PHRC063 : Decree of the deme of Rhamnous honouring Antigonos II Gonatas - Attica (c. 255 BC) Decree


This decree was passed by the Attic deme of Rhamnous to honour King Antigonos II, probably after his decision to withdraw the Macedonian garrison from the city and to return Attic fortresses to Athenian control in 256/5 BC. Being the seat of a strategic defense hub in northern Attica, Rhamnous was directly affected by this decision and issued an honorific decree which built upon and complemented the isotheoi timai (godlike honours) granted to Antigonos in Athens. The text is one of the very few documents using this formula to describe cultic honours for political leaders in the 3rd cent. The king was granted the epithet of “Saviour of the Demos” and his altar became the centre of a yearly sacrifice addressed to him on the occasion of his birthday. The event was associated with the...

PHRC062 : Decree of Mylasa honouring the dynast Olympichos (Labraunda, Sanctuary of Zeus) - Karia (240-200 BC) Decree


This fragmentary decree was issued by the city of Mylasa, probably soon after 240 BC, to honour Seleukos II’s strategos Olympichos for liberating the city. Although the order to give the city freedom and democracy had stemmed from the king, Olympichos and the Mylanians represented the events by stressing their own roles and placing the focus on Olympichos’ benevolence and on the city’s gratitude. For this reason, Olympichos receives a full-scale series of cultic honours by means of which his status closely resembles that of contemporary kings. A sculptural group representing the Demos in the act of crowning Olympichos was flanked by an altar where an annual procession and sacrifice took place, having Olympichos as their cult recipient. The decree prescribes a series of activities...

PHRC060 : Decree of the villages of Neon Teichos and Kiddiou Kome for Achaios and his collaborators (Lykos Valley) - Phrygia (267 BC) Decree


This marble stele contains a decree of two villages in the Lykos valley honouring Achaios the Elder and two of his collaborators for protecting the local population and ransoming prisoners during a conflict with Galatian tribes. While not a secessionist, Achaios received honours positioning him very close to the prestige of kings: he was called Soter, just as Antiochos I, and received a yearly sacrifice of an ox in a sanctuary of Zeus, whereas his collaborators were referred to as Euergetai and honoured with the yearly sacrifice of one ram each in a sanctuary of Apollo. The use of different types of sacrificial animals to express a hierarchical relationship between the recipients of cult is unique in the documentation concerning ritual honours for political leaders. Another interesting...

PHRC044 : Decree of a tribe of Iasos honouring King Antiochos III and Laodike, Iasos - Karia (196-194 BC) Decree


This fragmentary decree was issued by a tribe of Iasos to honour Antiochos III and Laodike. Various Hellenistic documents attest to the participation of demographic sub-partitions of a polis in the celebration of civic honours for rulers, but this specimen provides a rare case whereby the tribe is not only involved in the rituals, but actively establishes and regulates them. The text stipulates the accomplishment of a libation accompanied by a prayer for the wellbeing of the royal family. Other ritual activities mentioned in a fragmentary part of the text possibly took place on an altar of the tribe.

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PHRC043 : Decree of the city of Iasos establishing cultic honours for King Antiochos III and Queen Laodike - Karia (196-194 BC) Decree


The decree of the city of Iasos honouring Antiochos III and his Laodike was inscribed underneath the text of a letter of the queen granting a donation to the city. This endowment was meant to provide poor girls with a dowry when they got married. The stele was probably erected in the area of the agora. The reasons for which the king and queen are praised as well as their ritual honours clearly mark a gender-related difference between the two benefactors. The king, who is celebrated for having liberated and protected the city, is honoured with an altar on which each year the new magistrates will sacrifice to the king together with the civic gods on the moment of receiving the city keys from their previous colleagues. Conversely, the honours of the queen pertain to the sphere of marriage. A...

PHRC036 : Record of the dedication of a phiale for the festival Philadelpheia, Delos - Cyclades (240/39 BC) Inventory


Delian inventories since 267 mention a phiale dedicated by Hermias, the nesiarch of the League of the Islanders, to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Apollo, Artemis, and Leto on the occasion of the festival Philadelpheia. This inventory is the only one adding King Ptolemy II as a further recipient of the offering. Since the phiale and the festival were financed by the yearly interests of Hermias' endowment, the nesiarch had founded the festival for the deceased and deified Arsinoe one year before, in 268, at the beginning of the Chremonidean War. His personal donation completed the set of cultic honours already granted by the League to Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II and reinforced the message of allegiance to Ptolemy II during the conflict against Antigonos Gonatas. It is possible, although uncertain, that...

PHRC011 : Decree of the city of Itanos honouring King Ptolemy III and Queen Berenike II - Crete (246-243 BC) Decree


The text, elegantly written on a stele of local limestone erected in the sanctuary of Athena Polias, is a decree of the city of Itanos establishing cultic honours for king Ptolemy III and queen Berenike II. The absence of the epiclesis Euergetes suggests a date before 243/2 BC. The king is praised for his euergetic and protective attitude toward the city, in continuity with his ancestors' policy. The cultic honours decreed by Itanos comprise the dedication of a sacred precinct of the royal couple in a park near a city gate and the celebration of a festival for the king's birthday.

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Photo 1: Photo of the stone; Herakleion Museum, Inv. No. 65, copyrighted image. Courtesy of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports,...

PHRC010 : Letter of the strategos Thraseas to the city of Arsinoe, with an appended decree of the city of Nagidos - Kilikia (245-221 BC) Letter


This stele contains a letter of the strategos of Kilikia Thraseas to the city of Arsinoe together with a decree of the nearby city of Nagidos concerning a negotiated agreement between the two cities. The dossier is of particular interest as it sheds light on the issues that the foundation of new Ptolemaic colonies – a particularly common practice during the period of the Chremonidean War – could raise in the life of local communities. The stele was erected inside the temenos of Arsinoe, which must also be the place where the inhabitants of this Ptolemaic settlement celebrated their most important public festival, a sacrifice to the Theoi Adelphoi. The text also refers to ritual honours for the living royal couple and can be understood at best against the background of the international...

PHRC008 : Decree of the city of Skepsis for Antigonos Monophthalmos - Troas (311/0 BC) Decree


This fragmentary stele, once erected within the sanctuary of Athena on the acropolis of the city of Skepsis (Kurşunlu Tepe), preserves a decree by which the civic institutions voted the dedication of a sacred enclosure containing an altar and a cult statue to Antigonos Monophthalmos, together with other honours for him, his sons and his messenger Akios. Such initiative was a direct response to the announcement of the peace signed by Antigonos, Cassander, Ptolemy and Lysimachos, bringing the 4th Diadoch War to an end (311/0 BC). Despite being the earliest known inscription mentioning cultic honours decreed by a Greek city for a successor of Alexander, the decree was meant to augment some already existing ritual honours, probably introduced soon after the declaration of the freedom of the...