PHRC038 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Delos - Cyclades (270-240 BC) dedication

Despite the use of marble (probably from a local quarry), the low quality of this dedication points to a domestic initiative or at any rate to a humble private dedication to Arsinoe Philaldephos. The original place of the dedication is unknown. If we assume that the altar or the other cultic structure to which the plaque was attached stood in a public space, various options are open, but the sanctuary Philadelpheion can be seen as the most plausible hypothesis.

Permanent ID

Current location

Archaeological Museum of Delos
Inv. No. A 1449


Object Type: Plaque
Fragment of a slightly curvy plaque, broken below and on the right side. The front surface is roughly polished. The preserved margins are rough. The plaque was attached to a wall or an altar.
Material: marble
Height: 15 cm
Width: 20 cm
Depth: 2,6 cm


Letters carelessly written, with cursive traits (lunar sigma)
Average letter height of 1,2 cm.


Date: Between 270 and 240 BC
Justification: Formulary
Provenance: P. Roussel (IG XI 4) saw and copied the inscription when it was already at the Museum of Delos.


Text constituted from: IG XI 4, 1303 (fac-simile).

Other editions:

See also: Bruneau 1970, p. 544-545; Caneva 2014, no. 42; Caneva 2019.

Images: IG XI 4, 1303 (fac-simile).

Further bibliography: Caneva 2013, p. 292-293; Constantakopoulou 2017, p. 98-100. On the Philadelpheion on Delos, see PHRC036.

Online record: PHI


Ἀρσινόης Φιλα -


Of Arsinoe Philadelphos


Di Arsinoe Philadelphos


This plaque was meant to be attached to an altar or to another structure, showing that it pertained to the cult of Arsinoe Philadelphos. The use of marble, probably in this case from a Delian quarry situated SE of Mt. Kynthos (for which see Brunet 1998), is often associated with finely executed dedications, but this is one clear exception to this general tendency (on this point, see also commentary to PHRC030). The humble quality of this dedication is confirmed by the roughly polished surface of the stone, the poor execution of the inscription and the presence of a lunar sigma. The last detail can be interpreted as the influence of cursive writing and is a common feature of domestic or at any rate private dedications (see commentary to PHRC037).

This leads us to discuss the possible provenance of the stone. While a domestic context cannot be ruled out, the existence of a sanctuary consecrated to the cult of Arsinoe on the island makes this location a suitable setting for the dedication. The sanctuary, called Philadelpheion, is probably to be identified with the temple later attributed to Agathe Tyche in the 2nd cent. and located on the Mount Kynthos (for this identification, see commentary to PHRC036). An alternative hypothesis is that the dedication was made in the so-called 'House with the portrait of Arsinoe' (see commentaty to PHRC036), or near the unidentified place where the League of the Islanders had erected an altar of Ptolemy Soter. The latter place hosted the yearly festival Ptolemaia of the League in the 270s (cf. SIG3 390, lines 48-49).

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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