Pliny, Trajan, and the introduction of Iselasticum for Victorious Athletes

Begass, Christoph

Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2023
The title of a journal, publication series: The Classical Quarterly
Volume: 73
Issue number: 2
Page range: 837-844
Place of publication: Cambridge
Publishing house: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0009-8388 , 1471-6844
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Alte Geschichte (Juniorprofessur) (Begass 2017-)
Subject: 930 History of the ancient world to ca. 499, archaeology
Keywords (English): Pliny , Trajan , Bithynia , contests , athletes , rewards , prizes , iselasticum
Abstract: In two letters, Pliny and Trajan discuss a petition sent to the governor by the guild of athletes concerning their rewards after winning contests (Plin. Ep. 10.118–19). In his request, Pliny refers to a regulation by which Trajan had settled the rights of the victorious athletes in regard to their home cities. In his response, Trajan repeats the case with slight variations. The two letters pose both philological and historical difficulties, which this article aims to solve. The relevant passage in Trajan's letter is corrupt. As scholarship has misunderstood the historical background of the letters, no satisfying solution for the restoration of the text has been found to date. The argumentation of this article is twofold. First, it offers a new reading of the corrupt passage in the emperor's letter which respects both the textual transmission and the historical situation. Second, it is argued that the two letters refer to a Trajanic law which settled the regulations of iselastic contests for the first time, but left some details undecided. In sum, this article proposes a new reading of a damaged passage in Plin. Ep. 10.119 as well as offering a historical commentary on agonistic activities in imperial Asia Minor.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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