PHRC056 : Dedication to Aphrodite Akraia Arsinoe, Alexandria (Cape Zephyrion?) - Egypt (125-75 BC) Rectangular plaque


This plaque was originally part of an altar or of another cult structure dedicated to Aphrodite Akraia Arsinoe in the surroundings of Alexandria. The dedicatory formula does not allow to conclude whether the compound denomination points to one or two recipients; in the latter case, we should assume that the two denominations are connected without a conjunction. A common epithet of Aphrodite, Akraia evokes a cult place situated on a high location, probably to be identified with the promontory (‘akra’) of Cape Zephyrion, where Arsinoe received a shrine associating her with Aphrodite. Moreover, in the Macedonian dialect, this adjective was used of young girls having reached their wedding age. All these aspects fit the cult prerogatives of Arsinoe, who was worshipped as a patroness of...

PHRC055 : Dedication to Sarapis, Isis, the Nile, Ptolemy III and Berenike II (Kanopos) - Egypt (243-221 BC) Rectangular plaque


This limestone plaque bears an elegantly written dedication by a citizen of Bargylia to the divine triad Sarapis, Isis, and Neilos together with the royal couple Ptolemy III and Berenike II, the Theoi Euergetai. The content of the dedication and the actual place where it was accomplished are unknown. Kanopos has delivered various inscriptions testifying to the interaction between Isiac deities and the royal house. As for PHRC 061, the addition of the river god Nile to the list of recipients suggests a possible link with the content of the Kanopos decree (238 BC), where the ruling couple is celebrated for having protected the population in a period of food shortage caused by an insufficient Nile flood, and for a calendar reform meant to reinstate the natural order of seasons. The presence...

PHRC052 : Dedication to King Ptolemy II and Arsinoe Philadelphos, Rhakotis, Alexandria - Egypt (270-246 BC) Dedication


This altar of King Ptolemy II and Arsinoe Philadelphos, discovered on the hill of Rhakotis in Alexandria, is the biggest preserved altar of ruler cults from throughout the Ptolemaic empire. The dedicatory formula points to a date 270-246, while the reference to the dynastic predecessors as the Theoi Soteres (rather than simply Soteres) may further narrow the chronological limits down to the last years of Ptolemy II’s reign (c. 260-246). The altar was part of a small temple, which was later destroyed to leave space to Ptolemy III’s Serapeum. It is plausible that the Rhakotis hill already hosted a cult of Sarapis under Ptolemy II and that the ruling couple was honoured in a section of this shrine, which later underwent a major process of monumentalization on the initative of...

PHRC051 : Dedication to King Ptolemy II and Arsinoe Philadelphos, Alexandria - Egypt (270-246 BC) Dedication


A dedication to King Ptolemy II and Arsinoe Philadelphos is written on both sides of an incense burner carved in the form of a miniature horned altar. The dedicatory formula provides a date between 270 and 246, when Ptolemy II ruled alone after Arsinoe II’s death and deification. The dedication made by a group of priests, without further indication of the deities they serverd, can be interpreted in two ways: either they dedicated the object in the santuary where they usually worked, or they did so during a visit. The style of writing and the presence of writing guidelines may suggest that these priests were Egyptians. It is tempting to assume that they dedicated the incense burner to the ruling couple when visiting the sanctuary of Arsinoe in Alexandria.

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PHRC050 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Eretria - Euboea (270-240 BC) Dedication


This small plaque is the only specimen of dedication for Arsinoe Philadelphos from Euboea and from the western coast of the Aegean Sea. It probably belonged to a small altar used for the household cult of the deified queen, as suggested by its find spot which is situated within a Hellenistic house in the western neighbourhood of Eretria.

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Photo 1: Photo of the stone, from Reber et al. 1998, photo 141
Photo 2: Plan of the Hellenistic House IV, from Reber et al. 1998, photo 138, with indication of the find spot of the inscription
Photo 3: Plan of the western neighbourhood of Eretria, Reber et al. 1998, photo 2
Photo 4: Aerial photo of the western neighbourhood of Eretria, from Reber et al. 1998, photo...

PHRC049 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Philoteria - Koile Syria (261-240 BC) Dedication


This recently published limestone slab from Philoteria (See of Galilee) has provided the first evidence of the cult of Arsinoe Philadelphos in the Levant. This plaque shows that the close link between Arsinoe’s cult and navigation (for military or commercial purposes) did not only apply to the open sea, but could also find its place on the shore of an internal salt lake. The Zenon archive sheds light on the intense economic activities of Ptolemaic agents in the inland of Koile Syria in this period and it is probable that the dedication was made by one of these figures, making this object a significant case of the link between politics, trade, and acculturation within the Ptolemaic kingdom.

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Photo 1: Photo and...

