Chapter 3. The Genre of the Parian Marble

1. The Chronicle as a Literary Genre

Features such as the catalogue–like format, the absence of authorial voice, the omission of controversies about facts or sources, are not exclusive to the Parian Marble. They characterize many other texts from ancient Greece and beyond. Most particularly, content and structure link the Parian Marble to the family of “chronography,” one of the main types of ancient Greek historiographical writing. [1]
Chronography provided a framework for writing about the past when no absolute system for time reckoning existed. From the fifth century BCE on, chronological lists began to be written and were sometimes displayed on stone: lists of kings (such as the Spartan and the Athenian ones), of magistrates (Athenian archons, Spartan ephors), of priests (the list of priestesses of Hera in Argos, compiled by Hellanicus, and the stephanophoroi at Miletus), and of victors (at the Carnean festival in Sparta, compiled by Hellanicus; at the Pythian festival, compiled by Aristotle and Callisthenes, and at Olympia, by Hippias of Elis). Such lists went back in time, building on orally transmitted information and written records, and were occasionally supplemented by imagination. Although they had primarily administrative purposes, they often served as means of legitimation. [2] The setting of names in fixed chronological sequences made those lists particularly useful for time reckoning, as years could be identified by the corresponding eponym. With no fixed point of reference “each event had to be located in time in relation to other events, a relation expressed by intervals in years or generations.” [3] When lists included names of people or events mentioned in other lists, correlations could be established. [4] Such synchronisms allowed linking between different systems, which in turn generated new information. Thus, intervals and synchronies were the essential tools of classical chronography. With them, as Astrid Möller puts it, “Ancient Greek scholars created a network of dates by drawing diachronic and synchronic lines, composing a temporal co–ordinate system similar to the spatial one used for geographical maps.” [5]
The Parian Marble shares the basic mechanics of ancient Greek chronography. Indeed, it uses an eponymous list, namely the Athenian kings and archon list, which went far enough back in time and which must have been used by some of its sources too (e.g. by the Atthidographers, writers of Athenian local history). Furthermore, the author also chose to start counting years as intervals from a date close to or concomitant with the time of writing (I shall return to this point below). Finally, for most years noted—and not all years were—more than a single event was mentioned. Events often carried chronological value: they were not only dated, but could in themselves serve as a means of dating.
Unfortunately the extant text of the Parian Marble contains no self–referential term that could disclose how the author conceived of his work. [6] The traditional scholarly designation “Marmor Parium,” i.e. Parian Marble, describes at the same time the place where it was set, the island of Paros (as the finding of section B made clear), as well as the material—marble from Paros—on which it was written. [7] The enduring use of these terms is indicative of the special status of this particular piece of Parian marble as historical document. The inscription has often been referred to as “Chronicon Parium,” i.e. Parian Chronicle. [8] Rather than alluding to medium or origins, the term “chronicle” refers to a literary genre. However, in common use the referents of the term “chronicle” range from tabular registers of events to discursive narratives, as long as they are set in chronological order. [9] Since our inscription is a list, the technical term “annal” may be appropriate. [10] However, annals are expected to advance year by year, whereas the Parian Marble is selective regarding the years worthy of record. [11] A clarification of terms is thus necessary.
Burgess and Kulikowski made a most significant contribution to our understanding of the chronicle as genre. Dealing with Near Eastern, ancient Greek, Roman, late antique, and medieval materials, their study provides a common nomenclature independent of the specific field of study. [12] Burgess and Kulikowski note a number of salient features shared by most chronicles. [13] They are written in third-person prose and deal with large passages of time. Their format is annalistic, that is to say, the structure is given by the continuous counting of years. Chronicles lack fixed endings and were often conceived as collaborative efforts. Style is paratactic, events are not interconnected and there is no sense of progression or causality. Brevity is key to the genre, for it allows grasping long stretches of history at a single glance. [14]
These are salient features. Texts need not display all of them to be considered chronicles (e.g. the second-century BCE Apollodorus of Athens wrote his Chronicle in iambic trimeters). [15] In two respects the Parian Marble diverges from the notional chronicle described above. First of all, it has a fixed ending that probably marks a specific event, rather than simply reaching the ephemeral present of composition (see chap. 1, sec. 4). That ending not only makes the Parian Marble a complete work, but also affects the very method by which time is reckoned. Second, the Parian Marble lacks the year-by-year framework when dealing with the distant past, although it is very close to giving an annual account in section B. [16]
For generic classification titles are crucial. They have a strong impact on the taxonomy of texts, as well as on the shaping of audience’s expectations. Jacoby included the Parian Marble in a section of the FGrH entitled “Zeittafeln,” i.e. timetables, rendering the Greek χρονικά and thus focusing on the chronographic character of the inscription. [17] More recently, Chaniotis included the Parian Marble in the category of “monumental historiography,” that is, “historical works that were written on stone,” [18] This category accounts not only for the content of the Parian Marble, but its medium too. I decided to use the traditional name “Parian Marble” to remind us of the material quality of the text, inscribed on an artifact with a specific location and purposes.
