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Last Updated on 24 Jun 2019

Author: Jan-Mathieu Carbon

CAPInv. 1657: hoi basilistai


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Lycia
iii. Site Limyra


i. Full name (original language) οἱ βασιλισταί (Wörrle 2015: 291-292, line 7)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi basilistai


i. Date(s) 243 - 197 BC


ii. Name elements
Cultic:βασιλισταί, basilistai
The term indicates that the group was active in the cult of the Ptolemaic rulers.


i. Source(s) Wörrle 2015: 291-292 (ca. 243 - 197 BC)
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Fragment rules(?) of the association concerning sacrifices (lines 1-7) and, apparently, a membership list (lines 8-25).
i.c. Physical format(s) Stele.
ii. Source(s) provenance "North Bastion" of the Akropolis of Limyra.


ii. References to buildings/objects τὸ τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος ἱερόν, to tes Artemidos hieron (line 5)
Reference is made to the sanctuary of Artemis on the Akropolis, where the stele is to be set up.


ii. Leadership The individual called Menyllos apparently leads the group (line 7). He seems to be identical with the Menyllos son of Nikanor, a Macedonian, who is listed first, below (line 8). Menyllos may have been the phrourachos head of the Ptolemaic garrison or group at Limyra.
vi. Laws and rules The fragmentarily preserved rules which were perhaps codified by the group appear to stipulate that sacrifices performed must not be interrupted (line 1), except in the case where there is a royal impediment, basilikon koluma (line 2), i.e. a war or another important engagement (line 3). In this case, the basilistai are apparently not liable to punishment for non-performance of the sacrifices (ἀζ]ή̣μιοι(?) ἔστωσαν, line 3).
viii. Obligations See above for the apparent obligation of the basilistai to perform sacrifices.
In lines 4-7, two individuals are chosen, apparently from among the group (Xenomenes and Zeonodotos), to take care of the inscribing and erection of the stele in question.


i. Number Including Menyllos, the probable leader (see above VII.ii), there are 18 members attested.
ii. Gender Men
Note All members of the basilistai are adult males and likely to have been Ptolemaic soldiers and/or mercenaries, garrisoned in Limyra.
iii. Age Adults
iv. Status The members come from a wide variety of areas: Macedon (2 individuals) is listed first; cities and areas in the Ptolemaic kingdom abound: Lykia and Limyra itself, Thera, Aspendos, Myra, Kalymna, Cyrene; other provenances are still more diverse: Ainis, Herakleia (which?), Akarnania, Paionia, Megara, Corinth.
For a detailed prosopographical analysis, see Wörrle 2015: 293-297.
v. Relations Two individuals appear to be brothers, Apollonios and Anabios of Aspendos, both sons of Anabios (lines 14-15).


iii. Worship From the rules enacted by or concerning the group, lines 1-4, it seems clear that the basilistai engaged in regular, compulsory sacrifices. At Setis (Elephantine, Egypt), it is known that the basilistai met on the ninth day of every month and on the eponymous days of the rulers to perform sacrifices and libations (see CAP Inv. 51. It is possible that a similar arrangement of rites took place at Limyra too.
More generally on the basilistai, see now the detailed discussion in Wörrle 2015: 297-299.
Deities worshipped Ptolemaic ruler cult(?).
The precise cultic framework and deities of the group remain enigmatic to a degree, though its involvement in the cult of the Ptolemaic kings and queens is highly likely. That the inscription was set up in the sanctuary of Artemis may indicate that the goddess was also favoured by the group, though this may also simply have been a conspicuous place for recording its rules (cf. lines 4-6). On Artemis at Limyra, see Wörrle 2015: 301-302.


iii. Bibliography M. Wörrle (2015), 'Die ptolemäische Garnison auf der Burg von Limyra im Licht einer neuen Inschrift', 291-304 in: B. Beck-Brandt et al. Turm und Tor, Siedlungsstrukturen in Lykien und benachbarten Kulturlandschaften, Vienna.


i. Private association Certain
Note The basilistai are a well-known private cult group in the Ptolemaic period. For further instances, see here CAP Inv. 15 (Thera) and CAP Inv. 1518 (Paphos).