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Last Updated on 17 Mar 2017

Author: Loredana Cappelletti

CAPInv. 1111: dendrophori


i. Geographical area Southern Italy with Sicily
ii. Region Campania
iii. Site Cumae


i. Full name (original language) dendrophori (CIL X 3699, l.1; CIL X 3700, l.1)
ii. Full name (transliterated) dendrophori


i. Date(s) 251 - iii AD


ii. Name elements
Cultic:dendrophori: the tree-bearers, i.e. the bearers of the sacred pine of Attis in the procession of the March festival.
Professional:dendrophori: woodcutters, woodsellers, etc. see e.g. Diosono 2007: 65-7.


i. Source(s) CIL X 3699 (AD 251)
CIL X 3700 (iii AD)
Note ILS 4174; CCCA IV 2 (= CIL X 3699)
CCCA IV 4 (= CIL X 3700)
Online Resources TM 537477 (CIL X 3699)
TM 537478 (CIL X 3700)
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script CIL X 3699 contains a list of dendrophori, 87 members, who were under the oversight of the Roman board of the XV viri sacris faciundis; the headline, ll. 3-5 commemorate the fact that L. Ampius Stephanus, who was patronus and quinquennalis of the dendrophori and also sacerdos Matris deum, distributed bread, wine, and other gifts among the members on the occasion of the dedication of an object (dedicationi huius), maybe the inscription itself or a statuette, see Van Haeperen 2010: 262.
CIL X 3700 also contains a list of dendrophori, 19 members, who were authorized by the Roman Senate (quibus ex [s(enatus) c(onsulto) coire licet) (CIL X 3700, l. 1).
Both inscriptions are Latin.
ii. Source(s) provenance CIL X 3699 found in Cumae, now lost. CIL X 3700 found in Baiae, now lost.


ii. Leadership Quinquennalis
The headline of CIL X 3699 informs that in AD 251 L. Ampius Stephanus was quinquennalis, i.e. chief officer of the dendrophori for a five year term (see Castagnetti 2007: 240). Stephanus was also patron of the group and the priest of the goddess Mater deum/Magna Mater.
Surely the distribution of panis, vinum and sportulae was among the duties imposed both by his office and by his role as patronus of the collegium, see Tran 2006: 182-203.
v. Other staff L. Ampius Stephanus not only held the position of the chief officer (quinquennalis) of the dendrophori, but he was also their patronus and a public sacerdos Matris deum (CIL X 3699, headline, ll. 3-5). L. Ampius Stephanus' election as priest of Magna Mater may have been made by the civic council (ordo decurionum) of Cumae, whose choice should be formally ratified by the Roman board of the XV viri sacris faciundis; this system of appointment shows CIL X 3698 = CCCA IV 7 from Baiae, see Peterson 1919: 87-9.


iii. Income L.Ampius Stephanus, chief officer and patron of the association, distributed bread, wine, and other gifts (sportulae) among the members on occasion of his dedication of an object (dedicationi huius), maybe the inscription itself or a statuette (CIL X 3699, headline, ll. 3-4).


i. Number In CIL X 3699 are listed 88 members, including the chief officer L.Ampius Stephanus. In CIL X 3700 are listed 19 members.
ii. Gender Men
Note All attested individuals are men (CIL X 3699; CIL X 3700)
iii. Age Adults
Note Quite all the attested individuals were adults (CIL X 3699; CIL X 3700); presumably some of them were elders, see e.g. Pollius Primus Senior and Iunior in CIL X 3699.
iv. Status Both lists show names indicative of foreign individuals, e.g. T. Flavius Archilaus, M. Herennius Zerax, M. Valerius Eutyches (CIL X 3699); Seius Euhodus, Mevius Heraclida (CIL X 3700). Maybe most of the listed persons were freedmen, see Peterson 1919: 89-90. The Greek cognomen of L. Ampius Stephanus (CIL X 3699) indicates servile descent, see Royden 1988: 216; Castagnetti 2007: 240.
v. Relations Some dendrophori were members of the same families: in CIL X 3699 there are attested three Firmii, five Granii, three Pollii, four Valerii, three Lisii; in CIL X 3700 there are attested three Lucceii, two Mammii.


