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The Bosporus and Sindike in the Era of Leukon I. New Epigraphic Publications

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

I. The author returns to the analysis (see Hyperboreus. 1998, 4/2, 286-301; cf. SEG, XLVIII, 1027) of an epigram of the Bosporan tyrant Leukon I from the Semibratnee site (Labrys) on the occasion of Yu. G. Vinogradov's posthumous publication (VDI, 2002, No 3). Although Vinogradov accepted the most important of the author's readings, some of the interpretations suggested by him were erroneous, as the author strives to prove (see also A. J. Graham's observations). The inscription is analyzed from the point of view of its language and style. As a historical source, the epigram is discussed in the second part of the article together with a new inscription from Nymphaion.

II. As early as the end of the 5th c. BC (or even earlier) Bosporan tyrant Satyros I made Sindike Bosporus' vassal (Polyaen. VIII. 55). The Labrys epigram tells us about Leukon I, «archon of the Bosporus and Theodosia» helping Hekataios, king of the Sindoi, dethroned by his own son, obviously in order to take possession of Sindike de jure. A new votive inscription from Nymphaion published by O. Yu. Sokolova and N. A. Pavlichenko (Hyperboreus, 2002, 8/1, 99-121) sheds new light on the further history of the forming of the Bosporan state in the 1st half of the 4th century BC. Leukon is called here «archon of the Bosporus, Theodosia, all Sindike, Toretai, Dandarioi, Psessoi». The author believes that the epithet «all» is applied to Sindike for expressiveness and implies in fact the land which belonged to Hekataios. The author supposes that the neighboring barbarians were annexed by a treaty, and the power of their own kings was abolished, this fact explaining why Greek poleis and the barbarians were politically equal. No doubt, Leukon soon had to be disappointed in the possibility of governing barbarians in the same way as Greeks. According to the inscription CIRB 6a Sindoi were still under Leukon's rule as archon, but for the rest of the barbarians he was a king. However, in the later inscriptions CIRB 6, 8, 1037, 1038 the standard formula appears: «Leukon, archon of the Bosporus and Theodosia, king of Sindoi, Toretai, etc.» The change in the political status of the barbarians was probably connected with their efforts to get free from the power of the Bosporus. The Greek cities of the Bosporus and Theodosia preserved their formal autonomy and citizenship, but the barbarians were turned into dependent population.


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