The inscription commemorating a donation by Polycharmos of Stobi has been known for seventy years. In spite of its palaeographic characteristics, which strongly suggest a 2nd-century CE dating, it is commonly dated to 279/280 CE, following M. Hengel's influential 1966 analysis. Hengel admitted that the inscription displayed some early characteristics but nevertheless argued for this late date on historical grounds. Historical context left no room, in Hengel's opinion, for a dating earlier than the late 3rd-century CE. I suggest that a different interpretation of the issues addressed by Hengel is possible. Moreover, extensive excavations in Stobi (including the site of the Polycharmos inscription) in the 1970s and early 1980s, and archaeological and epigraphical work in Roman Macedonia in general, have brought to light substantial evidence which points to a 2nd-century dating for the Polycharmos inscription. In this reconsideration of the inscription's date, I survey the main palaeographic and archaeological data and argue for the dating originally supported by the first publisher, 163/4 CE. Some aspects of the form and content of the inscription are then discussed, and it is argued that they do not necessarily imply a late 3rd-century dating.


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pp. 41-78
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