New Law from Chios


Click here to view it in Greek.

The discovery of the new Chian inscription presented here was made by the photographer Yannis Oikonomou who has shown in many ways his zeal for Chian antiquities.

In April 2010, Oikonomou found and photographed a fragmentary inscription in the village of Pyrgi on Chios island. The inscribed stone is built into a wall inside an old house belonging to Ἰ. Kαπετάνου on Ἐθνικῆς Ἀντιστάσεως street, in a part of the village called Kλεισσά. The house is refurbished and is operating as a hostel named «Mαστιχόσπιτο».

Following the communication between the archaeologist of the 20th Ephorate of Antiquities Ms Despoina Tsardaka and the proprietors of the house, it became possible for us to visit the inscription on August 21, 2010.

The part of the wall in which the inscription is built does not allow easy access to the stone for a close examination of the text and so the process of copying the text is very difficult. We would like to take this opportunity to thank D. Tsardaka for all her help.

The inscription is a fragment of a stele of local bluish stone, broken at the top, to the right and at the bottom. It preserves the original left side.
The study of the text showed that it is another copy of the Chian sacred law which forbade grazing in the groves, see F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées des cités grecques, Paris 1969, 116. The law is known since the 19th c. and is kept in the Archaeological Museum of Chios (ΜΧ 129, 574). The inscription was seen by Ἀ. Μ. Βλαστός in the location Nαγὸς in North Chios built into a water tank, who published a few lines only. The full text was copied by Γεώργιος Ζολώτας in 1887 and published a little later1. The new inscription confirms the rhetra of the law (lines. 20-21) stipulating that it should be erected in the groves. The present copy of the law, if it was not transferred from far away, would have been erected in one of the sacred groves in the area of the modern village of Pyrgi in southern Chios.
The inscription will be published soon.

G. E. Malouchou – A. P. Matthaiou

We would like to thank warmly Y. Oikonomou, photographer of the Ephorate of the Byzantine Antiquities of Chios for his promptness in sharing the information about the finding of the inscription.

1 See G. I. Zolotas, Χιακῶν καὶ Ἐρυθραϊκῶν ἐπιγραφῶν συναγωγή, Ἀθηνᾶ 20 (1908) 184-189. The publication provides information on the finding and copying of the stone.