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Last Updated on 01 Mar 2017

Author: Sophia Zoumbaki

CAPInv. 1475: mazones


i. Geographical area Peloponnese with Adjacent Islands
ii. Region Arkadia
iii. Site Phigaleia and Tegea


i. Full name (original language) μαζῶνες (IG V.2 178, l. 3 and Ath. 4.31)
ii. Full name (transliterated) mazones


i. Date(s) iii (?) BC - iii (?) AD


i. Name in other forms Διονυσιακὴ σύνοδος, Dionysiake synodos (Ath. 4.31)
ii. Name elements
Theophoric:Dionysiake Dionysus
Other:μᾶζα, maza, i.e. bread, cake or porridge
iii. Descriptive terms σύνοδος, synodos
Note διονυσιακὴ σύνοδος, dionysiake synodos: Athen. 4.148


i. Source(s) IG V.2 178 (inc.)
Ath. 4.31 = FrGrH ΙΙΙb, 319 F1
Note See also: Rhomaios 1912: 380-2, no. 11, fig. 11.
Cf. Ath. 10.442b (FrGrH ΙΙΙb, 319 F 2); 10.465 d (FrGrH ΙΙΙb, 319 F3); 11.479c
Online Resources IG V.2 178
Ath. 4.31
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
Literary source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script IG V.2 178 is a Greek funerary inscription of three individuals. Beneath the evocation Σωτηρὼ χαῖρε, Ἀπολλῶνι χαῖρε, Sotero chaire, Apolloni chaire, there is an epigram for the 19-years-old Apolloni(o)s who was a member of the mazones (πάντων μαζώνων με διακρειτὸν ἤθεσι κα[ὶ νῶ καὶ] κάλλει, panton mazonon me diakreiton ethesi ka[i no kai] kallei) and there follows the evocation Ἀγαθόπους χαῖρε, Agathopous chaire. Apolloni(o)s was the son of Sotero, whilst Agathopous was perhaps his father, who apparently died later.

Ath. 4.31 quotes a passage of Harmodios of Lepreon, Περὶ τῶν κατὰ Φιγάλειαν νομίμων Peri ton kata Phigaleian nomimon (FrGrH ΙΙΙb, 319 F1).
i.c. Physical format(s) IG V.2 178 is marble stele bearing a relief depicting a seated woman and a standing man and their funerary inscription.
ii. Source(s) provenance The inscribed stele was built into a modern building at the village Achouria.


v. Other staff Harmodios of Lepreon mentions several functionaries engaged with some duties at ritual banquets in Phigaleia, such as the sitarchos who supplied wine, flour, cheese and other items used for seasoning the hiereia (sacrificial victims), the mageiros, the hydriaphoros. It is not however clear, whether all of them took part in the meals called mazones and whether they were members of the Dionysiac synodos also called mazones.


ii. Gender Men
Note Men are mentioned by Harmodios, but we have no information about the participation of women.
iii. Age Adults
Note From the text of Harmodios we hear that the dionysiac synodos of the mazones included also young men, a fact which is testified by the funerary inscription of the 19-years-old Apolloni(o)s. However, we have no further information about the accurate age of the members.


ii. Meetings and events Common meals, which are also named mazones. Procedure, participants and food are probably to be imagined as similar to those described by Harmodios, which took place at Phigaleia. It is not however clear, which of the information given by Harmodios concerns the mazones or other banquets organized at Phigaleia (see above VII.v: Other staff). For sitarchos see CAPInv. 430. For the role of mageiros in these events see Berthiaume 1982: 29-30.
It is also unknown, whether similar customs are to be recognized for Tegea as well.
iii. Worship The common meals called mazones took place in the framework of worship.


i. Comments The use of the term synodos for the definition of the mazones as well as the epigraphic attestation of the group indicate that we have to do with a private association. Litterary sources attest to several more religious groups that were active in Arkadia. However, their short mentions and the lack of more concrete details prevent us from regarding them as private assoctiations.
Such groups are e.g. the meliastai mentioned by Paus. 8.6.5, who were worshippers of Dionysos in Melangeia near Mantinea. Cf. Jost 2004: 146: “The cult celebrated by the Meliasts close to Melangeia in Mantinike involved a male bacchic brotherhood, whereas nothing allows us to discern whether the worship was private or whether the Meliasts were, like the Koragoi at Mantineia (IG V 2, 265, line 27), ministers of the city”.
Paus. 8.15.1-2 also mentions mystai, initiatives, at Pheneos in connection with the cult of Demeter Eleusinia.
Jost 2004: 144-64 observes that the terms myoumenoi or myesthai are to be found in inscriptions of Lykosoura: “From the same root we find in inscriptions the terms myoumenoi (“initiates”, IG V.2 543, ll. 4–5), and myesthai (“to be initiated”, IG V.2 514, l. 12). Lastly, in Pausanias’ Periegesis, close to Tegea Dionysos carries the epiklesis Mystes, in reference to his initiation in the Mysteries of Eleusis (Paus. 8.54.5)” (Jost 2004: 144). Pausanias 8.36.3 mentions further women hierai to Rhea on mount Lykaion.
Similar cultic groups are attested in others regions of the Peloponnese beyond Arcadia. Pausanias (4.31.9) mentions the megaron of the Kouretes in Messenia and also refers to Bacchai in Sikyon (Paus. 2.7.5).
Pausanias mentions several groups of women charged with religious and agonistic duties in Lakonia. He refers to Leukippides (3.16.1-2), where young virgins were devoted to the cult of Hilaeira and Phoibe, but they also worship Dionysos along with Dionysiadai (Paus. 3.13.7) further mentions that Dionysiades were young virgins that take part in footrace. This female group is attested as Διονυσίδες, Dionysides in an inscription (SEG 11: 610, l. 3: [- - -]βησαν Διονυσίδες δεκαδύο δε[- - -], [- - -]besan Dionysides dekaduo de[- - -]), from which it arises that their number was 12. Another group of young girls was that of Karyatidai, related to the sanctuary of Artemis in Karyai (Paus. 10.7: ... Ἀρτέμιδος ... Καρυάτιδος ... παρθένοι κατὰ ἔτος ἱστᾶσι καὶ ἐπιχώριος αὐταῖς καθέστηκεν ὄρχησις, ... Artemidos ... Karyatidos ... parthenoi kata etos histasi kai epichorios autais kathesteken orchesis).
A thorough analysis of these groups of girls involved in Lakonian cults has been undertaken by Hupfloher (2000: 85-105). However, there are no indications that these groups formed organized private associations.
iii. Bibliography Berthiaume, G. (1982), Les rôles du mágeiros: études sur la boucherie, la cuisine et le sacrifice dans la Grèce ancienne. Leiden.
Hupfloher, A. (2000), Kulte im kaiserzeitlichen Sparta. Eine Rekonstruktion anhand der Priesterämter. Berlin.
Jost, M. (2003) ‘Mystery cults in Arcadia’, in: M. Cosmopoulos (ed.), Greek mysteries. The archaeology and ritual of ancient Greek secret cults, London, New York: 143-68.
Rhomaios, K. (1912), ‘Τεγεατικαί ἐπιγραφαί’, BCH 36: 353-86.


i. Private association Certain
Note The terminology used, the existence of a proper name, of organised structure and of rituals point to a private association.