“Non located” not “Lost” Inscriptions



Island of Anaphe. IG XII 3, 251.
Proxenoi list (4th c. B.C.) built into the ground
by the door of the (old) winepress of the Monastery.

In Δελτίον (Deltion) τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Ἐπιγραφικῆς Ἑταιρείας (see entries under February and July 2011) announcement is made of the location of a few inscriptions from Paros and Messenia that were previously thought to be lost. These inscriptions were originally seen in the 19th century -two of them during its early part-.

To these I would also include the Chian inscription which was transferred recently to the Archaeological Museum of Chios from a house in the village of Παρπαριά (Parparia); see Δελτίον (Deltion) under January 2011. This important Chian sacred law was not considered lost since scholarship knew that it was kept in a house at Παρπαριά; but it was last seen a little before 1985 (see F. Graf, Nordionische Kulte, Vevey 1985, 427, Taf. 1a).

The above mentioned inscriptions offer just an example demonstrating that in spite of the fact that many inscriptions seen and recorded in the work of the early European travelers and scholars of the second half of the 19th c. and the early 20th c. who were interested in Greek Epigraphy have been found, still there is a great number of inscribed stones mentioned in these works that have not been found yet so that in the field of Greek Epigraphy they are considered lost. It is true that the inscribed stones have had an adventurous history since the late antiquity. Some have been moved from their original position, others which were built into later constructions were covered with plaster and others were destroyed.

Island of Anaphe.
Close view of IG XII 3, 251.

Good examples demonstrating the adventurous history of the inscribed stones are the three inscriptions presented here. The first one is from the island of Anaphe. It is a fragmentary list of proxenoi of the 4th cent. B.C. It was first seen and copied by L. Ross, Abh. der Münch. Akad. II 2, 1838, 443 sqq. (= Archäologische Aufsätze II 525 sqq.), on the island of Anaphe; a little later by K. S. Pittakes, Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. 1840, 485 («εὑρέθη εἰς τὴν νῆσον Ἀνάφην πλησίον τοῦ ἐκεῖ μοναστηρίου τῆς Παναγίας Καλαμιότισσας»), and almost 60 years later (1895) by Hiller von Gaertringen who included it in IG XII 3, 251.

I first saw the inscription in 1990, and several times in later years (1996, 2005, 2007) I had the opportunity to study it. It is still in the same place where it was seen almost two centuries ago, i.e. built into the ground by the door of the (old) winepress of the Monastery near the south beach (“in cella torcularia inter coenobium Παναγίας Καλαμιωτίσσης et portum meridionalem sita;” Hiller).

Island of Chios. Fragmentary sacred law (4th c. B.C.) built into the front wall to the left of the door of the church of Ὑπαπαντή (Hypapante) in the town of Chios. See M. Studniczka AM 13 (1888) 165-165.

The second inscription is from the island of Chios. It is a fragmentary sacred law of the 4th cent. B.C. The first who saw and copied it was M. Krispis, Μουσεῖον καὶ Βιβλιοθήκη τῆς Εὐαγγελικῆς Σχολῆς, 1 (1875-6), 33, no. 138. A little later M. Studniczka copied and published it in Ath. Mitth. 13 (1888) 165-165.

It was built into the front wall to the left of the door of the church of Ὑπαπαντή (Hypapante) in Ἀτσικῆς (Atsike str.[now Tsoure]) in the town of Chios.

Island of Chios. Close view of the inscription built into the wall next to the door of Ὑπαπαντή

Since then the stone was invisible because the walls of the church were covered with plaster. In the nineteen sixties W.G. Forrest searched for it and remarked in his notebook: ‘frustra quaesivi’. In the late 90s G. E. Malouchou and the present author also looked for it in vain. Finally in 9.5.2006 Malouchou saw it, because the plaster had been removed from the outer walls of the church.

The third inscription is a particularly interesting example, since it was first seen and copied as early as the first half of the 18th century by Michel Fourmont [1690-1746]. It is a fragmentary Attic ephebic catalogue (IG II2 2211 fr. b). Fourmont saw it in Athens at Πλάκα (Placa) in the house of a certain ‘Kanthy’ (in ‘Athenis in aede Kanthy’, see CIG I 278). This is most probably the house of Ξάνθη (Xanthi) which was situated by the well-known οἰκία Γάσπαρη (Gaspari house) . Since then the stone was thought to be lost. It was re-found in the late 1980s in the house of Στρατῆς Στρατήγης (in the cross-section of Κυρρήστου καὶ Φλέσσα 4 str. [Kyrrestou and Phlessa], where the old Gaspari house stood) and was transferred to the storerooms of the 1st Ephorate of Antiquities located at the Library of Hadrian.

Athens. Fragmentary Attic ephebic catalogue (IG II2 2211 fr. b) first seen and copied by Michel Fourmont [1690-1746] in a house in the Plaka.

A great number of inscriptions that were seen and noted during the past centuries are considered lost in the field of Ancient Greek Epigraphy, however there has never been a systematic search for the location of inscriptions that were preserved up until the time of the Greek War of Independence and a few decades after it, when, with the creation of the new Greek State, the protection of Greek Antiquities became gradually a priority in the agenda of the government.

Thus it is more appropriate, as it has since long been suggested by the present author, to consider these inscriptions as “non located” as opposed to “lost”. The term λανθάνουσες ἐπιγραφές (“non located”) has already been adopted by several scholars in the field of Greek Epigraphy.

The relocation of “non located” inscriptions. The absence of any systematic search for the location of inscriptions which were seen and recoded by the European travelers and/or the scholars of Greek Epigraphy in the 19th and early 20th century leaves a very important gap in the study of Ancient Greek history, topography and archaeology. For the field of Greek Epigraphy such search is a desideratum of an urgent nature. The need to conduct a search for the location of inscriptions can be summarized in the following two points:

1. The moral obligation of the Greek state to preserve and protect the monuments of Greece’s past, monuments which constitute common European heritage.

2. The need of contemporary scholarship to restudy the already published inscriptions and among them the “non located” ones systematically and in the light of modern scholarly trends in the fields of Ancient Greek Epigraphy, History and Philology.


The above points explain why the present author has suggested and introduced as one of the main activities of the Greek Epigraphic Society the relocation of “non located” inscriptions. This task includes as a first and fundamental step the identification and recording in a systematic manner and on the basis of the autopsy of the monuments the inscriptions kept in the Museums, the museum storerooms and the archaeological sites of Greece; this constitutes another main project of the Society (see the Society’s website link: Cataloguing Greek inscriptions).*

* I would like to thank Dr G. E. Malouchou and Dr A. Makres for their comments and help with the preparation of this note.



1This was pointed out by G. E. Malouchou; see the joint article with E. Kapetanopoulos in ΗΟΡΟΣ 17-21 (2004-2009) 163-195, esp. 163 and 169 (from which I have heavily drawn). The inscription is republished under no. 2, pp. 169-170. Another fr. (b) of this inscription was seen and copied by Pouquevill ‘apud patruum D. Gaspari’ (CIG I 278), see op.cit., p. 169.