i. Assemblies The dendrophori were authorized to assemble (and to associate) by the Roman Senate (CIL X 3700, l. 1, and maybe CIL X 3699, headline, ll. 1-2); this right, the ius coeundi, implies the existence of a deliberative activity/assembly of the association.
iii. Worship The chief officer and patron of the association was also a public priest of the cult of Magna Mater (CIL X 3699, headline, l. 3).
Deities worshipped Magna Mater and Attis


i. Local interaction L. Ampius Stephanus was also a public priest of the civic cult of Magna Mater, see Van Haeperen 2012: 52-3.
On the very probable interaction between the dendrophori of Cumae and the dendrophori of Baiae (attested in AE 1971: 90, AD 51-150), who worshipped here the Mater deum Baianae (attested in CIL X 3698, III cent. AD), see Van Haeperen 2010: 261.
ii. Interaction abroad The Roman Senate authorized the dendrophori to assemble/associate, see CIL X 3699, headline, ll. 1-2; CIL X 3700, l.1; the association was under the oversight of the Roman quindecemviral board (CIL X 3699), see Van Haeperen 2012: 53-5.


i. Comments The formula quibus (scil. the dendrophori) ex s(enatus) c(onsulto) coire licet (CIL X 3700, l. 1) indicates that the dendrophori had been authorized by the Roman Senate. The imperial or senatorial authorization formula was in use for the collegia from the first to the third centuries AD, see Liu 2009: 97-124.
The expression ex senatus consulto dendrophori creati qui sunt sub cura XV virorum sacris faciundis (CIL X 3699, headline, ll. 1-2) seems to imply the same senatorial authorization: by decree of the Roman senate the dendrophori, chosen in the ordinary way (i.e. the adlectio), were given the authorization to exist as an association under the supervision of the Roman priests XV viri sacris faciundis, who had the oversight in all foreign cults: see Peterson 1919: 92; Royden 1988: 216; Van Haeperen 2010: 263-65. Another interpretation of the expression ex senatus consulto dendrophori creati qui sunt sub cura XV virorum sacris faciundis (CIL X 3699, headline, ll. 1-2) is that of Waltzing 1895: I, 247, who argued that all members of the association were appointed by a decree of the senate of Cumae; with this method of appointing members, the association would have had a thoroughly official character; contra i.a. Royden 1988: 216.
In view of the late date of CIL X 3699 and 3700, the association may well have been involved in the local fire brigade, see Royden 1988: 206.
According to Van Haeperen 2010 the association of dendrophori attested in CIL X 3699 should be attributed to Pozzuoli; contra Camodeca 2010: 242-3.
iii. Bibliography Camodeca, G. (2010), ‘Sull’élite e l’amministrazione cittadina di Cuma romana’, in L. Lamoine, C. Berrendonner and M. Cébeillac Gervasoni (eds.), La Praxis municipale dans l’Occident romain, Clermont-Ferrand: 219-44.
Castagnetti, S. (2007), ‘I collegia della Campania’, in E. Lo Cascio and G.D. Merola (eds.), Forme di aggregazione nel mondo romano, Bari: 223-42.
Diosono, F. (2007), Collegia: le associazioni professionali nel mondo romano. Roma.
Liu, J. (2009), Collegia Centonariorum: the Guilds of Textile Dealers in the Roman West. New York.
Peterson, R.M. (1919), The cults of Campania. Rome.
Royden, H.L. (1988), The magistrates of the Roman professional collegia in Italy from the first to the third century A.D.. Pisa.
Tran, N. (2006), Les membres des associations Romaines. Le rang social des collegiati en Italie et en Gaules sous le Haut-Empire. Rome.
Van Haeperen, F. (2010), ‘Réflexions sur les dendrophores de Pouzzoles, à partir de CIL X 3699’, ZPE 172: 259-66.
Van Haeperen, F. (2012), ‘Collèges de dendrophores et autorités locales et romaines’, in M. Dondin-Payre and N. Tran (eds.), Collegia. Le phénomène associatif dans l’Occident romain, Bordeaux: 47-62.
Waltzing, J.P. (1895-1900), Étude historique sur les corporations professionnelles chez les Romains depuis les origines jusqu'à la chute de l'Empire d'Occident. I-IV, Louvain.


i. Private association Possible
Note The obscure expression ex senatus consulto dendrophori creati qui sunt sub cura XVvirorum sacris faciundis is attested only in CIL X 3699, headline, ll. 1-2 and its interpretation regarding the procedure of appointment of the dendrophori remains problematic.