Lines 11-13 of
the Laodice inscription (RC 18)
This is the
complete translation of a short French-language note published in the Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und
70, 1987, 171-172: 'Sur les lignes 11-13 de l'inscription de
Laodice'. It adduces a parallel for a
phrase from the so-called Laodice inscription: an epigraphic dossier concerning the sale, by the
king Antiochus II to his wife or former wife Laodice, of
the village of Pannucome. The sale
dated to the year 253 BC; Pannucome was situated in what is now
northwestern Turkey, near the modern city of Gönen. In the 1970's and 1980's
there was some
discussion about the question whether the peasants from the
village were included in the sale. I
(and still think) that they were, and that the parallel adduced in this
proves that this is the correct interpretation of the royal letter
that constitutes the central document of the dossier.
misunderstanding I tried to dispel in my 1987 contribution still crops up in
items of the standard bibliography on the position of native peasants
in Asia Minor.
That is why in 2012, after a quarter of a century, I returned to the subject: 'Pannucome revisited: lines 11-13 of the Laodice inscription again', ZPE 181, 2012, 79-87.
contribution to the Colloque 1971 sur
l'esclavage, Pierre Briant
has proposed an interpretation of the so-called Laodice inscription
strongly diverges from the usual understanding of this
Briant, the letter of Antiochus II does not refer to the sale to
king's ex-wife, of a village with land and λαοί, but to the sale of the
revenues of the land. Hitherto
this interpretation, which has far-reaching consequences for our
of the nature of landed property and the status of native peasants in
Hellenistic Asia Minor, has not met with much approval.
the problems Briant had to confront, were the lines 11-13 of the
under discussion: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ εἴ τινες ἐ[κ] τῆς
κώμης ταύτης ὄντες λαοὶ μετεληλύθασιν εἰς ἄλλους τόπους (...).
to Briant, this phrase did not imply that any run-away λαοί were
included in the sale, but that Laodice could expect a 'rente fixe',
"même si certains de ceux qui appartiennent au village se
sont installés d’autres topoi."
Kreissig has pointed out that this translation founders on the parallel
the lines 7-8 (καὶ εἴ τινες <ε>ἰς τὴν χώ[ρα]ν
ταύτην ἐμπ[ί]πτουσιν τόποι), and recently
Van der Spek, following a suggestion made by D.M. Schenkeveld, has
Briant's interpretation requires in Greek εἶ καὶ τινες.
To the best of
my knowledge, however, none of Briant's critics has so far adduced
a passage where ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ εἴ τινες indisputably has the
for their interpretation.
 Yet such a parallel passage can
be found, in a fictional πρόσταγμα by Ptolemaeus Philadelphus in the
so-called Letter of Aristeas.
The king orders
the release of the Jews enslaved during the campaign by Ptolemaeus
Syria and Phoenicia; he also orders the release of the Jews enslaved
According to the author, Philadelphus personally enlarged the group
profit from his order so as to include the Jews enslaved before and
Soter's campaign. He did so by adding a phrase to the draft submitted
by the chancellery: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ εἴ τινες προῆσαν ἢ καὶ μετὰ εἰσιν
It should be obvious that here we have ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ εἴ τινες in the
assumed by Briant's critics. Apparently we are dealing with a standard
for widening the scope of a legal transaction (sale in one case,
the other) so as to include categories not yet mentioned.
 P. Briant, 'Remarques sur "laoi" et
esclaves ruraux en Asie Mineure hellénistique', in Actes
du Colloque 1971 sur l'esclavage,
Paris 1972, 93-133; reprinted in: idem, Rois,
tributs et paysans, Paris 1982, 95-135. Cf. P. Briant,
rurales, forces productives et mode de production tributaire en Asie
Achéménide', Zamân 1980, 75-100
(reprinted in: Rois, tributs et paysans
405-430), esp. 83-84.
 C.B. Welles, Royal
Correspondence in the Hellenistic
Period. A Study in Greek epigraphy, New Haven 1934, no. 18.
 Briant, 'Remarques sur "laoi"',
 For criticism see, among others, D.
basilikè, stati sacerdotali, indigeni e poleis libere', in: A.
Lévêque, D. Musti, La società
ellenistica. Quadro politico, Milano 1977, 231-287, esp.
238-239; H. Kreissig,
Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft im
Seleukidenreich. Die Eigentums- und die Abhängigkeitsverhältnisse,
1978, 96; G.E.M. de Ste. Croix, The Class
Struggle in the Ancient Greek World from the Archaic Age to the Arab
London 1981, 152 and 566 n.26; R.J. van der Spek, Grondbezit
in het Seleucidische rijk, Amsterdam 1986, 157-159 and
166 n. 143.
 Briant, 'Remarques sur "laoi"', 106.
 Kreissig, Wirtschaft
und Gesellschaft, 96.
 Van der Spek, Grondbezit,
166 n. 143.
 My references are to the edition by
A. Pelletier, La Lettre d'Aristée à
critique et traduction, introduction, notes et index, Paris
Philadelphus' order can be found in the sections 22-25.
 22; 26. In 26 the author refers to
phrase as καὶ εἴ τινες προῆσαν ἢ καὶ μετὰ εἰσιν εἰσηγμένοι τῶν
τοιούτων. In my opinion, this does not detract from the
parallel between 22 and RC 18,
Rather, it underlines the parallel, pointed out by Kreissig, between
7-8 and 11-13 of the Laodice inscription.