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Last Updated on 27 May 2019

Author: Georgios Zachos

CAPInv. 1964: Labyadai


i. Geographical area Central Greece
ii. Region Phokis
iii. Site Delphi


i. Full name (original language) Λαβυάδαι
ii. Full name (transliterated) Labyadai


i. Date(s) 525 - 350 BC


ii. Name elements
Kinship-related:fictional / notional kinship


i. Source(s) 1)CID I, 9
2)CID 1, 9bis
3)SGDI II, 1683
4)Rousset-Camp-Minon 2015, no. 1
Note Other Editions
1)Homolle 1895.
SEG 36.520; SEG 39.463
Rhodes/Osborne, GHI no. 1
Jacquemin-Mulliez-Rougemont 2012, no. 30.
2)Rougemont 1974
3)Bourguet 1925; Roux 1969; SEG 13.366; SEG 28.482; DGE 320
Online Resources CGRN 82
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script It is known as the "Law of Labyadai" but it is a collection of separate decisions, rules and other matters, some of which had been inscribed separately elsewhere and re-inscribed or re-arranged in the inscription of the early 4th century BC, as it is indicated by the existence of CID I, 9bis and Rousset-Camp-Minon 2015, no. 1, as well as the archaic expressions that survived despite the partly up-dated language and orthography. Probably, the parts A19-C19 are a single decree passed in the Assembly held on the 10th of Boukatios. The other two parts, about the burial customs and the feasts / sacrifices (CID I, 9C, ll. 19-52 and 9D) are separate laws (cf. the term τεθμός, tethmos used for the first of them, C19-20).
(North)-West Greek dialect with Delphic features.
i.c. Physical format(s) 1) Cippus of limestone (sides A-D), 111,5m x 0.39m x 0.36m.
2)Block of limestone, 0.90m. x 0.33-0.34m x 0,325m.
3) Rupestral inscription
4) Rupestral inscription covers an area about 1.70m across and 0.60m. high.
ii. Source(s) provenance 1) It was found in secondary use in a late-antique wall in front of the Athenian Portico in Delphi.
2)It was found in secondary use in the lower part of Hellenico (wall of Peribolos) on the road Delphi-Arachova.
3)It was carved into a rock of Phaedriadai in Delphi above the road leading from Arachova to the sanctuary.
4)It was carved into a rock between the upper city and the acropolis of Panopeus


