PHRC002 : Dedication to Arsinoe Philadelphos, Kaunos - Karia (270-240 BC) Dedication

The block was part of a structure dedicated to Arsinoe Philadelphos, probably an altar. The original location is unknown. Two possible options are Aphrodite's sanctuary near the harbour, or the temple of the Egyptian gods, which hosted another dedication to the queen as a member of the ruling couple of the Theoi Adelphoi.

Permanent ID

Current location

Kaunos, Excavation storehouse
Inv. No. 70/44


Object Type: Block
Block of grey marble, broken on the left-hand side, originally c. 33 cm large. The bottom and rear faces are rough, while the upper face is worked with regular thin lines. The right side is smooth. The block was certainly not self-standing, but placed in front of, and below other stones, to compose a structure, probably an altar.
Material: Grey marble
Height: 26 cm
Width: 22 cm
Depth: 15 cm


The two lines occupy the centre of the stone. The position of the inscription suggests that the lost part of the block was about one third of its total width.
Letters of modest quality from the reign of Ptolemy II, with thickening at the end of the long bars.
Letter height between 0.8 and 1.2 cm.


Original Place: Kaunos
Date: Between 270 and 240 BC
Justification: letter shape and formulary
Provenance: Found at Kaunos, in the theatre


Text constituted from: I.Kaunos 54.

Other editions:

See also: Caneva 2014; Caneva - Bricault 2019.

Images: I.Kaunos, p. 246, no. 54.

Further bibliography: Hauben 2013.

Online record: PHI




Of Arsinoe Philadelphos


Di Arsinoe Philadelphos


This block provides one of the very numerous specimens of dedications to Arsinoe Philadelphos on small inscribed objects from Egypt and the Aegean world, which make of this queen by far the most frequently attested addressee of ruler cult in the whole Hellenistic period. In the years between the death of the queen (270 BC) and that of his sibling-husband Ptolemy II (246 BC), cults of Arsinoe Philaldephos spread everywhere the Ptolemies exerted their control and influence in the Aegean world, from Peloponnesos to Cyprus (Caneva 2014). The presence of Kaunos among the findspots of dedications to Arsinoe is justified by the role this city in particular, and Karia in general, played in the geopolitical interests of the Ptolemies in Asia Minor as well in the recruitment of their officials in the mid-third century (Hauben 2013, p. 43-44).

The treatment of the block surfaces suggests that, in this case, we deal with the inscribed part of a structure composed of various stones, probably an altar. Since the stone was found reused in the theatre, any attempt at identifying its primary context of use must remain a hypothesis. According to Marek (I.Kaunos, p. 246), the altar could have been dedicated in the sanctuary of Aphrodite at the harbour. The sanctuary of the Egyptian gods provides another interesting option, considering that Sarapis and Isis are associated with the Theoi Adelphoi in another dedication from Kaunos (PHRC019; probably from the reign of Ptolemy III).

Stefano Caneva, on 16-11-2016

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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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