Teos is one of those little shrines that is often overlooked by the casual tourist, but that deserves a place among the many interesting remains that are spread all over
. Today, Teos is a quiet fishermen’s village some Turkey 50 kilometers from . Izmir
Herodotus tells us that the site of Teos is located in the mildest places on earth, and the amazing fact is that is has provided most of the Anatolian inscriptions (about 400) giving a very detailed picture of daily life during Hellenistic and Roman rule.
Excavations have started again in 2010 and the exciting news is that a 2,200 years-old inscription has been uncovered, being the most comprehensive rental agreement in history. It tells us how students of the local gymnasium between 20 and 30 years of age, the so-called Neos, received a substantial inheritance from one of the city’s inhabitants. This person donated his land to the Neos, including all structures, the slaves and its sacred altar. In order to get some income and to cover the expenses for exploiting the parcel, the Neos rented the land. It was exempt from taxes because the parcel was accepted as being “sacred”. The agreement gives the names of the renter as well as that of his father. In order to be valid, the agreement had to be endorsed by a guarantor and had to be signed by six witnesses. In the present case, three of the witnesses happened to be top administrators of Teos.
This is the only inscription found so far that states the structure of the gymnasium and the fact that Neos were allowed to own property. Half of this inscription, is about the punishments the renter would face in the event he does not pay his annual rent or does not maintain the buildings or does not properly manage the land. The Neos also vowed to inspect their property at least once a year.
It is interesting to note that these Neos served as civil servants in politics and in assemblies.
During the third century BC, many important philosophers, poets, musicians and singers formed a Dionysus Union attracting people like Anacreon, Epicurus and Antimachus.