042 - Fig2

PHRC042 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Soloi - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication

This large, horizontal, and rectangular block bears a dedication to Arsinoe Philaldephos. The form and size of the stone as well as the position of the inscription upon it suggest that the block was inserted in a cultic structure or in a wall delimiting an area sacred to Arsinoe, which might have been located in the sanctuary of Cholades, the acropolis of Soloi. This location, however, remains hypothetical due to the lack of precise informaiton about the provenance of the stone.

Permanent ID http://s.phrc.it/phrc042

Photo 1: Plan of the temples of Soloi-Cholades; on the right, temple A (Aphrodite; 3rd cent.), later replaced by temples B and C (Aphrodite + Isis). From Westholm 1936, p. 87, fig. 50
Photo 2: Photo of the marble head of Ptolemaic queen, probably Arsinoe II; from Westholm 1936, pl. III, find 438

Current location

Nicosia, Cyprus Archaeological Museum
Inv. No. Inscr. GR. 168 (previously 500)


Object Type: Block
The left side is missing. The block is worn and broken on the right. The original width of the stone was probably about double as the height. The rough back shows that the stone was inserted in a bigger structure, perhaps a wall.
Material: Limestone
Height: 27 cm
Width: max. 46.5 cm; originally c. 54 cm
Depth: max. 14 cm cm


Contrary to most inscribed objects bearing a dedication to Arsinoe, in this case the text is not carved in the upper part of the field, but in its centre, slightly towards the bottom: the distance between the upper edge and the first line is 10 cm, whereas that between the second line and the bottom edge is about 8.5 cm, with the long hasta of Φ and Υ getting as down as 7 cm from it. This detail speaks in favour of a different position of the inscription in relation to the point of view of the reader.
The letters are large and well formed although they present a rather irregular ductus. Letter shape of the reign of Ptolemy II, with slight thickening at the end of the long hastae. Σ with clearly diverging bars, asymmetrical N, small O and Y with slightly curvy upper strokes. The central circle of Φ is replaced by a triangle, as in two other dedications to Arsinoe respectively from Yalousa and Chytroi (Caneva 2014, nos. 33 and 27).
Letter height between 2 cm (O) and 5 cm (Φ).


Original Place: Soloi
Date: Between 270 and 240 BC
Justification: Formulary and lettering
Provenance: Found in Soloi.


Text constituted from: Nicolaou 1966, p. 57-58, no. 3.

Other editions:

See also: Nicolaou 1993, p. 227, cat. o; Anastassiades 1998, p. 139, no. 15; Caneva 2014, no. 29.

Images: Nicolaou 1966.

Further bibliography: for the sanctuary at Soloi-Cholades, see commentary to PHRC037.

Online record:




(S. Caneva)
Of Arsinoe Philadelphos


(S. Caneva)
Di Arsinoe Philadelphos


What makes this block different from the other dedications to Arsinoe Philadelphos found in the Soloi area (PHRC037; PHRC040-041) and also from most specimens of the cultic dossier of this deified queen is the shape of the stone and the position of the inscription upon it. Dedications to Arsinoe are usually inscribed on smaller plaques and blocks or on rectangular altars. On the altars, the inscription is generally placed nearby, or even directly under the top of the writing surface. This position of the dedication is coherent with the assumption that the altar would be placed on the ground, while this large block has the dedication written on the central/lower part of the stone, plausibly suggesting a position closer to the point of view of a standing person. Together with the large size of the stone and the relatively good quality of the inscription, this detail suggests that the block was probably inserted in a bigger structure, perhaps a cultic building or a wall delimiting an area sacred to Arsinoe Philadelphos (for a similar case, see PHRC013, from the sanctuary of the Egyptian gods in Thera). The hypothesis that this area was situated within the sanctuary of Soloi-Cholades, which hosted cults of Aphrodite and Isis and has also delivered a marble head of the queen (see commentary to PHRC037), is tempting but remains unproven due to the lack of precise information about the provenance of the stone.

Stefano Caneva, on 04.04.2019
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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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