Cherefanes Corp.

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system1988
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Cherefanes Corp.

Post by system1988 »

If I am sending you this I do it because I have the strong impression that, as it belongs to epigraphs of technological context, it is not widely known. And frankly this is a shame because it is one of the first written testimonies known to man that acts as a contract between what we believe to be an ancient corporation and a city, for the purposes of the drying of a nearby large swamp. This is impressive to say the least and this has pointed out in many conferences.

In 1860 (rough estimate) the' epigraph of Cherefanes' was found in Eretria city of Eubia island. Just reminding you here that Eubia island and its cities are practically responsible for the greek-latin alphabet becoming the common written language between the peoples of Europe as they were the pioneers of colonising great parts of Europe.

The inscribed stele dates back to the late 4th BC when Eretria was under the rule of Alexander's heirs and there was a permanent Macedonian garisson stationed at all times on the city's acropolis.

I want to thank my son who translated this rather hard to master text from greek to english while studying for his post-graduate exams. He is a hero. (That last part he wrote himself)


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THE SWAMP DRYING CONTRACT BETWEEN CHEREFANES AND THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF ERETRIA

According to these things Cherefanes promises the Eretrians(to get the water out and dry the lake)
located at Pechtes region, by taking up the expenses for getting the water out himself (and he is
released from any responsibility to pay taxes when bringing in rocks) and wood, and all he may
require for the project (exactly how this should be………….. in public projects).
And when he dries the lake he will have the right to claim the fruit the dried lake produces after he
rents it in exchange for 30 talanta for ten years by paying each year……… the amount to the city…
he is to dry the lake in 4 years at most. (The current treaties start after the year of Ippodikos’ and
his fellow lords beginning) ………and
the span of time of these treaties to begin after this time --- of the 4 years---. (And Cherefanes is
not to pay any taxes when he sells the aforementioned fruit to Eretria and does not export it.) The
citizens of the city are to swear an oath and give assurances in the Daphnoforos Apollo’s sanctum
to Cherefanes that they will indeed let him have claim over the profits from the fruit the dried land
produces for ten years in exchange for 30 talanta after he dries the lake.
And they are to inscribe these agreements to a stone stele and they are to inscribe the assurances
and the oath as well and after all that they are to out the inscribed stele inside Daphnoforos Apollo’s
temple. And if the war prevents Cherefanes from drying the lake ……….. and he is to given the same
amount of time immediately, if it is possible, and peace is to reached (for the same amount of time
the war prevented him from completing the project. And if) war breaks out and it is not possible for
him to exploit the (land of the lake……..) he is to also be given the same amount of time as much as
the war prevented him from doing so.
Cherefanes is to be permitted to build water-traps for the underground sewer on private fields sewers
(but he is not to build them anywhere else but only on fields) for which he has already paid for.
And as far as the lake is concerned (if he needs to expropriate a field, he is to do so only after he
calculates the cost of the field – one drachma per foot of land- (he is to pay for it after he dries the
lake.
And if he takes the water of the lake out via canals) he is to take the water out (far away if possible)
from the fields that can be cultivated and instead make a route of canals that will go through the heath
ones. (……………… and he is to build a tank, not larger than two stadiums, in which all the water from
the canals will be poured into) (……………… and when Cherafanes) himself is to exploit the land he is to
repair the sewer (and take care of everything else) so that they will be in good condition for the time
to come.
And hedges (are to be built around the tank. And whenever) the water falls into the underground sewer
he is to build a door as well (…………….. so that) if, during the Spring, when it rains the farmers are
in need of a sum of water(……………….if possible) to them after they confine the underground sewer in
order to use the water (…………………… And if) something is to happen to Cherafanes before he dries the
lake, (the same agreements are to be in effect for all his associates with no exceptions as well as)
for his heirs (………………….. And if) someone considers these agreements to be invalid, be he a lord or
a commoner (or he suggests it inscribed or puts the matter on vote……..) and forces Cherefanes and his
associates to cancel (these agreements ….. under any guise or excuse), to forfeit his political rights
and his fortune to be dedicated (to Artemis and for whatever may happen to him or his kin) if so
happens he will not be protected by the law. And Cherefanes is to appoint (guarantors who they are to
promise that) when he dries the lake, it will indeed be dry (as he promises……… and that he will surely
pay the cost of thirty talanta from the exploitation of the lands. The provouloi (said: The assembly and
the Demos decided to) inscribe adding to Cherefanes’ past deals (these agreements as well……) for him
to have asylum when he works for the city and on land (and on the sea and during war and in peace)
and he and all his associates without exceptions at all times except if someone demands to exercise his
right of repossession against the city, he (…..) of Cherefanes before everything is settled with the city
(…………. Guarantors –names---) from As(?), Ieron Figois, Oreon, Amphiharis from Egal(?),
Timoxenos (……………….) crates from Afar(?)
The provouloi said: (the assembly and the Demos decided for the citizens to take an oath(?) ) everyone to
Cherefanes in the Apollo Daphnoforos’ sanctum and he who shall not (take the oath is to be stripped
from his political rights. They are to swear)
(…………) th provouloi and they are to have the people take an oath (according to what has been agreed
upon (?) they……. until the water is taken out of the lake and Cherefanes starts to exploit the land for
the designated years that were agreed upon together by all. They are to inscribe (and the vote and the
oath) (on a stone stele) and they are to put it inside Apollo Daphnoforos’ sanctum. (They are also to
inscribe on the stele the names of the ones who took the oath.) And they are to inscribe the teenagers’
names who also took the oath (on the stele…….) (.. and the oath) will also be the following: I swear on
Apollo and on Leto and (on Artemis that I will truly let Cherefanes exploit the land of the lake as the
city so decided. (And if someone breaks these agreements) (that have been contracted with Cherefanes)
I will not allow this to happen to the extent of my abilities as long as the mutual oath is in effect (and if
I am true to my oath, may the good be aplenty upon me) (but if I were to break my oath) may I be lost
along with my possessions. (They are to also swear to Cherefanes’ next of kin(?) ) (the same) for which
they have taken the oath toward Cherefanes and they are not to share with others the land of the lake …………)
(And ) if someone (in contrast with all this) says or proposes on paper ---inscribed--- or puts it into vote (………..)
(….. ten mnas) he shall pay.
And I swear on Apollo (and Leto and Artemis and) ( I wishes for, for anyone that if he is true to his oath)
may the good by aplenty upon him but if he were to break his oath (may he and his fortune be lost).
(and if someone proposes it on paper –inscribed—or put the oaths taken on vote (under the belief that
these agreements must be canceled he is to be stripped of his political rights) (and his fortune is to be
dedicated) to Artemis and Amarisia (and if anything happens to him he is to suffer for it without being
protected by the law) (and to him and his next of kin. And if) from the dancers of Pirrichios, if someone
breaks something from all this (something…………) (…………and these) oaths and the votes (………………………)
they are to inscribe. And copies of the treaties (……………) (…………… they are also to be sent to) Megara
and to Andros (……………………) (…………………………) (they are to be) the agreements (…………………….) they are
to keep the same ones (…………………) this vote (……………….)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few comments on the text

