010 - Fig2

PHRC010 : Letter of the strategos Thraseas to the city of Arsinoe, with an appended decree of the city of Nagidos - Kilikia (245-221 BC) Letter

This stele contains a letter of the strategos of Kilikia Thraseas to the city of Arsinoe together with a decree of the nearby city of Nagidos concerning a negotiated agreement between the two cities. The dossier is of particular interest as it sheds light on the issues that the foundation of new Ptolemaic colonies – a particularly common practice during the period of the Chremonidean War – could raise in the life of local communities. The stele was erected inside the temenos of Arsinoe, which must also be the place where the inhabitants of this Ptolemaic settlement celebrated their most important public festival, a sacrifice to the Theoi Adelphoi. The text also refers to ritual honours for the living royal couple and can be understood at best against the background of the international policy of Ptolemy III in the period soon after the 3rd Syrian War.

Images:
Photo 1: squeeze of the stone, from Petzl 2002, Pl. 1
Photo 2: probable location of Arsione (in dark green), from vici.org


Current location

Court of the Archaeological Museum of Mersin
Inv. No. 79-215

Support

Object Type: Stele
Stele with a decorated top, broken in two adjoining pieces and damaged in various points, especially on the left-hand margin from line 29 onwards
Dimensions:
Height: 81.3 cm
Width: 13.3 cm
Depth: 42.2 cm

Layout

The two texts on the stele are visually distinguished by means of a space on both sides of the final greeting formula in Thraseas' letter.
Elegant letters of the mid-third century. A with straight crossbar, Σ with parallel or slightly divergent outer bars; the right vertical bar of Π is slightly shorter than the left one, while the horizontal bar extends over both vertical ones.
Letter size varying between 0.9 and 0.8 cm.

History

Date: 245-221 BC, probably in the late 240s/early 230s
Justification: content
Provenance: Found in 1979 in an unknown location, in the area of ancient Arsinoe, and brought to the Museum of Mersin, where I. Opelt saw it in 1985.

Bibliography

Text constituted from: Bencivenni 2003, p. 299-331, no. 10 (Italian trans.), following Petzl 2002, with the exception of the beginning of line 29, for which see Ph. Gauthier in Bull. Ép. 1990, no. 304.

Other editions: Opelt - Kirsten 1989 (English trans.); Jones - Habicht 1989, p. 317-346 (English trans.; SEG XXXIX 1426); Petzl 2002 (German trans.; SEG LII 1462)

See also: Chaniotis 1993; Magnetto 1997, no. 40 (Italian trans.); Austin 2006, p. 475-477, no. 272 (English trans.).

Images: Petzl 2002, Pl. I (squeeze) and Pl. III (photos of the stone); Bencivenni 2003, Pl. XXVII-XXX (squeeze: complete and details).

Further bibliography: Cohen 1995, p. 2-3, 363-364; Heinen 1997, p. 351, 354-355; Criscuolo 1998, p. 61-72; Savalli-Lestrade 2001, p. 283-285; Bounegru 2002, VI, p. 947-957, no. 10; Müller 2006, no. 6; Rey-Coquais 2006, p. 101-103; Caneva 2016a, p. 169; Heinrichs 2018, p. 298-299; Caneva - Bricault 2019.

