019 - Fig1

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.

Permanent ID http://s.phrc.it/phrc019

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

Current location



Object Type: Altar
The editor describes it as a fragmentary altar which had been reused as a tombstone in Antiquity.
Material: Marble


The use of lunar sigma et epsilon point to the influence of cursive writing.


Original Place: Herakleia near Latmos
Date: Probably between 240 and 197 BC
Justification: Formulary and historical context
Provenance: Reused in a stone-wall in the fields near the Bafa lake (remainings of the ancient Latmian Gulf).


Text constituted from: Haussoullier 1899, p. 283-284, no. 6 (followed by OGIS 289), based on the notes of O. Rayet.

Other editions:

See also: Suk Fong Jim 2017; Caneva 2020.


Further bibliography: on marble in Herakleia, Cramer 2004. On the ruins of the ancient city, Peschlow-Bindokat 2005.

Online record: PHI




Of King Attalos Soter


Del re Attalos Soter


Besides Pergamon, Herakleia is the sole city of Asia Minor where small dedications to Attalos I have been discovered up until now. The Herakleia dossier also includes a small statue base of limestone bearing the heavily worn inscription Βασιλέα | Ἄτταλον | Σωτῆρα. This second stone too was found nearby the ancient city, 2 minutes walk south of the Byzantine castle (Haussoullier 1899, p. 283, n° 5). The measures of the two stones are unknown, but the altar probably resembled the type of Attalid altars from Pergamon (see PHRC018 for further description of support and ritual use).

The fact that the altar has been found in a context of reuse, combined with our limited knowledge of the site (see Peschlow-Bindokat 2005 for an introductory overview), makes it impossible to propose hypotheses about the original location of the altar. As regards chronology, the Herakleia dossier may belong to the years 230s, when Attalos I expanded the influence of Pergamon over various areas of Western Asia Minor and assumed the royal title. It would therefore be contemporaneous of the earliest altars dedicated to this king in Pergamon.

Ancient Herakleia had local marble quarries (Cramer 2004, p. 136-139), from which the material used for this altar probably came. Marble is usually connected with finely executed objects and possibly with dedications related to upper-class agents in public spaces, yet in this case the cursive traits of the inscription rather point to a lower quality of execution and perhaps to a private (domestic?) context (Caneva 2020). Similar combinations of marble with a low quality inscription are attested by the dossier of small inscribed objects dedicated to Arsinoe Philadelphos (see commentary to PHRC030).

Stefano Caneva, on 26.02.2019

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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
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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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