Cherafanes publicly announces his commitments to the city of Eretria and its citizens in order for him to reform a land near the city which was covered by the stagnant waters of a swap into land that could be cultivated. Cherafanes had cooperators who remain anonymous. They are described in the text as the co-participants (κοινωνοί) and cooperators (συνεργαζόμενοι) in Cherafenes' project.

P. Eustratiadis who first published the epigraph in 1869 noted, very ingeniously, that Cherafanes seems to be the leader of a company/ corporation. Just to modernize it a bit, Cherafanes had created a sort of anonymous corporation (corp. or inc.) that was constituted of an unknown nuber of associates in order for it to be able to sustain the economic weight of the construction of the needed works regarding the drying of the swamp.

The contract has 2 phases: If the one is not completed (swamp drying) the following is impossible to be completed on its own (the city receiving 30 talanta for lending the dried land to Cherefanes and his associates for cultivating). Whatever the city provides seems to be immaterial, 1) Lifting of taxes weight, 2) asylum from any law breaking, 3) guaranteed protection from intereference while the project is underway 4) as well as many promises and oaths regarding the keeping of these promises to Cherafanes from the city's part.

Cherafanes assumes the following responsibilities: 1) Paying 30 talanta to the city for the 10 years he will be exploiting the to-be dried land of Pteches. During these 10 years Cherafanes will be responsible for the conservation of the sewer of the waters and the rest of the works 2) Contruction of drying and watering works. 3) Testimonies that Cherafanes will bring people who will in turn guarantee that he will do as he promised and that he will absolutely pay the sum of 30 talanta to the city.

In verse no. 42 of the original text the oath that the Eretrian must take is being given as well as the 230 names of the rest of the citizens who will swear to Cherefanes inside the temple of Apollo the Laurelbearer.The teenagers are also to swear as well as the dancers of the dance of Pirihios (on that last one, due to the epigraph being partially destroyed we don't know if this category means actual dancers or to a title given to a different category of Eretrian citizens)

We hypothesize that Cherafanes was from Megara or Andros island as these two places are being mentioned in the inscription.

Bibliogprahy

"Εταιρεια μελέτης αρχαίας ελληνικής τεχνολογίας". The book being "Κατάλογος της Έκθεσης 'Αρχαίες ελληνικές επιγραφές τεχνολογικού περιεχομένου" 2008


Finally here is the link to all the photos of the stele and the original text. I am posting the best one here however

http://s1246.photobucket.com/user/IamSy ... t=3&page=1

As for the other photos in the link they include a photo of the temple of Apollo Laurelnearer, mosaic of Eretria nhouse 370 BC as well as a map of the supposed location of the swamp.


PS
Reading about the stele I found that the name of Aristotle's mother who lived in Chalkid was Ηφαιστιάς (Hephaestias)
There may be a few mistakes, i hope not very important, in the translation as it was a difficult proccess.


