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Last Updated on 06 May 2016

Author: Sofia Kravaritou

CAPInv. 1808: Basaidai


i. Geographical area Central Greece
ii. Region North-western Thessaly. Tetras of Hestiaiotis.
iii. Site Metropolis


i. Full name (original language) Βασαίδαι (SEG 36: 548, l. 2)
ii. Full name (transliterated) Basaidai


i. Date(s) 250 - 200 BC


i. Name in other forms συγγένεια (SEG 36: 548, ll. 7, 9)
[τ]εῖς συγγενέ̣σσι (SEG 36: 548, l. 10)
ii. Name elements
Kinship-related: Syngeneia ; Syngeneis
According to the first reading of the first lines (ll. 2-5: συνθείκα Βασαίδουν τεῖς εἴντεσσι τοῦν πετταροῦν γενίουν καὶ τᾶς ταγᾶς κοινανείντουν τὲν πάντα χρόνεν καὶ αὐτεῖς καὶ τᾶι γενιᾶι τᾶι ἐς τύτουν γινυμέναι, syntheika Basaidoun teis eintessi toun pettaroun genioun kai tas tagas koinaneintoun ten panta chronen kai auteis kai tai geniai tai es tytoun ginymenai), the syngeneia incorporates 'those of Basaidai/the Basaidai being members of the four families (gene) who also share the taga for all time, for them and their descendants' (Helly 1970: 162). A new reading paying attention in the syntax of the first lines translates 'the Basaidai with the members of the four families that must also share the taga too, for ever with them themselves and their descendants' (Parker 2010; cf. Mili 2015: 65).
Topographical:Helly has proposed (1970: 177-9, 183) a linguistic affinity with the toponym βᾶσσαι, bassai (βᾶσαι, basai) designating the territory inhabited by a community.


i. Source(s) SEG 36: 548 (250 - 200 BC)
Note See also:
SEG 51: 711
Helly 1970: 161-89
Parker 2010: 87-8
Mili 2015: 64
Online Resources SEG 36: 548
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Convention of the Basaidai, or a subgroup of the Basaidai, not to allow all those who do not belong to the syngeneia to share the isotimia and the office of the taga.
i.c. Physical format(s) Four joining fragments of a fragmentary poros stele with triangular pediment and akroteria.
ii. Source(s) provenance It was found on the slopes of a hill close to the modern village of Palaiocastro, in the vicinity of Ancient Metropolis.


i. Archaeological remains The territory of Ancient Metropolis has produced a 5klm circular fortification wall, coins, public and private epigraphic documents, a suburban temple dedicated to Apollo (Decourt, Nielsen, Helly et al. 2004: 697-8).


i. Founder(s) The syngeneia is founded
a) by the Basaidai belonging to the four families (gene) that share the taga for all time, for them and their descendants, or
b) by the Basaidai and the four families (gene) that must also share the taga.
ii. Leadership Office of the taga
iv. Officials The mention of the taga implies the presence of officials called tagoi.

Also, the text delivers the names of two priests of Apollo Hecatombios at Metropolis and Ttylichnai, as guarantors of the convention. We cannot determine whether these are civic priests or priests especially appointed by the group.
vi. Laws and rules The Basaidai belonging to the four families/with the four families cannot accept anybody in the quality of rights (isotimia) and they do not give the office of the taga outside the syngeneia.
Anybody who deviates from these prescriptions will be banned from the syngeneia and will pay a talent of silver to the syngeneis.
vii. Judicial system Written convention (SEG 36: 548)
viii. Obligations The members of the syngeneia must obey to the rules imposed by the convention.
ix. Privileges Isotimia and access tot he office of taga by the members of the syngeneia.


i. Treasury/Funds The prescribed payment of amendments to the syngeneia implies the possession of a treasury.


i. Number Fifteen names of members are listed at the end of the inscription, under the label ὀνύματα τοῦν συγγ]ενίουν, onymata toun syng]enioun (ll. 10-11).
ii. Gender Men
Note All names of the members bear a patronymic.
v. Relations Some of the members are in every probability fathers and sons.


iii. Worship Reference to Apollo Hecatombios as 'guarantor' of the convention of the Basaidai, through its priests.


i. Local interaction Possible interaction between the Basaidai and the four families, according to the second interpretation of the first lines.


iii. Bibliography Bresson, A., and Debord, P. (1985), ‘Syngeneia’, REA 87: 191-211.
Decourt, J.-C., and Tziafalias, A. (2001), ‘Une liste civique à Crannon: La stèle dite des Ménandridai’, ZPE 137: 139-52.
Decourt, J.-C., Nielsen, Th.H., Helly, Br. et al. (2004), ‘Thessalia and adjacent regions’, in M.H. Hansen and Th.H. Nielsen (eds.), An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis, Oxford: 676-731.
Decourt, J.-C., and Helly, Br. (2011), ‘Thessaly’, BE: 420-1.
Helly, B. (1970), ‘La convention des Basaidai’, BCH 94: 161-89.
Mili, M. (2015), Religion and Society in Ancient Thessaly. Oxford.
Parker, R. (2010), ‘The Convention of Basaidai and the Four Families’, ZPE 173: 87-8.
Zelnick-Abramovitz, R. (2000), ‘The Xenodokoi of Thessaly’, ZPE 130: 109-20.


i. Private association Possible
Note The first editor has interpreted the syngeneia as 'parentelle' (Helly 1970). Also it has been already argued that we are dealing with a civic sub-division, probably a phratry like group (cf. for example, SEG 36: 548; SEG 51: 711; Decourt and Tziafalias 2001: 147). However, most of the editors and commentators (Helly 1970; Parker 2010) conclude that the text itself preserves no elements that could unveil the precise character of this Thessalian syngeneia. Given this general acceptance all possibilities remain open and therefore the alleged presence of a private corporation cannot be a priory discarded. The displayed corporate organisation and activity of the group in question bears many similarities to those of private associations.
ii. Historical authenticity The presence of the text of the convention established between the syngeneis renders the historical authenticity of the group certain.