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Last Updated on 01 Mar 2017

Author: Sophia Zoumbaki

CAPInv. 1488: hyakinthioi


i. Geographical area Peloponnese with Adjacent Islands
ii. Region Lakonia
iii. Site Aigiai


i. Full name (original language) hυακίνθιοι (Waterhouse 1961: 175)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hyakinthioi


i. Date(s) vi - v BC


ii. Name elements
Heroic:Hyakintioi: The name is derived from that of the hero Hyakinthos, a mythological lover and victim of Apollo.


i. Source(s) Waterhouse 1961: 175, fig. 27 (VI-V BC)
Note See also: Van Effenterre 1994: 292 no. 76.
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Dedication in Greek. The text is retrograde in Lakonian script.
Since the inscription is not to be read with certainty, several readings, restorations and interpretations of the text have been suggested, see XII.i: Comments.
i.c. Physical format(s) The inscription is incised on the rim of a bronze bowl.
ii. Source(s) provenance Found in the region between Koutoumon and Limni.


ii. Gender Men
Note Depending on how the inscription is read, the members might have been young men, see XII.i: Comments.


iii. Worship The name of the group indicates some conncetion with the hero Hyakinthos who perhaps received some kind of worship on the part of the Hyakinthioi.
If the entirely different reading and interpretation of the text suggested by Van Effenterre and Ruzé (1994: 292-3) is correct, then the dedication of the Hyakinthioi to Athena, <?Ἀθάν>αι τᾶι ἀπροίκο̄<ι> (<?Athan>ai tai aporoiko<i>) or <?Ἀθάν>αι τᾶι ἀγροίκο<ι> (<?Athan>ai tai agroiko<i>, perhaps to be identified with Athena Agrotera) indicates a worship of the goddess.
Deities worshipped Hyakinthos or Athena (?)


i. Comments Perhaps we have to recognize in Hyakinthioi a group of neoi who place themselves under the patronage of Hyakinthos, see Moreno 2008: 36-7.
On archive material including useful notes and correspondence of the first editors of the text see Poinikastas.
The correspondence of the first editors with Arthur Beattie shows, that he suggested the following reading of the text: hυακινθιο̅ι ανεθεν Αϊται απ' ϝοικο̅ (hyakinthioi anethen Aitai ap' woiko). He interprets it thus as a dedication to Apollo Hyacinthios by a group called Aiitai (cf. CAPInv. 771). The object of the dedication, the bronze bowl bearing the inscription, should have come in this case from the furnishing of a house (απ' ϝοικο̅, ap' woiko) which would be the centre of their activity. The name of the group is associated by Beattie with the word Ἀείτας (Grammat. Bekkeri 348.2: Ἀείταν τὸν ἑταῖρον. Ἀριστοφάνης δὲ τὸν ἐρώμενον, Aeitan ton hetairon. Aristophanes de ton eromenon) and suggests that the group was perhaps associated with the worship of Apollo and Hyacynthos and meant “the mourners of Hyacinthus”.
The text is read as Ὑακίνθιοι ἀνέ̄θεν ἀίται ἀγροίκο̄ͅ (Hyakinthioi anethen aitai agroikoi) by Gallavotti (1978: 183-94), followed by Cartledge 1981: 31 n. 18 and Cartledge 2001: 208 n. 18, and interpreted as a dedication of a thiasos “all’eromenos che dimora in campagna”, namely to Hyakinthos. Parker 1989: 169 n. 41 interprets the text as a dedication of the eromenoi to Apollo/Hyakinthos. See also Jeffrey 1990: 447 no. 51a, hυακίνθιο̅ι ἀνέ̄θεν Ἀΐται ἀπ’ ϝοίκο̅ (hyakinthioi anethen Aitai ap' woiko), taking into account that ἀίτας (aitas, from ἀΐω, aio) is a doric word meaning "a beloved youth".
Van Effenterre and Ruzé 1994: 292 prefer an entirely different reading and interpret the text as a dedication of the Hyakinthioi to Athena, <?Ἀθάν>αι τᾶι ἀπροίκο̄<ι>, <?Athan>ai tai aproiko<i> or <?Ἀθάν>αι τᾶι ἀγροίκο<ι> (<?Athan>ai tai agroiko<i>, who is perhaps to be identified with Athena Agrotera according to Van Effenterre and Ruzé).