Online record: PHI (Jones - Habicht); TM

Edition


Letter of Thraseas to the citizens of Arsinoe
[Θρα]σέας Ἀρσινοέων τῆι πόλει καὶ τοῖς ἄρχουσι χαίρειν.
[Ἐκ]ομισάμεθα τὴν παρ’ὑμῶν ἐπιστολὴν καὶ τῶν πρεσ -
[βε]υτῶν Ἀνδρομένους καὶ Φιλοθέου διηκούσαμεν ὑπὲρ τῶν
κατὰ τὴν χώραν. Ἐπεὶ οὖν οἱ Ναγιδεῖς ἐπακολουθήσαντες
5 τοῖς ὑφ’ἡμῶν παρακληθεῖσιν ἀφωρίκασιν, ὥστε μηδεμιᾶς
ἀντιλογίας ἔτι καταλειπομένης ὑμετέραν εἶναι, καλῶς ποιήσε -
τε ἐργαζόμενοί τε πᾶσαν αὐτὴν καὶ καταφυτεύοντες, ὅπως αὐτοί τε
ἐν εὐβοσίαι γίνησθε καὶ τῶι βασιλεῖ τὰς προσόδους πλείους τῶν
ἐν ἀρχῆι γινομένων συντελῆτε. Kαὶ γὰρ αὐτοὶ σπουδάζομεν περὶ
10 ὑμῶν καὶ βουλόμεθα τὴν πόλιν ἀξίαν τῆς ἐπωνυμίας ποιεῖν, πᾶν τὸ
συμφέρον καὶ χρήσιμον συνκατασκευάζοντες καὶ κοινῆι καὶ ἰδίαι τῶν
πολιτῶν ἑκάστωι. Διὸ καὶ καλῶς ποιήσετε καὶ αὐτοὶ πολιτευόμενο[ί]
τε κατὰ τρόπον καὶ τὰς θυσίας τὰς εἰθισμένας τῶι τε βασιλεῖ κ[αὶ]
τῆι βασιλίσσηι συντελοῦντες ἐν τοῖς καθήκουσι καιροῖς. Ὑπογεγ[ρά] -
15 φαμεν δὲ ὑμῖν καὶ τὸ ἀντίγραφον τοῦ παρὰ τῶν Ναγιδέων ἀποσταλέντος
ἡμῖν ψηφίσματος ὑπὲρ τούτων, ὅπως ἐπακολουθῆτε τοῖς γεγραμμένοις·
τὰ δὲ πλείονα τοῖς πρεσβευταῖς Ἀνδρομένει καὶ Φιλοθέωι συνδιειλέ -
γμεθα, ἐντειλάμενοι ἀπαγγέλλειν ὑμῖν. vac. Ἔρρωσθε. vac.


