The oath to Augustus
Sandstone. 3 BCE.
Dess. ILS 8781 = Ditt. OGI 532.
H. 89-96 cm, W. 45-51 cm, D. 13-15 cm.
Inv. No. E 1137-1.Istanbul, Archaeological Museum

The oath to Augustus.

Sandstone. 3 BCE.
Dess. ILS 8781 = Ditt. OGI 532.
H. 89-96 cm, W. 45-51 cm, D. 13-15 cm.
Inv. No. E 1137-1.

Istanbul, Archaeological Museum.

Found in Apr. 16, 1900 at Vezirköprü by Belgian scholar Franz Cumont.
The inscription inv. no. E 1137, known as the “Gangra oath”, “Vezirköprü oath” or “Neoklaudiopolis oath” is one of the most important documents for the cult of the Roman emperor in Asia Minor and one of the few oath texts to be preserved from antiquity. It was seen and recorded by the Belgian scholar Franz Cumont and his brother Eugène Cumont in Vezirköprü in April 1900 and transferred to the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul in October of the same year. The stone is substantially complete, although the left edge has been lost along with the last letters of most lines.

All subsequent scholarship on the oath has followed the text presented by Franz Cumont to the Académie des Inscriptions, Paris, in 1900 and subsequently republished (1901, 1910). The 1910 publication also includes a facsimile drawing of the text. There are, however, several inconsistencies between Cumont’s reading, his description, and the facsimile. For instance, the stone is stated to be trapezoidal in shape, whereas the facsimile shows a rectangular stone; likewise, the letters on the facsimile do not always match the text presented by Franz Cumont. Also, the measurements given by Franz Cumont in different publications are contradictory.

Dess. ILS 8781 = Ditt. OGI 532:

1 ἀπὸ Αὐτοκράτορος Καίσ[αρος]
θεοῦ υἱοῦ Σεβαστοῦ ὑπατεύ[σαντος τὸ]
δωδέκατον ἔτους τρίτου, π[ροτέραι]
νωνῶν Μαρτίων ἐν Γάνγροις ἐν [κ]ά[στροις(?), ὅρ]-
5 κος ὁ τελεσθ[εὶς ὑ]πὸ τῶ[ν] κατοικ[ούντων Πα]-
φλαγονία[ν καὶ τῶν πραγ]ματευομ[ένων πα]-
ρ’ αὐτοῖς Ῥ[ωμαίων].
ὀμνύω Δία Γῆν Ἥλιον θεοὺς πάντα[ς καὶ πά]-
σας καὶ αὐτὸν τὸν Σεβασ[τ]ὸν εὐνοή[σειν Καί]-
10 σαρι Σεβαστῶι καὶ τοῖς τ[έκ]νοις ἐγγό[νοις τε]
αὐτοῦ πάν[τ]α τ[ὸ]ν τοῦ [βίου] χρόνον κ[αὶ λό]-
γωι [κ]αὶ ἔργωι καὶ γνώμη[ι, φί]λους ἡγού[μενος]
οὓς ἂν ἐκεῖνοι ἡγῶντα[ι] ἐκχθρούς {²⁶ἐχθρούς}²⁶ τε ν[ομίζων]
οὓς ἂν αὐτοὶ κρίνωσιν· ὑπέρ τε τῶν τ[ούτοις]
15 διαφερόντων μήτε σώματος φείσεσ[θαι μή]-
τε ψυχῆς μήτε βίου μήτε τέκνων, ἀλ[λὰ παν]-
τὶ τρόπωι ὑπὲρ τῶ[ν] ἐκείνοις ἀνηκό[ντων]
πάντα κίνδυνον ὑπομενεῖν· ὅ τί τε ἂ[ν αἴσ]-
θωμαι ἢ ἀκούσω ὑπεναντίον τούτ[οις λε]-
20 γόμενον ἢ βουλευόμενον ἢ πρασσό[μενον],
τοῦτο ἐγμηνύσειν τε καὶ ἐχθρὸν ἔσ[εσθαι τῶι]
λέγοντι ἢ βουλευομένωι ἢ πράσσο[ντί τι τού]-
των· οὕς τε ἂν ἐκχθροὺς {²⁶ἐχθροὺς}²⁶ αὐτοὶ κρίν[ωσιν, τού]-
τους κατὰ γῆν καὶ θάλασσαν ὅπλο[ις τε]
25 καὶ σιδήρωι διώξειν καὶ ἀμυνεῖσ[θαι].
ἐὰν δέ τι ὑπεναντίον τούτωι τ[ῶι ὅρκωι]
ποήσω ἢ μὴ στοιχούντως καθὼ[ς ὤμο]-
σα, ἐπαρῶμαι αὐτός τε κατ’ ἐμοῦ καὶ σ[ώμα]-
τος τοῦ ἐμαυτοῦ καὶ ψυχῆς καὶ βίου κα[ὶ τέ]-
30 κνων καὶ παντὸς τοῦ ἐμαυτοῦ γέν[ους]
καὶ συνφέροντος ἐξώλειαν καὶ παν[ώλει]-
αν μέχρι πάσης διαδοχῆς τῆς ἐ[μῆς καὶ]
τῶν ἐξ ἐμοῦ πάντων, καὶ μήτε σ[ώματα τὰ]
τῶν ἐμῶν ἢ ἐξ ἐμοῦ μήτε γῆ μ[ήτε θάλασ]-
35 σα δέξαιτο μηδὲ καρποὺς ἐνέγ[κοι αὐτοῖς].
κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ὤμοσαν καὶ οἱ ἐ[ν τῆι χώραι]
πάντες ἐν τοῖς κατὰ τὰς ὑ[παρχίας(?) Σε]-
βαστήοις παρὰ τοῖς βωμοῖ[ς τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ].
ὁμοίως τε Φαζιμωνεῖται οἱ [τὴν νῦν Νεάπο]-
40 λιν λεγομένην κατοικοῦν[τες ὤμοσαν σύμ]-
παντες ἐν Σεβαστήωι παρὰ τ[ῶι βωμῶι τοῦ]


