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Title: Attic Building Accounts from Euthynae to Stelae
Authors: Epstein, Shimon
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Shimon Epstein, "Attic Building Accounts from Euthynae to Stelae", in: Michele Faraguna (edited by), "Archives and archival documents in ancient societies: Legal documents in ancient societies IV, Trieste 30 September - 1 October 2011", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2013, pp. 127-141.
In this chapter, I explore the relationship between the forms of Athenian building accounts as presented by relevant officials at their annual euthynae, as deposited in a state archive on perishable materials, and as carved on marble in public places. Various forms and probable purposes of inscribed building documents are discussed, with particular attention given to the factors behind preserving or omitting the names of workers.
As is well known, the Periclean inscriptions mention no builders' names and very few construction details. In contrast, minute recording of what was done and by whom is, on the face of it, a salient feature of the accounts of the Erechtheion, whereas the Eleusinian documents mention dozens of names, but selectively, as will be shown.
In my talk, I tried to establish the following arguments:
a) While the form of each building inscription may have correlated with the purpose of its erection, it depended heavily on sources available. Due to the euthynae, financial accounts were always there, whilst no other relevant document may have existed.
b) Accordingly, even if commemorating the builders' names may have been one of the reasons for engraving the accounts from the Erechtheion and Eleusis (as well as from Epidaurus and Delos), this aim has been only partially achieved, as I shall argue. I argue that the anonymous workmen at the Erechtheion and Eleusis were unnamed in the original documents, and perhaps it was true for earlier projects, too. The authorities did not go out of their way to find out information, absent from financial accounts, even where it could have been obtained relatively easily.
Finally, I discuss broader implications of these conclusions as to the role of archives and documents in classical Athens.
Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 978-88-8303-460-2
Appears in Collections:01. Archives and archival documents in ancient societies

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