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Last Updated on 12 Jun 2019

Author: Stella Skaltsa

CAPInv. 135: hoi metechones tes en Oia palaistras


i. Geographical area Aegean Islands
ii. Region Thera
iii. Site Ancient Oia (modern Kamari)


i. Full name (original language) οἱ μετέχοντες τῆς ἐν Οἴᾳ παλαίστρας (IG XII.3, 526, 527, 529)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi metechones tes en Oia palaistras


i. Date(s) l. i - l. ii AD


i. Name in other forms - οἱ μετέχοντες τοῦ ἐν Οἰᾳ γυμνασίου, hoi metechontes tou en Oia gymnasiou (IG XII.3, 528, 534: name partly restored; SEG 16: 470)

- οἱ μετέχοντες τοῦ ἱε[ροῦ] συνεδρίου τῆς ἐν Οἴᾳ παλαίστρας, hoi metechontes tou hierou synedriou tes en Oia palaistras (IG XII.3, 531, ll. 6-9)
ii. Name elements
Geographical:en Oia - one of the two ports of ancient Thera
to hieron synedrion


i. Source(s) SEG 16: 470 (i/ii AD)
IG XII.3, 526 (ii AD)
IG XII.3, 527 (ii AD)
IG XII.3, 528 (ii AD)
IG XII.3, 529 (ii AD)
IG XII.3, 531 (ii AD)
IG XII.3, 534 (ii AD)
Online Resources SEG 16: 470

IG XII.3, 526

IG XII.3, 527

IG XII.3, 528

IG XII.3, 529

IG XII.3, 531

IG XII.3, 534
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script - SEG 16: 470: Posthumous honorific inscription for Hestiaios son of Isokles, neos heros. The deceased was honoured posthumously on account of his father philotimia. The latter, while being secretary of the association, paid out of his own pocket for the construction of a vault (kamaroseos) in the prosdedomenos oikos.

- IG XII.3 526: Honorary inscription for Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos, son of Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos, prytanis and eirenarches of Ephesos. Hoi metechontes tes en Oia palaistras put up (anestesan) an honorific portrait of Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos, their own benefactor (ton heauton euergeten) and philopatris on account of his honour (teimes eneka).

- IG XII.3 527: Honorary inscription for Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos. Hoi metechontes tes en Oia palaistras put up an honorific portrait of Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos, philopatris and benefactor amongst everybody/ in the presence of everyone (euergeten en pasin) on account of his honour (teimes) and his goodness (kalokagathias).

- IG XII.3 528: Honorary inscription for Titus Flavius Kyreinas Kleitosthenes Klaudianos son of Titus. Hoi metechontes tou en Oia gymnasiou honoured him (eteimesan) on account of his virtue (aretes) and goodwill (eunoia) towards the patris.

- IG XII.3 529: Honorary inscription for Aulius Plotius Theodotos, son of the asiarch Aulius Plotius Leonides. Hoi metechontes tes en Oia palaistras put up (anestesan) a honorific portrait of Aulius Plotius Theodotos, benefactor and philopatris, on account of his honour (teimes) and goodwill (eunoias) towards them.

- IG XII.3 531: Honorary inscription for the rhetor Aulus Plotius Krateros, son of Aulus Plotius Leonides and brother of Aulus Plotius Theodotos. Hoi metechontes you hierou sunedriou tes en Oia palaistras honoured Aulus Plotius Krateros, benefactor of the fatherland by ancestry (ton ek progonon euergeten tes patridos).

- IG XII.3 534: Honorary inscription for [ ]menes son of Apollonios by the metechontes tou en Oia gymnasiou.

All in Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) - SEG 16: 470: statue base damaged on top and bottom.