To understand how typical a chronicle the Parian Marble was, we need to compare it with other instances of the genre.
The chronographic texts that are best attested and can, therefore, be used for comparison are the Olympionikai. The Olympic victor lists are, as Christesen puts it, “cumulative catalogs of victors at the Olympic Games.” [19] First compiled by Hippias of Elis, [20] they were used for time reckoning from the fourth century BCE on, especially in literary and historical texts. Initially Olympiads were identified by the winner at the stadion race, considered by our sources the earliest event in the Olympic program. Later, Aristotle added numbers as additional means of identification (beginning with the first games at 776 BCE), and Eratosthenes subdivided each Olympiad into four years. [21]
The only surviving continuous work of ancient Greek chronography, besides the Parian Marble, happens to be an Olympic victor list that was included in the Chronographia composed by Eusebius in the early fourth century CE. The Chronographia was universal in scope and Christian in outlook (including Near Eastern lists of kings, as well as biblical history). Unlike most of the Chronographia, Eusebius’ Olympic victor list came down to us through a Greek manuscript (Parisinus Graecus 2600). [22] Earlier chronographic authors survive only fragmentarily, such as Phlegon of Tralles. A few papyrological findings belong to this genre: the third-century CE Oxyrhynchus Chronicle (Chronicon Oxyrhynchi), which includes historical notices, [23] the fragmentary P.Oxy. XVII 2082, [24] and the recently discovered Leipzig Chronicle. [25]
Olympic victor lists display two salient features that are lacking from the Parian Marble: the annalistic structure and the cumulative quality. In this respect, the Parian Marble is utterly distinct. Having a fixed end, it has closure, which, as we have seen, is a principle of composition, because dates are computed backward from that particular time end. Furthermore, unlike victor lists, in which authors are free to choose what historical notices to add but not which years to count, in the Parian Marble there is an evident authorial choice of years, a choice that reflects a view on time and history (I will return to this point in Chapter 5).
The fixed ending and the selection of events set the Parian Marble apart from Olympic victor lists. These features, however, appear in two of the so–called Tabulae Iliacae: the Roman Chronicle (Chronicon Romanum) [26] and the Getty Table (Getty Tabula). [27]

2. Miniature Parallels: The Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table

The Roman Chronicle (Plate 5) and the Getty Table (Plate 6) were inscribed on the back of miniature reliefs cut in limestone (palombino) in Rome or the Roman Campagna some time after 15/16 CE. [28] They are of very small dimensions: the Roman Chronicle is 8 cm high, 9 cm wide, 1.5 cm thick; the Getty Table is 7.5 cm high, 5 cm wide and 2 cm thick. The front of each table displays a horse in the center, surrounded by male figures, probably warriors (Plates 5 and 6). [29] Texts are given in columns on the back, in lines of irregular length, though never longer than 24–25 letters. Letters are very small: no more than 2 mm tall. [30] The narrow columns and the tiny letters form a papyrus–like layout. Columns may be missing from both chronicles, but opinions are divided as to their number. The lettering is irregular, and the Greek shows mistakes. [31]
The Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table are part of the so–called “Tabulae Iliacae,” a group of 22 reliefs with Greek inscriptions of Roman provenance that, in spite of the traditional name, illustrate a range of themes from myth, epic poetry, and history. [32] Interest in the Tabulae Iliacae has grown in the last years, due to the combination of text and image. [33] The two chronicles, however, have not enjoyed similar attention, probably because they deal with historical rather than epic themes. [34] A closer look will help compare them with the Parian Marble.
The Roman Chronicle consists of two columns. [35] The left column (A) offers seven years of Roman events, from Sulla and the Mithridatic wars to the death of Soter Physkon (88/7 to 81/80 BCE). The right column (B) covers 200 years of Greek events, from Solon to the Gauls’ conquest of Rome (from the sixth century to 385/4 BCE). While Roman chronology is very detailed and accurate, the inaccuracies in sixth century Greek chronology have long been noted. [36]
Roman Chronicle, column B:
1        ἀφ᾽ [οὗ] [- - -] το [- - -]
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Σ[όλων Ἀθηναίων ἦρξεν καὶ]
          νόμου[ς αὐτοῖς ἔθηκεν, καὶ]
          Ἀνάχαρσις ὁ Σκ[ύθης εἰς Ἀθήνας (?)]
