In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviewed by:
  • Eleusis and Athens: Documents in Finance, Religion and Politics in the Fifth Century B.C
  • William C. West
Maureen B. Cavanaugh. Eleusis and Athens: Documents in Finance, Religion and Politics in the Fifth Century B.C. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996. xxiv 1 238 pp. 2 plates. 4 foldout texts. (American Classical Studies, 35)

Maureen Cavanaugh states (vii) that she aims “first, to present a new text with detailed commentary of two Eleusinian account inventories (IG I3 386– 87); and second, to offer a new date for the Eleusinian First-fruits decree (IG I3 78).” Having produced her text from examination of the stone in the Eleusis Museum at various times in 1978–80, she reviews the scholarship on the board of the Epistatai at Eleusis, from the creation of the board in 460 B.C. through the fourth century. The understanding of the working of this board of officials justifies her search, in part 1 of this book, for a date for the elusive First-fruits decree. She concludes that it was passed ca. 435 B.C.

In part 2 she presents a thorough study of the opisthographic inventories of the Epistatai of 408/7 and 407/6 B.C. (fourteen fragments reconstructed as a single stele). The texts of IG I3 386–87 are presented conveniently on four foldout pages at the end of the book, preceded by photographs. Though small in scale, the photographs are clear and help the reader to appreciate the layout of the texts of both inscriptions in three columns beneath a heading which runs over the entire width of space used. Her text improves that of IG I3 386–87 (published 1981) in several individual readings (letters read as certain, which are dotted by C.; letters read as certain by C. which had been restored by earlier editors), but the basic character of the text and layout is not changed. The most significant difference between Cavanaugh’s text and that of IG I3 is her restoration [End Page 637] of nineteen lines at the end of the last column of no. 387, based on the appearance of these items in no. 386.

A conclusion summarizes the activities of the overseers of the sanctuary in this year, near the end of the Peloponnesian War. Students of Athenian history will now use Cavanaugh’s text as the definitive document and will need to consider the implications of her proposed dating of the first-fruits decree. Set in the years leading up to the Peloponnesian War, it may be seen as a text of the period of Pericles’ leadership, seeking to bring honor to an Athenian sanctuary, rather than as a document of the late 420s, as, e.g., in Meiggs-Lewis no. 73. Cavanaugh’s date is fully supported by thoroughgoing discussion of all fifth century texts relating to this board.

William C. West
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 637-638
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.