Boeotian Chronology

Prof. Dr. Klaus Hallof

 

If one were to suggest a chronological backbone of the Boeotian League—the most important institution in Central Greece from the 5th century until its dissolution in 171 BC—it would be the list of its Federal Archons. It was with the names of these individuals, who were selected annually as the highest representatives of the League, that all decisions of the federal government and its 17 member cities were dated. Such a list would offer the most practical chronological ordering—that is, if such a list had been preserved. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Rather, the order of these Archons must be reconstructed from a variety of scattered ancient sources—most notably the inscriptions in which they are mentioned. The number of these inscriptions has more than doubled to 10,000–12,000 in the past hundred years. Many of them have been revised or even deciphered for the new edition of the Corpus of Boeotic Inscriptions currently planned as part of the Inscriptiones Graecae project. This systematic autopsy of the inscriptions housed in the museums and collections of Thebes and the surrounding area has brought a wealth of names and dates—the building blocks of a new Archon list. Dr. Yannis Kalliontzis (Athens), currently the foremost expert on the Boeotia inscriptions, is at present preparing such a list in an essay on the "Chronology of Boeotian Archons" which will provide the chronological framework for the next decades of historical research on Central Greece.