5        παρεγένετο, ἀφ᾽ [οὗ ἔτη - - -].
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Κροῖσος Λυδῶν ἐβα[σίλευσεν, ἔτη - - -].
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ οἱ σοφοὶ ὠνομάσθησαν, [ἔτη - - -].
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Πεισίστρατος ἐτυράννευσ[εν ἐν Ἀθή]-
          ναις, καὶ Αἴσωπος ὑπὸ Δελφῶν [κατεκρη]-
10      μνίσθη, ἔτη φοθʹ.
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Κροῖσος Κύρωι ὑποχείριος [ἐγένετο, ἔτη - - -].
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Καμβύσης Αἴγυπτον κατ[εστρέψατο]
          καὶ Πυθαγόρας ἑάλω, ἔτη φμʹ.
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Ἁρμόδιος καὶ Ἀριστογείτων ῞Ιπ-
15      παρχον τὸν τύραννον ἀνεῖλον, [καὶ]
          Δαρεῖος ἐπὶ Σκύθας διέβη, ζεύξα[ς τὸν]
          Κιμμέριον Βώσπορον, ἔτη φκηʹ.
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Ξέρξης κατὰ Ἄβυδον ζεύξας [τὸν]
          ῾Ελλήσποντον διέβη, καὶ Θεμισ-
20      τοκλῆς ναυμαχίαι τοὺς βαρβά-
          ρους ἐνίκα, ἀφ᾽ οὗ ἔτη υcharacter: Greek Vocal Notationʹ.
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Σωκράτης ὁ φιλόσοφος [καὶ ῾Ηρά]-
          κλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος καὶ Ἀναξα[γόρας]
          καὶ Παρμενίδης καὶ Ζήνων, ἔτη [- - -].
25      ἀφ᾽ οὗ ὁ Πελοποννησιακὸς πόλ[εμος]
          ἐνέστη, καὶ Θουκυδίδης ἦν, ἔτη [- - -].
          ἀφ᾽ οὗ Γαλάται ῾Ρωμαίους νική[σαντες]
          ἔσχον ῾Ρώμην, ἔτη υαʹ.

1        From [the time when] - - - the - - -
          From the time when S[olon was archon of the Athenians and
              made] law[s for them, and]
              Anacharsis the Sc[ythian] came
5            [to Athens (?)], from [which time, - - - years].
          From the time when Croesus began to r[eign over the Lydians,
                                                                                           [- - - years].
          From the time when the Wise Men became famous, [- - - years]
          From the time when Pisistratus became tyrant [in Athe]ns,
              and Aesop was hurled [down] a precipice
10          by the Delphians, 579 years.
          From the time when Croesus [became] subject to Cyrus, [- - - years].
          From the time when Cambyses con[quered] Egypt,
              and Pythagoras was captured, 540 years.
          From the time when Harmodius and Aristogeiton
15          killed Hipparchus the tyrant, [and]
              Darius crossed against the Scythians, having bridged the
              Cimmerian Bosporus, 528 years.
          From the time Xerxes, having bridged [the] Hellespont
              at Abydus, crossed, and Themis-
20          tocles defeated the barbarians
              in a sea battle, from which time, 490 years.
          From the time when Socrates the philosopher [and Hera-]
              clitus the Ephesian and Anaxa[goras]
              and Parmenides and Zenon (lived), [ - - - ] years.
25      From the time when the Peloponesian w[ar]
              began, and Thucydides lived, [ - - - ] years.
          From the time when the Gauls having defeated the Romans
              took Rome, 401 years. [37]
Let us now turn to the Getty Table. [38] Three columns remain, but only one is readable (IIB). The extant text offers only Greek events, from Phalaris to Darius’s campaign against the Scythians.
Getty Table, IIB: [39]
5        Ἀφ’ οὗ̣ Φάλαρ̣[ι]ς [ἐτυράννευσεν],
          μέχ[ρι] τοῦδε, ἔτη [- - -]. [Ἀφ’ οὗ οἱ σοφοὶ κ]–
          α[ὶ] Γίλ̣ω̣ν v ΩΠI. Ἀφ’ οὗ̣ [Πεισίστρατος]
          ἐν Ἀθήναις ἐτυράνν[ευσεν, καὶ]
          Αἴσ{ι}ωπος ὑπὸ Δε⟨λ⟩φῶν κ̣α̣[τεκρη]-
10      μνίσθη, μέχρι τοῦδε, ἔτη [- - -].
