• latw-10-10
    Stele of Atrastas, full view. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-10-20
    Stele of Atrastas, detail of top. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-10-30
    Stele of Atrastas, detail of top. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-10-40
    Stele of Atrastas, detail of inscription. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Marble Stele of Atrastas

Date
520-500 BC (Hanfmann); fourth century BC (Bossert), Late Lydian (Persian)
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 1
Inventory No.
1
Sardis CATNUM
Uninv. R2, Cat. 17
Material
Marble, Stone
Object Type
Sculpture, Inscription
Sculpture Type
Stele, Relief, Human Figure
Inscription language
Lydian
Inscription Text
[e]s anlola atraśtal śakardal akad qis fisqãnt bukaś fẽdaνoλt fakτad kabrdokid nãmλ qig dẽt nãkmλ […] clλ akad artimuλ fẽncãν
Inscription Translation
This monument (is) of Atrastas, (son) of Sakardas, and whoever destroys it, or (if) he __s and steals/plunders it for himself, whatever property he has […] I have dedicated it to Artemis of Ephesus.’ (Melchert)"
Inscription Comment
Site
Sardis
Description
Stele of white marble. Above, relief showing a man seated on a stool at a table, behind him an indistinct form that has been variously identified (standing child, Bossert; foreparts of a dog, Hanfmann). The man either has a disproportionately long right arm or holds an object (scroll, Hanfmann) in his right hand, may wear a cap (Bossert), and has high shoes with pointed toes. Below, six lines of retrograde text in Lydian identify the deceased as Atrastas, son of Sakardas, and cite Artemis of Ephesus as recipient of fines for damages to the stele. Height 0.97 m, width 0.305-0.32 m, thickness 0.09-0.16 m.

Translation. ‘This monument (is) of Atrastas, (son) of Sakardas, and whoever destroys it, or (if) he __s and steals/plunders it for himself, whatever property he has […] I have dedicated it to Artemis of Ephesus.’ (Melchert)"

Comments
Grave stele, according to Manisa Museum inventory found at Sardis (Sart) 1935 (Hanfmann). Unusual is the seated stance combined with stool and table. On the chronological evidence of linguistic and epigraphical aspects, Roberto Gusmani has written as follows (14.IX.2009): “From a graphic and linguistic point of view we can only say that [inscription] Nr. 54 [in Gusmani 1964] shows some archaic features, e.g., the shape of the samekh with the extended vertical stroke, the exceptional use of gamma (and moreover its unusual form) and the content of the text that is quite different (also with regard to syntax) from the phrases of similar inscriptions (curse formulae) of the classical period of Lydian epichoric epigraphy. To sum up, the text could certainly go back to the early 5th century B.C.: a more exact dating is on linguistic arguments not possible.”
Discussed
Melchert, “Lydian Language”; Baughan, “Lydian Burial Customs”
Bibliography
Bossert 1936; Hanfmann and Ramage 1978, 55-56, no. 17, with earlier bibliography; Dedeoğlu 2003, 46, fig.
Author
CHG