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Headword: Ἰνδικτιὼν
Adler number: iota,373
Translated headword: indiction
Vetting Status: high
They say [ἰνδικτιών ] and ἴνδικτος .
Greek Original:
Ἰνδικτιὼν καὶ Ἴνδικτος λέγεται.
The form ἰνδικτιών is a transliteration of Latin indictio, and ἴνδικτος is a later Greek synonym for ἰνδικτιών .
An indictio in early imperial Latin is an "imposition of taxes", but starting in 287 Diocletian introduced a new tax assessment system based a five-year period; the idea was probably based on the old five-year lustrum, a republican religious ceremony theoretically held every five years after the completion of a census. Beginning in 297 Diocletian's five-year system, originally called ἐπιγραφή , received the additional name indictio. In 314 a fifteen-year indictio was first instituted by Licinius (rather than by Constantine the Great as often assumed), and was made to start retroactively from 312; each indictio began on September 23, the birthday of Augustus. Later, between 452 and 459, the beginning of the indictio was changed to September 1 to simplify calculations.
Starting as early as 356, in Cod. Theod. 12.12.2, indictio was being used as a method of dating based on the relative year within a fifteen-year period: that is, "quarta indictione" or "ἰνδικτιῶνι δ ́ " meant "in the fourth year [out of fifteen] of the indiction" (not "in the fourth indiction"). The individual fifteen-year indictiones were never numbered sequentially. See (on this and in general) E.J. Bickerman, Chronology of the Ancient World (1968) 78-79.
Constantine Porphyrogenitus (De Thematibus Europ. 8) cites from Hesychius an anecdotal etymology of ἰνδικτιών . Supposedly Augustus named it from "ἰνακτιών " in reference to his victory at Actium (31 BCE), and the fifteen-year duration supposedly reflected the fact that Antony and Octavian had been co-consuls for fifteen years before Octavian, the future Augustus, conquered him and became sole ruler.
For further source citations for the usage of indictio and ἰνδικτιών , see Lampe (1961-8), TLL (1934-64), or Sophocles (1887). For a discussion of the term and bibliography, see s.v. indictio in Cancik & Schneider (1996, Eng. trans. 2005), or consult web address 1 (Catholic Encyclopedia), web address 2 (German Wikipedia), and web address 3 (Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines).
Sophocles, E.A. Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (From B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1887
Lampe, G.W.H. A Patristic Greek Lexicon, 5 vols., Oxford: Clarendon. 1961-8
Lesky, Albin(us), ed. Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL), vol. 7, pt. 1 (I-INTERVVLSVS), Leipzig: Teubner, 1934-64
Cancik, Herbert & Schneider, Helmuth, eds. Brill's Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World, New Pauly, vol. 6 (HAT-IUS), Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2005
Cancik, Herbert & Schneider, Helmuth, eds. Der Neue Pauly Enzyklopaedie der Antike, vol. 6 (GRU-IUG), Metzler: Stuttgart-Weimar, 1996
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: chronology; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; history; military affairs; religion
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 28 April 2006@13:43:39.
Vetted by:
Abram Ring (augmented notes, web addr., and biblio.) on 29 April 2006@10:44:41.
Abram Ring (updated notes and bibliography) on 3 May 2006@16:47:59.
Abram Ring (added web ref from Dictionaire des Antiquites Gr. et Rom.) on 4 May 2006@11:47:35.
David Whitehead (two small additions to notes; more keywords) on 5 May 2006@03:42:32.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 11 January 2013@08:06:01.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 11 January 2013@23:19:36.
Catharine Roth (supplemented note) on 29 August 2013@22:19:28.
David Whitehead (expanded note) on 30 August 2013@03:18:04.
Catharine Roth (deleted a link, tweaked another) on 20 January 2019@22:38:38.


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