Since this blog has emerged (by virtue of its title's obscurity) as the top Google result for "horothesia", I'm surely obligated to explain the word!


τὰ ὁροθέσια, ἡ ὁροθεσία1
τὰ χωρίζοντα τὴν γῆν;2
the dividing of the earth;
a cadastral, technical term for the survey and demarcation of land and, specifically, the written (or recited) itinerary of property or territorial boundaries, which was considered a legal document

The word (equivalent to the Latin determinatio) shows up in some of the Roman imperial era boundary inscriptions I worked on for my dissertation, including the following text.

Example: The Horothesia of Laberius Maximus

IScM 1 68 ll. 1-8 (whence PHI72734); EDH HD026625; IScM 1 67 ll. 1-4; Oliver 1965, 154 s.v. "Decision of the Consular Laberius Maximus"; AE 1919.10.

This document is the first in an important dossier from the city of Histria (modern Istria in Romania) dating to the first century CE (AD). The dossier concerns a dispute between the city of Histria and the contractor who had purchased the portorium ripae Thraciae. The dispute centered on rights to tax revenues and required an authoritative boundary demarcation by the governor of Moesia Inferior as part of his verdict in the case.

Octavian Bounegru delivered a paper on this dossier entitled "La horothésie d'Histria: une nouvelle approche épigraphique d'un dossier douanier à l'époque romaine" at CIEGL 2007, but unfortunately it was during my session, so I missed it!

Text (after IScM):

ὁροθεσία Λαβερίου Μαξίμου ὑ[πατικοῦ] / fines Histrianorum hos esse con[stitui - - - - - - Pe]/ucem laccum Halmyridem a do[minio - - - - - - - - - - - ] / Argamensium, inde iugo summo [ - - - - - - - - - - ad c]/[o]nfluentes rivorum Picusculi et Ga[brani, inde ab im]/5[o] Gabrano ad capud eiusdem, inde [ - - - - iuxta rivum] / [S]anpaeum, inde ad rivum Turgicu[lum - - - - - - - - - ] / a rivo Calabaeo, milia passum circi[ter D?XVI]


Official boundary demarcation (horothesia) of Laberius Maximus, consular.

I have established these ... (as) the boundaries of the Histriani ... Peuce ... Halmyris lagoon from ... of the Argamensies, thence along the top of the ridge ... to the confluence of the Picusculus and Gabranus streams, thence from the lower Gabranus to its headwaters, thence ... Sanpaeus, thence to the stream Turgiculus ... from the stream Calabaeus, 516(?) miles around the perimeter.


  1. transliterated: horothesia. The word appears in both the neuter plural and the feminine singular. A search of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae on 1 October 2007 turned up 207 discrete instances in Greek literature. Its earliest appearance outside the epigraphy appears to be in the Acts of the Apostles (17.26) and the majority of the later citations seem to derive from the church fathers, monastic acta and Byzantine lexicographers and grammarians.
  2. Hesychius, Lexicon 1278