (pl. 1.1: photograph of squeeze); BullÉp 1973, 451; AÉ 1979, no. 624; Milner 1998, p. 2, 1.18.
L. 8 : Commodus' first tribunicia potestas dates back to 177 CE, his 15th. tribunicia potestas to 190 CE; Kienast 1996, p. 148.
L. 11-13 : The punctuation follows Schindler 1972. Alternatively one might read Kαὶ ὑμᾶς τῆς προθυμίας καὶ τῆς ἀνδρείας ἐπῄνεσα καὶ τὴν κοινὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Λυκίων ἔθνους. Ἀπεδεξάμην ὑμᾶς μὲν...
L. 14 : The city's contribution to combating brigandage has been the subject of comment in numerous studies. See most recently Brélaz 2005, pp. 48-50.
L. 19 : γενήσεσθε instead of γενήσεσθαι.
L. 25-26 : The name Μελέαγρος is common in Asia Minor, particularly in western Lycia and the Cibyratis. See no. 34; IK Kibyra I 49; 87; 210; 234; 257; cf. Schindler 1972, p. 44. Ἀρτέμων is a widespread name in Attica and in Asia Minor, particularly in Ionia, but it is also found five times in Boubon and four times in Cibyra: nos. 72, 34, 42, 48, 37; IK Kibyra I, nos. 88; 126 130; 242. Milner notes that the name is "heavily represented in Lycia, the Kibyratis and at Termessos. Epichoric Art- names such as Artimes/os/as etc. suggest that behind the local popularity of both Greek names may lie a similar sounding epichoric name"; cf. Zgusta 1964, no. 108; Brixhe 1991, pp. 77-78.
In Hellenistic times, the constitution of the Lycian league gave six cities three votes in the decision-making body to which Artemidoros refers as "συνέδριον":
|Εἰσὶ δὲ τρεῖς καὶ εἴκοσι πόλεις αἱ τῆς ψήφου μετέ-
χουσαι• συνέρχονται δὲ ἐξ ἑκάστης πόλεως εἰς κοινὸν
συνέδριον, ἣν ἂν δοκιμάσωσι πόλιν ἑλόμενοι• τῶν δὲ
πόλεων αἱ μέγισται μὲν τριῶν ψήφων ἐστὶν ἑκάστη
κυρία, αἱ δὲ μέσαι δυεῖν, αἱ δ’ ἄλλαι μιᾶς• ἀνὰ λόγον
δὲ καὶ τὰς εἰσφορὰς εἰσφέρουσι καὶ τὰς ἄλλας λειτουρ-
γίας. ἓξ δὲ τὰς μεγίστας ἔφη ὁ Ἀρτεμίδωρος, Ξάνθον
Πάταρα Πίναρα Ὄλυμπον Μύρα Τλῶν κατὰ τὴν
[ὑπέρ]θεσιν τὴν εἰς Κιβύραν κειμένην. (Cited in Strabo,
There are twenty-three cities that share in the vote. They come together from each city to a general congress, after choosing whatever city they approve of. The largest of the cities control three votes each, the medium-sized two, and the rest one. In the same proportion, also, they make contributions and discharge other liturgies. Artemidorus said that the six largest were Xanthus, Patara, Pinara, Olympus, Myra, and Tlos, the last named being situated near the pass that leads over into Cibyra. (Transl. by Hamilton and Falconer 1903-1906).
It is unknown whether in 190 CE the league still adhered to the same number of cities controlling three votes. If so, to give a member an additional vote would entail depriving another member of one1. In any case Boubon was hardly one of the most important cities in the league. However impressive its contribution to the region's defence against brigands, the decision to place it on an equal footing politically with Patara, Xanthos or Myra, could well prove contentious. An official statement by the emperor endorsing and praising this decision was therefore both an honor and a safeguard, a document well suited to be set in stone. On the other hand, if the number of votes a city controlled still corresponded in Roman times to its financial obligations towards the federation, the decision to increase Boubon's political weight could also reflect a relative increase of the city's prosperity or a relative stability of its economy in the difficult times of the last quarter of the second century CE.
Cf. Behrwald , 163 with n. 8; contra Schindler 1972, 19.