Calendar Inscription of Priene

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Second part of the calendar inscription of Priene

The Priene Calendar Inscription (IK Priene 14) is an inscription in stone recovered at Priene (an ancient Greek city, in Western Turkey) that records an edict by Paullus Fabius Maximus, proconsul of the Roman province of Asia and a decree of the conventus of the province accepting the edict from 9 BC. The documents align the provincial calendar with the Roman calendar, honouring Augustus by making the provincial year began on his birthday. It refers to Augustus' birth using the term "gospel."[1][2][3][4] It is known as the Priene text because it was found on two stones in the marketplace of the ancient town of Priene.[5][1][6] Other copies are known from Apamea and Eumeneia.[7]

The Greek text of the whole inscription has been published several times[8][9][10] and the current authoritative edition appears as inscription no. 14 in the Priene volume of the Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien [de] series.[11] It consists of two distinct parts: The edict, and the decree of acceptance of the edict.[12] Although the inscription spans two stones, the second part begins before the end of the first stone.

The calendar inscription of Priene is currently in the Bibelhaus Erlebnis Museum in Frankfurt and will be through September 2023,[13] on loan from Berlin Museum.[2][1]

Reference to "gospel"[edit]

The inscription features the Greek term εὐαγγέλιον, evangelion, meaning "good news," which is the term translated into English as "gospel".[14] The reference occurs in a section of the text recording a speech by the high priest of the conventus, Apollonius of Azania in Caria:

It seemed good to the Greeks of Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: “Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings [εὐαγγέλιον] for the world that came by reason of him,” which Asia resolved in Smyrna.[1][15]

As exemplified in the Calendar Inscription of Priene, this Koine Greek term εὐαγγέλιον was used at the time of the Roman Empire to herald the good news of the arrival of a kingdom - the reign of a king that brought a war to an end, so that all people of the world who surrendered and pledged allegiance to this king would be granted salvation from destruction.[citation needed] The Calendar Inscription of Priene speaks of the birthday of Caesar Augustus as the beginning of the gospel announcing his kingdom, with a Roman decree to start a new calendar system based on the year of Augustus Caesar's birth. Some Christian historians have compared this with the opening of the Gospel of Mark: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Mark 1:1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Evans, Craig A. (2000). "Mark's Incipit and the Priene Calendar Inscription: From Jewish Gospel to Greco-Roman Gospel" (PDF). Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism. 1: 67–81. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  2. ^ a b "The Priene Inscription or Calendar Inscription of Priene". Archived from the original on 2017-07-22. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  3. ^ Danker, Frederick W. (1982). Benefactor: Epigraphic Study of a Graeco-Roman and New Testament Semantic Field. St. Louis, MO.: Clayton Pub. House. p. 217.
  4. ^ Boring, M. E.; Berger, K.; Colpe, C. (1995). Hellenistic Commentary to the New Testament. Nashville: Abingdon. p. 169.
  5. ^ The Priene Inscription or the Calendar Inscription of Priene "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-07-22. Retrieved 2017-07-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "The Priene Inscription". The Priene Inscription or the Calendar Inscription of Priene. Archived from the original on 2017-07-22. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  7. ^ "Priene 6 - PHI Greek Inscriptions". Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  8. ^ Dittenberger, W. (ed.). Orientis Graecae Inscriptiones Selectae. Leipzig: S. Hirzel. pp. 1903–5.
  9. ^ Ehrenberg, V.; Jones, A. H. M. (1955). Documents Illustrating the Reigns of Augustus and Tiberius (2E ed.). Oxford: Clarendon. p. 82.
  10. ^ Taylor, L. R. (1931). The Divinity of the Roman Emperor. New York: Arno.
  11. ^ "IK Priene 14 - PHI Greek Inscriptions".
  12. ^ Perea Yébenes, Sabino (2017). "Dios manifestado en la tierra, salvador del género humano y del universo entero". Ideología y Religión en el Mundo Romano (in Spanish). Signifer Libros. p. 151. ISBN 978-84-16202-15-7. El texto tiene dos partes bien diferenciadas: primero, una carta dirigida por el procónsul de Asia, Paulus Fabius Maximus a la Asamblea (líneas 1-30), segundo, el decreto de la Asamblea (líneas [30]-84).
  13. ^ "Calendar inscription from Priene". Bibelhaus Museum.
  14. ^ Woodhead, Linda (2004). Christianity: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0199687749.
  15. ^ "The Priene Inscription". THE PRIENE INSCRIPTION OR CALENDAR INSCRIPTION OF PRIENE. Archived from the original on 2017-07-22. Retrieved 2017-07-17.

External links[edit]