041 - Fig1

PHRC041 : Dedication to Ptolemy V, Soloi-Mersinaki - Cyprus (199-180 BC) Dedication

This small and irregular block of marble dedicated to Ptolemy V testifies to the cult of this king in the sanctuary of Soloi-Mersinaki. The very poor quality of the inscription is at first sight in contrast with the use of a prestigious material such as marble. However, this detail finds various parallels in the Aegean and Cypriot dossier of Ptolemaic ruler cults.

Permanent ID http://s.phrc.it/phrc041

Photo 1: Photo of the slab, from Gjerstad et al. 1937, II, pl. CXLVIII

Current location

Stockholm, Medelhavsmuseet


Object Type: Block
Block of irregular rectangular shape broken on the sides. The upper left corner is missing.
Material: Marble
Height: 15 cm
Width: 12 cm
Depth: 6.7 cm


The text is written very irregularly in four lines regardless of the word ending.
Letters very irregularly cut with varying form and size. The final letters ΩΣ of line 1 are invisible in the photo, but the editor could see them since he says that they occupy only half of the height of the line. For the rest, the writing gets more and more superficial from line to line. A, Λ, Π and M are written very large (except fot the last A at the end of line 2, which is narrower for lack of space). Π has a large horizontal extending on both sides and equally long vertical hastae. Θ is written with a horizontal bar. Σ has almost parallel horizontal bars and is the only letter with a slight thickening at the end of hastae. Some cursive traits are visible: the second hasta of N is sligthly curvy and the group OY is written with a small o accompanied by Y with a very long vertical hasta.


Date: Between 199 and 180 BC
Justification: Formulary and archaeological context (see Commentary)
Provenance: Found in one of the votive deposits at the sanctuary of Soloi-Mersinaki.


Text constituted from: Gjerstad et al. 1937, I, p. 378, no. 1080; p. 622-623, no. 6.

Other editions:

See also: Caneva 2020.

Images: Gjerstad et al. 1937, II, pl. CXLVIII.

Further bibliography: on Mersinaki, see Gjerstad et al. 1937, esp. p. 393-398 for the chronology of the sanctuary; Papantoniou 2012, p. 111-112, 210; on the epithets of Ptolemy V, Lanciers 2014.

Online record:


Πτολεμαί -
ου Θεοῦ Ἐπι -


(S. Caneva)
Of King Ptolemy Theos Epiphanes.


(S. Caneva)
Del re Tolemeo Theos Epiphanes.


This block bears a very poorly executed dedication to Ptolemy V (for the contrast with marble, see commentary to PHRC030 and PHRC040). As regards its measures, it can be compared with a marble block bearing a dedication to Sarapis, Isis and the Theoi Adelphoi at Kaunos (PHRC005). The stone was probably inserted in an altar or in another structure indicating that a part of the sanctuary was dedicated to the cult of Ptolemy V.

The presence of the denomination Theos Epiphanes points to 199 BC as the terminus post quem for the dedication: see Lanciers 2014 on the date of the assumption of the title '(Theos) Epiphanes' by Ptolemy V. The death of Ptolemy V’s reign in 180 BC provides the most plausible low chronological limit. Admittedly, an inscription from Thera ( IG XII 3, 467 + IG XII 3, Suppl. 1391, a dedication to the Theoi Epiphaneis by the garrison commander Aristippos) shows that dedications to the deified couple of Ptolemy V and Kleopatra I were still accomplished in the early years of Ptolemy VI, that is, when the sanctuary at Mersinaki was still in use (for its abandonment in the mid-2nd century, see Gjerstad et al. 1937, esp. p. 393-398). However, the presence of the title Basileus in our dedication suggests that the recipient was still alive, since in the Ptolemaic tradition the royal title very rarely appears in relation to deceased sovereigns (for a rare exception, see SIG3 390, the Nikouria decree of c. 280 BC, still referring to the recently deceased Ptolemy I as Basileus).

Stefano Caneva, on 10.03.2019

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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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