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 priestess of Queen Aphrodite Laodike is created and her duties and privileges are described. A yearly festival is mentioned, taking place during month Aphrodision, on the birthday of the queen. A severely damaged part of the text refers to the rituals that the men and women who are about to get married in Iasos are expected to accomplish to honour the benevolent queen.

Permanent ID http://s.phrc.it/phrc043


Photo 1: Photo of the stone, from Pugliese-Carratelli 1967-1968
Photo 2: Photo of fragments 2bis, a and b, from Pugliese-Carratelli 1967-1968
Photo 3: Plan of the agora, from Fabiani - Nafissi 2013
Photo 4: Plan of the site, from Baldoni et al. 2004

Current location

Iasos, Archaeological Museum


Object Type: Stele
The stele is broken on the right side and on the bottom. The left side is well preserved except for the lower half, where the loss of the margin has caused a variable lacuna of between 2 and 4 letters at the beginning of the lines of column I (lines 27-49; the lacuna is longer at line 50). Column II is heavily damaged because of the loss of the right part of the stone, which affects about half of the length of the lines, with an increasing gap at the bottom of the stele, where only a few letters at the beginning of lines are still legible. A small loose fragment preserves the remainings of four lines; these cannot be surely located in the text. The beginning of Laodike's letter was erased and rewritten in antiquity (see discussion in Mastrocinque 1995 and Nafissi 2001).
Material: Marble
Height: 96 cm
Width: 86 cm
Depth: 3 cm


The decree of Iasos follows a letter of Laodike which provides the motivation of the honours for the queen. The text is divided in two columns, of which Laodike's letter occupies lines 1-32 of col. I, while the decree of the Iasians starts from col. I, lines 33-50 and continues throughout column II. The layout makes the division between the two texts clearly visible. The end of lines, which is only preserved for col. I, often corresponds to the word ending, especially in the text of the civic decree.
Very elegant, small letters written close to each other with a regular ductus. The apices at the end of long hastae and on the side bars of Ω are evident but moderate in comparison to other contemporaneous texts from Iasos, certainly because of the very refined execution of this text. A with horizontal crossbar (in one case, the stonecutter has written Λ instead of A: Col. II, line 15, with the autopsy of Nafissi); Σ with parallel hastae; Π with shorter right hasta and long right extending of the horizontal bar; Θ with central point. For more details see Fabiani 2015, p. 137-140.
Letter height between 1,1 cm and 1 cm (O).


Original Place: Iasos
Date: Between 196 and 194 BC
Justification: content and prosopography.
Provenance: The stele was found in August 1967, reused in a wall of the central door of the Roman Building with exedras, situated south of the agora. It is probable that the stele was originally erected in the agora itself or in its surroundings.


We publish here only the decree of the Iasians, with independent numbering for column I (lines 1-18 = IK Iasos I 4, lines 33-50) and for column II (lines 1-44 = IK Iasos I 4, lines ).

Text constituted from: Nafissi 2001, p. 101-146 (new autopsy of the stone), with adaptations (see Apparatus).

Other editions: Pugliese-Carratelli 1967-1968, p. 445-448, no. 2, Col. I, lines 33-50 and Col. II, lines 1-44, plus the fragments 2bis,a+b; J. and L. Robert, Bull. Ép. 1971, no. 621 convincingly located fragment 2bis,a into Col. II, lines 18-19. Fragment 2bis,b is unlocated but must belong to the very fragmentary final section of Col. II. J. and L. Robert also tried to interpret OGIS 237, another Iasian text mentioning honours for Antiochos III and Laodike, into the decree. Their proposal was accepted by Blümel, who integrated the text in IK Iasos I 4, Col. II, lines 51-62, but has been rightfully rejected by Crowther 1989 (based on the lack of space on the stone and on the different writing): for this text see now Ma 2002, p. 336-337, no. 28. The part of the decree published at the end of Col. I of the stele (Pugliese-Carratelli lines 33-50) has been improved by Garlan 1974 on the basis of a new autopsy. Her readings have also been accepted by Blümel and by later editors. For other proposals of integration of the fragmentary Col. II, see also Sokolowski 1972, p. 173 (Pugliese-Carratelli, lines 3-20), with the remarks by L. Robert, Bull. Ép. 1973, no. 438; Mastrocinque 1983, p. 57; Gauthier - Rougemont, Bull. Ép. 1987, no. 18. Various integrations proposed by Piejko are summarized in SEG XLI 928. Ma 2002, p. 331-332, no. 26 B combines the editions of Nafissi and Blümel, but the layout of his text as regards the lacunae at the end of Col. I is misleading; Blümel is to be preferred with regard to this detail.