When the emperor Caesar Augustus, son of the god [Julius Caesar] had been consul for the twelfth time, in the third year, March 6, in Gangra in …, the oath was taken by those who dwell in Paphlagonia and by the Romans who pursue their business among them.

“I swear by Zeus, the Earth, the Sun, all the gods and goddesses and by Augustus himself that I will be favourable towards Caesar Augustus and his children and descendants all the time of … in word, deed and intention. I will reckon as friends those whom they might reckon as friends and regard as enemies those that they might judge to be enemies. And in defence of their interests I will spare neither body, nor soul, nor life, nor children but take any risk, whatever kind it may be, for their interests. Whatever I might perceive or hear being said, planned or done against them, I will disclose, and I will be an enemy of one who says, plans or does any of this. Those that they judge to be enemies, I will pursue them with weapons and iron at land and sea, guarding myself against them.

If I should do anything against this oath or not precisely as I have sworn, I will raise for myself, my own body, soul and life, children, all of my family and my possession, destruction and utter ruin extending to all those that succeed me and all my descendants. The land and the sea shall neither receive the bodies of my children or descendants, nor shall they bear them fruit.”

All those living in the countryside swore according to the same terms at the altars of Augustus in the sanctuaries of Augustus that are in the … Likewise did the Phazemonitae, who dwell in what is also called Neapolis, all swear in the sanctuary of Augustus at the altar of Augustus.

Keywords: epigraphia epigraphy inscription iscrizione epigrafia epigraphik epigrafik inschrift épigraphie sandstone stele the oath to augustus gangra vezirkopru or neoklaudiopolis of roman emperor octavian august octavianus ottaviano augusto julio-claudian dynasty dinastia giulio-claudia julii-claudii inv no e 1137 1 ils 8781 ogi 532 1137-1