021 - Fig1

PHRC021 : Dedication of Apollodoros to Attalos I, Pergamon - Mysia (197-133 BC) Dedication

This particularly thin rectangular altar was probably erected in the Upper Agora of Pergamon, possibly in relation to one of the sacred (Zeus’ sanctuary) or administrative buildings in the western (nomophylakion) and eastern part of the agora. The writing is irregular and characterized by a shape of A with broken crossbar which suggests a date in the 2nd cent. and therefore a posthumous cult. The donor had only his personal name inscribed, without the name of the father and the function, a solution which finds parallels in contexts where the author of a dedication was easily recognisable by the members of a community. Considering the sacred and administrative functions of the buildings in the agora, Artemidoros might therefore have been a priest or a magistrate of Pergamon.

Permanent ID http://s.phrc.it/phrc021

Photo 1: Photo of the altar, from Bielfeldt 2010, p. 154, photo 14
Photo 2: Drawing, from IvP I 43
Photo 3: Plan of the upper agora of Pergamon, from Bielfeldt 2010, p. 170, photo 23

Current location

Archaeological Museum of Bergama


Object Type: Altar
Rectangular altar with upper and lower cornice. The object is almost complete but its surface is worn. A small piece of the front face is missing on the right side, in correspondence with the final part of the donor's name. The proportions and the rough back surface suggest that the altar was meant to be placed against a wall or in a niche.
Material: Andesite
Height: 45 cm
Width: 23,5 cm
Depth: 10,5 cm


Text divided in four lines aligned with the left-hand margin of the writing surface.
The letters are somewhat roughly cut, with variable size. Σ with parallel horizontal bars; Ω is smaller and written slightly above the line. Of particular interest is the writing of A with broken crossbar (see Commentary).
Letter height between 1,5 cm (Ω) and 0,3 cm (Σ).


Original Place: Pergamon, Upper Agora
Date: Most probably between 197 and 133 BC
Justification: Lettering (see Commentary)
Provenance: Found in 1886 south of the Upper Agora. The stone had probably been reused in the Byzantine walls of the citadel.


Text constituted from: IvP I 43.

Other editions:

See also: Bielfeldt 2010, p. 155, n. 10; Suk Fong Jim 2017.

Images: IvP I 43 (drawing); Bielfeldt 2010, p. 154, photo 14 (photo of the stone).

Further bibliography: on the upper agora under Attalos I, see Rheidt 1992; Bielfeldt 2010, 168-182; Rheidt 2015.

Online record: PHI




(S. Caneva)
To King Attalos Soter, Apollodoros.


(S. Caneva)
Al re Attalo Soter, Apollodoro.


The dedication is written on a thin rectangular altar of andesite, a local stone (see PHRC20). This specimen differs from the finest ones of the Attalid ruler cults, such as PHRC021 and PHRC026, because of the absence of decoration and for the lower quality of the inscription. The shape of A with broken crossbar suggests that the altar was probably dedicated during the 2nd cent. BC, thus shedding light on the survival of the cult of Attalos I after his death in 197 (Caneva 2020).

Since many inscribed stones from the agora were reused in the Byzantine walls of the citadel, the find spot suggests that the altar was originally dedicated in the Upper Agora. It could have been related to the sanctuary of Zeus or to the nomophylakion in the western part of the agora, or even to one of the buildings occupying its eastern part, whose function is less clearly understandable on the archaeological ground (for the agora in the Attalid period, see Rheidt 1992; Bielfeldt 2010, 168-182; Rheidt 2015).

The donor only had his personal name written, without the name of the father and the function. This solution suggests that the initiative of the dedication could be easily attributed to him by the people who would see the altar in the place where it stood. A comparable situation is provided by the case of military commanders and association leaders for whom the sole personal name is mentioned in an inscription: cf. IvP I 13 and 29 for Pergamon; PHRC004 for the leader of the Basilistai at Thera. Considering the sacred and administrative function of the agora, it is tempting to propose that Apollodoros was a priest or a magistrate of Pergamon. It would be intriguing to suggest a link with Apollodoros son of Artemon, who was nomophylax and secretary of the people’s assembly in the late 2nd cent. (IvP I 236- 237, with Bielfeldt 2010, p. 184). While of course this identification remains purely speculative, the hypothesis that the cultic honours for Attalos I survived the end of the dynasty might be supported by the altars for this king found in a prestigious private house of the late-Hellenistic period (see PHRC024 with commentary).

Stefano Caneva, on 20.03.2019
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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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