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Last Updated on 13 Mar 2017

Author: Maria-Gabriella Parissaki

CAPInv. 1747: hoi en tois sidereiois Hellenes


i. Geographical area Thrace
ii. Region Inland Thrace
iii. Site Bizye


i. Full name (original language) οἱ ἐν τοῖς σιδηρείοις Ἕλληνες (IGBulg III.2 1859, ll. 5-6)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi en tois sidereiois Hellenes


i. Date(s) 155 / 156 AD


ii. Name elements
Ethnic:Ἕλληνες, Hellenes
Professional:τὰ σιδηρεῖα, ta sidereia
Topographical:τὰ σιδηρεῖα, ta sidereia


i. Source(s) IGBulg III.2 1859 (AD 155/6)
Note The date of the text is based on Antoninus Pius' reigning year; see the relevant comments in the two volumes of IGBulg.
Online Resources IGBulg III.2 1859
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script A Greek dedication to Apollo Aulariokos, set up by Straton, son of Straton, for the σωτηρία, soteria (l. 10), and εὐεργεσία, euergesia (l. 11), of himself and the ἐργασταί, ergastai (l. 10).
i.c. Physical format(s) Marble altar (1.02 X 0.59)
ii. Source(s) provenance Found at the site of Miškova niva near Gradišteto Hill, appr. 4 km south of Malkovo Tărnovo. The site of Miškova niva is thought to have been a small mining and metallurgical agglomeration, with its own tumular necropolis; a funerary inscription referring to a Dionysiac cult association also originates from this same area, see CAPInv. 684.


ii. References to buildings/objects IGBulg III.2 1859 is designated as βωμός, bomos (l. 12) in the text.


ii. Leadership Leadership is denoted by the verb ἄρχω, archo (l. 5), accompanying the name of the dedicant Straton, son of Straton (ll. 5-6: ἄρξας τῶν ἐν τοῖς σιδη̣ρείοις Ἑλλήνων, arxas ton en tois sidereiois Hellenon).
iii. Members Collectively denoted as οἱ ἐν σιδηρείοις Ἕλληνες, hoi en sidereiois Hellenes (ll. 5-6). The term ἐργασταί, ergastai, occurring in l. 10 may refer to this same group or a part of it.


ii. Gender Men
Note As implied by the nature of their profession.
iii. Age Adults
Note As implied by the nature of their profession.
iv. Status Work in the mines usually indicates low social status. The fact that this group differentiates itself by using its Greek origin may be an indication of some special position compared to other workers of non-Greek origin.


iii. Worship The dedication was set up to Apollo Aulariokos (ll. 2-3: Αὐλαριο̣κῳ, Aulariokoi). The god's cult epithet is sometimes considered as identical to Αὐλαρχηνός, Aularchenos, occurring in a number of inscriptions from Thrace.
Deities worshipped Apollo


i. Comments The term τὰ σιδηρεῖα, ta sidereia in the group's name indicates those working in the extraction and the processing of metal. The term might have functioned also as a toponym; according to Robert 1960: 288, “je pense qu’on peut écrire plutôt Σιδηρείοις avec une majuscule; il ne s’agit pas seulement des Grecs qui travaillent dans les mines et les usines, mais des Grecs travaillant et vivant sur le territoire et dans les agglomérations de la région minière”.
Mines in the Roman empire belonged to the imperial domain and the emperor's reigning year is mentioned in the text; but these should not be taken as signs of some particular interaction.
iii. Bibliography Robert, L. (1960), ‘Épigrammes. 4. Épitaphe de Nicopolis’, in L. Robert (ed.), Hellenica. Recueil d’Epigraphie, de Numismatique et d’Antiquités grecques Vol. 11-12, Paris: 283-96.
Rostovtzeff, M. (1957), The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire. rev. edn. Oxford.
Seure, G. (1929), ‘Inscriptions grecques au pays Astiens’, REA 31: 297-313, esp. 297-307.


i. Private association Discarded
Note According to Seure 1929: 304, Straton was "un directeur d'exploitation ou un chef de chantier ou un contremaître". For Rostovtzeff 1957: 690-1, no. 101, Straton "was the president of an association both national and professional in character", and for Robert 1960: 295 (followed by Mihailov, see the commentary of IGBulg III.2 1859) "le magistrat d'un groupe national et professionnel. Il s'agit bien, je crois, d'un humble et localisé κοινὸν τῶν Ἑλλήνων, ces Hellenes qui devaient former la partie la plus importante, au moins socialement, de la polulation de cette région de forêts-pâturages...".
The term οἱ ἐν σιδηρείοις Ἕλληνες, hoi en sidereiois Hellenes, certainly denotes a a group with a sense of collectivity -probably further fostered by the fact that this group worked in a mostly non-Greek environment- and the verb ἄρχω, archo, points to leadership over this group. But this dedication offers no specific signs of a more permanent organisation; we may as well surmise that it was the result of an ad hoc situation.