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Last Updated on 02 Mar 2017

Author: Maria-Gabriella Parissaki

CAPInv. 1639: cultores Silvani


i. Geographical area Macedonia
ii. Region Edonis
iii. Site Philippi


i. Full name (original language) cultores Silvani (Philippi II 166/L004, l. 1)
ii. Full name (transliterated) cultores Silvani


i. Date(s) ii AD


ii. Name elements
Cultic:cultores, cultores


i. Source(s) Philippi II 163/L002 (ii AD)
Philippi II 164/L001 (ii AD)
Philippi II 165/L003 (ii AD)
Philippi II 166/L004 (ii AD)
Note See also: AGRW 41
Philippi II 163/L002:CIL III 633 I; GRA I 68a
Philippi II 164/L001: CIL III 633 II; GRA I 68b
Philippi II 165/L003: CIL III 633 III; GRA I 68c
Philippi II 166/L004: CIL III 633 IV; GRA I 68d

Online Resources AGRW ID 2227
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script All inscriptions are in Latin.
Philippi II 164/L001: list of contributors to the construction and decoration of the temple of Silvanus.
Philippi II 163/L002 and 165/L003-166/L004: membership lists of the association.
i.c. Physical format(s) All four inscriptions engraved at the rock face of the acropolis of Philippi. To the left of the rock surface a cavity in the form of a tabula ansata is preserved. According to Pilhofer 2005: 200-1, this designates the place where the lex collegii Silvani was being exhibited.
ii. Source(s) provenance Sanctuary of Silvanus


ii. References to buildings/objects templum: Philippi II 164/L001, ll. 7, 12, 13, 15.
statua aerea Silvani cum aede: Philippi II 164/L001, ll. 5-6.
sigilla marmurea dua Herculem et Mercurium: Philippi II 164/L001, ll. 9-10.
tabula picta Olympum: Philippi II 164/L001, l. 12 (the term Olympus may refer here not to the mountain but to an homonymous flute-player mentioned by ancient authors and sometimes related to the cult of Silvanus, see Collart 1937: 209).
sigillum marmurium Liberi: Philippi II 164/L001, l. 17.
signum aereum Silvani cum basi: Philippi II 164/L001, l. 19.


ii. Leadership sacerdos
Three priests are mentioned in the texts:
Philippi II 163/L002, ll. 3 and 4 (L. Volattius Urbanus); the same person, under another sacerdos and as simple member, is also mentioned in Philippi II 163/L002, l. 62.
Philippi II 163/L002, l. 51 and 164/L001, l. 18 (M. Alfenus Aspasius), mentioned as priest in both cases.
Philippi II 166/L004, l. 2 (Magius Victor).
Thus, 163/L002 mentions two priests. Collart 1937: 404-5, noted that their names were engraved by different stonecutters and thus suggested that they must have held the priesthood consecutively; this is also accepted by Pilhofer 1995: 111. Contra GRA I 68, who consider that both held the priesthood simultaneously.

The term occurs once: Philippi II 164/L001, ll. 1-2: P. Hostilius Philadelphus | ob honor(em) aedilit(atis). Though clearly inspired by the colony's institutions, the term seems to refer here to the association. For Pilhofer 1995: 111-12, Philadelphus must have served as the association's 'treasurer'.
Eponymous office The sacerdotes are used eponymously.
iii. Members Collectively designated as cultores (Philippi II 163/L002, l. 3) or sodales (Philippi II 164/L001, l. 3).

The abbreviations D. VI and D. VII, occurring in Philippi II 165/L003, l.4 and l.14 are restituted as D(ecuria) VI and D(ecuria) VII, thus indicating that the members were organised according to decuriae. Along with the term aedilis mentioned above, this is another example of a term inspired by the colony's institutions.
iv. Officials
v. Other staff In the fragmentarily preserved inscription Philippi II 166/L004, one person is specifically designated as pater (l. 3) and one as frater (l. 9). Opinions differ on whether these should be understood as indicating family bonds or as referring to a specific function within the association, see the relevant analyses of Pilhofer 2005: 214 and GRA I 68. The stone's fragmentary state of preservation offers no certainties.
viii. Obligations The term mortis causae sui accompanies the bequest of 50 denarii by the priest Alfenus Aspasius to the association (Philippi II 164/L00, l. 20). It is not clear whether this bequest generated obligations or privileges, since the exact meaning of this expression evades us; for the different interpretations and the relevant bibliography, see Pilhofer 2005: 209 and GRA I 68.


ii. Realty For the temple of Silvanus and the sums contributed by members of this association, see above.
iv. Endowments For the bequest of 50 denarii, see above.


i. Number Inscription Philippi II 163/L002 records 69 members.
ii. Gender Men
Note We can safely surmise that women were excluded. No female name occurs, despite the important number of devotees and despite the fact that some of the members belonged to the same family.
iv. Status The great majority are Roman citizens of western or eastern origin; most of them bear cognomina of Roman origin, only few of Greek (usually of pan-hellenic distribution, sometimes indicating a lower social status, like e.g. Chresimus or Trophimus) and only one of Thracian (Philippi II 163/L002, l. 53: Paibes). Some of them are explicitly mentioned as freedmen; we can single out Publius Hostilius Philadelphus, who held the office of aediles (see above); some are mentioned as slaves owned by the colony. Thus, the status of Philippi's cultores Silvani seems compatible with what is known for Silvanus' cult all over the Roman empire, see Pilhofer 1995: 108-9, 112 and GRA I 68, with further bibliography.
v. Relations There are certainly cases of father and sons, see e.g. Philippi II 163/L002, ll. 35-37. Some members bear the same nomen gentilicium.


i. Comments In most cases, members are referred to shortly as cultores (Philippi II 163/L002, l. 3) or sodales (Philippi II 164/L001, l. 3). In the partially preserved l. 1 of Philippi II 166/L004 the first editors (Heuzey and Daumet) restituted cul[tores sanct]i Silbani; but Collart 1937: 404, Pilhofer 2009: 213 and Kloppenborg and Ascough 2011: 323, among others, adopt the restitution cul[tores colleg]i Silbani.
Inscription Philippi II 166/L004 differs in many respects from the other three and this has resulted to a later dating in the course of the iii c. AD (Collart 1937: 405).
Inscription Philippi II 091/L360 gives a list of contributors, as indicated by the term pecunia inlata occurring twice in the text. Thus, it has often been considered as a membership list of a collegium, see Collart 1937: 372-3 and Pilhofer 2009: 97. But this interpretation is not compulsory, since contributions may occur on an ad hoc basis.
iii. Bibliography Collart, P. (1937), Philippes, ville de Macédoine depuis ses origines jusqu’à la fin de l’époque romaine. Paris: 402-8.
Hellerman, J.H. (2005), Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: 101-5.
Pilhofer, P. (1995), Philippi I. Die erste christliche Gemeinde Europas. Tübingen: 108-13.
Pilhofer, P. (2009), Philippi, Band II: Katalog der Inschriften von Philippi. rev. edn. Tübingen: 197-215, nos. 163/L002-166/L004.


i. Private association Certain
Note The terminology and character of the group point to a private association.