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Last Updated on 19 Jun 2019

Author: Stella Skaltsa

CAPInv. 1295: pythastai


i. Geographical area Aegean Islands
ii. Region Telos
iii. Site Telos


i. Full name (original language) πυθασταί (SEG 25: 852 l. 5; 853 l. 5; IG XII.3 34 l. 1; 35 l. 4)
ii. Full name (transliterated) pythastai


i. Date(s) m. iii - e. i BC


ii. Name elements
Cultic:Pythastai - from Pythaeus, cult epithet of Apollo, attested at Lindos (IG XII.1 820; 834)


i. Source(s) IG XII.3 34 (e. ii BC)
IG XII.3 35 (iii/ii BC)
SEG 25: 852 (f. iii BC)
SEG 25: 853 (240-220 BC)
Note In the light of pythaxantes attested in SEG 25: 852, L. & J. Robert (BE 1964: no. 332) propose the same reading for line 2 in IG XII.3 34 and line 5 in IG XII.3 35.

For the date of the inscriptions see Stavrianopoulou 1997: 90.
Online Resources IG XII.3 34
IG XII.3 35
SEG 25: 852
SEG 25: 853
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Lists in Greek of names, registering those involved in the organization of the festival in honour of Apollo Pythios (pythaxantes).
i.c. Physical format(s) IG XII.3 34: marble base. W. 57 x H.max. 16 x Th. 29 cm. The names are written in three columns.
IG XII.3 35: fragment of a stele. H.max. 56 x W.max. 18 x Th. 13 cm.
SEG 25: 852: limestone stele, broken below and mutilated above. H.max. 37 x W. 19 x Th. 9 cm.
SEG 25: 853: rectangular stele, mutilated on the right side and on top. H.max. 93 x W. 54 x Th. 37 cm
ii. Source(s) provenance IG XII.3 34: found in Megalo Chorio on Telos
IG XII.3 35: found built into the wall of the 'μετοχίου του Αγίου Παντελεήμονος' called 'Παναγίας Κοίμησις'.
SEG 25: 852: found in Lakkia close to Megalo Chorio on Telos.
SEG 25: 853: found reused as a tombstone in the cemetery of Megalo Chorio on Telos.


ii. Leadership πυθάρχας, pytharchas (IG XII.3 34 l. 1; IG XII.3 35 l. 3, fully restored; SEG 25: 852 l. 1; SEG 25: 853 l. 1, largely restored)
iii. Members πυθασταὶ πυθάξαντες, pythastai pythaxantes (IG XII.3 34 l. 1, partly restored; IG XII.3 35 ll. 4-5, largely restored; SEG 25: 852 l. 5; SEG 25: 853 l. 5)
iv. Officials πάρεδρος, paredros (SEG 25: 852 l. 3; SEG 25: 853 l. 3, largely restored)


i. Number The numbers of pythastai varies from one inscription to another. In SEG 25: 852 thirteen pythastai including the leader and the paredros are attested. As the stele is broken below more pythastai would have been recorded in the list.
In SEG 25: 853 eleven pythastai are attested.
IG XII.3 34 records 30 names of pythastai recorded in three columns.
IG XII.3 35 is badly mutilated to provide a number that can be trusted.
The names recorded in the inscriptions refer to those involved in the organization of the festival in honour of Apollo (pythastai pythaxantes) and not to the all pythastai.
ii. Gender Men
Note All names recorded in the four inscriptions are male.
iv. Status All names are Greek followed by a patronymic.
On the basis of prosopography it can be supported that a good number of pythastai came from well-off families on Telos (Stavrianopoulou 1997).

Harmodios, the flute-player (SEG 25: 853 l. 19) was probably from Magnesia in Central Greece (Harmodios Magnes: see BE 1967 no. 425).
v. Relations Family relations are attested not only between individuals whose names are recorded in the same catalogue but also across the catalogues. For a detailed discussion see Stavrianopoulou 1997.


ii. Meetings and events The title of the leader pytharchas, the name of the members pythastai as well as their activities pythaxantes indicate that they were involved in the organization of a festival in honour of Apollo Pytheus. Unfortunately, these four lists provide the only evidence we have for a cult of Apollo Pytheus on Telos. It seems that the festival was organized annually (SEG 52: 853 l. 5: pythaxantes en[iausian]).
Deities worshipped Apollo Pytheus.


i. Comments The dating formula in SEG 25: 853 follows the Rhodian practice: the name of priest of Halios and the name of the damiourgos. However, in the remaining three inscription only the name of the damiourgos is given.
iii. Bibliography Stavrianopoulou, E. (1997), 'Die Prosopographie von Telos', Tekmeria 3: 79-151.


i. Private association Possible
Note The name pythastai indicates that a group was centered around the cult of Apollo Pytheus. The presence of a pytharchas, the leader of the group, suggests that the activities of the group were mostly religious in nature. The past participle pythaxantes indicates that the group performed cult activities in honour of the deity. An internal structure (pyhtarchas, paredros) clearly permeates the organization of this group, yet it is not sufficient evidence for identifying this group as private association, as it remains open to question whether the cult of Apollo Pytheus was public or private.