Skip to main content

The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation



The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation

Roger S. Bagnall (Editor), Peter Derow (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-405-14344-8 April 2008 Wiley-Blackwell 352 Pages

Download Product Flyer

Download Product Flyer

Download Product Flyer is to download PDF in new tab. This is a dummy description. Download Product Flyer is to download PDF in new tab. This is a dummy description. Download Product Flyer is to download PDF in new tab. This is a dummy description. Download Product Flyer is to download PDF in new tab. This is a dummy description.


This book presents in translation 175 of the most revealing documents that have survived on stone and papyrus from the Hellenistic period.

  • Presents over 150 sources in translation.
  • Captures the political, social, economic and religious dynamism of the Hellenistic kingdoms and cities.
  • Covers the entire Hellenistic world, with extensive coverage of the Ptolemaic kingdom.
Table of Documents.

List of Illustrations.


Note on Editorial Practice.


Note on Reading Documents.

The Texts.

Part I: Political History:.

A. Alexander the Great (336–323).

1. Priene Honours Antigonus–334.

2. ‘Letter’ of Alexander to the Chians–332.

3. Cyrene Supplies Grain to the Greeks–330–326.

4. Restoration of Exiles to Tegea–324.

5. Restoration of Exiles to Mytilene–324.

B. The Successors of Alexander (323–276).

6. Antigonus and Skepsis–311.

7. Two Letters of Antigonus to Teos–306–302.

8. The Hellenic League of 302.

9. Ephesos Recovers from War–after 297.

10. The Ionian League Honours Hippostratos of Miletos–289/8.

11. Lysimachus and Priene–ca 285.

12. Letter of Lysimachus to Samos–283/2.

13. Athens Honors Philippides–283/2.

14. Knidian Loans to Miletos–283/2.

15. Letter of Seleucus I and his son to an Official–281.

16. Ilion and Antiochus I–279–274.

17. Kos Gives Thanks for Defeat of the Gauls–278.

C. The Period of Stability (276–221).

18. Gift of Land by Antiochus I–ca 275.

19. Chremonides’ Decree–265/4.

20. Antiochus I and the Ionian League–268–262.

21. Ptolemy II and Miletos–ca 262.

22. Letter of Antiochus II to Erythrai–after 261 (?).

23. Eumenes I and his Mercenaries–263–241.

24. Berenike's Journey to Syria–252.

25. Correspondence about a Sale of Land by Antiochus II–254/3.

26. Ptolemy III Euergetes: the Adoulis Inscription–ca 246.

27. Report on the Third Syrian War–ca 246.

28. Delphi, Smyrna, and Seleucus II–242 (?).

29. Magnesia, Smyrna, and Seleucus II–after 242.

30. Decree of the Achaean League–ca 234.

D. The Period of Roman Intervention (221–189).

31. Pharos and Rome–after 219 (?).

32. Philip V and Larisa–215.

33. Alliance Between Rome and the Aetolian League–211.

34. Enslavement During a Native Revolt–197.

35. Lampsakos, Massilia and Rome–197/6.

36. Letter of Flamininus to Chyretiai–197–194.

37. Statue of Flamininus at Gytheion–195.

38. Eumenes II and the War Against Nabis–195.

39. M. Valerius Messalla Writes to the Teans–193.

40. The Scipios Write to Herakleia-by-Latmos–190.

41. Letter of C. Livius Salinator to Delphi–189/8.

42. An honorary Decree from Chios––ca 188.

E. The Struggle for the Survival of Hellenism (189–30).

43. A Letter of Eumenes––after 188.

44. Rome and Perseus––172/1.

45. Decree of the Senate on the Affairs of Thisbe–170.

46. Dispatch From the Front in the Civil War of 169/8–ca 169/8).