See also: Bringmann - von Steuben 1995, p. 366-371, no. 297 [E]; Kotsidu 2000, p. 400-401, no. 283 [E]; Ma 2002, p. 331-333, no. 26 B; Fabiani 2015, p. 137-140 (paleography), 209, 218 (prosopography), 267-268 (date and affinity with 'Group 8' of the honorific decrees from Iasos), 282-283 (role of the prostatai in the distribution of the revenue from the sale of Laodike's wheat and the constitution of dowries). On the letter of Laodike that opens the dossier ( IK Iasos I 4, Col. I, lines 1-32), see the discussion in Mastrocinque 1995 and Nafissi 2001. The ideological implications of Laodike's initiative with regard to female euergetism and ruler cults are discussed in Pomeroy 1982, Bielman 2002, p. 161-165, Ma 2002, p. 223-224, Caneva 2012, p. 91-92, Caneva 2014a, p. 45-46. Other studies focus more precisely on the information that Laodike's letter sheds on royal administration (Capdetrey 2007, p. 312-314), the civic exploitation of the endowment and its economic value (Vérilhac - Vial 1998, p. 165-166).

Images: Pugliese-Carratelli 1967-1968, figs 5-6; Fabiani 2015, fig. 10.

Further bibliography: on the topography of Iasos, see Baldoni et al. 2004, esp. p. 90.93 for the area south of the agora where the stele was reused; Berti 2011 on the agora. On the internal and external political background the decree, see Crowther 1989; Nafissi 2001, p. 121-123; Fabiani 2015, p. 289-291.

Online record: PHI [IK Iasos I 4, lines 33-110]


Column I
[ἐπὶ σ]τεφανηφόρου Κυδίου τοῦ Ἱεροκλείους,
vac. Ἐλαφηβολιῶνος· vac.
[πρυτ]άνεων ἐκ<κ>λησίαν συναγαγόντων τριακάδι ἔδο -
[ξε] τῶι δήμωι· Μενοίτιος Ἱεροκλείους ἐπεστάτει· πρυ -
5 [τάν]εων γνώμη Ἑρμοκράτου τοῦ Θεοδότου, Ἀστιάδου
[τοῦ] Ἑκατωνύμου, Ἑρμίου τοῦ Ἀρτεμιδώρου, Ἑκαταίου τοῦ Δι -
[οπε]ίθου, Μενοιτίου τοῦ Ἱεροκλείους, Μενοιτίου τοῦ Με -
[νε]δμου, Πινδάρου τοῦ Σωπάτρου δι’ἐπιτρόπου Διονυ -
[σίο]υ τοῦ Μενεκλείους· ἐπειδὴ βασιλέως μεγάλου Ἀντιό -
10 [χο]υ προγονικὴν αἵρεσιν διατηροῦντος εἰς πάντας
[το]ς Ἕλληνας καὶ τοῖς μὲν τὴν εἰρήνην παρέχοντος,
[πο]λλοῖς δὲ ἐπταικόσιν βοηθοῦντος καὶ ἰδίαι καὶ κοινῆι,
[τι]νς δὲ ἀντ δούλων ἐλευθέρους πεποιηκότος καὶ τὸ
[κα]θ’ὅλον τ βασιλεύειν νενομικότος πρὸς εὐεργεσα[ν]
15 [δό]σθαι ἀνθρώπων, τὴν δὲ ἡμετέραν πόλιν πρότερ[ν]
[τε] ἐγ δουλείας ῥυσάμενος ἐποίησεν ἐλευθέρα[ν ...]
[...] τος φρουροῦντας στρατιώτας καὶ τὰς [5?.....]
[ἐκβαλὼν] κατέστησ[εν] μᾶς κυρίους τ[5?.....]