          Ἀφ’ οὗ Κ̣ρ̣ο̣ῖσο̣ς, προδούσης τῆς [θυ]- [40]
          [γατρὸ]ς αὐτοῦ τὴν Σάρδεων ἀκ[ρό]-
          πολιν, δι’ ἔρωτα Κύρῳ ὑποχείρι-
          ος γενόμενος, ἀπέβαλεν
15      τὴν ἀρχήν, ἐγένετο δὲ καὶ
          Σιμονίδης ὁ μηλοποιὸς καὶ
          Ἀναξίμανδρος ὁ φυσικὸς ἦν
          ἐτῶν ξʹ, μέχρι τοῦδε, ἔτη φξαʹ.
          Ἀφ’ οὗ Κύρος ἐτελεύτησεν, διεδέ-
20      ξα̣τ̣ο̣ δὲ τὴν ἀρχήν Καμβύσης,
          ἦν δὲ καὶ Ἀνάκρεων ὁ μηλοπο-
          ιὸς κα⟨ὶ⟩ Ἴβυκος ὁ Ῥηγεῖνος, ἔτη φμʹ.
          Ἀφ’ οὗ Κύρος ἐτελεύτησεν, Καμ-
          βύσης δὲ διαδεξάμενος, Αἴγυπ-
25      τον κατεστρέψατο, καὶ Πυθαγό-
          ρας ἑάλω σχολάζων καὶ τοῖς
          Μάγοις ἐπισχολάσας ἦλθεν εἰς
          Ἰταλίαν, [41] καὶ Καμβύσης ἐτελεύ-
          τησεν, Δαρεῖος δὲ ἐβασίλευ⟨σ⟩-
30      εν, καὶ Ξενοφάνης ὁ φυσι-
          κός· Ἀφ’ οὗ ἔτη νʹ ἅπαντα.
          Ἀφ’ οὗ Ἁρμόδιος καὶ Ἀριστογεί-
          των Ἵππαρχον τὸν τύρανν-
          ον ἀνεῖλαν, ἔτη [- - -].
35      Ἀφ’ οὗ Δαρεῖος ἐπὶ Σκύθας ἐ-
          στρατεύσεν, ἔτη [- - -].

5        From the time Phalaris [became tyrant], [- - -] years until the
          [From the time the Wise Men a]nd Chilon [. . .].
          From the time [Pisistratus] became tyrant in Athens, [and] Aesop was
              hurled down a precipice by the Delphians,
10          [- - -] years until the present.
          From the time Croesus, his daughter having surrendered
              the acropolis of Sardis because of love, having (Croesus)
              been taken prisoner by Cyrus,
15          lost his realm; and there was also born Simonides, the lyric poet,
              and Anaximander, the natural philosopher, was sixty years old,
              561 years until the present.
20      From the time Cyrus died, Cambyses succeeded to the throne,
              and also Anacreon, the lyric poet, flourished and Ibycus of Rhegium,
              540 years.
25      From the time Cyrus died, and Cambyses, having succeeded,
              conquered Egypt; and Pythagoras was captured while lecturing
              and after studying the Magi went to Italy; and Cambyses died,
              and Darius began to reign; and
30          Xenophanes, the natural philosopher. From which time
              the total number of years, fifty.
          From the time Harmodius and Aristogiton killed Hipparchus,
              the tyrant, years [. . .].
35      From the time Darius campaigned against the Scythians, [- - -] years. [42]
The first editor of the Getty Table pointed out that it contains a fuller version of lines 6 to 16 of the Roman Chronicle. [43] Indeed, the same figures and events appear in exactly the same order: The sages (supplemented in the Getty Table just before Chilon), Pisistratus, Aesop, Croesus and Cyrus, Cambyses’ conquest of Egypt, Pythagoras, Harmodius and Aristogeiton, Darius and the Scythians. The Getty Table expands some of the notices with participial constructions, as the following example illustrates:
CR: from the time when Cambyses con[quered] Egypt, and Pythagoras was captured, 540 years (13–14).
GT: From the time Cyrus died, and Cambyses, having succeeded, conquered Egypt; and Pythagoras was captured while lecturing and after studying the Magi went to Italy; and Cambyses died, and Darius began to reign (25–27).
Things are different in the following entries:
CR: From the time when Harmodius and Aristogeiton killed Hipparchus the tyrant, [and] Darius crossed against the Scythians, having bridged the Cimmerian Bosporus, 528 years. (14–17)
GT: From the time Harmodius and Aristogiton killed Hipparchus the tyrant, [- - -] years.
From the time Darius campaigned against the Scythians, twenty years. (32–36)
Here, it is the Roman Chronicle that offers a somewhat more expanded version than the Getty Table, while conflating two notices into one.