i. Founder(s) Labys, eunuch and neokoros of Apollo (Scholion on Pl. Philebus 48C) has been proposed as the eponymous of Labyadai (Perdrizet 1898 and 1899)
iii. Members Λαβυάδαι, Labyadai for the total number of the members, and πατριώται patriotai, CID I, 9B, l. 4) for the members of the each πάτρια, patria, a sub-division of the group.
iv. Officials ταγοί, tagoi (CID I, 9A, l.1, 23, 43, B51)
δαμιοργοί, damiorgoi (CID I, 9D ll. 19-20) who exact a fine.
πενταμερίται, pentameritai (CID I, 9D, l. 16; 9bis, ll. 3-4).
πεντεκαιδέκα, pentekaideka (CID I, 9D, l. 22; 9bis, l. 6). They are responsible for collecting the fines and they publish an annual statement (SGDI II, 1683; Roux 1969).
There is also a general reference to ‘officials’ ἀρχῶν, archon(CID I, 9A, l. D26-7).
Eponymous officials The law of Labyadai passed ἐπὶ K[a]mpou or K[o]mpou (CID I, 9A ll. 20-21) but it is not certain if he is an eponymous archon of the city or of Labyadai (Rougemont 1998: 162-164)
vi. Laws and rules 1)Rules concerning the role of tagoi and the offering of cakes and sacrificial victims (CID I, 9A-B)
The tagoi swear to Zeus Patroos they will serve as officials according to the laws of the city and those of Labyadai:
a)as regards the sacrificial victims and the cakes
b)They will exact money and publish accounts justly for the Labyadai and they will not steal or do any harm by any means or device to the property of the group.
c)It is not permitted the tagoi to receive any cake on the occasion of marriages or for children, and no sacrificial victims unless the patria of the person approve it. If they order something illegal let be punished as the one who gave the order.
d)The victims for the sacrifices must be brought at the feast of Apellai and those who offer them are not to bring them, and the tagoi are not to receive them on any other day. If they accept them on a day other than the Apellai, each of tagoi is to pay a fine of 10 drachmas. If they dispute the accusation, the person who blame them should bring the case under the succeeding tagoi, at the assembly of Labyadai, after the feast of Boukatia.
e)The victims are to be brought and the cakes offered in the same year; if not he has to deposit a stater in each case and bring them in the following year. If he does not bring them no deposit is to be accepted: either he is to bring the victim or to pay 20 drachmas, or he is to be listed and pay interest. And for the cake he is to offer it in the following year or to pay o fine.
If the tagoi receive the marriage or the childbirth offering contrary to what is written, each of those who received it must pay 50 drachmas and if he not pay he is to lose his rights among the Labyadai (ἄτιμος ἔστω ἐγ Λαβυαδᾶν), both in this case and in the case of other penalties, until he pays the fine. The person who offered the cake or the victim and it was received contrary to what is written is not to be member of the Labyadai not share the common funds or institutions.
f)The permission about the cake offerings and the sacrificial victims is given at a meeting where no less than 101 Labyadai are present. They are to vote after they have promised by Apollo and Poseidon Phratrios and Dionysos Patroios that they will vote justly according to the laws of Delphi. Tagoi are responsible for accomplishing this and to gather the Labayadai together. If they do not act according to what have been written or they do not impose the tagoi to swear the oath, then each of them is to pay a fine of 10 drachmas in each case.
Every tagos must swear the oath and if someone serves as tagos without swearing he is to pay a fine of 50 drachmas.
2)Rules concerning judgements (CID I, 9B, ll. 51-54, 9C, ll. 1-19).
If any of the tagoi makes an accusation (against a member? or a tagos?) of doing anything contrary to what is written, and he denies it, the tagoi elected (a member? or another tagos?) to judge the case. If he is elected but not pass judgement, he will pay a fine of 5 drachmas, and let the tagoi elect another and complete the case.
Whoever is responsible for the conviction of anyone breaking the law is to have the half (of the fine). The tagoi are responsible for the completion of the trial for the person who made the accusation. If they do not each of them is to pay a double fine. Anyone who owes a penalty is to lose his rights (ἄτιμος ἔστω).
3)Rules concerning things about burial (CID I: 9C 19-52; LSCG 77)
a)No more than 35 drachmas must be spent, either on objects bought or on things from the house. The thick cement must be brown / gray. If someone breaks these rules he will pay a fine of 50 drachmas, unless he denies on oath at the tomb that he spent more / put inside more.
b)A mattress is to be put underneath and a pillow at the head.
c)The corpse is to be carried covered, in silence, and is not to be put down anywhere, even at the corners of the road. It is not permitted any wailing outside the house before they have come to the tomb, and there let there be...until the θίγανα(;), thigana (coffin lid?, funeral vase / stele?) was closed / was brought.
d)There is to be not mourning or wailing over those who died earlier, but everyone is to go away homewards apart from the close family, paternal uncles, fathers-and brothers-in-law, descendants, and sons-in-law.
e)No groaning or wailing there is to be at the second day, the tenth or the annual commemoration.
d)Anyone who breaks any of these written rules (is to pay a fine).
4)List of the feasts and the sacrifices in which Labyadai are participated, and related rules (CID I, 9D; 9bis; LSCG 77; Rousset-Camp-Minon 2015, no. 1).
There is a number of 15 feasts of the city of Delphi in which every member of Labyadai is obliged to participate in even if he has a private sacrifice, sacrifice with foreigners, childbirth, or serving in five-day office (Rougemont 1977, 57-65; Jacquemin-Mulliez-Rougemont 2012: 66. For a different interpretation of lines D12-17 see LSCG: 156; Rhodes/Osborne, GHI: 11).
If a member breaks any of these rules the δαμιουργοί, damiourgoi and all the other Labyadai are to impose a fine and the Fifteen (πέντεκαιδέκα, pentekaideka) are to enforce it. If anyone questions the fine he is to swear the customary oath and be released.
If a magistrate is absent from the assemblies (taken place in the feasts?) or he disrupts it, he will pay a fine of one obol.
These regulations have also been written at Panopeus on the rock inside (the acropolis? the temenos?). Phanotos gave this (as dowry?) to his daughter Boupyga: the half of a ship and a goat from the sacrifice of twelve victims, the skins in the sanctuary of Pronaia and for Apollo Lykeios, and the beautiful calf. Everyone (from Panopeus?) who offers, as individual or in public capacity, preliminary sacrifice and consults the oracle must provide the above items to the Labyadai.
There are, in addition, three sacrifices in which the Labyadai drink together.
vii. Judicial system The Labyadai have an internal system of justice. The group has judicial rights not only over its members but also over its officials. Accusations against potential offenders can be brought by ordinary members and officials. More precisely:
A member can accuse a tagos and the case will be investigated by the succeeding tagoi at the assembly after the feast of Boukatia (CID I, 9A, ll. 33-44)
The tagoi can accuse a Labyad (a simple member? or a tagos?) of breaking the rules, and if he denies it, they elected (a member? or another tagos?) to judge the case. If he is elected but not pass judgement, he will fined and the tagoi will elect another to complete the case (CID I, 9C, ll. 1-9)
Also, the oath has an important role in the judicial system of the group. The accused can swear and released (CID I, 9C, ll. 27-28, 9D, ll. 24-25) (Plescia 1970: 52, 76).
The severest punishment recorded is that of declaring the offender ἄτιμος, atimos: he is not to be a member of the Labyadai’, nor to share in the collective funds of the Labyadai and their institutions, θέματα, themata (CID I, 9B l. 41, ll. 47-50, 9C, ll. 17-18)
viii. Obligations The members are obliged to register marriages and births at patria subdivision and at Labyadai as well (CID I, 9A).
The members must participate in a series of feasts and sacrifices (CID I, 9D, ll. 1-16, 45-47).
Also, the magistrates must be presents in every assembly (CID I, 9D, ll. 25-27).