- IG XII.3 526-529: large marble pedestal moulded above and below; standing on a two-stepped plinth and flanked by an arch. Dimensions: ca. H. 1.22 x L. 4.9 x W. 1.11m. These measurements are given by Weil (as recorded in his notebook: see von Gaertringen 1899: 300) who takes the σπιθαμή (palm) to be equal to 22.2 cm (ancient Greek measurement; note that the modern palm is equivalent to ca. 18 cm). De Cigalla (1856a: 260) gave all measurements in palms (H. 5.5 x L. 22 x W. 5 palms). Puech (2002: 183) on the other hand, provides the following dimensions for the pedestal, ca. H. 1.40 x L. 5.5 x W. 1.25 m, taken up by Le Quéré too (2012: 9 n. 22), without indicating however the unit of measurement she used for converting palms into meters.
The pedestal was discovered by De Cigalla in 1856. His description is the only attestation of this monument (De Cigalla 1856a; 1856b), which was probably damaged by the 1875 earthquake.
The pedestal consisted of 22 marble blocks (De Cigalla 1856a: 260; 1856b: 131 - note that Weil mentions 26 blocks instead of 22 [von Gaertringen 1899:300] misreading probably the Greek text: 'τοῦτο δὲ σύγκειται ἐξ εἴκοσι καὶ δύο μαρμαρίνων πλακῶν', touto de synkeitai ex eikosi kai dyo marmarinon plakon). The upper surface consisted of six marble blocks that were laid out horizontally. The front side consisted of sixteen orthostate slabs, placed in two superimposed rows; ten in the upper row and six in the lower row. The pedestal stood on a two-stepped plinth (at least two courses were visible by the time of De Cigalla). At the back of the monument there was a wall built of stone, coated in plaster/ cement and preserved at a height of ca. 2.7-3 m (10-12 palms). An arch flanked the monument. The arch was supported by two pilasters built of dressed stone standing at a distance of ca. 0.5 m (2 palms) from either side of the pedestal.
Four inscriptions were carved on the third (IG XII.3 526), fourth (IG XII.3 527), seventh (IG XII.3 528) and eighth orthostate (IG XII.3 529) respectively. The inscriptions were carved symmetrically on the orthostates, three pairs of uninscribed orthostates (1st-2nd, 5th-6th, 9th-10th) flanking two pairs of inscribed orthostates (3rd-4th, 7th-8th). A draped male life-size marble statue ('nella sua tonaca', De Cigalla 1856b: 132) was still standing on the pedestal in 1856, on top of the fourth inscribed orthostate (his head, both arms and left foot were missing). It was the statue of Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos I. The present whereabouts of the inscriptions and the statue are unknown.

- IG XII.3 531: column of dark blue marble. H. 70 x Diam. 57 cm.

- IG XII.3 534: 'sub aedicula statue destinata' (Hiller von Gaertringen in IG XII.3 534). Weil's description (1877: 75): 'unter einer der Nischen die Inschrift'. The inscription was probably carved on the lower part of the niche/ aedicula.
ii. Source(s) provenance - SEG 16: 470: found in the church of Aghios Georgios, in Ano Episkopi (the village, not far away from modern Kamari, was badly damaged by the earthquake of 1956).

- IG XII.3, 526-529: the inscribed monument was found in ancient Oia (modern Kamari) in the building identified with the palaistra of the inscriptions (see below VII.i).

- IG XII.3, 531: found reused in the church of Aghios Nikolaos (as the altar support according to Abbé Pègues 1842: 15 and De Cigalla 1856a: 260) in ancient Oia (modern Kamari) near the remains that were identified with the palaistra of the inscriptions.

- IG XII.3, 534: the niche was built into the west wall of the 'court' (Weil 1877: 75), which was part of the building identified with the palaistra of the inscriptions.