Few things are known about Aigiai, the provenance of the inscription in question. It is identified with the site Palaiochora, near Limne, in south Laconia. Strabo 8.364 and Pausanias 3.21.5 identify the polis Aigiai of the Classical period with the homeric Augeiai (B 583). Since Waterhouse and Hope Simpson (1961: 114, 173, 175) did not locate prehistoric remains in this area, they doubt the identification of the site with the homeric Augeiai. Pausanias mentions Aigiai as a polisma where there was a lake, called "Lake of Poseidon", where a temple and a statue of Poseidon were to be seen.
Another sanctuary was excavated, which is not to be identified with that of Poseidon, see Bonias 1998. It is a rural sanctuary dedicated mainly to the cult of Artemis and secondarilly to a heros called Timagenes.
It is unknown, whether the bowl bearing the inscription comes from this sanctuary. The reading of the inscription is not certain and cannot be checked, as the bowl is now lost. It is thus not certain that the text is a dedication of a group called Hyakinthioi to Αϊται, given that according to other interpretations it could also be a dedication to Apollo Hyacinthios by a group called Αϊται. In this case it is to be stressed that a group called Aiitai is further attested in an inscription from Sparta (cf. CAPInv. 771). Should we regard the possibility that the word derives from Aigiai, taking into account that "g" can be omitted between two vowels?
iii. Bibliography Bonias, Z. Ένα αγροτικό ιερό στις Αιγιές Λακωνίας, Αθήνα 1998.
Bruit, L. (1990), ‘The meal at the Hyakinthia. Ritual consumption and offering’, in: O. Murray (ed.), Sympotica: a Symposium on the Symposion. Oxford: 162-74.
Cartledge, P. (1981), ‘The Politics of Spartan Pederasty’, PCPhS 207: 17-36.
Cartledge, P. (2001), Sparten Reflections. London.
Gallavotti, C. (1978), ‘Alcmane, Teocrito e un’iscrizione laconica’, QUCC 27: 183-194.
Moreno Conde, M. (2008), Regards sur la religion laconienne : les Hyacinthia à la lumière des textes et de l'archéologie. Madrid.
Jeffery, L.H. (1990), The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece. A Study of the Origin of the Greek Alphabet and Its Development from the Eighth to the Fifth Centuries B.C. rev. edn. Oxford.
Nafissi, M. (2013), ‘La stele di Damonon (IG V 1, 213 = Moretti, IAG 16), gli Hekatombaia (Strabo 8,4,11) e il sistema festivo della Laconia d’epoca classica’, in: F. Berlinzani (ed.), La cultura a Sparta in eta classica, ARISTONOTHOS. Scritti per il Mediterraneo antico, Atti del seminario di Studi Università Statale di Milano, (5-6 maggio 2010). Vol. 8: 105-174.
Parker, R. (1989), ‘Spartan Religion’, in: A. Powell (ed.), Classical Sparta: Techniques behind her Success. London: 142-72.
Van Effenterre, H. and Ruzé, F. (1994), Nomima. Recueil d’inscriptions politiques et juridiques de l’archaïsme grec. 2 vols. Rome.
Waterhouse, H. and Hope Simpson, R. (1961), ‘Prehistoric Laconia: Part II’, ABSA 51: 114-75.


i. Private association Possible
Note The uncertain reading of the inscription does not allow any unity of the scholars on its interpretation. It is thus difficult to decide, whether the Hyakinthioi are a private association. It is moreover difficult to decide, whether the text should be read as Ὑακίνθιοι, Hyakinthioi or as hυακινθιο̅ι, hyakinthioi; this reading would impose a totally different interpretation, see and XII.i: Comments, above.