Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Bronze mitra inscribed on both sides in archaic Cretan script. Records the appointment of a scribe called Spensithios.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 500BC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 25.5 centimetres
    • Height: 12.9 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

        both sides, boustrophedon
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Translation

        Side A. Gods. The Dataleis resolved, and we the city, five representatives from each tribe, pledged to Spensithios subsistence and immunity from all taxes to him and to his descendants, so that he be for the city its scribe and recorder in public affairs both sacred and secular. No one else is to be scribe and recorder for the city in public affairs, neither sacred nor secular, except Spensithios himself and his descendants, unless Spensithios himself, or else the majority of his sons, as many as be adult, should (thus) induce and instruct the city. (The city) is to give as payment annually to the scribe fifty jugs of must and [-] of 20-drachmai value ( weight?), or ?fruits, and the must is to be given from whichever ?plot he wishes to take it; and if the must is not given [...] the kosmos in charge [...] impunity [...] if not ?to them [...] to the Kosmos ? [...] precincts [...] to have equal share [...].

        Side B. The scribe is to have equal share, and the scribe too is to be present at and to participate in sacred and secular affairs in all cases wherever the Kosmos (i.e. the board of kosmoi?) may be; and the scribe is to make the public sacrifices to whatsoever deity a priest does not ?conduct its own (sacrifices), and is to have the precincts (or, 'the precinct-dues'), and there is to be no ?seizure, and the scribe is not to take any security, and (unintelligible), but otherwise, nothing at all (or, 'it shall be invalid'). As lawful dues to the andreion (= men's club) he shall give ten axes' (weight) of dressed meat, if the ?others also make offerings, and the yearly offering also, and shall ?collect the ?portion, but nothing else is to be compulsory,
        if he does not wish to give it. The sacred matters are to be (reserved) for the ?senior member.
      • Inscription Comment

        Translation from Jeffery and Morpurgo-Davies 1971.
  • Curator's comments

    Jeffery, L.H. & Morpurgo-Davies, A. 1970. ΠΟΙΝΙΚΑΣΤΑΣ and ΠΟΙΝΙΚΑΖΕΝ: BM 1969.4-2.1, A New Archaic Inscription from Crete. Kadmos 9: 118-154.

    Raubitschek, A.E. 1970. The Cretan Inscription BM 1969.4-2.1: A Supplementary Note. Kadmos 9: 155-156.

    Jeffery, L.H & Morpurgo-Davies, A. 1971. An Archaic Greek Inscription from Crete. The British Museum Quarterly 36 (1/2): 24-29

    Willetts, R.F. 1972. The Cretan Inscription BM 1969.4-2.1: Further Provisional Comments. Kadmos 11: 96-98.

    Van Effenterre, H. 1973. Le contrat de travail du scribe Spensithios. Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 97: 31-46

    Gorlin, C.E. 1988. The Spensithios Decree and Archaic Cretan Civil Status. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 74: 159-165.


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: GAA15363

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