Column II
Ἀριστολοχ[..?.. τῶι βασι] -
λε διαλεξο[μένους 25?.........................]
μον ἀξίως διεδε[ξα 24?........................]
ως εἰς τὴν πόλιν δ[17?................. ἐπῃνῆσθαι]
5 βασιλέα μέγαν Ἀντίο[χον]· [καὶ ἐπειδὴ ὁ βασιλεὺς]
γέγονεν καὶ φύλαξ καὶ τ[ς πόλεως σωτὴρ? οἱ στρατηγοὶ]
οἱ ἐξιόντες ἐκ τῆς ἀρχῆς [13?............. καθ’ ἕκασ] -
τον ἐνιαυτὸν τὰς κλεῖδας π[αραδιδότωσαν τοῖς]
μεθ’ἑαυτοὺς στρατηγοῖς τ[10?.......... παρὰ τὸν βω] -
10 μὸν ὃν ἱδρύσατο ὁ δῆμος βασ[ιλέως μεγάλου Ἀντιό] -
χου, οἱ δὲ εἰσιόντες εἰς τὴν ἀρχ[ὴν θύσαντες ἐπὶ τοῦ]
βωμοῦ τῶι τε βασιλεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἄ[λλοις πᾶσιν κοι] -
νοῖς τῆς πόλεως θεοῖς οὕτω [παραλαμβανέτωσαν?]
τὰς κλεῖδας· ἐπῃνῆσθαι δὲ κ[αὶ τὴν ἀδελφὴν αὐτοῦ βα] -
15 σίλισσαν Λαοδίκην· καὶ ἵνα εὐ[χαριστοῦσα ἡ πόλις μη] -
θὲν ἐλλείπηι τιμῆς πρὸς τ[οὺς ἑαυτὴν εὐεργετοῦν] -
τας τὰ μέγιστα, αἱρείσθω κα[θ’ ἕκαστον ἐ]νια[υτὸν ὁ δῆμος?] -
παρθένον βασιλίσσης Ἀφρο[δίτης Λα]οδίκης [ἱέρειαν]· [ἐν δὲ]
ταῖς ἐξόδοις ἐχέτω στρό[φιον ὁλ]όλευκο[ν καὶ τῆι αὐ] -
20 τῆι μὴ ἐξέστω δὶς ἱερητε[σαι]. [Πεμπ]έτ[ω δὲ ἡ ἱέρεια πομ] -
πὴν ἐν τῶι μηνὶ τῶι Ἀφροδι[σιῶνι τῆι πεντεκαιδεκάτηι?],
ἐν ἧι γέγονεν ἡμέραι ἡ βασίλι[σσα Λαοδίκη. Tῆι δὲ πόμπῆι παρα] -
γινέσθωσαν πάντες ἐν [ἐσθῆσι λαμπραῖς? οἱ τε γα] -
μοῦντες καὶ αἱ γαμούμενα[ι], [οἳ δὲ καὶ ἅμα μετὰ τὴν σύν] -
25 ερξιν θυέτωσαν βασιλίσσ[ηι Ἀφροδίτηι Λαοδίκηι κατὰ δύ] -
ναμιν ἕκαστοι ὃ ἂν π[ροαιρῶνται]. [Tῆι δὲ ἡμέραι τῆς βα] -
σιλίσσης συνπομπ[ευέτωσαν οἵ τε ἱερεῖς πάντες? καὶ] -
αἱ ἱέρειαι πᾶσαι καὶ αἱ π[αρθένοι ὅσαι μέλλουσιν γα] -
μεῖσθαι ἐν τῶι λ [29?.............................]
30 δὲ καὶ ἀπαρ[χέσθωσαν αὐτῆι τῆς κόμης?]. [Tαύτηι δὲ τῆι ἡμέ] -
ραι στεφα[νηφορείτωσαν πάντες οἱ πολῖται 5?.....]
ποτ[..?..] -
35 και ο[..?..]
ηι δυ[..?..]
ου γιν[..?..]
τα χρη[..?..]
40 γηναιχ[..?..]

Other fragment
[..?..] ἐν δὲ τι πομπ̣[ῆι ..?..]
[..?.. ἱ]εροκῦρυξ κα[..?..]
[..?.. μ]ηνὸς [..?..]
[..?.. ἐ]νιαυτ[..?..]


This is a selective apparatus focusing on new readings and on the most debated passages concerning the ritual content of the decree. For a more exhaustive overview, see Ma 2002, p. 333.

I 15 Caneva | [...]σ̣θαι other editors

I 18 Mastrocinque 1983, p. 57, n. 11 | [......] Blümel and others; the lacuna is not marked in Ma 2002

II 12-13 Nafissi | καὶ τοῖς α[ὐτοῦ προγόνοις καὶ τοῖς κοι]|νοῖς τῆς πόλεως θεοῖς Blümel | καὶ τοῖς α[ὐτοῦ προγόνοις ὡς κοι]|νοῖς τῆς πόλεως θεοῖς Robert, Bull. Ép. 1971; Gauthier - Rougemont, BE 1987; Ma 2002, p. 219, 223

II 19 Lorenzon | στρό[φιον μεσ]όλευκο[ν Blümel, Nafissi, Ma

II 25 Ma | βασιλίσσ̣[ηι Ἀφροδίτηι Λαοδίκηι ἱερεῖον κατὰ δύ]|ναμιν Sokolowski, Nafissi

II 29 ἐν τῶι̣ λ̣[οιπῶι τοῦ μηνὸς τοῦ Ἀφροδισιῶνος, αἱ] Nafissi | ἐν τῶι̣ [...] Blümel, Ma | ἐν τῶι̣ [λοιπῶι τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ χρόνου· θυέτωσαν] Sokolowski