Decree of Nagidos
Λεωσθένης ἐπεστάτει· γνώμηι προστατῶν· ἐπειδὴ Ἀετὸς Ἀπολλωνίου
20 Ἀσπένδιος καὶ ἡμέτερος πολίτης, στρατηγὸς γενόμενος κατὰ Κιλικίαν,
τόπον ἐπίκαιρον καταλαβόμενος πόλιν ἔκτισεν Ἀρσινόην ἐπώνυμον
τῆς μητρὸς τοῦ βασιλέως κ[αὶ κατώ]ικισεν οἰκητὰς ἐν τῶι τόπωι καὶ τὴν χώ -
ραν ἐμέρισεν οὖσαν ἡμετέρα[ν], [ἐ]γβαλὼν τοὺς ἐπινεμομένους βαρβά -
ρους, καὶ νῦν Θρασέας ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ, ἀποσταλεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως στρ̣[α] -
25 τηγὸς Κιλικίας, σπεύδει τὴν πόλιν ἐνοδο̣ξτέραν κατασκευάσαι καὶ [ἡμᾶς]
ἠξίωκεν τὴν χώραν τὴν δημοσίαν ἐπιχωρῆσαι τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν ἔχ[ειν]
εἰς τὸν ἀεὶ χρόνον, αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐκγόνοις· βούλεται δὲ καὶ ἀρχεῖα καθίστασ -
θαι καὶ νόμους ἰδίους κεῖσθαι καὶ τὴν χώραν καταγραφῆναι αὐτοῖς εἰς
[στήλ]ας, ἔδοξεν τῆι βουλῆι καὶ τῶι δήμωι· δοῦναι αὐτῶι τὴν χώραν
30 [τὴν δ]ημοσίαν καὶ τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν καὶ ἐάν τινας ἄλλους Θρασέας
[ποτὲ] κατοικίζηι· ἐπαινέσαι δὲ Θρασέαν, καὶ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀποίκους
[Ναγιδ]έων· συντελείτωσαν δὲ καὶ τὰς τιμὰς τῶι βασιλεῖ καὶ Ἀρσινόηι
[καὶ Βε]ρενίκηι, πεμπέτωσαν δὲ καὶ θεωρὸν ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων ἀνηλωμάτων·
[πολι]τεύσονται δὲ καὶ χρήσονται νόμοις, οἷς ἂν αὐτοὶ θῶνται, ἔστωσαν
35 [δὲ κ]αὶ ἰσοπολῖται Ναγιδέων· ἔστω δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ μετουσία παραγι -
[νομ]ένοις εἰς τὰ ἱερά· καὶ ἀπογραψάσθωσαν ἕκαστος εἰς φυλὴν
[ἣν ἂ]ν λάχηι, τελοῦντες τὸ γινόμενον· καλείσθωσαν δὲ καὶ οὗτοι
[ὅτ]αν τῆι Ὁμονοίαι ἡ πόλις θύηι, καὶ φερέτωσαν τὸ γινόμενον· ὡσαύ -
[τ]ως δὲ καὶ, ὅταν Ἀρσινοεῖς θύωσιν Θεοῖς Ἀδελφοῖς, παραγινέσθω -
40 [σ]αν Ναγιδεῖς φέροντες τὸ αὐτό. Mὴ ἐξέστω δὲ μηκέτι
[Ν]αγιδεῦσιν παρευρέσει μηδεμιᾶι περὶ τῆς χώρας τῆς δοθείσης
[α]ὐτοῖς κατὰ ψήφισμα τοῦτο ἀμφισβητῆσαι· ἐὰν δέ τις ἄρχων προθῆι
[τὸ] δόγμα τοῦτο ἢ ῥῆτωρ εἴπηι, ὁ μὲν ἄρχων ἀποτεισάτω δραχμὰς μυρίας
[ἱερ]ὰς Ἀρσινόηι ἀπαραιτήτους, ὁ δὲ ῥήτωρ δραχμὰς χιλίας, καὶ ἡ γνώμη αὐ -
45 [τοῦ] ἄκυρος ἔστω. Ὅσα δ’ἂν ἀδικῆματα ἰδίαι γένηται ἑκάστωι, ἐὰν μὲν ὁ
[Ἀρσι]νοεὺς ἐν Ναγίδωι τινὰ ἀδικήσηι ἢ ἀδικηθῆι, λαμβανέτω τὸ δίκαιον καὶ
[διδότ]ω κατὰ τοὺς νόμους τοὺς Ναγιδέων, ἐὰν δὲ ὁ Ναγιδεὺς ἐν Ἀρσινόηι
[τινὰ] δικήσηι ἢ ἀδικηθῆι, λαμβανέτω τὸ δίκαιον καὶ διδότω κατὰ τοὺς
[νόμου]ς τοὺς Ἀρσινοέων, ἔστω δὲ αὐτοῖς πάντων τῶν ἀδικημάτων,
50 [ἐξ οὗ ἂ]ν χρόνου γένηται τὸ ἀδίκημα, προθεσμία ἐνιαυτός· ἐὰν δέ τ[ις]
[παρελθ]όντος τοῦ χρόνου γράψηται δίκην ἢ ἐγκαλέσηι, ἄκυρος ἔστω α[ὕ] -
[τη] ἡ [δίκ]η· Tὸ δὲ ψήφισμα τοῦτο ἀναγράψαι εἰς στήλας λιθίνας δύο καὶ
[τὴν μὲν] ἀναθεῖναι ἑν τῶι τῆς Ἀφροδίτης ἱερῶι, τὴν δ’ἑτέραν ἐν [Ἀρ] -
[σινόηι ἐ]ν τῶι Ἀρσινόης τεμένει, τὸ δὲ ἀνήλωμ[α τῶν στηλῶν με] -
55 [ρισάτω? τ]ῆς μὲν ἐν Ναγίδωι ὁ ταμίας [ὁ Ναγιδέων, τῆς δὲ ἐν Ἀρ] -
[σινόηι ὁ τα]μίας ὁ Ἀρσινοέων. vac.


