An ephebic list dating to the 1st century AD emerges from a Scottish archaeological collection.

An ephebic list dating to the 1st century AD emerges from a Scottish archaeological collection.

An interesting and sensational discovery was recently announced by the National Museum of Scotland: the team of Attic inscriptions at the UK Collections project, led by curators Margaret Maitland and Peter Liddell, found a marble tablet with an ancient Greek inscription, in which A list from the 1st century was shown. e. – always kept in the collections of museums, but until now never seen and studied!

The inscription provides new information on Athenian society in the middle of the first century AD, a very delicate period for Athens, as it had to adapt to Rome after its definitive conquest of the Greek peninsula in 146 BC. In addition, inscriptions from this period are quite rare. , in fact, a total of about twenty aphabic lists have been preserved.

But what are ephemeral lists? These are inscriptions bearing the names of young Iphebians, that is, young people who were part of the Ifebeto, a year-long educational institution aimed at preparing young citizens for the political life of their city, so as to become active members in the community. . This is a very ancient practice, which dates back to the 4th century BC.

However, the discovery of the inscription is unreliable: Peter Liddell, a scholar of Attic inscriptions in the UK collection, asked to be able to see an artifact from the collection of the National Museums of Scotland, convinced that it was an artifact from Oxford. It was kept in the Ashmolean Museum in 1830, but when they found the catalog they found it to be an original. Both inscriptions date to the period of Emperor Claudius (41–54 AD), and suggest that the list is only a small subset of the Iphabic group, which instead had about 100/200 members.

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The inscription in question shows the name of the Ephebos and the wish that their friendship would last for eternity. a certain atticoso son of philippos He presents himself as the central figure of his privileged social circle, which determines who will become his “ephemeral companion and friend”. Atikos, in fact, his name was engraved in the preface of the inscription, next to the archon and superintendent of Athens (cosmetes) of the liver.

It can be said with certainty that the young Ifeb belonged to the upper-class aristocratic social classes, as the names of the family members are often indicated by the names of the boys as well. But a clarification must be made: the artifact offers the first evidence of the inclusion of non-citizens and non-elite youth within the eponymous. At the bottom of the inscription, along with a detachment from the part in which all the young aristocrats are listed, the names of foreign residents and former freed slaves are visible. This is not new, as there are other registrations – years before and after the list in question – for non-citizens’ access to junk, but this is not the first time they have been labeled as “foreigners” or “secondary recruits.” , “. The difference in social status is visible only in the distance of their names from the elite, suggesting a certain inclusion and equality within the organisation.

The inscription therefore provides an important cross-section of society: despite Roman supremacy and the forced worship of the Roman emperor – as evidenced by the engraving “Caesar” at the end of the text, written in a large font – some traits of the Greek Iphebato. maintained as such.


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