II 30 Nafissi | δὲ καὶ ἀπαρ[χ ... ἡμέ-] Blümel, Ma | δὲ καὶ ἀπαρ[χὰς τῶν πρώτων φανέντων καρπῶν ἐν τῆι χώ-] Sokolowski

II 31 Nafissi | ραι στεφ[αν ...] Blümel, Ma | ραι στεφ[ανοῦντες τὴν εἰκόνα τῆς βασιλίσσης καὶ εὐχὰς] Sokolowski


(Based on Ma 2002, p. 333-334 with adaptations)
Col. I, lines 1-18
When Kydias son of Hierokles was stephanephoros, in the month Elaphebolion. The prytaneis having summoned the assembly on the thirtieth, the people decreed. Menoitos son of Hierokles was president; proposal of the prytaneis, Hermokrates son of Theodotos, Astiades son of Hekatomynos, Hermias son of Artemidoros, Hekataios son of Diopeithes, Menoitos son of Hierokles, Menoitos son of Menedemos, Pindaros son of Sopatros, through his legal representative Dionysios son of Menekles. Since the Great King Antiochos maintains the disposition of his ancestors towards all the Greeks, bringing peace to some, helping individually and in common many others who have met with troubles, having made some men free instead of slaves, and having considered that the whole of the exercise of kingship consists of dedicating oneself to the benefaction of humankind; since moreover in the past he rescued our city out of slavery and made it free, [and by expelling] the soldiers in garrison and […] he made us masters of ourselves […]
Col. II
Aristoloch[…] those sent to speak with the king […he received them] worthily […] towards the city [… (it seemed good) to praise] the Great King Antiochos; [and because] he has proved to be the guardian and [saviour of the city,] let [the strategoi] who leave office each year p[ass on] the keys […] to the strategoi who come after them [… next to the] altar which the people has built to the [Great King Antio]chos, and let those who enter office [receive] the keys [after sacrificing upon the] altar to the king and to [all the other com]mon gods of the city; (it seemed good) to also praise [his sister], Queen Laodike. And so that the [city, being full of gratitude], should not omit anything in regard to the honours for those who have [given benefactions to it] to the greatest extent, [the people] is to elect [each year] a maiden [as priestess] of Queen Aphro[dite La]odike; she shall wear a headb[and entirely] white upon her public appearances; let it not be possible for the same to be priestess twice. [Let her lead the proces]sion on the [15th ? of] Aphrodision, on which day Queen Laodike was born, and and let all the men and women who are about to wed attend [the procession wearing bright clothes]; [after the completion of the wed]ding, they shall sacrifice to Queen [Aphrodite Laodike] what each one p[refers, according to] their means. [On the day of the] queen, [all the priests/magistrates?], all the priestesses and the m[aidens about] to wed in the [...] are to take part in the procession; [let them (= the maidens) accomplish] first fruits offering [of their hair ? to her (=Laodike)]. [On this day] [all the citizens ?] shall [wear] a crown […] day […] wedding […] inscribing […]
Other fragment
[…] in the procession […] the sacred herald […] in the month […each?] year […]


(S. Caneva; a partire dalla linea 4, la traduzione è basata su quella di Nafissi, con adattamenti)
Col. I, linee 1-18
Durante lo stefaneforato di Kydias, figlio di Hierokles, nel mese di Elaphebolion. Avendo i pritani convocato l’assemblea il giorno 30, il popolo ha decretato. Menoitos figlio di Hierokles era presidente. Proposta dei pritani Hermokrates figlio di Theodotos, Astiades figlio di Hekatonymos, Hermias figlio di Artemidoros, Hekataios figlio di Diopeithes, Menoitos figlio fi Hierokles, Menoitos figlio di Menodemos, Pindaros figlio di Sostratos tramite il suo rappresentante legale Dionysios figlio di Menekles. Poiché il Gran Re Antiochos conserva la disposizione dei suoi antenati verso tutti i Greci, portando la pace ad alcuni, aiutando molti in difficoltà individualmente o insieme, avendo liberato altri dalla condizione di schiavitù, e avendo considerato che nel complesso la regalità consiste nel dedicarsi all'esercizio di un’attitudine evergetica verso l'umanità; poiché inoltre in precedenza ha liberato la nostra città salvandola dalla schiavitù [ed espellendo] i soldati della guarnigione e […] ci ha resi padroni di noi stessi […]
Col. II
Aristoloch[…] inviati per parlare con il re [… li accolse] in modo degno […] verso la città […(il popolo ha decretato) che si lodi] il Gran Re Antiochos; [e poiché il re] è diventato custode e [salvatore della città, gli strateghi] che escono di carica [… ogni] anno [consegnino] le chiavi ai loro successori [… presso] l’altare del [Gran Re Antio]chos che il popolo ha innalzato, e quelli che entrano in carica, [dopo aver sacrificato sull’]altare al re e a [tutte le altre] divinità comuni della città, [prendano in consegna] le chiavi. Si lodi ugualmente [sua sorella, la] regina Laodice; e affinché [la città piena di gratitudine] non resti in difetto nell’onorare quanti le recano i massimi benefici, [il popolo] elegga [ogni anno] una vergine [come sacerdotessa] della regina Afro[dite La]odice; in occasione delle sue uscite pubbliche indossi una ben[da interamente] bianca; non sia permesso alla stessa persona di essere sacerdotessa due volte. [La sacerdotessa guidi una proces]sione [il 15?] del mese Aphrodision, il giorno in cui è nata la regina. [Alla processione as]sistano tutti gli uomini e le donne che si stanno per sposare, [indossando abiti dai colori sgargianti]; essi, [dopo la cerimonia] nuziale, sacrifichino alla regina [Afrodite Laodice] ciò che d[esiderano, secondo le loro pos]sibilità. [Nel giorno della re]gina partecipino alla processione [tutti i sacerdoti/magistrati?], tutte le sacerdotesse e le v[ergini che si spo]seranno nel […]; [esse] offrano [a lei (= Laodice)] una primizia [dei loro capelli. In questo giorno] portino la corona [tutti i cittadini ?]. […] giorno […] matrimonio […] inscrivere […]
Altro frammento
[…] nella processione […] l’araldo sacro […] nel mese [… ogni?] anno […]


