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Le temps de Rhodes: Une chronologie des inscriptions de la cité fondée sur l’étude de ses institutions

April 2017 (121.2)

Book Review

Le temps de Rhodes: Une chronologie des inscriptions de la cité fondée sur l’étude de ses institutions

By Nathan Badoud (Vestigia 63). Pp. xvii + 542, figs. 148. C.H. Beck, Munich 2015. €108. ISBN 978-3-406-64035-3 (cloth).

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This weighty tome is a revised edition of Badoud’s doctoral thesis, submitted to the Uni­versities of Neuchâtel and Bordeaux III in 2007. It reassesses the chronology of the inscriptions of Rhodes and its Peraia after the synoikism of Ialysos, Kameiros, and Lindos, dated by the author to 408 B.C.E. Its aim is to throw new light on the history and institutions of the Rhodian state. In pursuit of this objective, Badoud has analyzed more than 5,000 inscriptions, building on the work done by several generations of epigraphers, enhan­ced by his own improved or new readings of them. Rho­dian amphora stamps naming the eponymous Halios priests make up another con­sti­tuent element of the publication. Their approximate chronology was established by Finkielsztejn (Chrono­logie détaillée et révisée des éponymes amphoriques rhodiens, de 270 à 108 av. J.-C. environ. Premier bilan [Oxford 2001]), whose dates are used throughout the volume. They should, though, be taken with a grain of salt, as acknowledged by Finkielsztejn himself (“Estab­lishing the Chronology of the Rhodian Amphora Stamps: The Next Steps,” in J. Eiring and J. Lund, eds., Transport Amphorae and Trade in the Eastern Mediterranean: Acts of the International Colloquium at the Danish Institute at Athens, September 26–29, 2002 [Aarhus 2004] 117–21). Badoud also demonstrates this in the present mono­graph (see be­low), which is in fact an important contribution to our knowledge of the chronology of these eponyms—a matter of crucial importance to our under­standing of the Rhodian trade patterns and the ancient economy at large (see T. Panagou, “Patterns of Amphora Stamp Distribution: Tracking Down Export Tendencies,” in E.M. Harris, D.M. Lewis, and M. Woolmer, eds., The Ancient Greek Economy: Markets, Households and City-States [New York 2016] 207–29).

In the introduction, Badoud defines the chronological and geographical framework of his study and sets forth the sources, historiography, and methodology on which it is based. Chapter 1 offers a careful recon­struction of the sequence of the 12 months of the Rhodian year, with due attention given to the intercalary month, panamos deuteros. The author argues that it succeeded the “regular” pana­mos, which marked the end of the eponym year; the civil year ended six months earlier. He thinks that the calendar remained unchanged until the third century C.E., contrary to the opinion of some earlier scholarship. Chapter 2 discusses the priests of Athana Lindia, with a particular focus on the inscription known as the List of Priests. Chapter 3 deals with two other inscriptions from Lindos, of which one lists 259 subscribers to a restoration of the embellish­ments and drinking vessels of Athana Lindia. Badoud sensibly dates this initiative subsequent to the lifting of the siege of Rhodes by Demetrios Poliorketes in 304 B.C.E. Chapter 4 is concerned with the list of Poseidon Hippios priests, recorded by the Swedish scholar Johan Hedenborg in 1840 but subsequently lost. In chapter 5, Badoud turns his attention to inscriptions from Kameiros, discussing in turn the catalogue of damiourgoi, the lists of priests of Athana Polias, those of Apollo, and the catalogue of the so-called archieristai. Chapter 6 analyzes the list of the priests of Apollo Erethimios and that of the so-called prophetes. Badoud argues that the function of the latter was to “speak for” the Halios priest and that they had nothing to do with Apollo, as claimed by previous scholars. Incidentally, one such inscription was found on the acropolis of the city of Rhodes, in the vicinity of the temple hitherto identified as that of Apollo. Vedder recently came up with the attractive idea that it may rather have been dedicated to Halios (“Das kolossale Weihgeschenk aus der Kriegsbeute und das Heiligtum des Helios in Rhodos,” in N. Kreuzer and B. Schweitzer, eds., Tekmeria: Archäolo­gische Zeugnisse in ihrer kulturhistorischen und politischen Dimension. Beiträge für Werner Gauer [Münster 2006] 361–70). Badoud does not believe this (114 n. 40), but his conclusion regarding the function of the prophetes nonetheless indirectly supports Vedder’s theory (see also Der Koloss von Rhodos: Archäologie, Herstellung und Rezeptionsgeschichte eines antiken Welt­wunders [Mainz 2015] 30–6). The chapter ends with a discussion of the list of the priests of Asklapios and the list of the so-called presbyteroi.