In spite of the apparent similarity, the chronicles differ in two significant points. Although both mention Aesop and Pythagoras, the Getty Table adds Chilon, Simonides, Anaximander, Anacreon, Ibycus, and Xenophanes, whereas the Roman Chronicle adds Socrates, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, Parmenides, and Zenon. Thus, each chronicle seems to harbor a different bias regarding cultural figures: the Roman Chronicle favors philosophers, the Getty Table, poets (see chap. 6, sec. 1 below). Another difference is the use of μέχρι τοῦδε in the Getty Table, lines 6, 10, and 18, instead of the pleonastic ἀφ᾽ οὗ in lines 5 and 21 of the Roman Chronicle. Disregarding such differences, it has been maintained that the Roman Chronicle offers an abridged version of the Getty Table. [44] An equal and even more plausible view is that they both depend on a common source.
Until the discovery of the Getty Table, scholars postulated small exemplars (e.g. illustrated papyrus rolls) or big ones (e.g. monumental reliefs) as sources of the Tabulae Iliacae, including the Roman Chronicle. [45] Now, the possibility that the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table depend on a third source may imply that the work done at a textual level goes beyond the adaptation of smaller or larger visual models. [46] We cannot know whether abridgements of chronographic material were common practice, but as the two fragments suggest, chronicles circulated in the early first century CE, whether in handbooks or compiled from them, not necessarily connected to the illustrations. It seems that workshops catered to an audience with literary or antiquarian interests.
The Roman Chronicle has been known to scholars for over 150 years, [47] whereas the Getty Table was first published in 1984. Until then, the Roman Chronicle was the closest parallel to the Parian Marble (so it was for Jacoby). [48] Indeed, the texts share a number of significant features: the impersonal, factual style, the selective listing of events, more detailed when dealing with the recent past (i.e. the Roman column in the Roman Chronicle, section B of the Parian Marble), the backwards system of time reckoning, the beginning of entries with “from the time when” (ἀφ᾽ οὗ), small letters that require close reading. Differences, however, are notable as well. Unlike the Parian Marble, which is a stele over two m high, the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table were composed as miniatures. [49] They also include a visual component lacking in the Parian Marble, and their much shorter lines give them a bookish aspect. Though it is impossible to determine the original length of the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table, it nonetheless seems that the Parian Marble embraces a more comprehensive time span. The Parian Marble is also more complex in method, as it uses both intervals from year 1 and an eponymous list, with which the other two dispense. Finally, the Roman Chronicle refers to both Greek and Roman history, whereas the Parian Marble seems to ignore Rome. The 250-year interval between the inscriptions and the Roman origins of the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table may account for some of the differences. However, in one aspect the similarities among the three can illuminate the genre of chronicles to which the Parian Marble belongs. The three were set on stone to be seen “at one glance,” uno in conspectu, in Cicero’s words. [50] They made it possible for whole stretches of history to be taken in at once. Still, we may say that the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table are examples of popular chronicles, probably compiled from handbooks, differing from sophisticated (i.e. Alexandrian) chronographic scholarship.
Where were the Tabulae Iliacae located? A number of hypotheses have been advanced. [51] They may have served didactic purposes, as aide-mémoires at schools. Alternatively, they could have had a votive function, set in ritual contexts. Or they could simply have been decorative, especially in libraries. Horsfall’s suggestion that the Tabulae Iliacae were displayed at the houses of Roman nouveaux riches is widely accepted. [52] However, his anti-erudite view has been challenged recently by Salimbene and Squire, who recognize in some of the Tabulae Iliacae a sophistication that suits the context of culture, wealth, and leisure of the aristocratic Roman Villa. [53] The topics of literary education in most tables suggest, as Salimbene argues, locations such as libraries, meeting or lecture places. [54] Indeed, the reverse of one of the Borgia tables is consistent with a location in a library, as it displays a list of literary works, including authors, titles, and length, information typical of library inventories. [55] Salimbene made an interesting suggestion: that some of the Tabulae Iliacae may have been located on columns (thus, both sides of the tables could have been seen) situated in libraries, indicating the setting of volumes. [56] Going beyond content, Petrain examined the reliefs of the Tabulae Iliacae and found them consistent with decorative elements at Greek gymnasia and Roman libraries. [57] If the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table were set in libraries, the references to philosophers and poets could somehow refer to the contents of the book-collections. Similarly, the parallel display of Greek and Roman history in the Roman Chronicle perhaps reflected the nature of a Greek and Latin collection. Speculation aside, it may be safer to assume more general locations characterized by literary culture. [58]

3. The Count-Down Chronicle

The Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table are the closest available parallels to the Parian Marble, from the point of view of form and chronographic method, as well as their epigraphic nature. Their affinities are such that it would be unreasonable to consider them unrelated, whereas their differences may be explained by the time and space between them. There is, however, no evidence to suggest origins in a common source. It would be safer not to draw genetic conclusions, but rather generic ones, and to suggest that they are instances of the same sub-genre, which I propose to call tentatively the count-down chronicle. While the Parian Marble appears more scholarly, none of the three achieved the sophistication of Alexandrian chronographic scholarship, as represented, for example, by Eratosthenes. The genre of the count-down chronicle may have been practiced by educated men and teachers. Regarding the location of the Parian Marble, the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table, though belonging to a later period and to a Roman context, may suggest an interesting possibility. If indeed they were set at sites related to literary and cultural activities, this hypothesis would be consistent with the view that the Parian Marble was displayed at a site such as a mouseion, possibly the Archilocheion.