Apparatus

See SEG LII 1462 for a list of differences between the editions published in Jones - Habicht 1989 and in Petzl 2002.

Translation


(Based on Austin 2006, with adaptations)
Letter of Thraseas
[Thraseas] to the city and magistrates of Arsinoe, greetings. We have received your letter and have listened to your envoys Andromenes and Philotheos on the subject of the territory. Since the Nagidians have marked off the land in accordance with our request, so that it is yours without room for any further challenge, you would do well to work and plant the whole of it to ensure your own property and to pay greater revenues to the king than was the case originally. We ourselves are devoted to you and wish to make your city worthy of its name, and assist in providing all that is advantageous and beneficial both in public and in private to each of your citizens. You should therefore do well to conduct yourselves as citizens in an appropriate way and to celebrate at the appointed time the customary sacrifices for the king and the queen. We have also appended for you a copy of the decree concerning these matters sent to us by the Nagidians, so that you may follow what is written there. We have discussed at length the remaining details with your ambassadors Andromenes and Philotheos and instructed them to report to you. Farewell.
Decree of the city of Nagidos
Laosthenes was chairman, proposal of the presidents. Since Aetos son of Apollonios, a citizen of Aspendos and of our own city, when appointed strategos of Kilikia occupied a suitable location and founded a city called Arsinoe after the mother of the king, [and established] settlers in the place and divided the territory which was ours, expelling the barbarians who were encroaching in it; and (since) now his son Thraseas, who was sent by the king as strategos of Kilikia, is anxious to increase the city's reputation, and has requested (from us) the we should concede the public land to the settlers for them to (possess) for all time, themselves and their descendants; and (since) he wishes that magistracies should be established and that they should have their own laws, and that the territory should be recorded for them on [stelae]; it has been decreed by the council and the people: to give the public land to him and to the settlers, and to any other Thraseas should settle (in future); to praise Thraseas, and to give them the title of colonists [of the Nagidians]; let them celebrate the honours to the king, to Arsinoe and to Berenike, and let them send a sacred envoy at their own expense. They shall exercise their rights as citizens and use the laws which they themselves have established, and let them enjoy the rights of isopoliteia with the Nagidians. Let them also have a share in the sacred rites they attend. Let each of them be inscribed in the tribe (he gets) by lot and pay the regular due. Let them also be invited when (our) city sacrifices to Homonoia, and let them bring the regular due. And likewise, when the Arsinoeans sacrifice to the Theoi Adelphoi, let the Nagidians attend and pay the same due. Let it no longer be allowed to the Nagidians, under any pretext, to raise a dispute about the territory which is given to them by the terms of this decree. If any of the magistrates proposes such a decree or any speaker moves on, the magistrate shall be fined a compulsory 10,000 drachmas which shall be consecrated to Arsinoe, and the speaker 1,000 drachmas, and his proposal shall be invalid. Concerning any private grievances which might arise between individuals, should an [Arsinoean] inflict or suffer harm at Nagidos, let him seek or [give] justice according to the laws of the Nagidians, and should a Nagidian inflict or suffer harm at Arsinoe, let him seek or give justice according to the [laws] of the Arsinoeans. For all offences committed all shall be granted a year's grace (to prosecute) [dating from the] time of the offence. Should [anyone after this lapse] of time initiate a public or private lawsuit, [that lawsuit] shall be invalid. This decree is to be inscribed on two stelae, and one shall be consecrated in the sanctuary of Aphrodite, the other at [Arsinoe in] the precinct of Arsinoe. The expense [for the stelae shall be allocated] by the treasurer [of the Nagidians] for the stele at Nagidos, and by the treasurer [of the Arsinoeans] for that at Arsinoe.

