PHRC064 : Dedication to King Antiochos III, Queen Laodike and their son Antiochos, Bostan esh-Sheikh (Sidon) - Phoenicia (198-193 BC) Dedication


A fragmentary marble plaque discovered in 1969 in the sanctuary of Eshmun at Bostan esh-Sheikh near Sidon contains a dedication, probably by local priests, to King Antiochos III, Queen Laodike, and their son and co-regent Antiochos. The royal recipients of the dedication are unexpectedly referred to as Theoi Soteres and Theoi Euergetai, two epicleses unprecedented in the Seleucid tradition but well rooted in Ptolemaic practice. Thus, the dedication sheds light on a transfer of epithets from the old to the new masters of Phoenicia, recently annexed to the Seleucid kingdom by Antiochos III during the 4th Syrian war. The organization of the dedication is reminiscent of the classic configuration of Phoenician civic triads composed of a divine couple and their child.

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PHRC063 : Decree of the deme of Rhamnous honouring Antigonos II Gonatas - Attica (c. 255 BC) Decree


This decree was passed by the Attic deme of Rhamnous to honour King Antigonos II, probably after his decision to withdraw the Macedonian garrison from the city and to return Attic fortresses to Athenian control in 256/5 BC. Being the seat of a strategic defense hub in northern Attica, Rhamnous was directly affected by this decision and issued an honorific decree which built upon and complemented the isotheoi timai (godlike honours) granted to Antigonos in Athens. The text is one of the very few documents using this formula to describe cultic honours for political leaders in the 3rd cent. The king was granted the epithet of “Saviour of the Demos” and his altar became the centre of a yearly sacrifice addressed to him on the occasion of his birthday. The event was associated with the...

PHRC062 : Decree of Mylasa honouring the dynast Olympichos (Labraunda, Sanctuary of Zeus) - Karia (240-200 BC) Decree


This fragmentary decree was issued by the city of Mylasa, probably soon after 240 BC, to honour Seleukos II’s strategos Olympichos for liberating the city. Although the order to give the city freedom and democracy had stemmed from the king, Olympichos and the Mylanians represented the events by stressing their own roles and placing the focus on Olympichos’ benevolence and on the city’s gratitude. For this reason, Olympichos receives a full-scale series of cultic honours by means of which his status closely resembles that of contemporary kings. A sculptural group representing the Demos in the act of crowning Olympichos was flanked by an altar where an annual procession and sacrifice took place, having Olympichos as their cult recipient. The decree prescribes a series of activities...

PHRC060 : Decree of the villages of Neon Teichos and Kiddiou Kome for Achaios and his collaborators (Lykos Valley) - Phrygia (267 BC) Decree


This marble stele contains a decree of two villages in the Lykos valley honouring Achaios the Elder and two of his collaborators for protecting the local population and ransoming prisoners during a conflict with Galatian tribes. While not a secessionist, Achaios received honours positioning him very close to the prestige of kings: he was called Soter, just as Antiochos I, and received a yearly sacrifice of an ox in a sanctuary of Zeus, whereas his collaborators were referred to as Euergetai and honoured with the yearly sacrifice of one ram each in a sanctuary of Apollo. The use of different types of sacrificial animals to express a hierarchical relationship between the recipients of cult is unique in the documentation concerning ritual honours for political leaders. Another interesting...

PHRC057 : Dedication to Isis Arsinoe Philadelphos (Kanopos) - Egypt (270-240 BC) Small block


This dedication from Kanopos (ca 270-240 BC) was probably part of an altar of an another cult structure. Its text is particular in at least two respects. Firstly, it provides a rare case where an individual agent accomplished a dedication to a Ptolemaic ruler (in the dative) for (hyper) himself and his family. Secondly, the most convincing integration of the lacuna at the beginning of the text delivers the compound denomination Isis Arsinoe Philadelphos. While the link between Isis and Arsinoe is a well-known aspect of the cult for this queen, in Greek compound denominations Arsinoe’s name usually precedes that of the goddess. This detail may point to an Egyptian cultic context and the sanctuary of Isis and Anubis in Kanopos is a plausible candidate for the original place of the...

PHRC053 : Dedication to the Theoi Adelphoi, Zeus Olympios and Zeus Synomosios, Alexandria - Egypt (243-211 BC) Dedication


This joint dedication to the Theoi Adelphoi, Zeus Olympios and Zeus Synomosios was made by two Alexandrian priests of Zeus in favour of the living royal couple, Ptolemy III and Berenike II (post quem 243/2 BC, suggested by the presence of the epiclesis Theoi Euergetai). The donors dedicated a plot of land and probably divided it into two sacred precincts hosting altars. Perhaps the Theoi Adelphoi shared each precinct with a different configuration of Zeus, or a temenos of the royal ancestors was established next to one of Zeus. The joint dedication and the spatial proximity it establishes between divine and human power were an effective solution to advertise the donors’ loyalty to the dynasty. The two epicleses of Zeus depict him as the king of gods and as the patron of oaths; since...

