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Last Updated on 20 May 2019

Author: Benedikt Eckhardt

CAPInv. 1521: to hieron synedrion ton argyrokopon


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Ionia
iii. Site Ephesos


i. Full name (original language) τὸ ἱερὸν συνέδριον τῶν ἀργυροκόπων (I.Eph(esos) 636, ll. 9-10)
ii. Full name (transliterated) to hieron synedrion ton argyrokopon


i. Date(s) 50 (?) - 300 (?) AD


i. Name in other forms τὸ ἱερὸν συνέδριον τῶν ἀργυροκόπων, to hieron synedrion ton argyrokopon (I.Eph(esos) 636, ll. 9-10)
τὸ συνέδριον τῶν ἀργυροκόπων, to synedrion ton argyrokopon (I.Eph(esos) 2212, l. 17)
οἱ ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ἀργυροκόποι, hoi en Epheso argyrokopoi (I.Eph(esos) 2212, ll. 15-16)
(οἱ) ἀργυροκόποι, (hoi) argyrokopoi (I.Eph(esos) 425, 547, 586, 2441)
οἱ ἀργυροχόοι, hoi argyrochooi (SEG 34: 1094, l. 6)
τ[ὸ] πλῆθος [τ]ῶν ἀργυροχόων, t[o] plethos [t]on argyrochoon (I.Eph(esos) 585, ll. 1-4)
ii. Name elements
iii. Descriptive terms συνέδριον, synedrion
πλῆθος, plethos
Note synedrion: I.Eph(esos) 636, l. 9; I.Eph(esos) 2212, l. 17
plethos: I.Eph(esos) 585, l. 2

While the majority of sources refers to the silversmiths as argyrokopoi, two inscriptions (I.Eph(esos) 585; SEG 34: 1094) use the much rarer term argyrochooi (epigraphically attested only here and in SEG 31: 1592 of unknown origin, and possibly in P. Antinoopolis 1/38; cf. Ruffing 2008: 426). One of them can be dated to a fairly late period (2nd half of the 3rd century CE). Maybe the argyrokopoi had changed their name by that time, but it cannot be excluded that the argyrochooi were a separate association (for debate, cf. Dittmann-Schöne 2010: 140; Zimmermann 2002: 135, n. 937).


i. Source(s) I.Eph(esos) 425 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 547 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 585 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 586 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 636 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 2212 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 2441 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
SEG 34: 1094 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
Acts 19: 23-40 (50 (?) - 300 (?) AD)
Note See also:
I.Eph(esos) 425:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.18
I.Eph(esos) 547:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.19
I.Eph(esos) 586:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.20
I.Eph(esos) 636:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.21
I.Eph(esos) 2212:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.22
I.Eph(esos) 2441:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.23
I.Eph(esos) 585:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.24
SEG 34: 1094:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.25
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
Literary source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script The evidence is divided into

- honorific decrees (I.Eph(esos) 425 and 636; SEG 34: 1094)
- topos inscriptions (I.Eph(esos) 547)
- funerary endowments (I.Eph(esos) 2212 and 2441)
- a dedicatory inscription (I.Eph(esos) 586)
- an acclamation for the well-being of the silversmiths (I.Eph(esos) 585)
- a biblical episode involving the silversmiths of Ephesos (Acts 19: 23-40)

All in Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) Some of the inscriptions were re-used as building blocks. I.Eph(esos) 547 refers to two columns with argyrokopoi inscribed on them, possibly designating places to sell. I.Eph(esos) 2212 and 2441 are written on Sarcophagi; I.Eph(esos) 585 is written on a lion-shaped stand (of a table?).
ii. Source(s) provenance Not all original find spots are known. I.Eph(esos) 425 and 636 were found in the bath of Varius; I.Eph(esos) 547 at the harbor street; I.Eph(esos) 586 at the street of the Kouretes; SEG 34: 1094 at the street between stadion and theatre; I.Eph(esos) 585 in the church of John.


iv. Endowments The association was the recipient of at least one endowment made by a deceased silversmith: They took care of the grave of M. Antonius Hermeias and his wife, after the latter had bequeathed them 500 Denarii (I.Eph(esos) 2212); in addition, the silversmiths were to receive the fine of 1000 Denarii that was due if someone else was buried in the sarcophagus. I.Eph(esos) 2441 seems to have contained another such endowment.


iii. Worship I.Eph(esos) 586 is the only epigraphic piece of evidence that suggests a special connection of the silversmiths to Artemis. It is a dedication made (probably by a member of the association) to Artemis of Ephesos, the emperor and the silversmiths. The Demetrius-episode told in Acts 19: 23-40 reveals a possible background: A main source of income for silversmiths was the fabrication of small replicas of the temple of Artemis; when Paul preached that there was only one god, the silversmiths grouped together shouting “great is Artemis of the Ephesians”. The episode has been taken as an example of religion motivating an association’s uproar (Sommer 2006), although the biblical text leaves the degree of organization unclear (and it is far from certain that all silversmiths were part of the synedrion). It is true that this professional association seems to have had a strong connection to the city’s main deity, but the arguments as put forward in Acts (an obviously biased source) are purely economical.
Deities worshipped Artemis
iv. Honours/Other activities The association honored major representatives of the civic and imperial order, such as T. Claudius Aristion, who had “adorned the city” using his own money (I.Eph(esos) 425), or Valerius Festus, who had erected many buildings and renovated the harbor (SEG 34: 1094). In these cases, a direct relationship between the association and the honoree is not mentioned, but cf. I.Eph(esos) 636, where Claudius Acilius Iulius is honored as the patron (prostates) of the association.


ii. Poland concordance Poland Z *27A
iii. Bibliography Dittmann-Schöne, I. (2010), Die Berufsvereine in den Städten des kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasiens. 2nd. ed. Regensburg.
Ruffing, K. (2008), Die berufliche Spezialisierung in Handel und Handwerk. 2 vols. Rahden.
Sommer, S. (2006), ‘Religion und Vereinigungsunruhen in der Kaiserzeit’, in A. Gutsfeld and D.-A. Koch (eds.), Vereine, Synagogen und Gemeinden im kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasien, Tübingen: 77-93.
Zimmermann, C. (2002), Handwerkervereine im griechischen Osten des Imperium Romanum. Mainz.


i. Private association Probable
Note Professional associations in the 2nd/3rd century were often very close to the official civic institutions, but they probably remained essentially private associations.
ii. Historical authenticity Certain