164 BC  )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, p. 31, n. 33


      Apparently the Delians had opposed a certain Demetrius of Rhenea in fostering the cult of Serapis on the island of Delos and had been supported by the Athenian governor. Whereupon Demetrius went directly to Rome, secured a decree of the Roman Senate in his favor, and, armed with this document, compelled the Athenian Senate to comply with his wishes. Since Athens was still a free state, this action of the Roman Senate in brutally overriding the administrative policy of an allied state in such a trifling matter reveals how little a part either the law of nations (ius gentium) or diplomatic amenities played in Roman foreign policy of this period.
       This inscription was discovered in 1911 on Delos in the Aegean Sea.


      The strategi to Charmides, curator of Delos, greetings.
      After a long discussion in the Senate about the decree of the Senate which Demetrius of Rhenea brought from Rome in reference to matters pertaining to the Serapeum, it was resolved not to forbid him to open and to tend the shrine as before and to write to you that you may know about this matter. We append the copy of the decree of the Senate brought by him.
      The praetor Quintus Minucius, son of Quintus, consulted the Senate in the Comitium on the intercalary Ides. Publius Porcius, son of Publius, Tiberius Claudius, son of Tiberius, of the tribe Crustumina, and Manius Fonteius, son of Gaius, assisted in drafting the decree.
      Whereas Demetrius of Rhenea requested that he should be allowed to tend the Shrine of Serapis on Delos and that the Delians and the Athenian governor should be restrained from forbidding his cult service, the senators proposed as follows in regard to the said matter :
      Whereas he tended the shrine previously, insofar as we are concerned, he may continue to tend it, provided that nothing is done in opposition to the decree of the Senate.
      The proposal passed.