007 - Fig1

PHRC007 : Dedication by the official Ptolemaios to Hermes, Herakles, Antiochos III, Soloi - Kilikia (197 BC) Dedication

The inscription, perhaps originally belonging to a statue base of Antiochos III, is a dedication made by the Seleucid governor and high priest of Koile Syria and Kilikia, Ptolemaios son of Thraseas, right after the conquest of Soloi by Antiochos III. The divine recipients, Hermes and Herakles, reveal that the dedication was made in the gymnasium; the king appeared as the third addressee, a point confirming the importance of gymnasia as places where the legitimacy of royal power was shaped and transmitted to the young generations of citizens.

Permanent ID http://s.phrc.it/phrc007

Photo 1: Photo 1: photo of the stone, from Amandry et al. 1972, p. 110, fig. 11

Current location

Ecole française d'Athènes
Inv. No. I. 8


Object Type: Slab
Ma 2002, p. 322, suggests that the slab might have originally belonged to a block, sawn in modern times to facilitate the transport of the inscription to Mersin and then to Athens. The slab was well preserved at the time of the first edition, except for the top-left corner of the stone. Later on, a larger piece on the top-right was lost, containing the patronymic of the donor.
Material: Marble
Height: 32.5 cm
Width: 50 cm
Depth: 5 cm


The text is divided in 5 lines, elegantly aligned with a regular margin on the left. As in other specimens of this quality, the distribution of the text in lines not only follows the word division, but more precisely separates the text into semantic blocks, distinguishing 1) the name of the donor, 2) his titles, 3) the geographical extension of his appointments, 4) the recipient gods of the gymnasium, and 5) the honoured king.
Elegant letters of about 200 BC, with thickening at the end of the long bars. The letters of each line are of the same size, but their height varies from line to line (average height between 2 and 2.5 cm)
Letter height between 2.5 and 1.6.


Original Place: Soloi
Date: 197 BC
Justification: content and formulary.
Provenance: Found in the gymnasium of Soloi/Pompeiopolis, W of Mersin, and brought to this city by the editors.


Text constituted from: Radet - Paris 1890, p. 587-589 (followed by OGIS 230), with wrong date (218 BC).

Other editions: P. Amandry et al. 1972, p. 109-110, no. 15, with wrong integration of the father's name at the end of line 1 (this fragment had been lost at one point between the editio princeps and the publication of the EFA catalogue).

See also: Radet 1893, p. 61-62 (with the correct date, 197 BC); RIG 1229; Hollaux 1942, p. 160-161 and n. 6 (discussing the date 197 BC); Piejko 1991; Ma 2002, p. 82-83, 321-323, no. 21 (English trans.).

Images: Amandry et al. 1972, p. 110, fig. 11.

Further bibliography: Gera 1987, p. 63–73; Jones - Habicht 1989, p. 335-346; Heinrichs 2018, p. 272-311.

Online record: Trismegistos


Πτολεμαῖος Θρασέα
στραταγός καί ἀρχιερεύς
Συρίας Κοίλας καί Φοινίκας
Ἑρμᾶι vac. καί vac. Ήρακλεΐ καί
5 βασιλεΐ μεγάλωι Ἀντιόχωι.


(S. Caneva)
Ptolemaios son of Thraseas, strategos and high-priest of Koile Syria and Phoenicia, to Hermes, Herakles and the Great King Antiochos.


(S. Caneva)
Ptolemaios figlio di Thraseas, stratego e sommo sacerdote di Celesiria e Fenicia, a Hermes, Herakles e al Gran Re Antioco.


(L. Lorenzon)
Ptolémée fils de Thraséas, stratège et grand-prêtre de Coilé-Syrie et de Phénicie, à Hermès, Héraclès et Antiochos le Grand Roi".


The author of the dedication is a well-known official of Antiochos III: Ptolemaios son of Thraseas (Gera 1987; Jones – Habicht 1989, p. 335-346; Heinrichs 2018). The descendant of an Aspendian family of Ptolemaic officials (cf. PHRC010), Ptolemaios deserted to Antiochos after serving the Ptolemaic army during the 4th Syrian War ( Polybius, V.65.3). His passage to the Seleucid side was rewarded with the concession (or confirmation) of private estates at Skythopolis (Beit She'an, area of Hefzibah; SEG XXIX 1613, 199/8 BC). His dedication in Soloi, Kilikia, has been convincingly put in relation with the beginning of Antiochos’ campaign in Asia Minor (spring 197 BC).

The dedication made by Ptolemaios was addressed to the gods Hermes and Herakles, together with the king Antiochos III, following a common pattern of cultic honours in Hellenistic gymnasia. However, unlike other similar documents, which stemmed from the initiative of members of the local gymnasium, Ptolemaios’ dedication sheds light on the activity of a foreigner: a royal official who, as we may infer, was acting on a personal initiative, in the period immediately after Antiochos’ conquest of Soloi, when new links had to be established between the civic elite and the king. Ptolemaios’s initiative would serve this strategic purpose, as the euergetic act in the gymnasium stemmed from an official of the king, while at the same time manifesting the personal loyalty of the governor and high-priest of Koile Syria and Phoenicia toward his patron.

Comparison with similar dedications in gymnasia allows to point at a small statue as a plausible object with which this dedicatory text was associated. This hypothesis is coherent with the suggestion by Ma 2002, p. 322, that the Soloi slab might have been sawn in modern times from the block to which it originally belonged, in order to allow transport and sale at Mersin.

The name of the recipient Antiochos is accompanied by the solemn denomination “Great King”, drawn from Achaemenid precedents and already used by Ptolemy III in the report of his military exploits in the East after the Laodikean War ( OGIS 54, line 1). The link between this title and the military dominion over Asia has been stressed by Ma 2002, p. 73, 275-276: the documentation proves this title was taken by Antiochos only after his conquest of Koile Syria in the IV Syrian War (200 BC).

S. Caneva and L. Lorenzon, 10.11.2018

Content licensed under
All citation, reuse or distribution of this work must contain somewhere a link back to the URL http://phrc.it and the filename, as well as the date of consultation (see Licences for details of how to cite).
No valid return data for this setting.
No valid return data for this setting.
No valid return data for this setting.
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
Follow me
Logo Università di Padova
Logo Marie Curie
Logo Liege
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).
Powered by: #mappiamo