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PHRC's first birthday! Launch of PHRC 0.2 and new release of texts

Université de Liège


Dear PHRC readers,

We are happy to celebrate the first year of the PHRC website by reaching 50 published texts and by announcing some improvements we have brought to the platform, which enters now its PHRC 0.2 phase, as well as some novelties for the new year!

1) Digital development: Introducing PHRC 0.2
The new version of PHRC is ready to welcome German translations of texts in addition to the existing English, Italian, and French translations.

Moreover, from January 2020 PHRC 0.2 will provide a stable URL to all published texts, making searchability, reference and reuse much easier and more efficient.

Finally, in 2020 a phrc_bot for Telegram will be launched, allowing for a faster search of texts via your smartphone and making it...


PHRC049 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Philoteria - Koile Syria (261-240 BC) Dedication

32.713858,35.573386

This recently published limestone slab from Philoteria (See of Galilee) has provided the first evidence of the cult of Arsinoe Philadelphos in the Levant. This plaque shows that the close link between Arsinoe’s cult and navigation (for military or commercial purposes) did not only apply to the open sea, but could also find its place on the shore of an internal salt lake. The Zenon archive sheds light on the intense economic activities of Ptolemaic agents in the inland of Koile Syria in this period and it is probable that the dedication was made by one of these figures, making this object a significant case of the link between politics, trade, and acculturation within the Ptolemaic kingdom.

Images

Photo 1: Photo and drawing of the stone, from Tal 2019...


PHRC048 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Karpasia (?) - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

35.533333,34.191667

This stone constitutes the largest known support inscribed with a dedication for Arsinoe Philadelphos from the whole Mediterranean. The size and shape of the block suggest that it was not an altar, but rather an architectural element which may have functioned as a horos delimiting a sacred area dedicated to the cult of Arsinoe Philadelphos. The original setting of the stone is lost. It may have belonged to a public building, probably a sanctuary, situated near modern Gialousa in the Karpaz peninsula in NE Cyprus.

Images

Photo 1: Drawing of the inscription, from Perdrizet 1896, p. 359...


PHRC050 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Eretria - Euboea (270-240 BC) Dedication

38.397146,23.790017

This small plaque is the only specimen of dedication for Arsinoe Philadelphos from Euboea and from the western coast of the Aegean Sea. It probably belonged to a small altar used for the household cult of the deified queen, as suggested by its find spot which is situated within a Hellenistic house in the western neighbourhood of Eretria.

Images

Photo 1: Photo of the stone, from Reber et al. 1998, photo 141
Photo 2: Plan of the Hellenistic House IV, from Reber et al. 1998, photo 138, with indication of the find spot of the inscription
Photo 3: Plan of the western neighbourhood of Eretria, Reber et al. 1998, photo 2
Photo 4: Aerial photo of the western neighbourhood of Eretria, from Reber et al. 1998, photo 3
Photo 5: Plan of the archaeological site...


PHRC046 : Dedication (fake?) to Queen Kleopatra VII, Salamis - Cyprus (47-42 BC) Dedication

35.179950,33.903052

This terracotta representation of Eros riding a rooster was dedicated to a queen Kleopatra whose identity is revealed by a Cypriot bronze coin of Kleopatra VII found together with the statuette. The rare iconography of the coin, which represents the queen suckling a baby Ptolemy XV Kaisarion in an attitude associating them with Isis and Horus (and possibly with Aphrodite and Eros), allows us to narrow down the chronological limits of the dedication to the early years after the birth of the son of Kleopatra and Caesar. However, various problematic details concerning the text and palaeography of the inscription, together with the notorious habit of the Cesnola brothers to enrich their collection of Cypriot antiquities with little scruple for the provenance of the purchased objets, do not...


PHRC047 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Salamis - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

35.179950,33.903052

This amphora is the sole vase inscribed with a dedication for Arsinoe Philadelphos apart from the Alexandrian oinochoai of Ptolemaic ruler cult. The difficulty in interpreting this object stems from the fact that because of its decoration, the amphora closely resembles funerary amphoras from Eastern Cyprus of the period Cypro-Archaic I (700-600 BC). If we exclude the possibility of a modern fake, the only possible interpretations are that an amphora of the archaic period was found and reused in the early Hellenistic period, or that an archaic type of decoration inspired the producer of the vase at the time of the diffusion of Arsinoe's cult. Be that as it may, this large amphora might have been used to stock edible goods for ritual offerings to the deified queen. Its size and rich...