47. Eumenes II and the Ionian League–167/6.

48. Chalkis Honours Ariston of Soloi––170-168.

49. Alliance Between Maroneia and Rome––167.

50. Eumenes II, Attalus II and the Gauls–ca 156.

51. Will of Ptolemy the Younger–155.

52. Letter of Q. Fabius Maximus to Dyme––144/3.

53. Letter from Esthladas to his Parents–130.

54. Decree of Amnesty and Regulation–118.

55. Letter of King Antiochus to King Ptolemy–109.

56. Decree for Diophantos, Strategos of King Mithridates VI–ca 107.

57. Chaeremon of Nysa, Mithridates and Rome–88 and following.

58. Correspondence of Platon–88.

59. Cn. Pompeius Magnus–ca 67.

60. Report on Disturbance in the Country–probably 58.

61. Disturbance in the Province of Asia––probably 51/50.

62. An Egyptian View of Rabirius Postumus–after 55–54.

63. Cleopatra’s Golden Handcuffs for a Roman General–33.

Part II: The Foreign Possessions of the Ptolemies:.

64. Ordinances about Registration–260.

65. Letters of Toubias–257.

66. Letter of Apollonios about Grain–261.

67. Memorandum to Zenon–258/7.

68. Affairs in Kalynda–248.

69. Visit of a Roman Senator–112.

Part III: Life in Greek Cities:.

70. Mausolus and Cretan Knossos–350s.

71. Isopolity between Pergamon and Temnos–early third century.

72. Praxikles' Loan to Arkesine–late fourth/early third century.

73. The Delians Honour Philokles, King of Sidon–ca 280.

75. Athens Honours Herakleides of Cyprian Salamis–325/4.

75. A Samian Grain Law–second century.

76. Decree for Boulagoras of Samos–ca 240.

77. Polythroos Provides for Education at Teos–second century.

78. Decree and Gymnasiarchical Law of Beroia––200–170.

79. Ilion Honours Physician of Antiochus I–275–268/7.

80. Eumenes I and Pergamon–ca 260–245.

81. The Thessalian League Sends Grain to Rome––129 (?).

82. Coinage Decree of the Delphic Amphictyons––150–100.

Part IV: The Bureaucracy of Ptolemaic Egypt:.

83. Appointment of a Komogrammateus–119.

84. Oath of Office–246–222.

85. Letter of Marres to Menches–ca 119–111.

86. Account of a Postal Station–ca 255.

87. Announcement of a Government Auction–ca 223.

88. Avoiding a Liturgy–257.

89. Letter to Zenon from Kaunians Seeking Help–257.

90. Letter to Zenon about Petitioner–249.

91. Zenon Petitions the King–ca 246–240.

92. Petition about Assessment–254–253.

93. The Bureaucrats Open a Sluice-Gate–232.

94. Official Correspondence: Don’t Move the Hives; Send Calves–226.

95. Declaration of House-property–210–183.

96. Letter about Collection of Taxes–228.

97. Letter about Protection of Tax-farmer–117.

98. A Komarch’s Extortion Racket–151.

99. Receipt for Medical and Police Taxes–231.

100. Letter to Zenon about Wax–253.

101. Tax-Farmer's Petition for Relief– 236.

Part V: The Royal Economy of Egypt:.

102. Letter to Apollonios about Reminting Coins–258.

103. Instructions of the Dioiketes to an Oikonomos–late third century.

104. Hard and Soft Stone for Irrigation Works–256.

105. Plans for Reclamation Work–259.

106. Correspondence about the Sowing Schedule–190.

107. Receipt for Seed Grain–261.

108. Flooding of a Field–218.

109. Loss of Water Supply–112/1.

110. Protection of the Crops–111.

111. Order for Delivery of Grain–265.

112. Receipt for Embarkation of Grain–252.

113. Lease of a Vineyard–170.

114. Revenue Laws of Ptolemy Philadelphos–259.

115. Assault on Oil Contractor–114.

116. Overcharging for Oil–217.

117. Regulating the Price of Myrrh–267.

Part VI: The Military and Police of Ptolemaic Egypt:.