(L. Lorenzon)
Col. I, lignes 1-18
Sous le stéphanéphorat de Kydias, fils de Hiéroklès, mois d’Élaphébolion. Les prytanes ayant réuni l’assemblée de trentième jour, le peuple a décrété. Ménoitos fils de Hiéroklès était président. Proposition des prytanes Hermokratès fils de Théodotos, Astiadès fils d’Hékatonymos, Hermias fils d’Artémidôros, Hékataios fils de Diopeithès, Ménoitos fils de Hiéroklès, Ménoitos fils de Ménodèmos, Pindaros fils de Sôstratos par l’intermédiaire de son représentant légal Dionysios fils de Ménéklès. Puisque Antiochos le Grand Roi préserve la disposition de ces ancêtres envers tous les Grecs, fournissant la paix à certains, venant en aide à de nombreux malheureux, individuellement ou ensemble, ayant libéré d’autres de la condition d’esclaves, et ayant estimé que régner consiste dans l'ensemble en se consacrer à l'exercice de l’évergésie en faveur de l'humanité; puisque, en outre, il rendit d’abord libre notre cité en la sauvant de l’esclavage [et ayant expulsé] les soldats qui l’occupaient et […] il nous a rendus maîtres de notre sort […].
Col. II
Aristoloch[…] envoyés pour parler au roi […il les accueillit] dignement […] envers la cité [… (le peuple a décrété) que soit loué] Antiochos le Grand Roi [puisqu’il] a été le gardien [et le sauveur de la cité; que les stratèges] sortant de leur fonction […] chaque année, [remettant] les clefs à leurs successeurs [à côté de] l’autel [d’Antiochos le Grand] Roi que le peuple a érigé, et que les stratèges entrant en charge, [ayant sacrifié sur] cet autel au roi et à [tous les autres] dieux communs de la cité [prennent] les clefs. Qu’on loue également [sa sœur] la reine Laodice ; et afin que [la cité faisant preuve de gratitude] n’omette aucun honneur envers ceux qui lui prodiguent les plus grands bienfaits, que [chaque] année [le peuple] choisisse une vierge [comme prêtresse] de la reine Aphro[dite La]odice. Lors de ses sorties publiques, qu’elle porte un ban[deau entièrement] blanc. Qu’il ne soit pas permis [à la même personne] d’être prêtresse deux fois. [Que la prêtresse guide] une procession [le 15 ?] du mois d’Aphrodision, le jour duquel est née la reine Laodice. Que les futurs mariés et mariées soient présents [à la procession, portant des vêtements de couleurs brillantes]. [Après la cérémonie du mari]age, qu’ils sacrifient à la reine [Aphrodite ? Laodice] ce qu’ils p[réfèrent, selon leurs mo]yens. [Lors du jour] de la reine, que participent à la procession [tous les prêtres/magistrats ?] et toutes les prêtresses, ainsi que les v[ierges qui s’apprêtent à se m]arier dans le […] et que ces dernières [lui] offrent comme prémisses [leur chevelure ?]. Qu’en ce jour, [tous les citoyens portent] des couronnes […]. […] jour […] mariage […] inscrire […]
Autre fragment
[…] dans la procession […] le héraut sacré […] le mois [… chaque?] année […]


