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Last Updated on 21 Jun 2019

Author: Stella Skaltsa

CAPInv. 1653: hymnoidoi theou Sebastou kai theas Rhomes


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Mysia
iii. Site Pergamon


i. Full name (original language) ὑμνῳδοὶ θεοῦ Σεβαστοῦ καὶ θεᾶς Ῥῶμης (IGRR IV, 353 A ll. 4-5)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hymnoidoi theou Sebastou kai theas Rhomes


i. Date(s) 129 - 138 AD


ii. Name elements
Cultic:hymnoidoi theou Sebastou kai theas Rhomes: the cultic connotations of the name are clear.


i. Source(s) IGRR IV, 353 (129-138 AD)
Note Ed. pr.
I.Pergamon 374 + p. 512

See also
Harland 2014: no. 111
Online Resources I.Pergamon 374 (AGRW ID 573)
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Dedication of an altar to Hadrian by the hymnoidoi. The dedication is written in Face A. The text inscribed on the other three faces of the altar regulates the sacrificial/ ritual calendar of the group and sets out the obligations of newly appointed members.
i.c. Physical format(s) Altar of blue-grey marble inscribed on all four sides. H. 104.5 x W. 60.5 x L. 58.2 cm.
ii. Source(s) provenance Found in 1885 three metres under the street in the bazaar of the modern town.


ii. References to buildings/objects βωμός, bomos (A l. 29)
ὑμνῳδεῖον, hymnoideion (B l. 17)
στέφανοι, stephanoi (B ll. 15, 17)
εἰκόνες τῶν Σεβαστῶν, eikones ton Sebaston (C l. 12)
πόπανος, popanos (B l. 19)
λίβανος, libanos (B ll. 19, 24)
λύχνοι, lychnoi (B l. 19)
οἶνος, oinos (B l. 10, C ll. 5, 8, 10, D ll. 5, 10, 16, 18)
ἄρτος, artos (B ll. 6, 9, 11, C ll. 5, 7, 8, 9, D ll. 9, 11, 16)
μνᾶ, mna (B ll. 5, 9, 11, C ll. 5, 7, 8, 9, D ll. 5, 9, 11, 16)
στρῶσις, strosis (C ll. 5, 7, 11, D ll. 5, 9, 10, 18)


iii. Members ὑμνῳδός, hymnoidos (D ll. 13, 17-8)

Members were appointed (katastatheis hymnodos, C l. 12, D l. 13)
Sons of existing members could join the association on more favourable terms than members with no affiliation to sitting members. It seems therefore that the affiliation to the hymnodoi at Pergamon was partly a hereditary prerogative; at least it opened up the way for sons of members to be admitted into the group.
iv. Officials οἱ ἄρχοντες, hoi archontes (B l. 22, D ll. 19-20)

εὔκοσμος, eukosmos (B l. 3)

ἱερεύς, hiereus (C l. 3)

γραμματεύς, grammateus (D l. 3)

These officials were in charge of undertaking specific tasks on the occasion of festivals celebrated by the group (see below X.ii).
v. Other staff θεολόγος, theologos (A l. 29)
A theologos composed eulogies for the emperor.
viii. Obligations ἰσηλύσιον, iselysion (D l. 13): the entrance fee for a newly appointed hymnodos consisted of (D ll. 13-17):
- 100 denarii for the sacrifices of Augustus and Roma,
- 15 denarii to each actual member
- 30 denarii to the gods
- gifts including wine, three loaves of bread
- gifts including half a loaf of bread and half a mna to the sons of the actual members

The editor of IGRR IV, 353 calculated the total contribution of new members to 702.5 denarii, provided that there the number of members was fixed to 35 (in Smyrna there were 24 hymnodoi).

The hymnodos taking over his father hymn, patroion hymnon, D l. 17 (hereditary right in membership), had to contribute the following (D ll. 17-18):
- 15 denarii to the gods
- 7 denarii to each actual member
- gifts including wine and strosis
However, the officials were obliged to give back to the sons who have paid the choral fee (χορεῖον, choreion, D l. 20) half of their fees (D ll. 18-21). Thus there was a 50% reduction for the sons of existing members.
It seems that there was a special entry fee for sons of existing members, called the χορεῖον, choreion, D l. 20.

The editor of IGRR IV, 353 calculated the total contribution of the sons of existing members to 253 denarii.