ii. Realty The term κοινά χρήματα, koina chremata of the association (CID I, 9B, ll. 49-50) is certainly related to the income of the group but could also mean the possessions in general (land, buildings etc.) (cf. Arist. EthnN1119b26).
iii. Income The κοινά χρήματα, koina chremata of the association (CID I, 9B, ll. 49-50) constituted by the
fines imposed for breaking the rules of Labyadai (CID I, 9A, ll. 37-38, 49, 55-56, 9B, ll. 29-30, 33-34, 38-39, 9C, ll. 7-8, 10-21, 26-27, 9D, ll. 17-28). (cf. also Realty).


i. Number One of their decrees was passed in the Assembly with 182 votes (CID I, 9A, ll. 20-23). If, as seems likely, this figure represents the majority of votes, then the total number of voters at that meeting would have been higher. From this it can be inferred that the size of the membership of the Labyadai, even though not as large as the size of the citizen body of Delphi, may have been considerable.
ii. Gender Men
Note There was probably a short of recognition of the boys at birth and of wives at marriage (cf. the offering of the cakes, δαράται, daratai, and of sacrificial victims, ἀπελλαῖα,̣ apellaia (CID I, 9A, ll. 24-37, 9B, ll. 35-46). The new member enlisted to a particular πάτρια, patria (a sub-group of Labyadai) (CID I, 9A, ll. 26-28, 9B, ll. 1-10).
According to Rhodes/Osborne, GHI: 9, the sacrificial victim (ἀπελλαῖα,̣ apellaia) was offered probably by the boys at maturity when they become full members.
iii. Age Adults
iv. Status A number of Labyadai are presumably citizens of Delphi.
v. Relations They might have controlled entrance of new members through the registration of childbirths (CID I, 9A). Consequently, the bonds between the members were based on real and fictional family relations (Frisone 2011, 195)


i. Assemblies The Assembly was called ἀλία, halia (CID I, 9A ll. 21, 41, 9D, l. 26) and it was held not only for voting and taking decisions but also in the occasion of feasts.
Known voting practice They voted after they promised by Apollo and Poseidon Phratrios and Dionysos Patroios that they will vote justly according to the laws of Delphi. One decision originates from an assembly held on 10th Boukatios (CID I, 9A, l. 20). A quorum of 101 members is also mentioned in connection with a specific kind of decision, probably the decision of the patriai (about the giving, by individuals to the tagoi, of sacrificial victims and cakes in connection with marriages and births (CID I, 9B, ll. 1-17)
ii. Meetings and events νόμιμοι θοῖναι, nomimoi thoinai: Apellai, Boukatia, Heraia, Daidaphoria, Poitropia, Artamitia, Laphria, Theoxenia, Telchinia, Dioskoureia, Megalartia, Herakleia (CID I, 9D, ll. 2-11).
θυσίαι, sacrifices: in the month Apellaios to Dionysos, at the feast of Boukatia to Zeus Patroos and first fruits to Apollo (CID I, 9D, ll. 43-48), during which the member of the group drink together.
(Roux 1973: 63; Rougemont 1977: 57-65).
iii. Worship External religious celebrations in which the association is known to have participated:
Apellai (CID I, 9D, l. 3)
Boukatia (CID I, 9D, l. 3-4)
Heraia (CID I, 9D, l. 4)
Daidaphoria (CID I, 9D, ll. 4-5)
Poitropia (CID I, 9D, l. 5)
Feasts on the seventh and ninth of Bysios (birth of Apollo) (CID I, 9D, ll. 6-7)
Artamitia (CID I, 9D, l. 8)
Laphria (CID I, 9D, l. 9)
Theoxenia (CID I: 9D 9)
Telchinia (CID I, 9D, ll. 9-10)
Dioskoureia (CID I, 9D, l. 10; 9bis, l. 1)
Megalartia (CID I, 9D, ll. 10-11; 9bis, l. 1)
Herakleia (CID I, 9D, l. 11; 9bis, l. 1)
Deities worshipped Zeus Patroos


