Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Plintheia

The aforementioned stelae relating to the levies for the Fuller's Canal contain some very interesting and intriguing information. Feissel discusses this in some length in his 1985 article. The levies were commemorated for their contribution on the two surviving stelae. While the initial text is common to both, the list of contributors to the work and the extent of their digging is different for each. The levies were arranged by plintheia, which Feissel links to the blocks of the Hippodamian city plan. He then goes on to calculate that only around 200 of the plintheia can have been involved in the undertaking. By inference that each block was 0.7 of a hectare and that there was maybe 1,000 occupied hectares within the walls, that only 200 out of around 1,400 blocks were involved. We will not pass judgement on this assumption.

However, it is interesting to look at the names of the plintheia. Most appear to be denominated by a name of a prominent figure. Feissel muses that this may be an ancient nomenclature, though it also could be a prominent landlord or official. A few "blocks" are named after temples or associations or other landmarks. This might suggest that the building or association in question was located on that "block".

Here is the list of the plintheia:

Stele A

The High Priest Damas
Pharnakes, the former gymnasiarch
Artas, son of Thrasydemos
Apollas, son of Seleukos
Aristokonos, son of Herophilos
The Stephanites (an association of athletes and musicians honoured at games)
The Ennomionai (the tax collectors/farmers)
The Building of Er (...)
Athenaios, son of Bithys
The Evergesiastes

Stele B

Apollas, son of Keraias
The Kerauniastes
Zeus Soter
Damis, son of Kydnos
Isas, son of Seleukos
Of the Horoskopion
Kassas, son of Polymelitos

The most interesting thing here for us is the mention of the Horoskopion, which Feissel equates with the Horologion mentioned by Malalas, which we have discussed elsewhere. Feissel claims that Horoskopion and Horologion are interchangeable. He then links it to the clepsydra, which we also discussed. This is valid, but we wonder whether the Horoskopion might instead be somehow linked to the building that is sometimes mentioned as having a dome and signs of the zodiac painted inside. We have mused elsewhere that this might be linked to the structure called the Athla.

Also interesting in the plintheia lists is the mention of the Keraunistes (i.e. followers of Zeus Keraunios) and thus maybe the neighbourhood of the temple thereof (which supposedly was high on the slopes of Mount Silpios) and also the Zeus Soter mention. This might also relate to the temple of that name.

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