Journal | Axon
Journal issue | 1 | 2 | 2017
Research Article | Letter from Hieron II and Oath of the Syracusans

Letter from Hieron II and Oath of the Syracusans


In 1749 an inscribed stone slab was discovered in Acradina. The epigraphic document contains traces of at least two texts: we can recognize in the first column (A1-13) a letter of a basileus and in the second column (B6-11) an oath of the boule. Scholars generally suggest that this is a single document containing a letter with an oath attached; however, it is possible to suppose that the letter and the oath have been conceived as autonomous texts of a larger dossier referring to a single historical period. This inscription is very interesting firstly because mentions Hestia, whose civic worship in Syracuse would not otherwise be attested. It is possible that the goddess was worshipped in the prytaneon that Cicero mentions with the temple of Zeus Olympios (the second divinity in the Syracusan oath) in Acradina. The oath is signed by the boule, that is never mentioned in literary sources at the age of Agathokles and that was still autonomous during the reign of Hiero II. This chronology is also confirmed by palaeographic evidence. By the nature and size of this stone as well as its discovery in Acradina, it is possible to conclude that this inscribed slab was erected in the agora under the protection of Hestia and Zeus Olympios, at the same time guarantors and custodians of the horkion: in this way the stele was visible to all citizens to remember the oath they signed.

Open access | Peer reviewed

Submitted: March 5, 2017 | Accepted: Sept. 8, 2017 | Published Dec. 20, 2017 | Language: it

Keywords PoseidoneIerone IIAgoraPritaneoSiracusaSiracusaniIeronimoGiuramentoEstiaEpistolaZeus OlimpioHorkionDecretoBasileusAcradinaCiceroneBoule

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