page in greek ελληνικά
epigraphe sample (language: ancient greek)

on marble, found in Athens, written in 1st century e.v.
larger: 644x700.jpg 75kb at source ELIA.
epigraphe in greek language and script
length: ?cm width: ?cm height: ?cm
Greek alphabet, capital letters.
Sigma presented with C.
date of creation
1st century e.v.
place of discovery
Athens, ancient Agora (=market).
initial place
Probably in front of the Titus Flavius Pantainos library.
place of exhibition
Museum of the Ancient Agora of Athens Inv.No. I 2729
text description
Clearly readable five (5) lines. No loss of any text parts.
text content
Regulations of library. Opening and closing hours.
See line-by-line.
text reference
Seems to be referring to the library of the Athens Agora, founded by donation of Titus Flavius Pantaenos (Pantainos) 1st century e.v.
bibliographic reference
SEG (Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum), XXI, 500
This is a good example of a marble greek inscription/epigraphe (gre: EΠIΓPAΦH) with readable and interesting text. It shows very well how ancient greek script was: capital letters only, no spaces, no diacritics. Our source states that it is dated from the 1st e.v. century, and was written in Athens. I am sure that we all can read it.
Let's take a closer look
  1. Please, read from right to left, starting from the top.
  2. The letter sigma Σ is presented as C (see lunate sigma).
  3. The marking : (two vertically arranged dots) separates the units of meaning. It looks like our own punctuation mark : but plays the role of a period. Sometimes they used a three-dot marking as a separator.
line 1: identical BYBΛIONOYKEΞE
mod.gre.alphabet capital letters BYBΛIONOYKEΞE
latin alphabet capital letters BYBLIONOYKEXE
line 2: identical NEXΘHCETAIEΠEI
mod.gre.alphabet capital letters NEXΘHΣETAIEΠEI
latin alphabet capital letters NECHTHESETAEEPEI
line 3: identical ΩMOCAMEN:ANYΓH
mod.gre.alphabet capital letters ΩMOΣAMEN.ANYΓH
latin alphabet capital letters OMOSAMEN.ANYGE
line 4: identical CETAIAΠOΩPACΠPΩ
mod.gre.alphabet capital letters ΣETAIAΠOΩPAΣΠPΩ
latin alphabet capital letters SETAIAPOORASPRO
line 5: identical THCMEXPIEKTHC
mod.gre.alphabet capital letters THΣMEXPIEKTHΣ
latin alphabet capital letters TESMECHRIEKTES
Let's understand it
Let's read it all:
Is it all greek to you? That is because the words are not separated with spaces. Although I am greek, my eyes get confused with this. I shall separate the words:
Some words seem a bit 'old' to my ears, but I clearly understand. Here is a modern greek version of it:
And an english version:
Let's translate the words
Did the person who wrote it make mistakes? Would a library mis-spell its regulations?
Let's take a closer look.
NOTE: the greek pronunciation presented here, is the standard, reuchlinian greek pronunciation.  
mod.gre.pronunc: vi`vlion uk eksenex`θisete e`pi o`mosamen
meaning biblio=book no, not will get out because we have sworn.
comments Why does he write it
with Y?
Why not: BIBΛION?
See answer.
  passive future tense II of verb
EK+[s]+ENEXΘHΣOMAI (passive fut.II, 1st person)
      The [s] develops for euphonic reasons.
=from + to carry, bring
=carry out
So, it was not a lending library. They have sworn so!
  past tense (Aorist A)
of the verb OMNYMI
mod.gre.pronunc: ani`γisete a`po `oras `protis `mexri `ektis
meaning will open
(he means:
the library will open)
from apo- as in
apostrophe, apology, apocalypse, etc.
hor- = hour
first until ἕκτη = sixth (fem.)
hec- as in hexagon
comments passive future tense II of verb
ANOIΓΩ=to open.
Is there a mistake
of spelling here?
The librarian should have written ANOIΓHΣETAI.
But why did he write ANYΓHΣETAI?
See answer.
  He means: first hour after sunrise (not our 1:00 a.m.).
The word ὥρα has many broad meanings (season, time). As hour-of-day: the period betweeen sunrise and sunset was divided into twelve (12) equal units. Their duration varied according to the season (summer days are longer).
NOTES: Also, the division of solar day into 24 units was known to all ancients (Babylonians, et al.). See hour @wikipedia. Also see the relevant work (around 150 a.e.v.) of the astronomer Hipparchus Hipparchus @wikipedia.
sources: {} {E.E.@wikipedia}

Now, we are ready to visit the Ephigraphy Museum of Athens, and read!
exhibitions, Epigraphical Museum, Athens
See LINKS on epigraphy.

My source: {@ELIA.hg} See: caption.
BOOK: page 87.
ONLINE synopsis: greek section with images, page on Hellenistic Koine:
<> lang:gre. retr.10 OCT 2007.
English section without images: <>
Caption by ELIA in greek:
Η επιγραφή (SEG, XXI, 500) στη μαρμάρινη πλάκα φαίνεται ότι αναφέρεται στον κανονισμό λειτουργίας της βιβλιοθήκης που ιδρύθηκε στην Αγορά των Αθηνών με δωρεά του Τίτου Φλάβιου Πανταίνου (1ος αι. μ.χ.). Το λάθος στο 'ανυγήσεται' (υ αντί οι) δηλώνει ότι η δίφθογγος οι είχε συμπέσει στην προφορά με το υ/ϋ.
my translation of the caption
The epigraphy \inscription\ SEG, XXI, 500 on the marble plaque seems to be referring to the regulations for the library which was founded at the Athenian Agora \market\, as a donation of Titus Flavius Pantaenos (Pantainos) (AD 1st century).
^ The mistake \at the word\ < ανυγήσεται > \anygesetae\ (with Y instead of OI) indicates that the diphthong < OI > was pronounced identically as < Y > or < Ÿ >.
About the first word: BYBLION
^ Word byblion instead of biblion (line 1): see etymology for greek word: BIBΛION < BYBΛION and the material byblos.
Related words
Titus Flavius Pantainos
Libraries in ancient Greece

katerina sarri, athens, 08 DEC 2007.