Reflections on a new article on the link between divine names and cult places

University of Liège

Dear PHRC readers,

We would like to draw your attention to a review paper recently published by the research team of the ERC project Mapping Ancient Polytheisms (based in Toulouse) on the Mediterranean Historical Review:

Mapping ancient gods: naming and embodiment beyond “anthropomorphism”. A survey of the field in echo to the books of M.S. Smith and R. Parker

Beyond the general focus of the discussion, readers of this interesting paper will find useful insights in various questions concerning the link between traditional gods and new human recipients of cult in the Hellenistic period. I mention here a few:

- what is the link between royal epithets associating a ruler with a god and the organisation of (possibly) shared cult spaces for them...


PHRC044 : Decree of a tribe of Iasos honouring King Antiochos III and Laodike, Iasos - Karia (196-194 BC) Decree

37.278837,27.585075

This fragmentary decree was issued by a tribe of Iasos to honour Antiochos III and Laodike. Various Hellenistic documents attest to the participation of demographic sub-partitions of a polis in the celebration of civic honours for rulers, but this specimen provides a rare case whereby the tribe is not only involved in the rituals, but actively establishes and regulates them. The text stipulates the accomplishment of a libation accompanied by a prayer for the wellbeing of the royal family. Other ritual activities mentioned in a fragmentary part of the text possibly took place on an altar of the tribe....


PHRC043 : Decree of the city of Iasos establishing cultic honours for King Antiochos III and Queen Laodike - Karia (196-194 BC) Decree

37.278837,27.585075

The decree of the city of Iasos honouring Antiochos III and his Laodike was inscribed underneath the text of a letter of the queen granting a donation to the city. This endowment was meant to provide poor girls with a dowry when they got married. The stele was probably erected in the area of the agora. The reasons for which the king and queen are praised as well as their ritual honours clearly mark a gender-related difference between the two benefactors. The king, who is celebrated for having liberated and protected the city, is honoured with an altar on which each year the new magistrates will sacrifice to the king together with the civic gods on the moment of receiving the city keys from their previous colleagues. Conversely, the honours of the queen pertain to the sphere of marriage. A...


PHRC045 : Dedication to King Ptolemy II (?), Herakleia near Latmos - Karia (270-240 BC) Dedication

37.501842,27.525011

This conical sundail was crafted by an Alexandrian technician and dedicated to King Ptolemy II (or perhaps to Ptolemy III in the early years of his reign), by a donor who probably was an important citizen of Herakleia. It tesifies to the export of technological know-how from Alexandria to the provinces of the Ptolemaic empire and was probably used to schedule public activities (religious or administrative) in an institutional or religious building, or perhaps in a gymnasium.

Images
Photo 1: Photo of the main quadrant with the underlying dedication, from Wörrle 1988, p. 475, Pl. 5
Photo 2: General view of the artefact, from the website of the Musée du Louvre...


New release of texts (nos. 17-42)

Université de Liège

Dear PHRC readers,

We are happy to launch today the second set of texts (nos. 17-42) of the PHRC collection.

The new documents concern Ptolemaic and Attalid ruler cults in Asia Minor, the Aegan Islands, and Cyprus.

With this new release we are adding a new type of text (no. 36, a fragment of a Delian inventory) and a new material (andesite, used for various Attalid altars in Pergamon).

New sovereigns (Ptolemy V, Attalos I, Eumenes II) are concerned as well as new locations (Herakleia near Latmos, Pergamon and its neighbouring sanctuary of Mamurt Kale, Amorgos, Delos, Soloi in Cyprus). Nos. 30-35 combine with the previously released no. 14 to complete the dossier of dedications to Arsinoe Philadelphos from the Paphos area, the biggest from the...


PHRC042 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Soloi - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

35.141031,32.813275

This large, horizontal, and rectangular block bears a dedication to Arsinoe Philaldephos. The form and size of the stone as well as the position of the inscription upon it suggest that the block was inserted in a cultic structure or in a wall delimiting an area sacred to Arsinoe, which might have been located in the sanctuary of Cholades, the acropolis of Soloi. This location, however, remains hypothetical due to the lack of precise informaiton about the provenance of the stone.

Photo 1: Plan of the temples of Soloi-Cholades; on the right, temple A (Aphrodite; 3rd cent.), later replaced by temples B and C (Aphrodite + Isis). From Westholm 1936, p. 87, fig. 50
Photo 2: Photo of the marble head of Ptolemaic queen, probably Arsinoe II; from Westholm 1936, pl. III, find 438...


