Posted by: aediculaantinoi | November 14, 2013

An Inscription from Herodes Attikos

The following inscription, from the Pagus Triopius or Triopium (on the Appian Way about four miles from Rome), which Appia Annia Regilla’s family owned, was made by Herodes Attikos. While I have known about, and posted, inscriptions on Regilla’s cenotaph from that site by Marcellus Sidetes, I did not know about this one; so, I thank Sannion very much for alerting me to it and obtaining this text for me.


O guardian of the Athenians, worthy of honor, Trito-born [Athena],
And you who watch over the works of men, Rhamnusian Plenty [Ops/Nemesis],
Come here, both of you, that you may honor this rich place
In the neighboring suburbs of hundred-gated Rome,
Pagus, host to Triopa of the Grain [Demeter],
So that you may call it Triopea’s among the immortal gods.
However that may be, when you have come to both Rhamnous and broad Athens,
Having left the sonorous halls of Father Zeus,
Thus you hasten to the vine abundant in grapes,
And the fields of standing corn, and the trees laden with fruit,
Consecrating the tender grasses, the herbage of the nourishing meadows.
For Herodes names this land sacred to you both.
As much as is enclosed with a wall running ’round it,
Not to be altered by future man, and also to remain inviolate
Since truly Athena has nodded the terrifying helmet-crest
With her own immortal head lest anyone be permitted
To move a single clod or even a stone,
For indeed those exigencies are not at all to be overlooked by the Fates,
If anyone give injury to the sanctuaries of the gods.
Hear then, local dwellers, and neighboring farmers,
This place is sacred, for the goddesses are unchanging,
And are greatly honorable, and prepared to lend an ear.
Nor indeed should anyone ruin the rows of vines, or the groves of trees,
Or the herbage greening and growing with the much-nourishing moisture,
With an axe, which is handmaiden to black Hell,
Building a new tomb, or disturbing an old one:
It is not right [themis/fas] for the dead to lie in land sacred to the gods,
Save for that one who may be related by blood and from the posterity of him who has declared it:
For truly that is hardly improper, as the avenging god is well aware.
For indeed Athena lay King Erichthonios in a temple,
So that he might cohabit with the sacred things.
If these rules not be heeded by someone, if he does not obey them,
But despises them, this act will not turn back upon him without punishment,
But unlooked-for Nemesis, and the avenging demon who prowls about,
Will punish that fellow; truly he will always bring down perilous misfortune.
Nor indeed should he slight the great power of Aeolidan Triopa [Demeter]
By destroying the fallow lands of Demeter.
For you should all sufficiently fear punishment, and the notice here,
Lest the Triopan Fury follow.

Now there’s someone who took the gods and their holy sanctuaries seriously! (Herodes Attikos did leave curse inscriptions next to many of his monuments for his family and for the Trophimoi in case anyone got ideas about defacing them or the lands around them.)

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