This decree provides one of the most intriguing and problematic pieces of evidence about the practicalities of the ruler cult and its integration in the religious life of a city in the Hellenistic period. The text can be precisely dated thanks to the name of the stephanephoros Kydias son of Hierokles, who occupied the eponymous charge of Iasos between 196/5 and 195/4 BC (Fabiani 2015, p. 209 and 218, with previous references). Therefore, both the euergetic initiative of Laodike and the honorific decree of the Iasians belong to the period soon after the conquest of Iasos by the Seleucid army in 197 BC. The place where the stele was originally erected is lost in lacuna (cf. line II 60). However, considering the quality and content of the text as well as the place where the stone was reused, the agora or its surroundings represent a plausible location, even though one cannot exclude the sanctuary of Artemis Astias (probably situated west of the isthmus, near the area of the Roman mausoleum now known as Balık Pazari, 'Fish market’) or that of Zeus and Hera (near the Eastern Gate). For a detailed overview of the places where Iasian decrees were exposed in the Hellenistic period, see Fabiani - Nafissi 2013.

Besides the letter and decree inscribed on this stele, the dossier of honours for Antiochos III and Laodike III at Iasos includes the fragments of two more honorific decrees. The first (GIBM 442; OGIS 327; Ma 2002, p. 336-337, no. 28) praises the euergetic attitude of Antiochos and refers to Apollo as the ‘Archegetes’ of Seleucid dynasty (see Caneva – Lorenzon 2020). As convincingly argued by Crowther 1989, this text is not part of our present stele. The second fragment (PHRC044) contains a series of religious honours bestowed upon Antiochos III by a tribe of Iasos. The relative chronology between these texts is unknown. In any case, the reference to the altar of Antiochos (II 10), which must have been erected before the time when our decree was issued, suggests that the do-ut-des exchange between king and city had already been established.

The decision to publish these two texts on the same stele must depend on the fact that together, they provided a complete overview of the causal link between the euergetic acts of the royal couple (Laodike: letter; Antiochos: decree, lines I 9-18) and the cultic honours bestowed upon them. Interestingly, the spheres of action of the ruling couple appear as complementary, and so do the rewards established by the city. The initiative of Laodike, and the honours repaying it, contextualize her public profile as benefactor of the city in the feminine sphere of marriage. Vérilhac – Vial 2008, p. 165-166 have calculated that Laodike’s donation of wheat to the city would suffice to finance the dowry of about 17 girls per year. Accordingly, Laodike’s honours apply to the sphere of pre- and post-marriage rituals. This point establishes a parallel with the case of Teos: there, Laodike is honoured with the building of a fountain on the agora; the fountain is to be named after her and the decree stipulates that it shall provide water for all libations and sacrifices in general, and more specifically for the ablutions of brides (SEG XLI 1003 II, lines 70-83).

Conversely, the sphere of action of Antiochos, whose personal name is accompanied by the denomination ‘Basileus Megas’ (cf. commentary to PHRC007), encompasses the political and military life of Iasos (for which see Nafissi 2001, p. 119-123). Accordingly, and again in a way comparable with the case of Teos (SEG XLI 1003 I, lines 29-44), Antiochos’ honours unfold in the domain of the ritual ceremonies by which the magistrates of the new year begin their mandate (on the ‘eisiteteria’ rituals, see Nafissi, p. 118; cf. Ma 2002, p. 221-222 and Chaniotis 2007, p. 162-163 on the evidence from Teos). In Iasos, the strategoi leaving office were requested to pass on the keys of the city to the new ones at the altar of Antiochos (on the symbolic value of this gesture, Nafissi, p. 117-118, n. 23). In their turn, the new magistrates would inaugurate the year of their charge with a sacrifice to the king and to the other gods of the city (not to the royal ancestors, cf. Apparatus; for this integration see the compelling arguments of Nafissi, p. 123-126; see also Iossif 2014 convincingly excluding that an organized cult of the Seleucid ancestors already existed at this chronological stage).

Despite these similarities, however, it is also worth noting that a remarkable difference exists between the two texts. In Teos, the regulation about the sacrifice to Antiochos concerns all the magistrates as well as the new citizens at the moment of exiting the period of ephebic training; it takes place at the Bouleuterion, where a bronze agalma of the king is to be erected in order to commemorate and consecrate the place where the king announced his benefactions to the city. In comparison to the act of the Teians, the initiative of the Iasians reveals a different perspective on the deeds of Antiochos: the Iasian strategoi were a recently established charge (this decree provides their earliest occurrence in Iasos) whose function was prominently related to the security of the city (Fabiani 2015, p. 283). More circumscribed than those of Teos, the honours of Iasos therefore fit the definition of Antiochos as the phylax (guardian) and saviour of the city (line II 6; for the combination of these epithets, see Nafissi, p. 119, convincingly preferring Soter to the alternative integration Euergetes). Thus the annual ritual symbolically stresses the supervising role of the king in relation to the institutional life of the city and the maintenance of its security (cf. Nafissi, p. 120-123).