i. Archaeological remains All the aforementioned inscriptions were found within the church of Agios Nikolaos in Kamari (IG XII.3, 531) or in the vicinity (526-529, 534), except SEG 16: 470 which was found reused in the village of Ano Episkope. On account of the proximity of Ano Episkope to Kamari and the content of the inscription we can assume with some degree of safety that the stone’s original location was non other than the building where all the other inscriptions were found.
To the south of the church of Aghios Nikolaos in Kamari and on sea level stood the remains of an ancient building before being damaged by the 1875 earthquake. A short description of the remains was published by Weil (1877: 75) who visited the site before the 1875 earthquake. Notes from his notebook which were included in the first volume of the Thera excavations (von Gaertringen 1899: 299) provide valuable information about the findspot of architectural fragments and other stones. Based on these notes P. Wilski was able to sketch a rough plan of the building. The building was ca. 21.5 m long by 5.5 m wide. Von Gaertringen identifies this enclosed space as a court. However, a roofed building, cannot be ruled out, especially if one takes into account the following: a central colonnade seems to have run across the long axis of the building as suggested by bases and drums of Corinthian and Ionic columns (Diam. 50cm), dividing the building into two aisles. A central colonnade served practical purposes, namely the support of a roofed ceiling. remains of marble paving were preserved in the eastern as well as in the western aisle, though the paving in the western aisle stood at a higher level by one step than that of the eastern aisle (um 1 Stufe erhoeht). The long pedestal bearing the inscriptions IG XII.3 526-529 flanked the southern short side of the building. According to De Cigalla’s description it was flanked by an arch supported by two pilasters. On the northwestern side of the ‘court’ lied a small marble temple, accessible via three stairs. Two niches were built into the western wall of the ‘court’, to the south of the temple. A number of statue bases and an altar were found in the building (von Gaertringen 1899: 299-300).Two male marble heads, a female head and a draped female marble statue (life-size) were found near the pedestal (DeCigalla 1856a: 262). According to DeCigalla (1856b), besides the draped male marble statue still in situ on the pedestal, traces of three more statues were preserved on the monument, whereas a depression and traces in the uppermost right block would indicate that a horse may have stood too (this information should not be taken at face value, as depressions on the top of a base are normally indications for draped statues and their accouterments).
ii. References to buildings/objects παλαίστρα, palaistra (IG XII.3 531, l. 9)

ἡ καμάρωσις τοῦ προσδεδομένου οἴκου, h kamarosis tou prosdedomenou oikou (SEG 16: 470, ll. 15-17). The term καμάρωσις denotes the construction of an arch/ vault (Travlos 1986: 138). The vaulting of the oikos which was given as a gift (prosededomenos).


iv. Officials γραμματεύς, grammateus (IG XII.3 526, l. 9; 527, ll. 7-8; 528, l.1)

γραμματεύων, grammateuon (SEG 16: 470, ll. 14-5)

Quintus son of Orthagoras was secretary when the father, Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos (527) and son Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos, son of Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos (526) were honoured. The same person seems to have been secretary when ]menes son of Apollonios (531) was honoured (note: only the patronymic is fully preserved).

Alypos son of Menophon was secretary when Titus Flavius Kyreinas Kleitosthenes Klaudianos son of Titus was honoured.
Eponymous officials Inscription IG XII.3 526, 527, 528 are dated after the grammateus: ἐπί + name of the secretary.
v. Other staff οἰκο<δ>όμος, oiko<d>omos (SEG 16: 470, ll. 18-9): <δ>: correction of the stonecutter. However, according to BE 1959 no. 293 this correction does not look plausible, as after the definitive article (ton) one would expect the mention of an official (financial official) and not of a worker.


ii. Gender Men
Note In the light of the palaistra/gymnasion context, it can be safely assumed that the members were all men.
iv. Status The honorands in IG XII.3, 526, 527, 528, 529 and 531 came from two affluent families of Thera, whose members held Roman citizenship. The family of Flavii (IG XII.3, 526, 527, 528) and the family of Plotii (IG XII.3, 529, 531) are attested among the honorands.
v. Relations There was an apparent visual interplay between the honorands (three Flavii and one Plotius), members of two different families (see above IX.iv), as their statues stood on the same monumental pedestal, whereas the statue of another Plotius (IG XII.3, 531) stood probably in the same building too. The epigraphic record of Thera is otherwise 'mute', with regard to any kind of possible connection between the members of these two families (e.g. intermarriages, joint office-holders, etc.). Yet members of these two families were particularly active in the public arena in the second half of the 2nd c. AD, making benefactions, holding public offices in Thera and abroad. It seems that the palaistra/gymnasion in Oia may have brought members of these families together, at least in a visual manner if not in more concrete ways.


