GREEN. The earliest inscriptions, if the primi tive form of the letters does not mislead, are the rock-cut names of the island of Thera (Santo rin), which may be dated in the seventh century. With these, though probably later, may be classed the rude names carved by the Greek mercenaries of King Psammetieus of Egypt on the colossi at Abu-Simbel. It is still a matter of dispute whether Psammeticus is the first (me. 654-617) or second (ex. 594-589) of that name, but the analogy of other early inscriptions seems to favor the former date. The archaic inscriptions, writ ten in local, or epichoric, alphabets, are tolerably numerous, but for the most part of interest and value chiefly for the history of the alphabet or the language, as they form one of the most im portant sources for the study of the Greek dia lects. These early inscriptions are frequently written retrograde, that is. from right to left, or boustrophedon (fiovarpoon56y), that is alter nately from right to left and left to right. By the end of the fifth century, the various local alphabets were generally superseded by the Ionic alphabet of Miletus, but the local dialects lived much longer. Progress of course varied with the locality. Crete, for example, long retained the ancient forms, and the longest and most impor tant of archaic inscriptions, the laws of the Cre tan Gortyna, in alphabet and dialect appears so primitive, that it is still placed by some scholars early in the sixth century B.C.. though the weight of competent authority is in favor of a date in the last half of the fifth. The classification of Greek inscriptions is in the first place geographi cal. If the number of inscriptions from a local ity is very great, or changes in the alphabet sharply marked, it is often found convenient to introduce chronological subdivisions. A good example is the arrangement of the collection of the Attic in-scriptions, by which the first volume contains the inscriptions before B.C. 403. when in the archonship of Enclidee the old Attic alpha bet was officially replaced by the Ionian; the second volume includes the period from B.C. 403 to n.e. 31 the date of the battle of Actium. which was chosen for practical convenience rather than from any natural cleavage at this point, and the third embraces the inscriptions of the Roman imperial period. Such elaborate subdivision was needed in this case, becau•e of the enormous mass of Attic inscriptions, which far exceed those from any other locality. Under the several localities, or periods, the inscriptions are grouped according to their contents. Two great groups may be distinguished, according as the inscrip tions proceed from the governing body of the community, or from private individuals or asso ciations. The public inscriptions include decrees and ordinances of all kinds, treaties, lists of mag istrates and reports of official boards; they are naturally of the greatest value for the study of governmental institutions, and ancient com mune] life. Thus our knowledge of the details
of the organization of the Athenian empire, the assessment of the tribute, and the relations of the subject-eities, rests in large part upon the records of the Hellenotamile, and the decrees of the Athenian assembly. The private inscrip: tions are even more inclusive, as they touch an cient life at almost every point. Mortuary in scriptions naturally form the largest class, but we have also many honorary inscriptions, and especially dedications to the gods. Here also belong the numerous records of manumissions, such as covered the wall of the portico of the Athenians at Delphi, in which the slave is by a legal fiction purchased by the god. An important group is composed of the records of private cor porations, either business, religious or social. Of great value for the history of art are the nu merous signatures of ancient artists, usually on the pedestals which once bore their works. See Loewy, Insehrif ten Gricchischer Bildhauer (Leip zig, 1885). A curious example of a private in scription, which also illustrates the importance attached to this mode of publication. is furnished by Diogenes of (Enoanda, in Southeastern Carle, who recorded on the wall of a portico for the edi fication of his fellow-townsmen a long summary of the teachings of Epicurus, with letters and other quotations from the writings of the master. (See Bulletin de C'orrevondanee Hellenique, xxi. 1897.) A detailed discussion of the charac teristics of the several classes of Greek inscrip tions does not lie within the scope of this article, but it will be well to add a brief notice of the material and the places used for these records. In general, stone, usually marble, is the ma terial employed. Relatively very few of the Greek inscriptions are on bronze. In the case of graves, votive-offerings or honorary statues, the inscription is obviously an accessory, and the place is primarily determined by other conditions. For decrees, treaties, records of officials, royal letters, or any other documents for which pub licity was desired, the market-place, or Acropolis. of a city, or the precincts or even walls of a temple, were the favorite places. The great sanc tuaries. such as the Acropolis of Athens. Delos, Delphi, and Olympia were crowded not only with statues and works of art, hut also with inscribed slabs of stone, often containing some vote of a distant community. The expense of private in scriptions was of course borne usually by the persons concerned, and public enactments were in like manner engraved at the expense of the State, but there are very many cases where the decree of a State or corporation honoring an in dividual was published in stone at the expense of the recipient, who in this way showed his ap preciation of the honor conferred.