Traduzione


(da Bencivenni 2003, con modifiche)
Lettera di Thraseas
[Thra]seas alla città e ai magistrati di Arsinoe, salute. Abbiamo ricevuto la vostra lettera e abbiamo ascoltato gli ambasciatori Andromenes e Philotheos sui problemi riguardanti il territorio. Poiché gli abitanti di Nagido, dopo aver accondisceso alle nostre richieste, hanno delimitato i confini così che, venuto meno ogni contrasto, (la terra) sia vostra, farete bene a lavorarla e a seminarla nella sua interezza, affinché viviate in prosperità e paghiate al re rendite maggiori di quanto avveniva all'inizio. E infatti noi ci prendiamo a cuore la vostra situazione e vogliamo rendere la città degna del suo nome, contribuendo a realizzare tutto ciò che è utile e vantaggioso in ambito sia pubblico sia privato, per ciascuno dei cittadini. Perciò farete bene a condurre convenientemente i vostri affari pubblici e a compiere i sacrifici previsti per il re e per la regina nei tempi opportuni. Vi abbiamo allegato anche una copia del decreto riguardante queste faccende, mandataci dagli abitanti di Nagido, di modo che possiate dare osservanza a quanto scritto; del resto abbiamo discusso dettagliatamente con gli ambasciatori Andomenes e Philotheos, dando loro indicazioni di riferire a voi. State bene.
Decreto di Nagido
Leosthenes presiedeva, proposta dei prostatai. Poiché Aetos figlio di Apollonios, cittadino di Aspendos e nostro concittadino, in qualità di stratego in Cilicia, fondò, occupato un luogo strategico, la città di Arsinoe dal nome della madre del re, [e insediò] degli abitanti in quel luogo e distribuì il territorio che era nostro, dopo averne cacciato i barbari che l'avevano invaso; e poiché ora suo figlio Thraseas, inviato dal re come stratego della Cilicia, si adopera per accrescere la fama della città e ci ha chiesto di concedere la terra pubblica a coloro che vi sono insediati, affinché essi e i loro discendenti la possiedano per sempre; e desidera inoltre che vi siano istituite le magistrature e stabilite leggi proprie, e che il territorio sia registrato per loro su [stele]; è stato decretato dal consiglio e dal popolo: che la terra pubblica (in questione) sia data a lui e a coloro che vi si sono insediati e, se [mai] Thraseas vi trasferisse degli altri, (anche a costoro); che Thraseas sia elogiato, e che essi siano coloni di [Nagido]; rendano gli onori al re, ad Arsinoe e a Berenice, e inviino un ambasciatore sacro a loro spese. Condurranno inoltre i loro affari pubblici e utilizzeranno le leggi che essi stessi abbiano stabilito, e saranno isopolitai degli abitanti di Nagido; abbiano il diritto di partecipare, quando siano presenti, ai riti sacri; e siano iscritti, ciascuno, in una tribù estratta a sorte, pagando il dovuto; che costoro siano invitati quando la (nostra) città compie sacrifici alla Concordia, e che forniscano la somma dovuta; allo stesso modo, quando gli abitanti di Arsinoe sacrificano ai Theoi Adelphoi, gli abitanti di Nagido siano presenti e apportino la stessa somma. Non sia più lecito agli abitanti di Nagido, con nessun pretesto, avanzare diritti sul territorio che è stato loro concesso in base al presente decreto; e qualora un magistrato presenti un tale progetto di decreto, o qualora un oratore lo esponga, il magistrato pagherà diecimila dracme, [che saranno sacre] ad Arsinoe e inderogabili, e l’oratore mille dracme; che la sua proposta non sia valida. Riguardo ai reati privati che potrebbero coinvolgere ciascuno, qualora [un abitante di Arsinoe] a Nagido danneggi qualcuno o sia danneggiato, venga perseguito od [ottenga] giustizia in base alle leggi di Nagido; qualora invece un abitante di Nagido ad Arsinoe danneggi [qualcuno] o sia danneggiato, venga perseguito od ottenga giustizia in base alle [leggi] di Arsinoe; abbiano a disposizione per tutti i reati una scadenza legale di un anno [dall’]epoca in cui è avvenuto il reato: se qualcuno, [trascorso] il periodo, muoverà un’accusa pubblica o privata, che [questa azione legale] sia priva di validità. Che il presente decreto sia iscritto su due stele di pietra e che [una] sia consacrata nel santuario di Afrodite, l’altra, [ad Arsinoe], nel recinto sacro di Arsinoe; che la somma necessaria per la stele di Nagido [sia messa a disposizione] dal tesoriere di [Nagido], [per quella di Arsinoe], dal tesoriere di Arsinoe.