[ back ] 1. Fornara 1983. On ancient Greek chronography (to give but a small selection), see Momigliano 1966, Mosshammer 1979, Asheri 1991–1992, Grafton 1995, Möller and Luraghi 1995, Shaw 2003:19–46, Möller 2004, Christesen 2007:84–112, Feeney 2007:7-20, Clarke 2008:56–89, Burgess and Kulikowski, 2013:84-91. See Möller 2006 for Jacoby’s fundamental contribution to the subject.
[ back ] 2. Cf. Burkert 1995, Fowler 1998–1999.
[ back ] 3. Möller 2004:171.
[ back ] 4. Asheri 1991–1992.
[ back ] 5. Möller 2004:170, following the inspiring remarks of Mazzarino 1966:427 on the diastematic system of dating. See Momigliano 1966:16–17 for the metaphor of synchronisms as “bridges.”
[ back ] 6. A term like ἀναγραφή would not be as informative regarding genre as χρονικά or similar ones.
[ back ] 7. In the first editions, the term “marmora” was applied to statues, reliefs, and inscriptions made in marble. Our inscription was published under the titles “Marmora Arundelliana” (Selden) and “Marmora Oxoniensia” (Prideaux, Maittaire). The term “marmor” was used more specifically for individual inscriptions.
[ back ] 8. The chronographic character of the inscription was implied by the title “Epochae,” given by Selden and used in the earliest editions.
[ back ] 9. Cf. Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle, s.v. “chronicles” (Dunphy 2010). The entry on the “Parian Marble” wrongly describes the stele as “small” (the original inscription was at least 2 m high, see chap. 1, sec. 1 above).
[ back ] 10. See NP, s.v. “chronicles”: “Chronicles are written histories structured on a yearly basis. They vary from mere lists of dates to miniature narratives for individual years: it is then, as annals—retrospective in the Roman period, ongoing and contemporaneous in the Carolingian—that they enter the realm of real historiography.”
[ back ] 11. In Hayden White’s terms (1987:5), the Parian Marble would belong to the family of annals (“lists of events ordered in chronological sequence”), rather than chronicles, due to the lack of a narrative component (see chap. 4, sec. 3 below), although, unlike annals, our inscription is selective.
[ back ] 12. Burgess and Kulikowski 2013:1-62. I am grateful to the authors for letting me read their work before it was published.
[ back ] 13. Two definitions of Mesopotamian chronicles are illuminating: [ back ] “Three basic traits characterize chronicles. (1) They were written in prose, in the third person. This was the case even if this prose was reduced to a recurring formula and to a few more or less condensed chronological notes . . . (2) Priority was given to time. The essential thing was to note the date of every event selected. There was an increasing tendency to leave no year unaccounted. (3) Brevity was the norm. Restricting themselves to the events they summarized, and running the risk of appearing brief to the point of atomization, chronicles were a kind of handbook that reduced history to a series of facts” (Glassner and Foster 2004:38). [ back ] “A chronicle is a continuous register of events in chronological order. The events are simply enumerated in terse, often paratactic, sentences and the primary interest is in exact dating. A chronicle does not contain narrative; has no exposition about cause and effect; and offers no general background. It is a data base of facts about the past” (van der Spek 2008:277).
[ back ] 14. As Burgess and Kulikowski note (2013:93-94), this feature is apparent in Cicero’s comments on Atticus’s Liber Annalis (Cicero Brutus 14–15). That book “briefly and very accurately embraced the whole memory of things” (omnem rerum memoriam breviter et . . . perdiligenter complexus est). It was useful because “it allowed to see everything at a single glance as the succession of time was unfolded” (ut explicatis ordinibus temporum uno in conspectu omnia viderem). See also Feeney 2007:25-28.
