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156.
Lease of Piraeus property
IG II2 2496 Athens, NM 1477 last q. 4th c. Plate 83

Found in 1866 near port of Zea in Piraeus. Both edges, top preserved, broken (?) bottom set in plaster, back smooth. Stele capped by 0.04 high moulding consisting of rough taenia and ovolo. Unbordered relief panel in upper right corner of stele. Surface somewhat worn, chipped. White, medium-grained marble. p.h. 0.45, h. of relief panel 0.125, w. 0.28 (top, at moulding), 0.26 (top, below moulding), 0.275 (bottom), w. of relief panel 0.085, th. 0.075 -0.08, relief h. very low, h. of letters 0.005.

The inscription is a lease in which Eukrates, son of Exekias of Aphidna, rents a shop and outbuildings in Piraeus from eight Kytherian meritai, probably officials of the Attic deme of Kytheros rather than the distant island Kythera. The stele was to have been set up ‘by the hero’ (lines 24-25), presumably the statue of the hero for whom the Philippides of lines 1-2 was priest.

The relief is very unusual in its position in the upper right corner of the stele. On the right is a bearded (?) figure, probably the same hero, seated on a chair turned toward the left. In his extended right hand he holds a kantharos. Opposite him on the left is a standing female figure. In her right hand she holds an oinochoe, preparing to pour from it into the kantharos. The lack of specific designations for the priest and the hero in the document suggest that they were well known to all concerned and that the figures are representations of the hero and perhaps the heroine of a local cult. Libation scenes are commonly found on votive reliefs dedicated to heroes (B. Mitropoulou, Libation Scene with Oinochoe in Votive Reliefs [1975]); in this context the libation may refer to an oath and libation with which the business of the lease was concluded.

The very tall proportions, the high-waisted female figure (cf. nos. 45, 150, 553), and the superficial, generalized workmanship are characteristics of late fourth-century relief. The composition and the very flat, summary execution of the figures suggest that the relief was carved by a sculptor of minor grave stelai and marble lekythoi (cf. Schmaltz, pls. 41, 44).

C. Wescher, RA 14 (1866) 352-58 no. 5; A. Kirchhoff, Hermes 2 (1867) 169-73; Schöne, 56-57 no. 115, pl. 28 (drwg.); Heydemann, 271-74 no. 738; Sybel, 63 no. 331; IG II 1058; Kastriotis, 263 no. 1477; SIG3 1216; Svoronos, 596-98 no. 244, pl. 105.3; O. Palagia, Hesperia 51 (1982) 107-10, pl. 36a; M. H. Jameson, Studies in Attic Epigraphy, History and Topography presented to Eugene Vanderpool, Hesperia, Suppl. 19 (1982) 72-73; Whitehead, 147-48, 383; Meyer, 307 A 145; LIMC VI, 170-71 no. 1, s.v. Kytheros (A. Onassoglou); 583 no. 1, s.v. Misthosis (M. Luz Neira Jiménez).

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