The actual location of the altar of Antiochos is not indicated in the text, but due to the public function of the ritual it is probable that it was erected in a public building around the agora (on the Hellenistic agora of Iasos, see Berti 2011, p. 300-301). On the other hand, the silence of the decree on this important detail as well as the past tense of the verb ἱδρύσατο at II 10 suggest that the establishment of the altar had been stipulated at an earlier stage. Be that as it may, the sequence of the recipients (Antiochos followed by the city’s gods) is of particular interests as it points to the priority of the king, the permanent owner of the cultic structure, in relation to the traditional gods of the city. In other contexts, where cultic honours for a political leader are celebrated on the altar or in the sanctuary of traditional gods, the sequence is reversed, since the gods are the ‘hosts’ of the ritual structure and the honoured political leader can be seen as their temporary guest (Caneva 2020b). This observation suggests that Antiochos was probably honoured autonomously rather than being associated to a Iasian deity as a symbomos/synnaos theos. As concerns more generally the relationship between traditional gods and honoured humans in Hellenistic ruler cults, the sequence adopted by the Iasian decree reveals that the relationships between the old (divine) and new (human) recipients of cult dynamically respond to specific contexts and agendas; as such, they should not be interpreted as the expression of a static ontological hierarchy.

The honours for Laodike are more difficult to evaluate due to the fragmentary state of preservation of the text. The first point emerging from the decree concerns the establishment of a yearly priestess of the deified queen, who is to be chosen among the virgins of the city. The use of the verb αἱρέω suggests that the priestess was chosen by election. The text also explicitly prohibits the reiteration of the charge for two consequent years. These solutions are in line with the democratic regime of Iasos in this period (for which see Fabiani 2015, p. 289-291). The text also mentions two fundamental prerogatives of this priesthood: the privilege of appearing in public with a special headband and the task to lead the yearly procession celebrated on the birthday of the queen, corresponding to 15 Aphrodision on the local calendar. The commonly accepted reading στρό[φιον μεσ]όλευκο[ν for the priestess’ headband (white with purple stripes: Connelly 2007, p. 92 with n. 43) finds a parallel in the description of a chiton dedicated by Ptolemy son of King Lysimachos in a Delian inventory ( I.Délos 1417, lines 29-30), but its meaning in this context remains difficult to understand. We prefer to propose the alternative reading ὁλ]όλευκο[ν, indicating that the headband had to be entirely white (for this expression, cf. Plut., Arat. 53.5, where it is said that the headband of the priest of Aratos should not be entirely white). The use of colours for the clothes of priests and priestesses is a common matter of ritual regulation and purple is often prohibited for priestesses as a sign of luxury (Connelly 2007, p. 91-92). In this perspective, a fully white band would fit the virgin priestess of Laodike by stressing the purity and modesty of the holder of the charge.

The following part of the text is particularly difficult to interpret. No doubt the priestess was expected to lead a procession, whose route remains unknown (on priestesses guiding processions, see Connelly 2007, p. 167-173). The event took place during the month Aphrodision, on the birthday of Laodike. Gauthier 1989 understood this date as the actual birthday of the queen (see commentary to PHRC003, from Sardis). Conversely, and perhaps more convincingly, Nafissi, p. 132, n. 49 interprets the month as an ideological choice stressing the link between the deified queen and Aphrodite. Accordingly, only the day would correspond to the date of birth of Laodike. The decree stipulates that all men and women about to get married have to attend the procession (lines II 22-23). What follows in the lacuna of line II 23 is probably an indication concerning the clothing of the participants (cf. Nafissi, p. 133, n. 51; on the formula ἐν ἐσθῆσι λαμπραῖς see also ( IvP I 246, line 38 for the procession in honour of Attalos III at Pergamon). Following the integrations by Nafissi at lines II24-26, the new couples were expected to accomplish a sacrifice to Laodike (in the dative) after the celebration of their marriage (for the contemporaneous case of post-marital offerings to Aphrodite in Kos, see IG XII 4.1, 302, dated c. 196 BC, with Paul 2016, p. 294-295). The clause allowing ritual agents to choose their offering in compliance with their economic possibilities is well documented in the Hellenistic evidence concerning both traditional gods (cf. e.g. CGRN 200, lines 8-10, for Artemis Leukophryene at Magnesia; Nafissi, p. 135, n. 56) and for deified rulers (P.Oxy. XXVII 2465, fr. II, lines 15-18 for Arsinoe Philadelphos at Alexandria, with Caneva 2014a, p. 98-99). The precise occasion and place of this offering is unknown. Since the sacrifice was accomplished after the marriage, two possibilities are available: the text may refer to only one category of people (the future married couples, attending the procession before the marriage and then sacrificing to Laodike afterwards); otherwise, and perhaps more convincingly, it could distinguish two different groups, that is, the future couples attending the procession and the married ones accomplishing the offering on the same occasion, along the path of the pompe.