i. Local interaction There is an interaction between the Labyadai and the city of Delphi because of: a) a number of Labyadai are citizens of the city, b)the regulations about burials, which, according to the Solonian law (Digest. 47.22.4) can be regarded as valid (kyria), as long as they do not go against polis regulations (demosia grammata) (cf. Rhodes/Osborne, GHI p. 8) c)the connection between the meetings of Labyadai and the feasts of Delphi (Rougemont 1977: 57-60; cf. Rhodes/Osborne, GHI p. 10-11) d)Damiorgoi are mentioned also as officials of the city in late 5th-early 4th century BC (Vatin 1961, 237-38). However, it is not certain if the office of damiorgos is shared by the Labiadai and the city or is just an homonym.
ii. Interaction abroad There was a cultic or even a kinship relation (real or fictional) between Labyadai and the citizens of the Phocian Panopeus / Phanoteus.
Phanotos the local eponym of the city, offered a legendary gift or a dowry to his daughter Boupyga, a sort of annuity, provided to Labyadai by every consultant coming from Panopeus. It could be probably a mythical event that established regulations concerning the sacrificial victims. G. Roux (1973) suggested that the "gifts of Phanotos" were gifts of replacement of the victims went entirely and intact to the god, as in case of holocaust, or of those parts the Labyadai were required to give to the gods or to the priest. So the meat for the festival of the group remained abundant (contra Rougemont 1977: 80; cf. Rousset-Camp-Minon 2015: 451-3). McInerney (1999: 106-7; 2010: 164) argues for an agreement between the association and Panopeus for the provision of sacrificial animals. Kritzas (1986) reads the name of Boupyga's father as Kasotos (contra Rougemont 1989) and associates Boupyga to Kassotis the prophetic spring in Delphi. He also argues that Labyadai was originally a clan of shepherds from Phanoteus presided over the ancestral cult of Boupyga even after it had become a public cult.
Also, a Thessalian coloring is detected on various elements of the Law of Labyadai (tagoi, darata) (Mili 2015: 65 note 48, 67 note 56, 261 note 8, cf. also, Helly 1995: 27-29 on Fifteen).
There are similarities between the Law of Labyadai and the regulations of the Attic phratry of Demotionidai (IG II² 1237) possibly not irrelevant to the diplomatic, mythic and religious connection between the Athens-Panopeus and Delphi (Rousset-Camp-Minon 2015: 453).