[ back ] 15. See Rotstein 2010:10–11 for salient features in ancient Greek literary genres.
[ back ] 16. As Burgess and Kulikowski note, 2013:22n40.
[ back ] 17. Among them, two epigraphical texts, the so-called Lindian Chronicle (99 BCE) and the Roman Chronicle (early first century CE). The Lindian inscription, however, is a catalogue of votive offerings and epiphanies (for a brief comparison with the Parian Marble, see Higbie 2003:271–273).
[ back ] 18. Chaniotis 2005:220. The group includes the roughly contemporary IG II.2 677, Mnesiepes’s inscription (see chap. 1, sec. 5 above), the later IMagnesia 17 and the Lindian Chronicle. In his earlier catalogue (Chaniotis 1988:87), the Parian Marble appears as a sole item under the heading “Universalgeschichte,” along with the term χρόνων ἀναγραφή (adopted from Sosibius, FGrH 595 F 2).
[ back ] 19. Christesen 2007:1. For a survey of the genre and the texts, see Christesen 2007:1–44, Möller 2004, Clarke 2008:59–67, with further references.
[ back ] 20. Christesen 2005 illuminates Hippias’s motivation for compiling the lists.
[ back ] 21. Christesen (2007:26) distinguishes three categories of Olympic victor lists: standard catalogues, including victors in all events, chronographic catalogues or Olympiad chronography, including stadion victors and other chronographic information (such as synchronies with, e.g. king lists), and Olympiad chronicles, which added notices of historical events.
[ back ] 22. Mosshammer 1979:97, Christesen and Martirosova-Torlone 2006. On Eusebius’ chronographic work, see chap. 6, sec. 1 below.
[ back ] 23. P.Oxy. 12 = FGrH 255 (both include commentaries). English translations in Christesen 2007:337–340 and Burgess and Kulikowski 2013:313-315.
[ back ] 24. FGrH 257a F 1, see Christesen 2007:335–336.
[ back ] 25. P.Lips. 590, 1228, 1229, 1231, 1232 (text, commentary, and German translation of the Leipzig Chronicle in Colomo et al. 2010, Luppe 2010; assessment of genre and English translation in Burgess 2013).
[ back ] 26. IG XIV 1297 = FGrH 252 = CIG IV 6855 d = Sarduska 18L (Museo Capitolino, Rome inv. 82). For the interpretation of text and images and for further references, see Sadurska 1964:78–83, Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:276–288 (with German translation).
[ back ] 27. Also known as the Vasek-Polak Chronicle, SEG 33 802. It was first published by Burstein 1984. Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:289–295 studies text and images (with German translation). Burstein 1989 and Merkelbach 1989 study the inscription on the front (SEG 39 1072).
[ back ] 28. Sadurska 1964:78, Burstein 1984:153, 157, Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:286–287, 307, Squire 2011:58–61. The terminus post quem for all Tabulae Iliacae is determined by the Chronicum Romanum’s final year.
[ back ] 29. Burstein (1984:157) argues that the two artifacts originated in the same workshop and were the work of Cutter d, in Sadurska’s classification.
[ back ] 30. The Getty Table: letters 1.5 mm height. Roman Chronicle: about 2 mm height (estimated from photographs).
[ back ] 31. Jahn and Michaelis 1873:78, Burstein 1984:153.
[ back ] 32. Main studies of the Tabulae Iliacae: Michaelis 1858, Jahn and Michaelis 1873, Sadurska 1964, Horsfall 1979 and 1983, Salimbene 2002, Valenzuela Montenegro 2004, Petrain 2006, Squire 2010 and 2011.
[ back ] 33. Salimbene 2002, Valenzuela Montenegro 2004, Petrain 2006 and 2008, Squire 2010 and 2011:47–51 (very briefly on the chronicles).
[ back ] 34. Petrain 2006 and Squire 2010 do not deal with the chronicles in detail.
[ back ] 35. IG XIV 1297 = FGrH 252. See Sadurska 1964:78–79 for an account of the first publication and a description of the Roman Chronicle. Some of the difficulties in the study of this inscription derive from the various names in use: Tabula Capitolina, Chronicon Romanum, or even Greek Chronicle. The chronicle is studied by Sadurska 1964:78–83 and Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:279–288 (including a complete bibliography and German translation). Balcer 1972:101–103, Burstein 1984:162, Burgess and Kulikowski 2013:309-310 offer English translations.
[ back ] 36. Sadurska 1964:81, Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:279–282.
[ back ] 37. Translated by Burstein 1984:162 up to line 21, with minor changes.