PHRC041 : Dedication to Ptolemy V, Soloi-Mersinaki - Cyprus (199-180 BC) Dedication

35.156834,32.788315

This small and irregular block of marble dedicated to Ptolemy V testifies to the cult of this king in the sanctuary of Soloi-Mersinaki. The very poor quality of the inscription is at first sight in contrast with the use of a prestigious material such as marble. However, this detail finds various parallels in the Aegean and Cypriot dossier of Ptolemaic ruler cults.

Images:
Photo 1: Photo of the slab, from Gjerstad et al. 1937, II, pl. CXLVIII...


PHRC040 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Soloi-Mersinaki - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

35.156834,32.788315

This marble slab contains a roughly written dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos. Together with another dedication to Ptolemy V, this object testifies to the practice of Ptolemaic ruler cults in the sanctuary of Mersinaki, situated along the coast between the city of Soloi and the promontory of Vouni and possibly dedicated to Apollo and Athena.

Images:
Photo 1: Photo of the slab, from Gjerstad et al. 1937, II, pl. CXLVIII
Photo 2: View of the Morphou Bay from Vouni, with Mersinaki in the foreground and Soloi in the background; photo S.G. Caneva

...


PHRC039 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Minoa (Amorgos) - Cyclades (270-240 BC) dedication

36.824187,25.864062

This block, originally inserted in an altar or in another structure related to the cult of Arsinoe Philadelphos, bears one of the three known dedications to this deified queen from Minoa. The use of a prestigious material such as marble is counterbalanced by the odd division of the epiclesis in two lines, which is typical of low-quality dedications for Arsinoe....


PHRC038 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Delos - Cyclades (270-240 BC) dedication

37.396576,25.271433

Despite the use of marble (probably from a local quarry), the low quality of this dedication points to a domestic initiative or at any rate to a humble private dedication to Arsinoe Philaldephos. The original place of the dedication is unknown. If we assume that the altar or the other cultic structure to which the plaque was attached stood in a public space, various options are open, but the sanctuary Philadelpheion can be seen as the most plausible hypothesis....


PHRC037 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Soloi - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

35.141031,32.813275

This small sandstone plaque shows a particularly low quality of execution, which combined with the use of lunar sigma in the inscription (a common example of the influence of cursive writing) points to a private dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos. It would be tempting to associate this dedication with the sanctuary of Cholades, the acropolis of Soloi, where the documented cults of Aphrodite and Isis would provide a suitable cultic milieu for the celebration of rituals for the deified queen....


PHRC036 : Record of the dedication of a phiale for the festival Philadelpheia, Delos - Cyclades (240/39 BC) Inventory

37.401210,25.267384

Delian inventories since 267 mention a phiale dedicated by Hermias, the nesiarch of the League of the Islanders, to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Apollo, Artemis, and Leto on the occasion of the festival Philadelpheia. This inventory is the only one adding King Ptolemy II as a further recipient of the offering. Since the phiale and the festival were financed by the yearly interests of Hermias' endowment, the nesiarch had founded the festival for the deceased and deified Arsinoe one year before, in 268, at the beginning of the Chremonidean War. His personal donation completed the set of cultic honours already granted by the League to Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II and reinforced the message of allegiance to Ptolemy II during the conflict against Antigonos Gonatas. It is possible, although uncertain, that...


PHRC035 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Archimandrita (Palaipaphos) - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

34.707430,32.573902

As other specimens from the Paphos area, this object is a small rectangular altar with a shallow depression on the top, probably used for vegetal offerings to Arsinoe Philadelphos. The find spot Archimandrita, about 7 km from the sanctuary of Aphrodite, is probably not the original place where the altar was used, but rather a secondary location where the stone was reused as building material or for decorative purposes....


PHRC034 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Palaipaphos - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

34.707430,32.573902

This large limestone block differs from the others inscribed objects of Arsinoe Philaldelphos in the Paphos area. Because of its size and shape it cannot be interpreted as an altar. On the contrary, comparison with other similar specimens from Cyprus (Yalousa) and Halikarnassos suggests that this block was either part of a wall or a boundary stone indicating the limits of an area consecrated to the cult of Arsinoe inside the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaipaphos....


Travocial - Social Travel & Storytelling Practicalities of Hellenistic Ruler Cults
Marie Curie PISCOPIA project no. PISC14IGRU, University of Padova (2015-2017)
FNRS project no. 98368 (2017-2020)
Stefano Caneva
ste.caneva@gmail.com
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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme, under Grant Agreement n° 600376 (2015-2017), and from the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS), Belgium (2017-2020).
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