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Last Updated on 21 May 2019

Author: Benedikt Eckhardt

CAPInv. 1770: hieroneikai


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Ionia
iii. Site Ephesos


i. Full name (original language) ἱερονεῖκαι (I.Eph(esos) 276, l. 11)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hieroneikai


i. Date(s) 30 (?) BC - 150 (?) AD


i. Name in other forms ἱερονεῖκαι πρὸ πόλεως (I.Eph(esos) 27F, ll. 456-7)
ἱερονεῖκαι Ἀρτεμεισιασταί (SEG 43: 779, ll. 5-6)
ii. Name elements
Status-related:hieroneikai are winners of sacred contests.
pro poleos (see XIII Evaluation).
iii. Descriptive terms σύνοδος, synodos
Note synodos (I.Eph(esos) 902, l. 10)

The σύνοδος, synodos referred to may in fact be the world-wide synod of athletes, not the specific group of hieroneikai.


i. Source(s) I.Eph(esos) 14 (30 (?) BC - 150 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 17 (44 AD)
I.Eph(esos) 27F (104 AD)
I.Eph(esos) 276 (123/124 AD)
I.Eph(esos) 650 (30 (?) BC - 150 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 902 (30 (?) BC - 150 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 1089D (30 (?) BC - 150 (?) AD)
I.Eph(esos) 3005 (85/96 AD)
SEG 43: 779 (30 (?) BC - 150 (?) AD)
Online Resources I.Eph(esos) 14
I.Eph(esos) 17
I.Eph(esos) 27F
I.Eph(esos) 276
I.Eph(esos) 650
I.Eph(esos) 902
I.Eph(esos) 1089D
I.Eph(esos) 3005
SEG 43: 779
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Apart from documents that mention individual hieroneikai (I.Eph(esos) 11a; 902;1045; 3005; 3237), the evidence falls into the following categories:

1.) Endowment: I.Eph(esos) 27 (Salutaris foundation);

2.) Administrative regulations: I.Eph(esos) 14 (regulation on fees to be paid at the Ephesian antigrapheion); 17 (edict of the proconsul Paullus Fabius Persicus on the finances of the Artemision);

3.) Honorary decrees: I.Eph(esos) 276 (by the chrysophoroi for Hadrian); 650 (by boule and demos for an agonothetes of the hieroneikai); SEG 43: 779 (for a priestess of Artemis);

4.) a fragment without context (I.Eph(esos) 1089D).

All in Greek
ii. Source(s) provenance Ephesos


iv. Officials ἀγωνοθέτης, agonothetes: I.Eph(esos) 650, ll. 12-14 refers to the honored person as ἀγωνοθέτης τῶν πρὸ πόλεως ἱερέων καὶ ἱερονείκων, agonothetes ton pro poleos hiereon kai hieroneikon. It is not clear from the context if this was a civic office or if the agonothetes was a functionary of the association.


iii. Income If the hieroneikai assembled members of the world-wide synod of Dionysiac artists, one should not expect (additional) membership fees.
iv. Endowments The group received several privileges and endowments: I.Eph(esos) 17 seems to put a limit to the honorarium that hieroneikai were entitled to receive, but does not call into question the privilege itself; in the Salutaris foundation (I.Eph(esos) 27), they are among the recipients alongside Artemis, the council, the gerousia and the priests. They also received regular portions of sacrifices, as is shown by the honorary decree for a priestess of Artemis (SEG 43: 779).


iv. Status The hieroneikai were a select group of athletes, consisting of those who had won a sacred contest. It is likely that most members were also inscribed into the world-wide synod of Dionysiac artists. Several inscriptions from Ephesos mention individual hieroneikai: I.Eph(esos) 11a, l. 9; 902, ll. 9-10 (a ἱερονείκης ἀπὸ συνόδου, hieroneikes apo synodou in a list of priests); 1045, l. 4 (in a list of Kouretes); 3005, l. 8; 3237, l. 2). Given that only one person is specifically labelled ἀπὸ συνόδου, it is not clear if all other individuals were members of the formal organization of hieroneikai; if synodos is taken to refer to the world-wide synod of athletes, the same question arises with regard to this association. I.Eph(esos) 14 draws a further distinction between the hieroneikai: All hieroneikai who are not crowned during the Augusteia-festival have to pay 60 Denarii to receive a document from the antigrapheion.


iii. Worship The hieroneikai were specifically connected with Artemis. I.Eph(esos) 17, l. 46 calls them [τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος ἱε]ροὶ, [tes Artemidos hie]roi and in SEG 43: 779, l. 6 they are called [Ἀρτεμ]εισιασταί, [Artem]eisiastai.
Deities worshipped Artemis


i. Private association Possible
Note The hieroneikai are treated like a priesthood in several inscriptions (I.Eph(esos) 27; 276; 650), and they even receive the attribute πρὸ πόλεως, pro poleos (hardly “before the city” in this context, but rather to be understood as “officially representing the city”). This casts doubt on the private nature of the group. Perhaps the hieroneikai should be regarded as a subgroup of the essentially private network of Dionysiac athletes – a subgroup that exploited its special status (winners of sacred contests) to become a defined part of the civic administration.
ii. Historical authenticity Certain