PHRC033 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Palaipaphos - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

This limestone block with a roughly square front surface is what remains of a small rectangular altar of Arsinoe Philadelphos, of a type well known in Palaipaphos. The stone was then hammered to reduce it into a block to be used as building material. Thus, the anomalous profile of the upper part of the stone is not original, but the result of a later (modern?) intervention to fix the block into a wall.

Permanent ID

Current location

Kouklia, Local Archaeological Museum Palaipaphos
Inv. No. KM 179 (previously 90)


Object Type: Altar
Small rectangular altar reworked for reuse in a wall. What remains is block broken at the upper left corner, below and on the right side. The left and right sides of the stone are smooth. The back surface is rough. The upper part of the block presents an irregular profile, which becomes higher towards the back of the stone: this shows that the block has been reworked to be fixed in the structure that hosted it.
Material: Limestone
Height (front face): max. 27 cm; back: max. 30.5 cm
Width: 25 cm
Depth: 15 cm


The text is written in two lines in the upper part of the front face.
The writing is of good quality for this type of support. The letter shape is consistent with a date under the reign of Ptolemy II: in addition to the small O, the diverging bars of Σ, and the A with horizontal crossbar, one may notice the Φ with the circle replaced by an arch and the large N and H; the second horizontal bar of H is slightly curvy.
Letter height between 1 cm (O) and 2 cm (Υ, Φ).


Date: Between 270 and 240 BC
Justification: Formulary and lettering
Provenance: Found in December 1951 during the renovation works at the gatehouse of a farm near the site of the sanctuary, now used as the reception of the Kouklia Museum.


Text constituted from: autopsy of the stone on 24.10.2016.

Other editions: I.Palaipaphos 13, followed by I.Paphos 7 (the latter with wrong indication of size; the measures above are taken from Mitford, I.Palaipaphos 13, and confirmed by autopsy of the stone).

See also: Nicolaou 1993, p. h; Anastassiades 1998, p. 138, no. 6; Caneva 2014, no. 25; Caneva 2020.

Images: I.Palaipaphos, Pl 1; I.Paphos, fig. 38.

Further bibliography:

Online record: PHI




ΦΙΛΑΔΕΑΦΟΥ οn the stone (cf. PHRC030); this mistake remains unnoticed in I.Palaipaphos 13; I.Paphos 7.


(S. Caneva)
Of Arsinoe Philadelphos


(S. Caneva)
Di Arsinoe Philadelphos


As already argued by Mitford in I.Palaipaphos 13, originally our stone was a small rectangular altar, which was later reduced into a block for reuse as building material (cf. the case of PHRC023 and PHRC024 in Pergamon). The altar was most probably of the same type described in PHRC032. The anomalous treatment of the upper part of the stone is therefore not original, but the result of a later intervention to fix the stone in a wall. Conversely, in I.Paphos 7, Cayla (p. 71, 129) compares this stone with PHRC034 (I.Paphos 8), which is in fact a block of bigger size and for which a different function can be assumed.

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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