The references to a procession and to the offering of ‘first fruits’ in lines II 26-30 are almost entirely in lacuna. According to Sokolowski and Nafissi, this section adds more details about the festival for Laodike by focusing on the ritual which had to be accomplished by a selected part of the virgins who were about to get married. Instead of an offering in cash or in kind (for the latter hypothesis, see Sokolowski in the Apparatus, based on analogy with the text of Teos), Nafissi, p. 137-143 thinks of a ceremony of hair-cutting of the maidens in honour of Laodike (on the aparche of hair, see Suk Fong Jim 2014, p. 34-35; cf. p. 255 on pre-marriage offerings in cash or kind). Nafissi (p. 142) suggests that only the maidens marrying in the month of Aphrodision would accomplish this ritual, which accordingly would become part of their ritual preparation immediately before the celebration of the marriage. However, in the light of the Iasians’ choice to publish the decree directly after the letter attesting to Laodike’s endowment, it seems more probable that the involved girls were those who had benefitted from the dowry financed by the queen. The last lines of the texts mention a stephanephoria of the citizens of Iasos, probably on the occasion of the procession, and the participation of the sacred herald, possibly with the task of pronouncing the public prayers of the community (Nafissi, p. 137).

The decree usually refers to the queen as Queen Laodike, but at least in one occasion (II 18), the denomination Queen Aphrodite Laodike is used. The relevant passage provides the first mention of the priestess of the queen, suggesting that this could be the official denomination of this new priesthood. Admittedly, the text is restored, but the integration has been unanimously accepted since J. and L. Robert convincingly integrated the text of the fragment 2bis,a into this lacuna. Another possible mention of the queen with this compound denomination is suggested by Ma 2002, p. 333, for line II 25. This integration has the advantage of linking the cultic name of the deified queen with the mention of the sacrifice addressed to Laodike by the new couples, but this proposal cannot be taken as certain as it could make the line too long.

The dedications IK Iasos II 222-223, which have been found in the same area as our stele, testify to the existence of a cult of Aphrodite Strateia in Iasos. It is tempting to infer that Laodike became synnaos thea of Aphrodite. Nevertheless, caution is needed due to the limited knowledge of the sacred topography of Hellenistic Iasos and to the fact that unlike in Mylasa and Erythrai, where the same theonym is attested in Hellenistic texts, the Iasian evidence of Aphrodite Strateia does not predate the Roman period (Graf 1985, p. 177; Budin 2010, p. 83-84). While the association with Aphrodite is a recurrent feature of cultic honours for Hellenistic royal women (see Carney 2000; Bielman 2002; Caneva 2012; Caneva 2014a), this specific construction of the cultic name of Laodike is a unicum of Iasos. The official cultic name of Hellenistic queens often follows the pattern ‘basilissa + personal name + epiclesis’ (e.g. Queen Arsinoe Philopator; but never Queen Arsinoe Philadelphos, see Caneva 2016b, p. 213), whereas the juxtaposition of the personal name with a divine proper name is rare (see Caneva 2015; Fabiani 2015). Another remarkable detail is that in this case, the name of the goddess precedes that of the honoured queen. Parallels to this use are provided by the mention of a temple of Aphrodite Lamia (a lover of Demetrios Poliorketes) at Thebes in Ath. 253b and by a sanctuary of Meter Theon Berenike (II) and Aphrodite Arsinoe (II) at Krokodilopolis (Fayum; P.Petrie I2, 1, lines 42-43; 238/7 BC). In these cases, the sequence could express a chronological order suggesting that the cult of a royal woman was added to that of a traditional goddess. Nevertheless, it could also point to a hierarchical relationship, suggesting that, as a recipient of cult, the honoured woman represents a specific manifestation of the goddess. In these terms, the ‘divine name + personal name’ sequence can be seen as an onomastic parallel to the ‘synnaos theos’ solution as far as the ruler is allowed to share in the name of the deity, just as he/she can share in the cultic space of a god(dess). However, we must observe that such an explanation is not fully satisfactory for our text, since in Iasos the use of the royal title Basilissa in the first position provides a more substantial blending between the figure of the queen and that of Aphrodite, making it impossible to see Laodike merely as an addition to, or as a subordinate manifestation of the goddess.

S. Caneva, L. Lorenzon, 30.10.2018
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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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