PHRC032 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Palaipaphos - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

This small quadrangular altar with cornices belongs to a type well documented in the dossier of dedications to Arsinoe Philadelphos in third-century Cyprus. It presents a relatively well executed inscription which distinguishes it from other specimens belonging to the sanctuary of Aphrodite Paphia at Palaipaphos.

Permanent ID

Current location

Kouklia, Local Archaeological Museum Palaipaphos
Inv. No. KM 180 (previously 2)


Object Type: Altar
Rectangular altar with cornices and a shallow (less than 1 cm) depression on the upper surface; complete except at the upper left corner. The back surface is rough, showing that the altar was meant to stand against a wall.
Material: Limestone
Height (total): 38.5 cm; shaft: 29 cm
Width (total): 29 cm; shaft: 24.5 cm
Depth: 16 cm cm


Text written in two lines in the upper half of the front surface.
Clear and well-formed letters, although somewhat roughly cut, with thickening at the end of hastae. Letter shape of the mid-third century: small O, Σ with almost horizontal hastae, A with horizontal crossbar, Φ with the central circle replaced by an elongated arch.
Letter height between 1.2 cm (O) and 2 cm (Φ).


Date: Between 270 and 240 BC
Justification: Formulary and lettering
Provenance: Found in 1950 at Kato Alonia, on the southern side of the sanctuary hill.


Text constituted from: I.Paphos 6.

Other editions:

See also: Mitford, I.Palaipahos 12; Robert 1966, p. 206 n. 190; Nicolaou 1993, p. 227, cat. g; Anastassiades 1998, p. 138, no. 7; Caneva 2014, no. 20; Caneva 2020.

Images: I.Paphos, fig. 37.

Further bibliography:

Online record: PHI




(S. Caneva)
Of Arsinoe Philadelphos.


(S. Caneva)
Di Arsinoe Philadelphos.


This altar is the finest specimen of small inscribed objects dedicated to Arsinoe Philadelphos from the Paphos area (PHRC014; PHRC030-035). The writing is slightly rough, but the letters are well formed. Overall, the altar displays an average quality among the numerous dedications made to the deified Arsinoe across the Ptolemaic kingdom. The upper surface (13 x 20 cm, less than 1 cm deep) is suitable for vegetable offerings and possibly for libations. The closest parallels to this altar are provided by another quadrangular altar with cornices from the area of the agora of Amathous (BCH 136-137 (2012-2013), p. 366-368, no. 1) and by a smaller one from the acropolis of Kourion (I.Kourion 56).

Stefano Caneva, on 02.03.2019

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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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