Commentary

This stele has delivered the text of a dossier concerning the negotiations led by the strategos of Kilikia, Thraseas son of Aetos, between the cities of Nagidos and Arsinoe. The stele, which was erected within the territory of Arsinoe, inside the sacred precinct of the eponymous goddess, combines a letter of Thraseas to the magistrates of Arsinoe with a preceding decree of Nagidos. Surprisingly, the name of the deified Arsinoe is neither followed by the traditional epiclesis Philadelphos, nor by any other cultic denomination, which makes this text an unicum in our documentation. The reason of this omission might be that the queen is only mentioned by name in the decree of Nagidos (lines 32 and 44), whose focus is on legal rather than on ritual matters (similarly, at line 53, the Nagidians mention their goddess Aphrodite without any epiclesis; the epiclesis of the living couple, the Theoi Euergetai, is equally omitted).

Arsinoe (Cohen 1995, 363-364; Bounegru 2002, no. 10; Müller 2006, no. 6) was founded by the Ptolemaic strategos of Kilikia, Aetos son of Apollonios, a citizen of Aspendos in Pamphylia (for the hypothetical identification of this Apollonios with the dioiketes of Ptolemy II, see Criscuolo 1998; contra, cf. Rowlandson 2007, p. 47, n. 18, reasserting the Karian origin of Apollonios). As many other cities named after the deceased and deified queen, Arsinoe of Kilikia was probably founded during the Chremonidean War (269/8 – 262/1 BC), in any case before the Seleucid king Antiochos II conquered Kilikia during the 2nd Syrian War (260-253 BC) (Jones – Habicht 1989, p. 337; Criscuolo 1998, p. 64, n. 9, surmizes the Aetos founded the city after 246/5, but this hypothesis is less convincing).

The exact site of Arsinoe has not yet been archaeologically identified. However, the proximity between Nagidos and Arsinoe, which is attested by our text, and a passage of Strabo ( 14.5.3) mentioning a city bearing this name on the coast of Kilikia between Korakesion and Hamaxia, allow us to locate the city founded by Aetos a few kilometers east of Nagidos (modern Bozyazi), near the modern location of Softa Kalesi. The land granted to the new foundation originally belonged to Nagidos, which had lost control over it due to the occupation of indigenous populations. When Aetos reconquered the area, however, he did not return the land to Nagidos, but founded a new city (on Ptolemaic strategoi as city founders, see Heinen 1997, p. 354); the subsequent loss of the region in favour of the Seleucids stopped the development of the new Ptolemaic city, whose land was still claimed as public property by Nagidos in the early reign of Ptolemy III. Only the appointment of Thraseas, son of Aetos, as strategos of Kilikia brought Arsinoe back to the agenda of the Ptolemaic administration in the region: Thraseas spent his energies to overcome the tensions between Nagidos and Arsinoe and to impose a compromise by which the citizens of Arsinoe were recognized full control over the land granted by Aetos. The reasons of this commitment must be sought in Thraseas’ effort to gain prestige in the eyes of the king, while also acting in continuity with his family’s tradition. The dispute settlement also included the definition of Arsinoe as a colony of Nagidos and an agreement of isopoliteia between the two cities (the phases of this complex negotiation are reconstructed by Benvicenni 2003; for the later career of Thraseas, who became strategos of Koile Syria and Phoenicia under Ptolemy IV, see Heinrichs 2018, p. 298-299).