i. Assemblies The hieron synedrion, part of the name of the honouring body in IG XII.3 531, may point to the presence of a sort of assembly. However, the phrase hieron synedrion normally stands for the gerousia in Roman times. It is unclear whether the hieron synedrion comprised the elder members of those partaking in the palaistra in Oia or whether it refers to the decision-making assembly.
iv. Honours/Other activities Honorific statues were probably granted to all honorands, judging from the honorific formula of the inscriptions and the physical format of the stone blocks.
Hoi metechontes tes en Oia palaistras bestowed the title of benefactor to Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos II (IG XII.3, 526, ll. 6-7: τὸν ἑαυτῶν εὐεργέτην, ton heauton euergeten).
I consider that the title euergetes en pasin for Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos I (IG XII.3, 527) was bestowed upon him by the city and not necessarily by the association because of en pasin suggests that his benefactions were not restricted to those partaking in the palaistra.
Aulus Plotius Theodotos was benefactor, possibly of the association (IG XII.3, 529, ll. 3-4).


i. Local interaction According to Puech (2002: 256 n.1) Titus Flavius Kyreina Kleitosthenes Klaudianos can be identified with the ephebarch Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Klaudianos (IG XII.3, 524), whereas Hiller von Gaertringen identifies the ephebarch with Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Klaudianos I, the mid-2nd century AD great benefactor of Thera. Puech's identification may not hold water, the nomen Kyreina is absent in the name of the ephebarch. The name of the Roman tribe Quirina is held by another family in Thera (IG XII.3 522; SEG 26: 945).
ii. Interaction abroad Some of the honorands pursued a successful career beyond the city of Thera.
Titus Flavius Kleitosthenes Ioulianos II (IG XII.3, 526) was eirenarches tes Ephesion poleos (ll. 3-4).
Aulus Plotius Theodotos was boiotarch (IG XII.3, 534, l. 6) though by the time he was honored by the association (IG XII.3, 531) he wouldn't have held this office yet, as this is not included in his honorific inscriptions.
For the careers of the aforementioned individuals see Puech 2002.


i. Comments The name of the honouring body in IG XII.3 531, metechontes tou hierou synedriou tes en Oia palaistras, may point to a subgroup within the association of hoi metechontes tes en Oia palaistras. See also X.i.

The so-called gymnasion of the ephebes, in the city of ancient Thera, was still operating by the time the metechontes tes en Oia palaistras/ tou en Oia gymnasion set up honorific statues to their benefactors. Due to the absence of any involvement of the city (demos) it seems reasonable to suggest that the a group that has its own secretary and sets up statues to prominent individuals and benefactors within a specific space formed a private association and was not part of the civic institutions.
ii. Poland concordance Poland N *63a, b, c, d, e, f (IG XII. 3, 526, 527, 528, 529, 531, 534 respectively)
iii. Bibliography De Cigalla, I. (1856a), ‘Αρχαιολογική Ανακάλυψις εν Θήρᾳ’, Pandora 7.155: 260-2.
De Cigalla, I. (1856b), ‘Scavi di Tera, da lettera del sig. conte DE CIGALLA’., Bull. Dell’Inst. XXVIII: 130-6.
L'Abbé Pègues, M. (1842), Histoire et phénomènes du volcan et des iles volcaniques de Santorin suivis d'un coup d'oeil sur l'état moral et religieux de la Grèce moderne, composés en 1837. Paris.
Le Quéré, E. (2012), 'Grande architecture, petites socétés: Les monuments urbains de Théra (Cyclades) sous l'Empire romain', in Fl. Journot, La Monumentalité urbaine, Journée des écolesdoctorales (Paris, INHA, 4 novembre 2011). Paris: 1-16. ( pdf/MondeRomainMedieval/ArtLeQuere.pdf)
Puech, B. (2002), Orateurs et sophistes grecs dans les inscriptions d'époque impériale. Paris.
Travlos, I.N. (1986), Λεξικόν αρχαίων αρχιτεκτονικών όρων. Αθήνα.
Weil, R. (1877), ‘Von den griechischen Inseln’, MDAI(A) 2: 59-82.


i. Private association Certain
Note The name of the association is attested six times, all attestations being honorific inscriptions for benefactors. All inscriptions come from the same place and it is reasonable to suggest that the findspot of the inscriptions stands for the building of the association. In all inscriptions any mention to the demos of the Theraians is absent. see also XII.i.