The methodology

This database was created using lemmatized search in the TLG (Thesaurus linguae graecae) and search by all possible forms of the main key-terms of lottery practices in PHI (The Packard Humanities Institute). More epigraphic evidence, absent in SGE (Searchable Greek Inscriptions - PHI) was found through CGRN (Collection of Greek Ritual Norms) website, using search by a Greek word.

Classical and Early-Hellenistic inscriptions, dated up to ca. 300 BCE, were manually picked from the search results and classified by the following categories:

  • Genre: Metrical / non-metrical
  • Context: legal, appointment to a civil office, appointment to a priesthood, use of the lot for the division of sacrificial meat, divination practices, appointment to choregeia (liturgy), the distribution of inheritance, the distribution of lands, acts of synoikismos, establishing turns in possession of common property, assignment to a phyle of new citizens, and in funerary context (in metaphoric sense of one’s Fate).
  • Type of evidence: (1) “certain”, when we may be sure that a lottery took place; (2) “probable” when a lottery probably took place. The evidence is sometimes found generally in fragmentary inscriptions, and specifically in legal inscriptions. (3) “metaphorical” in metrical funerary inscriptions, where the key-terms of lottery appear in the sense of one’s Fate in life.
  • Gender of the participant in a lottery.

The inscriptions are also tagged with location and date to enable sorting the evidence by date and to look for a specific location or a specific historical event (e.g. the synoikismos of Euaimon and Orchomenos in 360-350 BCE).

The literary evidence was collected through lemmatized search, using TLG search engine. The texts were then manually cleared of wrongly associated lemmas and of instances unrelated to lottery and classified according to the following categories:

  • Period: Archaic, Early Classical, Classical, and Late Classical
  • Genre: poetry or prose
  • Subgenre: Historiography, Rhetoric, Epic, Lyric, Tragedy, Comedy, Philosophy, Technical, Oracular
  • Gender of the participant in a lottery
  • Context: military, legal, funerary, contest, sacrifice, human sacrifice, inheritance, land distribution, gods (as participants of a lottery), slavery, spoils distribution, office, priesthood, colonization, fate.

The texts are also tagged with the object of the lottery, where applicable.