In chapter 7, Badoud returns to the intercalary cycle and notably its relevance for establishing the chronology of the eponyms named on the Rhodian amphora stamps. Other scholars have been aware of this, but he is the first to exploit its potential to the full, based on information culled from the inscriptions—in particular those referring to the Dipanamia festival that was celebrated in the intercalary months—and from a reference to a Rhodian oktaeteris, a cycle of eight years, by Geminus, a writer on astronomical and mathematical topics who may not be the most reliable of sources (A. Jones, “Calendrica I: New Callippic Dates,” ZPE 129 [2000] 152–54). Still, Badoud’s suggestion that each eight-year cycle com­prised three intercalary years (namely the first, fourth, and fifth) makes sense, as does his ingenious comparison of the reconstructed sequence of intercalary years with the 46 eponym priests (five more are uncertain), known from amphora stamps to have officiated in the month of Panamos Deuteros (figs. 61–4). He detects substantial disagreement between the two and con­cludes that the relative and absolute chronology of the priests as reconstructed by Finkielsztejn needs to be reexamined. This is indeed inescapable, provided that his reconstruction of the sequence of inter­cala­ry years is correct, as it may well be. The snag is that it presupposes that the Rhodian calendar remained fixed in this respect in the 250 years or so during which the Rhodian amphoras were stamped.

Chapter 8 is entirely devoted to the chronology of the priests of Halios. Badoud observes that the office was held by citizens of Ialysos, Kamiros, and Lindos in turn until the beginning of the Imperial period, noting that some of the Halios priests had previously served as priests of Athana Lindia or as damiourgoi (in one late instance as both), though the reverse was also true in a few cases. A fragmentarily pre­served stele found at the Iron Mosque in the city of Rhodes preserves the names of the earliest Halios priests, the office holders from 407 to 368 B.C.E. and (after a gap) from ca. 332 to 298 B.C.E. according to Badoud, who argues that the practice of stamping amphoras began at the turn of the fourth to third century B.C.E. (162). If he is right in attributing a fiscal function to the Rhodian amphora stamps (183), as I also believe, then it is tempting to suggest that it was introduced to raise revenue for the costs of rebuilding the parts of the city of Rhodes that were destroyed during the great siege (see A. Chaniotis, War in the Hellenistic World: A Social and Economic History. Ancient World at War [Malden, Mass. 2005] 119–21). Badoud next seeks to identify priests named on the stamps with individuals known from inscriptions or other historical sources. Such connections are obviously of immense potential chronological value, but they are, unfor­tunately, often abstruse. Take, for instance, the eponym Autokrates, referred to in a decree from Tenos honoring a physician. Badoud dates the inscription to ca. 170 B.C.E. based on the style of its lettering. He is reluctant therefore to identify this Autokrates with the similarly named eponym known from amphora stamps dated by Finkielsztejn to 146 B.C.E. To resolve the perceived contra­diction, Badoud suggests that the priest named on the inscription from Tenos held office in 166 B.C.E., explaining his nonappearance on the stamps by the hypothesis that the Romans suspended the stamping of Rhodian amphoras between 168 and 164 B.C.E. A simpler solution, in my view, would be to assign a slightly later date to the inscription and a slightly earlier date to the eponym of the amphora stamps, thereby eliminating the gap between them. In fact, Autokrates’ term of office was dated to 152/151 B.C.E. in my own reconstruction of the hypothetical dates of the Rhodian eponyms named on the stamps (J. Lund, “A New Sequence of the Eponyms Named on Rhodian Amphora Stamps in the First Half of the Second Century BC as Established Through Seriation,” ActaArch 82 [2011] 278, fig. 4). However, Badoud succeeds in matching 39 of the eponyms named on the stamps with individuals known from other ancient sources, thereby providing a corresponding number of more or less precise chronological fixed points (199–200). Yet, he also finds some contradictions between the two, which he puts down to “soit d’une erreur d’iden­tification de l’éponyme attesté dans la premiere série de documents [i.e., the inscriptions], soit d’une erreur dans la datation de la seconde [i.e., the stamps]” (199).

The eight chapters are followed by a succinct synthesis and a chronological survey of 1,067 closely datable inscriptions from Rhodes and its Peraia, followed by five appendices, of which the first names the earliest attestations of the practice of adoption, the second lists all documented eponym priests, and the third is a careful catalogue of all eponym priests associated with intercalary months on amphora stamps. The fourth enumerates the names of Rhodian sculptors, and the fifth comprises 14 stemmata. An annotated catalogue of the 72 pivotal inscriptions comes next, each documented by (among other things) a bibliography, a transcript (together with a translation in many cases), drawings, and photographs. The volume is rounded off by a bibliography, a concordance, copious indices, and photograph credits.

Because of the at times highly complex nature of its subject matter, the monograph is by no means an easy read. But those who follow its carefully crafted and logical argumentation will be rewarded by many original observations and suggestions. The illustrations accompanying the text are clear and useful, and typographical errors are few and insignificant. A brief review can scarcely do justice to the profound and devoted scholarship that the author has put into the book. Badoud’s singular strength is his expertise in several research fields (epigraphy, amphora stamps, archaeology, and others), which allows him to examine the issues involved from many angles. Le temps de Rhodes will undoubtedly become a cornerstone of future research in the archaeology and history of Rhodes from the late fifth century B.C.E. to the third century C.E.

John Lund
Collection of Classical and Near Eastern Antiquities
The National Museum of Denmark

Book Review of Le temps de Rhodes: Une chronologie des inscriptions de la cité fondée sur l’étude de ses institutions, by Nathan Badoud

Reviewed by John Lund

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 121, No. 2 (April 2017)

Published online at

DOI: 10.3764/ajaonline1212.Lund

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