[ back ] 38. First published by Burstein 1984 (with English translation). See Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:291–294 for commentary, German translation, and further references.
[ back ] 39. The text follows the critical edition of SEG 33.802 (H. W. Pleket and R. S. Stroud). I marked lacunae after the word ἔτη in lines 6, 10, 34, and 36 (Haslam 1986:198n1). The stone is broken after lines 6 and 10, and is unreadable after lines 34 and 36. It seems that numerals are missing at the end of the four lines, as in lines 18, 22, and 31. The inscription includes a few misspellings: line 7 Γίλων = Χίλων; line 22 Ἴβυνος = Ἴβυκος. A few mistaken accents in Burnstein’s editio princeps (ἄρχην in lines 15 and 20, φυσικὸς in line 31) were picked up by the SEG editors, further adding a double apostrophe in ἀφ’ οὗ (lines 11 and 19) and ἧυ instead of ἦν (line 21) in the digital edition. However, the word μηλοποιός (lines 16 and 21) is thus written in the inscription. I am grateful to Barak Blum for these observations.
[ back ] 40. I give lines 11–13 as restored by Haslam 1986 (for such probably legendary version of the events, see Parthenius 22).
[ back ] 41. I follow Haslam 1986:198 in removing punctuation marks in the reference to Pythagoras; the translation differs from Burnstein’s accordingly.
[ back ] 42. Translated by Burstein 1984:158, except lines 11–13, and the reference to Pythagoras (which follows Haslam 1986:198n1). I changed the position of the word “years” and the numbers of years, and omitted restoration of number twenty in the translation of line 35.
[ back ] 43. Burstein 1984:157.
[ back ] 44. Burstein 1984:161, Pleket and Stroud 1983, commentary to column 2.
[ back ] 45. Sadurska 1964:17, Horsfall 1979:43–48, Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:339–346, with further references.
[ back ] 46. To be sure, the cutting of similar texts on different tables is a phenomenon already known for the Tabulae Iliacae. In a different workshop in the Roman Campagna (not the same workshop, as Burstein says), two similar texts were cut on the back of the Second Verona Table (IG XIV 285 II back, Sadurska 1964:55–58, 9D) and on the back of the Borgia Table (Sadurska 1964:58–61, 10K back, columns 1–4 or a–d). Incidentally, these tables tell of Cadmus’s genealogy and the birth of Dionysos, dating the events with reference to a priestess of Argos, a method systematized by Hellanicus. Hence, the authors or their sources made use of earlier chronographic techniques.
[ back ] 47. First reported by Secchi 1843, first published by Henzen 1854.
[ back ] 48. Jacoby 1904b:96.
[ back ] 49. Letters in the two Tabulae are at least one quarter the height of those in the Parian Marble, and the stones carrying the inscriptions are much smaller. Regarding numerals, the Parian Marble uses the acrophonic system, while the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table use the alphabetic one.
[ back ] 50. See n. 14 above.
[ back ] 51. Sadurska 1964:18–19, Horsfall 1979:31–32, Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:402–407, Squire 2011:70–86, with further references.
[ back ] 52. “. . . the libraries and dining rooms of the new rich, where ignorance is to be hidden and memories have to be jolted at every step” (Horsfall 1979:35). McLeod (1985:165) when discussing the so-called Borgia Table (10K) or “epic canon” concludes that it was “a pretense of literacy for the unlettered.”
[ back ] 53. Squire 2010:90 and 2011:70–86, following Guarducci 1974:502, Salimbene 2002, and the illuminating remarks of Valenzuela Montenegro 2004:408–412 on the audience and function of the Tabulae Iliacae.
[ back ] 54. Salimbene 2002:30–33. Cf. Kontoleon 1964b:198–199, Squire 2011:73–74 (a different approach in Chaniotis 1988:94–99, 227–233).
[ back ] 55. Without further analysis, Salimbene also suggests that the Roman Chronicle and the Getty Table show similarities with epigraphical bibliographical catalogues. The reverse of the Borgia is, however, much more similar. The large fragmentary inscription known as the Roman Fasti (IG XIV 1097, 1098, 1098a = IGUR 215–31 = Millis and Olson 2012:225-229), containing a list of comic poets probably derived from Aristotle’s Didaskaliai through Callimachus’s Table and Register of Playwrights, Arranged Chronologically from the Beginning was presumably cut on the walls of a major library (Pfeiffer 1968:132, Blum 1991:137–138, 170n103, with further references).
[ back ] 56. The remains of a tenon, “presumably for mounting the monument in a slotted hand” can be observed on the Getty Table (Burstein 1984:153).
[ back ] 57. Petrain 2006:148–188.
[ back ] 58. Petrain 2006:158.