Pauline
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Xenophon
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by Xenophon »

Well done for drawing attention to this Pauline, and to your heroic son for his efforts ! :wink:

As Mr Spock might say : "Fascinating! "
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by hiphys »

This inscription is really interesting! Thank you, Pauline and thanks to your son too for his effort in translation! I didn't find any other quote of the inscription in spite of my investigation; I can't watch very well the link with the photos, because my PC points out a difficulty with something intruding each time I try. Therefore I saw the stone with the carved letters only superficially: it seems to me the letters aren't all written in the same age, but the older ones are perfectly 'stoichedon' and exactly geometric, the younger ones have a little bend in their straight lines. Generally the handbooks indicates that the 'stoichedon' way of writing ended in the Third century B.C. Perhaps one of the stone's faces was carved afterwards? Nevertheless the inscription is very beautifully written, and very interesting in its contents. I tried also to find the name of Aristotle's mother, but I cannot . The sources I have consulted call her "Phaestis", while "Hephaestia" is the name of a city in Lemnos, but I had no ancient sources to quote.
system1988
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by system1988 »

Xenophon wrote:Well done for drawing attention to this Pauline, and to your heroic son for his efforts ! :wink:

As Mr Spock might say : "Fascinating! "
Thank you Xenophon
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system1988
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by system1988 »

To hiphys: Thank you very much for your comment. What you saw on the photos was the transcription -schech of Eustratiadis of the stele in 1860 , not the real stele. According him the date is end of 4 century . When possible i will post some more information.
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agesilaos
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by agesilaos »

Excellent resource, as per usual just one question re translation, κοινωνοί and συνεργαζόμενοι, since this is a legal rather than literary document do you think it likely that these are two distinct groups? κοινωνοί could be Cheraphanes' fellow contractors ie bosses, probaby financial backers whereas συνεργαζόμενοι are his workers, koinon is a group associated by treaty ,or here, contract but ergon is 'work' this is just a hunch but are the conditions for each group different? That would clinch the matter.

The most interesting thing is the price of land that one can derive from the contract 'one drachma per foot of land', a square foot is obviously meant, and this allows an approximation of the value of land grants in the same era.
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by sean_m »

Thank you Pauline. I think that there is plenty of archaeological and epigraphic news from Greece to keep us busy while we wait for a scientific publication of other sites!
My blog (Warning: may contain up to 95% non-Alexandrian content, rated shamelessly philobarbarian by 1 out of 1 Plutarchs)
system1988
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by system1988 »

hiphys wrote:This inscription is really interesting! Thank you, Pauline and thanks to your son too for his effort in translation! I didn't find any other quote of the inscription in spite of my investigation; I can't watch very well the link with the photos, because my PC points out a difficulty with something intruding each time I try. Therefore I saw the stone with the carved letters only superficially: it seems to me the letters aren't all written in the same age, but the older ones are perfectly 'stoichedon' and exactly geometric, the younger ones have a little bend in their straight lines. Generally the handbooks indicates that the 'stoichedon' way of writing ended in the Third century B.C. Perhaps one of the stone's faces was carved afterwards? Nevertheless the inscription is very beautifully written, and very interesting in its contents. I tried also to find the name of Aristotle's mother, but I cannot . The sources I have consulted call her "Phaestis", while "Hephaestia" is the name of a city in Lemnos, but I had no ancient sources to quote.
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This is the real stele which( the photo) however misses its sides on which most of the names were inscribed. You are right as far as the lazy way the stele is inscribed-the last part (not στοιχηδόν). Its possible for the stele to have been inscribed in 2 phases researchers say. THis is because the lords would have waited for all the rest to be inscribed while checking for their credibility.
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system1988
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by system1988 »

agesilaos wrote:Excellent resource, as per usual just one question re translation, κοινωνοί and συνεργαζόμενοι, since this is a legal rather than literary document do you think it likely that these are two distinct groups? κοινωνοί could be Cheraphanes' fellow contractors ie bosses, probaby financial backers whereas συνεργαζόμενοι are his workers, koinon is a group associated by treaty ,or here, contract but ergon is 'work' this is just a hunch but are the conditions for each group different? That would clinch the matter.

The most interesting thing is the price of land that one can derive from the contract 'one drachma per foot of land', a square foot is obviously meant, and this allows an approximation of the value of land grants in the same era.

Thank you very much for your comment. The inscription is characterized as of technological context (secondary) due to the researchers who studied in depth the technical works that are being mentioned in the inscription. Firstly of course as you said this is a legal oriented document. As far as the two groups go the participants (κοινωνοί) are just like you said the ones with the funds as well as the workers(εργαζόμενοι) who are the technicians who may have come from all parts of Greece (mostly from the island of Andros) and are considered to be under asylum. I am also sending a summary of professor of architecture Tassios in English of his lecture on this exact stele.
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Re: Cherefanes Corp.

Post by system1988 »

sean_m wrote:Thank you Pauline. I think that there is plenty of archaeological and epigraphic news from Greece to keep us busy while we wait for a scientific publication of other sites!
Thank you for your comment. As far as the rest of the publications go, I think we are bound to wait for 2 years at least- the anthropological research however is not expected to take that much time.
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