118. Reimbursement of Naval Expenses–257.

119. Letter of Apollonios about Wood for the Navy–250.

120. Pay for Elephant-hunters–223.

121. Complaint about Owner of Lodging–244/3.

122. Royal Ordinances–ca 240.

123. The Allotment of the Orphan Son of a Military Man–142.

Part VII: The Ptolemaic Legal and Judicial System:.

124. City Laws of Alexandria–mid–third century.

125. Regulations about Self-Identification in Contracts–late third century.

126. Petition about Usury and Detention–245/4.

127. Letter from a Man in Jail–mid–third century.

128. Sent to Break Rocks for Representing a Woman Illegally–241/0 (?).

129. Contract for Sureties–264.

130. Decree about a Surety–237.

131. Report on an Investigation–114.

132. Trial of Hermias and the Choachytai–117.

133. Action before the Chrematistai–154 or 143.

134. Getting Help to Collect a Debt–second century.

135. Problems with a Brewery–254.

Part VIII: Social Relations and Private Life:.

136. Bilingualism– third century.

137. Complaint by a non-Greek about Contemptuous Treatment–ca 256–255.

138. Petition about an Assault–161.

139. Learning Egyptian–second century.

140. Scalding in the Baths–221.

141. Ordinance about Slave Sales–ca 198–197.

142. Procedural Laws about Slaves–third century.

143. Sale of a Slave–Girl–259.

144. Offer of Reward for Escaped Slaves–156.

145. Marriage Contract–311.

146. Request for a Guardian–218.

147. Will–284.

148. A Military Settler’s Will–238/7.

149. A Greek Will in an Egyptian Milieu–123.

150. Preparations for a Festival–ca 245.

151. A Dancer Hires a Flutist–231.

152. Ungrateful Daughter–221.

Part IX. Religion:.

A. Greek Sanctuaries and Cities.

153. Magnesia on-the-Maeander and Artemis Leukophryene– after 208/7.

154. Royal Letters to Magnesia on-the-Maeander–ca 205.

155. Epidamnos and Magnesia––after 208/7.

156. Letter of Kings Theodoros and Amynander to Teos––205–201.

157. Accounts and Inventories of the Temple of Apollo on Delos–179.

158. Establishment of a Royal Cult of Laodike–193.

159. Antiochus III Appoints a Chief-Priest at Daphne–189.

B. Cults in Ptolemaic Egypt.

160. Decree about the Dionysiac Artists–ca 215–205.

161. Returning Home for the Festival–230 (?).

162. The Synodos of Zeus Hypsistos–ca 69–58.

163. Release on the King's Birthday–254.

164. The Canopus Decree–238.

165. The Rosetta Stone–196.

166. Royal Letter Guaranteeing Temple Revenues–139.

167. Petition about Sacred Land–ca 62–50.

168. Burial Preparations for Sacred Cow–257.

169. Sale of Priestly Rights–106.

170. Grave Robbers–127/6.

171–173. Ptolemaios the Katochos of the Serapeum at Memphis.

171. Petition about Paternal House–160.

172. Petition on behalf of his Brother–158/7.

173. Letter from Wife to Husband–168.

174. Transport of a Body–first century.

175. Antisemites in Memphis–early first century.

Appendix: Ptolemaic Administration.

Tables and Charts.

I Ptolemaic Kings.

II Seleucid Kings to 96 BC.

III Antigonid Kings.

IV Attalid Rulers.

V Months.

VI Currency.

Glossary and Index of Greek Terms.

Concordance: Inscriptions.

Concordance: Papyri.

Index of Persons, Places and Subjects

"For any reader, this book will provide an illuminating, reliable and accessible resource. Its clarity of style, meticulous attention to detial, and sensitivity to current bibliography provide a model that should be emulated by other scholars contemplating the creation of their own is quite simply difficult to find fault with this book." Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This collection is a model of meticulous scholarship and excellent judgement. I read it with great pleasure and great respect." Dr John Ma, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford

  • Presents over 150 sources in translation.

  • Captures the political, social, economic and religious dynamism of the Hellenistic kingdoms and cities.

  • Covers the entire Hellenistic world, with extensive coverage of the Ptolemaic kingdom.