ATHENIAN TRIBUTE LISTS
Aaron Hershkowitz, is a PhD student in Classics at Rutgers University. As a Fulbright Fellow and Associate Member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Aaron spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Athens, Greece pursuing a research project on the “Athenian Tribute Lists”. In the 5th century B.C., when the Athenians received monetary payments from their allies, they would piously devote 1/60 of that money to their patron goddess, Athena. They would then record those donations to the goddess by inscribing them on large marble slabs. A great many fragments (well over 200) of these marble slabs remain, and they have been pieced together over the years by the painstaking work of several generations of scholars. For several years Aaron worked with the published accounts of the lists, but this year he had a first time opportunity to study the fragments firsthand and to really advance his understanding of epigraphy (the study of inscriptions). A large part of that work involved improving his ability to transcribe and draw inscriptions. In figure 1 [lower left image] you can see one of his earliest pieces, which shows his work simply trying to render the characters that he saw and approximately how they appeared, using notebook paper. In figure 2 [lower middle image] Aaron used 1mm block paper and measured every stroke of every character, then rendering them in their exact scale and position to each other. By figure 3 [lower right image] Aaron progressed to draw exactly the full shape of every character, as well as the shape of the remaining surface of the fragment. All of this work has been conducted at the Epigraphic Museum (Επιγραφικό Μουσείο) in Athens, a museum that possesses a spectacular and unrivaled collection of inscriptions. The Epigraphic Museum, situated right around the corner from the famous National Archaeological Museum of Athens, is invaluable for epigraphic research and is the best place for lovers of Ancient Greece to experience a direct connection with the words (and often the laws themselves!) of the Greeks without the separation of millennia of interpreters and repeated copying of manuscripts.