A Few Notes on the Inscriptions of the Island of Sikinos

The small island of Sikinos is located to the East of Pholegandros, West of Ios and North West of Thera. (Phot. 1). Little information on Sikinos is available in the ancient literary sources. We learn from the Athenian Tribute Lists (ΙG Ι³ 259-290) that Sikinos was a member of the Fifth century Delian League having contributed to the treasury 500 drachmas (for the years 418-415). The island became also a member of the Second Athenian League established in 378/7 B.C. (ΙG ΙΙ² 43; Sikinos: Β.31).

Fig. 1. The islands of Pholegandros, Sikinos and Ios (IG XII 5, fasc. 2, p.xxii)
Fig. 2. L. Ross’ pamphlet; the cover
Fig. 3. L. Ross’ pamphlet; the inscriptions published in the pamphlet.
Fig. 4. Z. Gavalas’ book; the cover

The German archaeologist and first Professor of Archaeology at the University of Athens L. Ross (1806–1959) visited the island in 1835. He then published in 1837 a pamphlet1M used for his student class on the history of the island. (Phot. 2). In the pamphlet published five inscriptions. (Phot. 3). In 1903 Ηiller von Gaertringen included in fascicle V of volume XII of the IG series the known up to his time inscriptions of the island adding 6 new ones which he spotted when he visited the island. In 1931 Ζαφείριος Γαβαλᾶς (Z. Gavalas), who originated from the island published a small book on the history of his fatherland under the title: Ἡ νῆσος Σίκινος.2 (Phot. 4). In this edition he presented 15 previously unknown inscriptions. The German epigraphist Werner Ρeek (1904-1994) published in 1934 one more funerary inscription from Sikinos.3

Τhe inscriptions presented by Gavalas with the exception of one (no. 12) were included by Hiller von Gaertringen in the edition of the Supplementum to the IG vol. XII which apperared in 1938 (ΙG ΧΙΙ Supplementum, Βerlin 1938; tituli Sicinii: nos. 177-191).4 Since then two more inscriptions were found on the island.

As arleady noted, approximately 32 inscriptions from Sikinos are known. This number includes two decrees of the early Hellenistic Period,5 three dedications,6 and two honorary inscriptions, of which one is in honor of the emperor Antoninus (138-161 A.D.).7 As expected, the majority of inscriptions are funerary ones.

Fig. 5. The decree IG XII 5, 24 (Hiller’s edition)
Fig. 6. The back side of the 3rd cent. A.D. funerary building
Fig. 7. The front of the 3rd cent. A.D. funerary building

Among the inscriptions that Ross presented in his 1837 pamphlet is the decree of the deme of Sikinos in honor of the Parian Aeschylos Sosimachou (ΙG ΧΙΙ 5, 24: phot. 5).8 In the decree it is stipulated that the inscribed stele should be erected at the sanctuary of Apollo Pythios. Ross thought that the sanctuary was the ancient building of Ἐπισκοπή (Episkope: phot. 6, 7), because he found the decree nearby. Accordingly he presented the Episkope building as the sanctuary of Apollo in his pamflet.9 Later it was prooved that the Episkope building was not a temple, but a funerary monument of the 3rd cent. AD.10

I visited the island of Sikinos three times. First in 1985 and later, in 2010 two times. During my first visit, I saw the lower part of the decree (IG XII 5, 24) and I made a copy of it. –I made a better copy (ἀπόγραφον) in 2010–. As noted in the publication of Frantz, Τhompson and Τravlos, the three scholars visited Sikinos in 1966. At that time, (see p. 399), only the lower part of the decree was preserved in the school house of Sikinos, a photograph of which they published in pl. 98, fig. 4 of their article.

Fig. 8. The preserved lower part of the decree IG XII 5, 24

I too was not able to locate the upper part of the stone during my three visits, but I though it useful to publish here a photograph of the lower one (phot. 8) for the convenience of the scholars studying inscriptions.


1 Λ. Ρόσς, Ἀρχαιολογία τῆς νήσου Σικίνου, Ἀθήνησι 1837.

2 Ζ. Δ. Γαβαλᾶς, Ἡ νῆσος Σίκινος, ἐν Ἀθήναις 1931.

3 Βλ. W. Ρeek, Griechische Ιnschriften, ΑΜ 59 (1934) 59, no. 17 (= ΙG ΧΙΙ Suppl. 188).

4 Ὁ Ηiller published one more (ΙG ΧΙΙ Suppl. 179a), which was known to him from a copy by Peek.

5 ΙG ΧΙΙ 5, 24 and ΙG ΧΙΙ Suppl. 177.

6 ΙG ΧΙΙ 5, 26, 27 and 28.

7 ΙG ΧΙΙ 5, 29 and ΙG ΧΙΙ Suppl. 182.

8 Λ. Ρόσς, op. cit. (footnote 1), 10-12.

9 Λ. Ρόσς, op. cit. (footnote 1), 7-9.

10 See Α. Frantz, Η. Α. Τhompson, J. Τravlos, Τhe “Τemple of Αpollo Ρythios” on Sikinos, ΑJΑ 73 (1969) 397-422.