Thraseas’ letter, together with the part of the Nagidos decree stipulating the isopoliteia with Arsinoe and the mutual participation of the two communities in each other’s festivals, provide precious information about the ritual honours granted to the members of the Ptolemaic house. Thraseas’ letter (lines 13-14) mentions “customary sacrifices” of the inhabitants of Arsinoe to the ruling couple (Ptolemy III and Berenike II), to which the decree of Nagidos (lines 32-33) adds a reference to Arsinoe II, the eponymous deity of Aetos’ foundation, and the payment of a sacred ambassador (theoros), presumably to be sent to Alexandria, on the expenses of the now fully autonomous city of Arsinoe. Following the opinion of Jones – Habicht 1989, p. 335-337, the sequence “to the king, to Arsinoe, and to Berenike” of lines 32-33 has been interpreted as a reference to Ptolemy III, Arsinoe II, and the princess Berenike, the daughter of Ptolemy II and Berenike II who died and was deified in 238 BC (Kanopos decree, OGIS 56). However, comparison with lines 13-14, which mention the ruling couple as the addressees of the sacrifices, and with other inscriptions from the early years of Ptolemy III (PHRC011; see also SEG XXXVI 1218, from Xanthos, and IG XII 6.1, 11, from Samos) confirm that the inhabitants of Arsinoe were expected to honour the ruling couple, Ptolemy III and Berenike II; moreover, the theoros mentioned in the Nagidos decree is paralleled by the sacred embassy which other cities sent to the Ptolemaia and Theadelpheia organized by the king in Alexandria (Caneva 2016, p. 188-192; Caneva – Bricault 2019). Accordingly, we must reject the traditional post-quem date of 238 BC; the text should be more generally dated to the reign of Ptolemy III, probably soon after the re-conquest of Kilikia against the Seleucids.

A few words are needed to explain the sequence by which Thraseas evokes the members of the royal house to whom the citizens of Arsinoe are expected to pay ritual honour. While the first position accorded to Ptolemy III can be explained in relation to the royal authority in whose name Thraseas has conducted the negotiation between Nagidos and Arsinoe (see also line 8 for the reference to the tribute that the inhabitants of Arsinoe must pay to the king), the fact that Arsinoe II appears on the second place, before queen Berenike II, may depend both on the prominent role of the deified queen, in a city that bears her name, and on the importance that Ptolemy III ascribed to his adoptive mother, a prominent source of dynastic legitimacy as a member of the predecessors’ couple, the Theoi Adelphoi (see also the reference to Arsinoe as the mother of the king in lines 21-22 in the Nagidos decree). The third place accorded to Berenike II might therefore point to an ancillary role of the queen in the international politics and in the ideology of Ptolemy III’s legitimacy; in this respect, one may recall the secondary place occupied by Berenike II in the common formula of inscriptions and papyri, where the ruling couple is evoked as “King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy and Arsinoe the Theoi Adelphoi, and Queen Berenike.

Another piece of information concerning the ritual honours for the Ptolemaic house is provided by lines 38-40: the main festival celebrated by the citizens of Arsinoe was a sacrifice to the Theoi Adelphoi, which is coherent with the importance which the predecessors of Ptolemy III enjoyed across the Ptolemaic kingdom in the years after the ascension of the new king (see discussion about PHRC005, from Kaunos). The sacrifice most probably took place in the sacred precinct of Arsinoe. As for other cities where sacred places were established for ritually honoured kings and queens, in Arsinoe, the eponymous goddess probably did not receive a proper temple, but rather a sacred enclosure hosting a set of cultic and non-cultic structures (certainly an altar, perhaps statues, and in this case the stele with the text of Thraseas’ letter and of the Nagidos decree).

Finally, the decree stipulates that in case of any future action of the Nagideans against the property of the land granted to the city of Arsinoe, those proposing this initiative should be punished with the payment of a severe fine; the money is to be consecrated to Arsinoe. This resolution ensures that any initiative contrary to the present agreement would become a contribution to the cult of the Arsinoe, thus confirming the importance that Thraseas wished to ascribe to the eponymous goddess of the new city, in line with the policy of his father.

Author:
Stefano Caneva, 08.11.2018
Revisions:
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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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