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Hellenistic Inscriptions

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The Sandwich Marble

This Greek inscription, like most classical Athenian inscriptions, is written in a regular, grid-like arrangement. It sets out the accounts of the Athenian administrators of the sanctuary of Apollo on the island of Delos, one of the largest and wealthiest sanctuaries in the Greek world. One side lists loans of money to cities and individuals and annual interest payments claimed. Additional income came from fines and confiscated estates, and from the lease of sacred lands and buildings on Delos. As well as receiving and lending money, the administrators also report their spending - on prizes, sacrifices and ceremonial events.

This inscription is known as ‘The Sandwich Marble’ because it was brought to England in 1739 by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. It is said that this same Earl was responsible for the invention of the sandwich. The lower part of the stone, found near the River Ilissos in Athens, is now in the Epigraphical Museum of Athens.

Date: around  377–373 BC
Find spot: River Illisos, Athens, Attica, Greece
On loan from Trinity College, Cambridge

Object Number: Loan Ant.20

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