The exotikoi hymnoidoi (ἐξωτικοὶ ὑμνῳδοί, C ll. 12-3) had to contribute 50 denarii to the statues of the Sebastoi (εἰς εἰκόνας τῶν Σεβαστῶν, eis eikonas ton Sebaston, C l. 12).
Harland (2014: 132) translates the term exotikos as outsiders, whereas Fränkel, the editor of I.Pergamon 374, considers that the term refers to non-Pergamene members.
The term exotikos is also attested in the inscription of the Iobakchoi from Athens (IG II2 1368 l. 55). There the term has been interpreted in various ways, from 'domiciled away from his father's house' to 'foreigner' and 'son of a non-member' (see Ebel 2004: 97 n. 106).
In the Pergamene inscription, however, the term should rather stand for 'non-Pergamenes' as Fränkel suggested, especially if we take into account that stipulations for new members and the sons of existing members are listed in the text after the remunerations of non-Pergamene members were specified.

Obligations of officials:

archon: he was responsible for providing 15 denarii for the incense used at the funeral of a deceased member (B ll. 21-23). However, he was to get this amount back from the newly appointed member in the place of the deceased.
The archontes (D ll. 19-22) were responsible for giving back 50% of the entrance fee paid by the sons of members provided that they had paid the choreion.

eukosmos: he provided remunerations (mna, oinos, artos) in the following festivals/ celebrations:
- on the 23rd of September (Kaisar)- birthday of Augustus
- on the 1st of January (Peretios)- celebration of the Roman New Year
- on the 23rd of May (Panemos) - celebration of Rosalia
- on the 25th of June (Loos) - celebration of the Mysteries
- on the penultimate day of Hyperberetaios (21st of September)

On the monthly celebrations for the birthday of Augusts and on the birthdays of other emperors the eukosmos shall provide crowns to the hymnoidoi.
In the mysteries the eukosmos shall provide cake, incense and lamps for Augustus (B ll. 16-20).
See also VII.ix

hiereus: he provided remunerations (mna, oinos, artos, strosis) in the following festivals/ celebrations:
- on the 1st of January - Roman New Year
- on the 24th of May (Panemos) - Rosalia
- on the 24th of June (Loos) - Mysteries
- on the the penultimate day of Hyperberetaios (21st of September)

grammateus: he provided remuneration (mna, oinos, artos, strosis, assaria) in the following festivals/ celebrations:
- on the penultimate day of Hyperberetaios (21st of September) - birthday of Sebaste
- on the 1st of January - Roman New Year
- on the 25th of May (Pamemos) - Rosalia
- on the 23rd of June (Loos) - Mysteries
ix. Privileges In the monthly celebration for Augustus' birthday and in the celebrations for the birthday's of other emperors the eukosmos shall provide crowns to the hymnoidoi (B ll. 13-16)
In the mysteries (B ll. 16-18) the hymnoidoi and their sons shall be crowned every day by the eukosmos in the Hymnodeion.

Members received remunerations from newly appointed members (D ll. 13-15, 18-19).


i. Treasury/Funds ἐκ τοῦ κοινοῦ, ek tou koinou (B ll. 24-25)

ii. Realty ὑμνῳδεῖον, hymnodeion (B l. 17) - given the close link between the name of the group (hymnodoi) and the name of the building it might be safe to assume that the hymnoideion was the seat/ headquarters of the group.
iii. Income See above VII.viii


i. Number There appear to have between 33 and 36 singers at Pergamon, if not more (33 attested names, while there is space for two or three more names in A ll. 17-18).
It can be deduced that the number of members was fixed, as the text regulates that a new member was to take up the place of a deceased (B ll. 21-23).
ii. Gender Men
Note All extant names are male.
iii. Age Children
Note The names of some members are further designated as ὑός, hyos (A ll. 9, 10, 26), ἔγγονος, eggonos (A ll. 12, 13), whereas different entrance fees apply to sons of members. It is not clear, however, whether the sons of existing members had to be of age before joining the group.
In B l. 24 there is mention of παῖδες, paides who, however, should be dissociated from members. They have been considered to be slaves.
iv. Status On account of the prosopography it can be deduced that the hymnodoi were high-profile individuals.
27 names in the membership list (Face A) hold the tria nomina, indicative of Roman citizenship.

One of the members Moschos, son of Moschos, was ὀλυμπιονείκης, olympioneikes (A l. 14), victor at Panhellenic games (in Olympia).

Some of the members or their relatives are attested in other Pergamene inscriptions:
- L. Aneinios Flakkos (L. Aninius Flaccus) in A l. 11 may be identified with the archiboukolos L. Aninius Fla[...] in MDAI(A) 24 [1899]: 179 no. 31 l. 13 (see CAP Inv. 927).
- A member of the Castricii family (A l. 16, 29) was an initiate of Demeter (MDAI(A) 35 (1910) now. 41-42).

