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La loi gymnasiarchique de Beroia.

Gauthier and Hatzopoulos present the first fully authoritative text Of this important inscription, whose publication history they call "etonnante." Discovered by the Macedonian ephors B. Kallipolitis and Ch. Makaronas in 1948 in Beroia, where it had been used as the cover slab for an early Christian tomb, it was not published until 1966 (J. M. R. Cormack, Ancient Macedonia II [1966] 139-49). The stele is opisthographic. Side A is readable to about line 42, but letters continue sporadically for another twenty lines. Thereafter the stone is so eroded as to be virtually unreadable, although it must have originally contained a little more than one hundred lines. Side B, save for occasional letters (which can be restored), is complete, containing 110 lines. Louis Robert acquired a copy made by Makaronas (to line 51) and was able to improve on the Cormack text with new readings and restorations. Robert's text was published in SEG 27 (1977) no. 261.

Gauthier and Hatzopoulos have made a thorough study of the stone in the Archaeological Museum of Verria (inv. no. [Lambda] 488) and are able to rescue through reading and judicious restoration another dozen lines after line 51 on Side A. One significant result of their labor is the recovery in line 55 of part of the formula of the oath taken by assistants of the gymnasiarch. Lines 55-62 can then be restored with some confidence from the gymnasiarch's oath in 24-34. Side A is shown to have the following subjects: heading (1-22); designation of the subsequent text as the gymnasiarchal law (22); election of the gymnasiarch and assistants (22-24); oath of the gymnasiarch (24-34); assumption of office by the gymnasiarch (34-40) ... oath of the assistants (55-62) ... gap of about forty lines.

The editors present text, translation, and commentary, followed by chapters on the gymnasium in Beroia and the spread of the gymnasium in Macedonia. Existence of other gymnasiarchal laws in Hellenistic cities is known from references in a regulation of Amorgos (IG XII 7.515) and an inscription of Amphipolis (unpublished), but only the Beroia text, dated somewhere between 175 and 125 B.C., is reasonably complete. Gauthier and Hatzopoulos call attention to other related inscriptions from Macedonia which have been announced in Ergon 23 and 24 (1984) but have not yet been fully published: a directive (diagramma) of Philip V of 183 ordering the insertion in the gymnasiarchal law of provisions for athletes of other cities participating in local festivals and the stephanitic games; and a law on the ephebarchy, dated 24/3 B.C., which seems to be the codification of an earlier law. Thus the editors discuss extensively the context in which the Hellenistic gymnasium in Macedonia can be understood.

The gymnasiarchal laws which are referenced for Amorgos and Amphipolis are not sufficiently complete to permit comparison with the Beroia text. Nevertheless, Gauthier and Hatzopoulos can draw upon numerous inscriptions of Hellenistic and Roman times (honorary decrees, dedications, epigrams, and inventories) to explain and clarify the obscurities of the Beroia law. The result is a demonstration of the working of a gymnasium in the life of a Hellenistic city, shown to be representative of its type. It emerges that the gymnasium of Beroia was devoted solely to athletic and military exercises and not also to cultural activities, as was the case with the contemporary phase of the Athenian ephebeia. Since this is also true of other gymnasia of the Greek world, it is proper to use these inscriptions for commentary on the Beroia law.

The gymnasiarch is shown to have been actively involved in the day-to-day running of the gymnasium. Together with his assistants, each day he was to arrange for exercises for two groups: boys (under 18) and youths (under 30), the two groups to be kept separate. Special training in javelin and bow was prescribed for the ephebes and young men under 22. At the end of the year he was to hold the Hermaia, a festival consisting of a long race, a torch race, and contests in physical fitness. As agonothete for that festival he appointed lampadarchs and judges and provided prizes for each contest. The gymnasiarch was authorized to administer punishment to those who broke the rules of the gymnasium, and his judgment could be appealed to a court. He was charged with presiding over proper use of revenues and was subject to regular audit.

Perhaps comment is in order, however, on the use of the intentional blank space (vacat) in the layout of the text on the stone. The engraver of the text used the intentional blank space in two ways: indication of subject and syllabic division, though not consistently in either case. The ends of lines, where words do not themselves end, are broken between syllables, sometimes by the vacat and sometimes not. Chapter headings (nomos gymnasiarchikos, peri paidon, peri ton Hermaion, etc.) are set off by blanks and, again sometimes, change of subject within a chapter (e.g., lines 10, 67). This means of articulating the elements of the text contributes to its attractive appearance and makes it easier to read and, consequently, to understand. Furthermore, within the lacuna of forty-plus lines at the end of face A the reconstruction of the arrangement of subjects advanced above suggests that the oath of the assistants may have been followed by their duties and then regulations for the neoi. Indeed, as line 1 of face B specifies (abruptly) a prohibition relating to the exercises of the young men, it is likely that this side of the stone begins by continuing discussion of a chapter ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) announced on face A. Subsequently at line B13 a new chapter begins with [GREEK TEXT OMITTED].

I had not meant to end on a note of minor criticism. The edition of the text, the commentary, and the essays are thorough, and the editors have performed an exemplary service in their presentation of this inscription.

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Author:West, William C.
Publication:American Journal of Philology
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1995
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