PHRC048 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Karpasia (?) - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication


This stone constitutes the largest known support inscribed with a dedication for Arsinoe Philadelphos from the whole Mediterranean. The size and shape of the block suggest that it was not an altar, but rather an architectural element which may have functioned as a horos delimiting a sacred area dedicated to the cult of Arsinoe Philadelphos. The original setting of the stone is lost. It may have belonged to a public building, probably a sanctuary, situated near modern Gialousa in the Karpaz peninsula in NE Cyprus.

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Photo 1: Drawing of the inscription, from Perdrizet 1896, p. 359...

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.

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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...

PHRC035 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Archimandrita (Palaipaphos) - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication


As other specimens from the Paphos area, this object is a small rectangular altar with a shallow depression on the top, probably used for vegetal offerings to Arsinoe Philadelphos. The find spot Archimandrita, about 7 km from the sanctuary of Aphrodite, is probably not the original place where the altar was used, but rather a secondary location where the stone was reused as building material or for decorative purposes.

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PHRC034 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Palaipaphos - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication


This large limestone block differs from the others inscribed objects of Arsinoe Philaldelphos in the Paphos area. Because of its size and shape it cannot be interpreted as an altar. On the contrary, comparison with other similar specimens from Cyprus (Yalousa) and Halikarnassos suggests that this block was either part of a wall or a boundary stone indicating the limits of an area consecrated to the cult of Arsinoe inside the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaipaphos.

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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.

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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.

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PHRC031 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Palaipaphos - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication


This dedication to Arsinoe is written in three lines, regardless of the word ending, on a very irregular rectangular altar with a shallow depression on the upper surface. Such a small altar would serve to offer vegetables and perfumes to Arsinoe Philadelphos in the sanctuary of Aphrosite Paphia.

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PHRC017 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Paros - Cyclades (270-240 BC) Dedication


This block bears one of the three preserved genitive dedications to Arsinoe Philadelphos from Paros. It was probably inserted in a bigger structure, an altar or a wall.

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PHRC016 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Paros - Cyclades (270-240 BC) Dedication


This small but relatively thick slab of local stone has delivered one of the three genitive dedications to Arsinoe Philaldephos discovered on Paros. The poor quality of this specimen is revealed by the use of both sides for the same text: the carver probably started writing the dedication on one side but was unsatisfied with his work (perhaps because of a careless spacing between letters), left this side unfinished and wrote the text on the other surface. The stone was probably part of a small altar.

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Photo 1: Drawing of the stone...

PHRC015 : Dedication of a nymphaeum to Ptolemy IV and Arsinoe III, Itanos - Crete (220-209 BC) Dedication


The inscription records the dedication of a nymphaeum, together with its reservoir, to King Ptolemy IV and Queen Arsinoe III, by the commander of the Ptolemaic garrison at Itanos, a Roman called Lucius. The dedication was made before 209 BC, when the son of the royal couple, the future Ptolemy V, begins to be mentioned after his parents. The text bears the first explicit attestation of the Ptolemaic garrison at Itanos.

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Photo 1: the stone; Herakleion Museum, Inv. No. 64, copyrighted image. Courtesy of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, Department of Antiquities
Photo 2: view of the southern bay of Itanos (Ptolemaic harbour) from the estern acropolis (S. Caneva, CC-BY-SA 4.0)...

PHRC014 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Nea Paphos - Cyprus (270-240 BC) Dedication


This dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos is inscribed on a small cylindrical altar, a common support for the cults of the Ptolemies in Cyprus. Among the inscribed dedications to Arsinoe found in the Paphos area, this is the sole specimen having been discovered in the new city, during the excavations of the Roman Orpheus House. The altar bears the same dedication on both sides. The text on the first side has remained unfinished: it was abandoned probably due to a mistake of the carver in the spacing between letters; the same dedication was then fully inscribed on the opposite side of the shaft.

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Photo 1: view of the site of the Orpheus House, Maloutena (S. Caneva, CC-BY-SA 0.4)
Photeo 2: plan of the archaeological...

PHRC013 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Thera - Ciclades (270-240 BC) Dedication


The block, which bears a well carved dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, was found in a context of reuse during the excavations at the temple of Apollo Pythios. It probably originally belonged to the nearby sanctuary of the Egyptian deities, which was frequented by members of the Ptolemaic garrison and hosted the ritual activities of the Basilistai. The stone might have been part of a larger structure (possibly an altar), or perhaps was inserted into one of the numerous rock-cut niches of the sanctuary, to indicate the function of an area specifically dedicated to the cult of the deified queen.

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Photo 1: detail of the inscription, from IG XII 3 462
Photo2: view of the sanctuary (S. Caneva, CC-BY-SA 4.0)...

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...