Saturday, February 13, 2016


A Prayer for Rain

Inscription from Dorylaion (Eskişehir) in Phrygia, 175 A.D., first published by Alfred Körte, "Kleinasiatische Studien, VI: Inschriften aus Phrygien," Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts. Athenische Abteilung 25 (1900) 398-447 (at 421-422, no. 33), also in Inscriptiones Graecae ad Res Romanas Pertinentes, vol. IV, ed. G. Lafaye (Paris: Librarie Ernest Leroux, 1927), p. 197, no. 521, translated by Mary Depew, "Reading Greek Prayers," Classical Antiquity 16.2 (October, 1997) 229-258 (at 245):
[Zeus ... wet the ea]rth, that she become heavy with fruit and flower with ears of corn. This I, Metreodoros, beg of you, Zeus son of Kronos, as I perform delightful sacrifice on your altars.

[.................................................................βρέχε γαῖ]αν,
    καρπῷ [ὅπ]ως βρί[θῃ καὶ ἐν]ὶ σταχύεσσι τεθήλῃ.
τ[αῦτ]ά [σε] Μητρεόδωρος ἐγὼ λίτομαι, Κρονίδα Ζεῦ,
    ἀμφὶ τεοῖς βωμοῖσιν ἐπήρρατα θύματα ῥέζων.
In line 4, ἐπήρρατα = ἐπήρατα (lovely, delightful).

I wonder if evidence like this is ever used in climate studies. Maybe there was a drought at Dorylaion in 175 A.D. The inscription can be dated exactly from the subscription Σαλβίῳ Ἰουλιανῷ καὶ Καλπουρνιανῷ Πείσωνι ὑπάτοις, i.e. when Salvius Julianus and Calpurnius (not Calpurnianus) Piso were consuls. See Prosopographia Imperii Romani Saec I.II.III, Pars I, ed. Elimar Klebs (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1897), p. 285, no. 242.

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