Stable URL: as PDF
Last Updated on 01 Jul 2019

Author: Benedikt Eckhardt

CAPInv. 170: he ergasia he thremmatike


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Phrygia
iii. Site Hierapolis


i. Full name (original language) ἡ ἐργασία ἡ θρεμματική (Altertümer von Hierapolis 227, ll. b7-8)
ii. Full name (transliterated) he ergasia he thremmatike


i. Date(s) ii - iii AD


ii. Name elements
Professional:θρεμματικός, thremmatikos: "related to cattle" (see discussion below).
iii. Descriptive terms ἐργασία, ergasia
Note ergasia: Altertümer von Hierapolis 227, l. b7


i. Source(s) Altertümer von Hierapolis 227b (ii - iii AD)
Note See also:
Dittmann-Schöne V.5.11

Ritti 1995: 70 mentions another inscription referring to this association: It was the recipient of a plumb-worker's funerary endowment. The text has not been published yet.
Online Resources Altertümer von Hierapolis 227
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Epitaph with regulations for a funerary endowment. Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) Sarcophagus
ii. Source(s) provenance Northern necropolis of Hierapolis


iv. Endowments The association is the second recipient of a funerary endowment: If the purple-dyers do not fulfill their obligation (burning the παποι [?], papoi on a certain day), the endowment is transferred to the ἐργασία θρεμματική, ergasia thremmatike. The large amount of 3000 denarii indicates the whole sum (generating interest) rather than the sum used for distributions, as in most other inscriptions of this sort from Hierapolis.


i. Comments This association caused much debate at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. Early commentators, including Ramsay 1895: 118-9, thought that thremmatike indicated a Christian group ("sheep" in the sense of followers of Jesus). The phrasing ἐργασία θρεμματική, ergasia thremmatike, with an adjective rather than a genitive plural qualifying the ergasia, is unparalleled in Hierapolis, as is the rite called ἀποκαυσμὸς τῶν παπων, apokausmos ton papon (l. b3), "burning of the papoi". However, a burnt offering is not in itself a Christian rite, as was underlined by Judeich. A number of interpreters referred thremmatike to θρέπτοι, threptoi; the association was thus argued to either consist of adopted slaves (related to the porphyrabaphoi?) or take care of "foundlings", poor children vel sim.: The ergasia would then be a sort of benevolent society (Waltzing 1895: 184-5, 307; Kornemann 1900: 403; van Nijf 1997: 61, n. 152).

But ergasia certainly points to a professional association. Cichorius (Altertümer von Hierapolis, p. 48), followed by Poland 1909: 119, thought that the group in question was simply "die Genossenschaft der Herdenbesitzer"; this view is also taken by Ritti 1995: 73 ("allevatori di bestiame") and Dittmann-Schöne 2010: 241-2. The question remains why the designation of this association does not follow the pattern of the others in Hierapolis. Dittmann-Schöne wants to understand ll. 7-8 as τῆς ἐργασίας τῆς θρεμματικῆς, ergasias tes thremmatikes (τέχνης, technes vel. sim.), pointing to SEG 29: 1183 (Saittai) as a parallel. But in that inscription, the term synodos is used (which may be qualified: the synodos of the ergasia/techne), while in our case, "the ergasia of the techne" seems somewhat odd.
ii. Poland concordance Poland Z 68b
iii. Bibliography Dittmann-Schöne, I. (2010), Die Berufsvereine in den Städten des kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasiens. 2nd. ed. Regensburg: 241-2.
Kornemann, E. (1901), ‘collegium’, RE 4.1: 380-480.
Poland, F. (1909), Geschichte des griechischen Vereinswesens. Leipzig.
Ramsay, W.M. (1895), The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia. Vol. 1.1. Oxford.
Ritti, T. (1995), ‘Associazioni di mestiere a Hierapolis di Frigia’, in B. Maria Giannattasio (ed.), Viaggi e commerci nell'antichità. Atti VII Giornata Archeologia, Genova: 65-84.
Van Nijf, O. (1997), The Civic World of Professional Associations in the Roman East. Leiden.
Waltzing, J.-P. (1895), Étude historique sur les corporations professionnelles chez les Romains depuis les origines jusqu'à la chute de l'Empire d'Occident. Vol. I. Bruxelles.


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