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


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.

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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...

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


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.

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


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...

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


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.

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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


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.

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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


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


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.

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


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...

PHRC030 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Palaipaphos - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication


This plaque, now lost, contained the sole dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos written on marble known from the Paphos area. Despite this material, which was rare and expensive in Cyprus, the inscription is of very poor quality and presents various examples of phonetic writing and spelling mistakes. The plaque was probably attached to a small altar or another cultic object dedicated by a private donor in the sanctuary of Aphrodite Paphia.

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Photo 1: Photo of the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia; via Wikimedia Commons ...

PHRC029 : Dedication of the royal collaborator Dionysodoros to Attalos I, Pergamon - Mysia (230-197 BC) Dedication


This marble block was the base of the statue of a dancing Satyr dedicated to Dionysos and King Attalos I by Dionysodoros, a top-ranking member of the Pergamon army and court. The finely inscribed dedicatory epigram testifies to the intellectual activity of the Pergamon court under Attalos I and to the role Dionysos played in it as a god of art, banquets, and of mystery cults. Found reused in the foundations of a late-Hellenistic or early-Imperial building not far from the Asklepieion, this stone and the statue it bore may have originally stood in a building along the Sacred Way connecting the city to the Asklepieion, or perhaps even inside the Asklepieion itself. The paleography and prosopography of the inscription point to the 220s as the most plausible date for the dedication.

PHRC028 : Dedication to Eumenes II, Pergamon - Mysia (158-133 BC) Dedication


This marble block is what remains of a statue base which was dedicated to Eumenes II together with an altar of the king in the precinct of Athena. The stone was later reused in the Byzantine walls situated south of the sanctuary's terrace. The identification of the name of the recipient king (in lacuna) is made possible by the presence of the formula Theos Soter: this became a common denomination of Eumenes II after his death (158) whereas Attalos I was always referred to only with the epithet Soter.

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Photo 1: Drawing of the stone from IvP I 59
Photo 2: Plan of the medieval walls of the citadel, from AvP VIII.1 (IvP I)...

PHRC026 : Dedication of the Bakchoi to Eumenes II, Pergamon - Mysia (158-133 BC) Dedication


This finely inscribed altar was posthumously dedicated to Eumenes II by the cultic association of the Bakchoi. Its original location was probably the precinct of Athena on the acropolis, a prominent space for the royal representation and identity of the Attalids. The inscription testifies to the appropriation by a private religious group of the official ideological link associating the Attalid dynasty with Dionysos. Moreover, the quality of the inscription as well as the use of the rare literary epiclesis Euastes for Dionysos confirm that the Bakchoi were members of the Pergamon elite, perhaps enjoying a direct link with the royal court and with its cultural and religious life.

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Photo 1: Photo of the altar, from...

PHRC025 : Dedication of the archiboukolos Herodes to Augustus, Pergamon - Mysia (27 BC - 14 AD) Dedication


This altar, decorated with an oak wreath, a Capricorn and a cornucopia, was dedicated to Augustus by the leader of the Boukoloi (‘Cowherds), a private cultic association venerating Dionysos Kathegemon in Pergamon. The dedication was probably accomplished soon after the Roman Senate granted Octavian the title Augustus (Greek Sebastos) and the ‘corona civica’ and testifies to the contemporaneous enthusiasm for the pacification of Asia Minor under the early Principate. The altar, which was provided with a hollow top able to receive libations and perfume offerings, was part of the cultic tools of the association, which met in a luxury mansion erected on the south-western slope of the Pergamon hill, the so-called House with the ‘Podiensaal’. This dedication probably constitutes the...

PHRC019 : Dedication to Attalos I, Herakleia near Latmos - Karia (240-197 BC) Dedication


Herakleia near Latmos is the only city in Asia Minor besides Pergamon having delivered small objects with a dedication to Attalos I. This fragmentary altar, probably made with local marble, bears a text showing clear signs of cursive writing, which may point to a private context of dedication. Already reused as a tombstone in Antiquity, the altar was discovered among the blocks of a stone wall near the Bafa Lake. It makes the pair with another block which can be interpreted as a statue basis of Attalos I. Both inscriptions probably date to the 230s, when Attalos I managed to temporarily impose Pergamon as a regional power in Asia Minor.

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Photo 1 : A section of the Hellenistic walls of Herakleia; photo J. Hansen via...