Public Records and Archives in Classical Athens

By James P. Sickinger | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

This study has focused largely on Athenian record keeping during the classical period, but the history of the Metroon and its archives did not end in the fourth century. The Athenians experienced several constitutional upheavals in the late fourth century, but we do not know if or how these affected the administration of their archives. References to the Metroon are sparse in sources of the last quarter of the fourth century, but there seems little reason to believe that its archives were destroyed or that the deposition of documents ceased. A decree enacted upon the restoration of the democracy in 307/6 calls for the deposition of some type of document, perhaps a state contract for rebuilding the city walls, in the Metroon, and around the same time, another decree awarded Athenian citizenship to a man from Troizen. It too was kept in the Metroon, as we learn from its retrieval a century and a half later. 1 In the early third century, a dogma and letter of the Delphic Amphictyony concerning the rights of the technitai of Dionysos were deposited in the Metroon, judging from their later retrieval and inscription in the second century. 2 Throughout the third and second centuries, scattered references attest to the submission of accounts and other documents to the Metroon by individual magistrates and special commissions, a practice, however, that almost certainly dates back to the fourth century. 3 The philosopher Epikouros also deposited a special bequest in the Metroon before his death in 270, which may indicate that the Metroon's archives were expanding to include copies of documents of a more private nature. That practice is fairly well attested in other Greek cities during the Hellenistic period, but the unique character of the testimony makes it difficult to assess how frequently the Metroon received other documents similar in nature. 4

Around the middle of the second century, the building identified as the Metroon, which had originally served as the Athenian council house in the fifth century, was torn down to make way for a larger and more elaborate shrine to the Mother of the Gods; this identification is assured by Pausanias. The new building had four adjacent rooms fronted on the

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Public Records and Archives in Classical Athens
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Studies in the History of Greece and Rome *
  • Public Records and Archives in Classical Athens *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Introduction *
  • Chapter One - Thesmothetai, Drakon, and Solon *
  • Chapter Two - Documents and Records in the Sixth Century *
  • Chapter Three - Records and Archives in the Fifth Century *
  • Chapter Four - The Athenian Law Code and the Foundation of the Metroon *
  • Chapter Five - The Archives in the Metroon *
  • Chapter Six - Personnel and Organization *
  • Chapter Seven - Consultation *
  • Conclusion *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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