ICret XXIV 1

Menekles from Teos, the son of Dionysios: ambassador, κιθαρῳδός, interpreter

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170-140 BC


ἔδοξε Πριανσίων τοῖς κόσμοις καὶ τᾶι πόλει.
ἐπειδὴ Ἡρόδοτος Μ<η>νοδότου καὶ Μενεκλῆς Διονυ-
σίω ἐξαποσταλέντες πρεγγευταὶ πορτὶ ἁμὲ πα-
5 ρὰ Τηίων οὐ μόνον ἀνεστρά[φεν]< πρ>επ<ό>ντω<ς> ἐν τᾶι
πόλει καὶ [διελέγ]εν περὶ τᾶ[ς ἁμῶν ἱσ]το[ρί]ας?, ἀλλὰ
καὶ ἐπεδείξατο Μενεκλῆς μετὰ κιθάρας τά τε Τι-
μοθέου καὶ Πολυίδου καὶ τῶν ἁμῶν παλαιῶν ποιη-
τᾶν καλῶς καὶ πρεπόντως, εἰς<ή>νεγκε δὲ κύκλον
10 ἱστορημέναν ὑπὲρ Κρήτας κα[ὶ τ]ῶν ἐν [Κρή]ται γε-
γονότων θεῶν τε καὶ ἡρώων, [ποι]ησάμενο[ς τ]ὰν
συναγωγὰν ἐκ πολλῶν ποιητᾶ[ν] καὶ ἱστοριαγρά-
φων· διὸ δεδόχθαι τᾶι πόλει ἐπαινέσαι Τηίος(!) ὅτι
πλεῖστον λόγον ποιῶνται περὶ παιδείας, ἐπαι-
15 νέσαι δὲ καὶ Ἡρόδοτον καὶ Μενεκλῆν ὅτι καλὰν
καὶ πρέπονσαν πεποίηνται τὰν παρεπιδημίαν
ἐν τᾶι πόλει ἁμῶν· διασαφῆσαί τε ταῦτα καὶ Τηί-
οις ὅ<π>ως ἐπιγινώσκωντι.

Translations (en):

Decree of the Priansians. It was resolved by the kosmoi and the city of Priansos. Since Herodotos, the son of Menodoros, and Menekles, the son of Dionysios, who were sent to us as envoys by the Teians, not only dwelt in our city appropriately and held conversations pertaining to our culture(?), but Menekles also held demonstrations with the kithara of the compositions of Timotheos and Polyidos and our ancient poets finely and fittingly, and he presented a story-cycle about Crete and the gods and the heroes who were born in Crete, creating a collection of many poets and historiographers; therefore it is resolved by the city to praise the Teians because they bestow great importance on culture, and to praise both Herodotos and Menekles because they conducted themselves during their residence in our city in a fine and fitting manner; and this shall be reported to the Teians so that they may be aware of it. Farewell.

Translations (it):

Decreto dei cittadini di Priansos. Sembrò bene ai magistrati e alla città di Priansos: poiché Herodotos figlio di Menodotos e Menekles figlio di Dionysios, inviati come ambasciatori presso di noi da parte della città di Teo, non solo soggiornarono decorosamente in città e si intrattennero in discorsi intorno alla nostra cultura (?), ma Menekles si produsse anche con la cetra sulle composizioni di Timotheos, Polyidos e dei nostri antichi poeti con successo e come si conviene, e inoltre condusse un ciclo narrativo su Creta e sugli dei e gli eroi di Creta, componendone una raccolta da numerosi poeti e storiografi; per questo la città ha stabilito di rendere lode ai cittadini di Teo, che attribuiscono somma importanza alla cultura, di lodare anche Herodotos e Menekles, poiché condussero il loro soggiorno nella nostra città in modo dignitoso e appropriato e di riportare queste notizie ai cittadini di Teo, affinché ne siano messi al corrente. Riguardi.

Commentary (en):

Two very representative decrees from Crete attest to the activity of the κιθαρῳδός Menekles, come from Teos, together with Herodotus, as ambassador with the assignment of reaffirming the good relationships between Teos and the cities of Crete. Actually eight decrees document the diplomatic and artistic activity of this delegation but, while the texts of the cities of Aptera, Arkades, Biannos, Palla (Malla?), Hytarkina, and Erannos (I.Cret.: II iii, 2*; I v, 53*; I vi, 2*; I xix, 2*; II xv, 2*; SGDI 5182) focus uniquely on the status of the political relations (mostly confirming friendship and sacredness of Teos and granting the isopoliteia), the inscriptions from Knosos and Priansos focus on both the ambassadors and thoroughly narrate the artistic endeavours of Menekles. The texts are quite specular, nonetheless the one from Priansos seems more meticulous. This inscription informs us about the artistic activity of Menekles: he delivered ἐπιδείξεις on the kithara with traditional pieces of the kitharodic repertoire, from Timotheos, Polyidos, and other ancient poets of Crete; he also collected, from the ancient literature, a κύκλος ἱστορημένηνος on gods and heroes of the island. As local culture was the focus of the narrative collection of Cretan stories, so it was for the demonstrations on the kithara, conducted in a fine and fitting manner, as it is proper of a man of culture. The content of the kitharodic reperformances delivered by this Teian ambassador paves the way towards two thematic cornerstones: the cultural education carried out by the Cretans (Timotheos and Polyidos) and the cultural heritage defined by a very local authorship (ancient Cretan poets).


For a commentary and bibliography on this inscription and the artistic skills of the Teian ambassador Menekles, see Cinalli 2020.