According to Harland (2014: 134) T. Klaudios Prokillianos (T. Claudius Procillianus) (A l. 28) may be identified with a Galatarch that holds the same name and honoured by a civic tribe at Ankyra two or three decades earlier (I.AnkyraB 142).

The example of T. Claudius Procillianus, probably originating from Galatia, together with the mention of exotikoi hymnodoi indicates that the membership profile was not exclusive to Pergamenes but it encompassed well-off individuals from all over the province. High social status, however, may have facilitated admission to the group (high remunerations upon entry).
v. Relations Admission to the group seems to have been facilitated for sons of sitting members. See also IX.iii


ii. Meetings and events The group held monthly meetings in remembrance of the birthdays of Augustus (τῇ τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ ἐνμήνῳ γενεσίῳ, tei tou Sebastou enmenoi genesioi, B ll. 13-14) and other emperors (ταῖς λοιπαῖς γενεσίοις τῶν αὐτοκρατόρων, tais loipais genesiois ton autokratoron, B ll. 14-15).

The hymnodoi held a three-day celebrations from the 21st to the 23rd of September on the occasion of Augustus' birthday which was preceded by celebrations for the birthday of Livia (not her actual birthday which was on January 30).
They also held a three-day festival on the occasion of Rosalia in May and likewise a three-day festival in the Mysteries in June.
They also celebrated the Roman New Year on the 1st of January.
iii. Worship Sacrifices for Sebastos and Roma (D ll. 14) upon entry of new members.
Deities worshipped Sebastos


ii. Interaction abroad The close relation to the imperial house is manifested by the dedication of the altar to Hadrian, the name of the group, the rituals and sacrifices performed in honour of Augustus, Roma and other emperors.


i. Comments In 44 AD the proconsul of Asia, Paullus Fabius Persicus, took measures for the re-organization of the hymnodoi at Ephesus (IEphesos 17-18). Hymnodoi would from then one be selected among the ephebes who would perform for free. The only exception he made was for the hymnodoi at Pergamon, allowed to be appointed by the city and reimbursed from the entire province. This inscription provides the earliest reference to a synodos of hymnodoi at Pergamon (reign of Claudius). A contemporary inscription from Hypaipa in Lydia (IEphesos 3801, dating to the reign of Claudius, carries another reference to the hiera synodos en Pergamoi. This text illustrates the important role of Pergamon in the celebration of the imperial cult at a provincial level; hymnodoi all over Asia came to Pergamon to praise the emperor. However, for nearly a century (from the reign of Claudius to the reign of Hadrian) our sources are silent when it comes to an organised body of hymnodoi with Pergamon as its seat. Nevertheless, there are some scanty attestations to individual hymnodoi, without these being conclusive evidence for the existence of a coorporate group of hymnodoi. For example, two hymnodoi, acting as paidonomoi and a grammateus set up a dedication to the Sebastoi, Hermes and Herakles (MDAI(A) 29 (1904): 167 no. 8, AGRW 571). Equally less visible is the association after Hadrian's reign as the only evidence for hymnodoi dates after 176 AD and again it is about an individual hymnodos (IPergamon 523). In particular, it is an honorific inscription for Tib. Klaudia Melitine, whose father, besides other offices, was a hymnodos of Divus Augustus. Due to the chronological gap it is unclear whether these two individual hymnodoi were members of the association under question.
ii. Poland concordance B 393
iii. Bibliography Belayche, N. (2013), 'L’évolution des formes rituelles: hymnes et mystèria', in L. Bricault & C. Bonnet (eds.), Panthée: Religious Transformations in the Graeco-Roman Empire. Leiden/Boston: 17-40.
Burrell, B. (2004), Neokoroi: Greek cities and Roman Emperors. Leiden: 349
Ebel, E. (2004), Die Attraktivität früher christlicher Gemeinden. Die Gemeinde von Korinth im Spiegel griechisch-römischer Vereine.
Harland, P.A. (2014), Greco-Roman Associations: Texts, Translations and Commentary. Vol. II: North Coast of the Black Sea, Asia Minor. Berlin.


i. Private association Possible
Note The hymnodoi theou Sebastou kai theas Rhomes display features of a well-structured and exclusive organization (several officials, admission criteria). Membership was not open to anyone, but new members had to pay an entrance fee as well as provide remunerations to existing members. Membership could pass from father to son, provided that the son would fulfill the admission criteria (entrance fee and remunerations). The formal organization and durability of the group seem to be unquestionable. What remains unclear is the private nature of the group. The primary purpose of the group was to hold rituals and sacrifices for the imperial house and thus the group took on an official role in ensuring through its cultic performances the city's allegiance to the imperial house.