i. Comments As far as the rules concerning burials, the monetary limits and the fines are very low, by comparison to other cases (Ceos, Athens). Rhodes and Lewis (GHI: 10) suggest that maybe were not brought up to date when the Law was reinscribed. On differences between the rules in Delphi, in Ceos, in Athens and in Gambreion, cf. Garland 1989.
Also, it has been argued that provisions about lamenting at tomb concerns women mournings (Dillon 2002: 273-74)
The "dowry of Boupyga" has been explained as gifts of replacement. The people of Panopeus who offer a preliminary sacrifice and consult the oracle gave back to the Labyadai the victims or parts of them they ceded to the god or to the priest, in order the meat at the festival of the group remained abundant (Roux 1973: 71-2; contra Rougemont 1977: 80; cf. Rousset-Camp-Minon 2015: 447-53).
Lines D 38-43 must be referred only to the consultants from Panopeus since it is unlikely every consultant owed such a heavy tribute to Labyadai (Rougemont 1977: 81, pers. comm. Cl. Vatin; Rougemont 1989: 228; cf. Rhodes and Lewis, GHI: 12; Rousset-Camp-Minon 2015: 452-53).
iii. Bibliography Homolle, Th. (1895), 'Règlements de la phratrie des Labyadai', BCH 19: 5-69.
Perdrizet, P. (1898), 'Labys', REG 11: 245-49.
Perdrizet, P. (1899), 'Encore Labys', REG 12: 40-2.
RE XII1 (1924), 307-11, s.v. Labyadai (Ziehen).
Bourguet, É. (1925), 'Inscriptions de Delphes', BCH 49: 21-60.
Vatin, Cl. (1961), 'Damiurges et épidamiurges à Delphes', BCH 85: 236-55.
Roux, G. (1969), 'L'inscription rupestre des Labyades', RA: 47-56.
Plescia, J. (1970), The oath and perjury in ancient Greece, Florida.
Roux, G. (1973), 'La consultation solennelle des Labyades à Delphes', RA: 59-78.
Rougemont, G. (1974), 'L'inscription archaïque de Delphes relative à la phratrie des Labyades', BCH 98, 147-158.
Rougemont, G. (1977), CID I (Paris).
Parker, R. (1983), Miasma. Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion, Oxford: 40.
Kritzas, C. (1986), 'Boupyga-Kassotis', BCH 110: 611-17.
Garland, R. (1989), 'The well ordered corpse: An Investigation into motives behind Greek funerary legislation', BICS 36: 1-15
Rougemont, G. (1989), 'Enigme à Delphes', in Architecture et poésie dans le monde grec. Hommage à Georges Roux, Lyon: 225-29.
Murray, O., Price, S. (1990), The Greek City from Homer to Alexander, Oxford: 319-20.
Helly, B. (1995), L’Etat thessalien. Aleuas le Roux, les tétrades et les tagoi, Lyon.
Sebillotte, V. (1997), 'Les Labyades: une phratrie à Delphes?', CCG 8: 39-49.
Rougemont, G. (1998), 'La chronologie delphique à l'époque archaïque : exercice critique', Topoi 8: 161-6.
McInerney, J. (1999), The Folds of Parnassos" Land and Ethnicity in Ancient Phokis, Austin.
Frisone, F. (2000), Leggi e regolamenti funerari nel mondo greco. I. Le fonti epigrafiche, Galatina.
Zelnick-Abramovitz, R. (2000), 'The Xenodokoi of Thessaly', ZPE 130: 109-120.
Dillon, M. (2002), Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion, London and New York.
McInerney, J. (2010), The Cattle of the Sun: Cows and Culture in the World of the Ancient Greeks, Princeton / Oxford.
Frisone, F. (2011), 'Construction of Consensus: Norms and Change in Greek Funerary Rituals', in Chaniotis, A. (ed.), Ritual Dynamics in the Ancient Mediterranean: Agency, Emotion, Gender, Representation. Heidelberger althistorische Beiträge und epigraphische Studien (HABES), 49​, Stuttgart: 179-201.
Jacquemin, A., Mulliez, D., and Rougemont, G. (2012), Choix d'inscriptions de Delphes, traduites et commentées. Etudes épigraphiques, 5. Athènes: 59-68 no. 30
Rousset, D., Camp, J., Minon, S. (2015), 'The Phokian City of Panopeus/Phanoteus, Three New Rupestral Inscriptions, and the Cippus of the Labyadai of Delphi', AJA 119: 441-463.
Mili, M. (2015), Religion and Society in ancient Thessaly, Oxford.


i. Private association Probable
Note Rhodes and Osborne (GHI) argues for a phratry but Jacquemin-Mulliez-Rougemont 2012 (p. 67) emphasize that one should avoid referring to the Labyadai as phratry, since the group is never defined that in the sources. Sebillotte (1997) and Zelnick-Abramovitz (2000: 114)suggest syngeneia and not a phratry as a technical name for Labyadai. Frisone (2011: 185, 195) speaks for a more or less 'private' association and about a group based on fictitious brotherhood focuses on male relationships, in which real and fictive family links are often intertwine.
1)Elements suggesting that it is a public association (a civic subdivision)
a)They have their own laws but they were also obliged to use also the laws of Delphi. However a plausible interpretation for the phrases τα̣γ̣ε̣[υ]σέω δι[κ]α[ίως κ]α[τ]ὰ τοὺν ν̣όμους [τ]ᾶς [π]ό[λι]ος καὶ το[ὺ]ς τῶν Λαβυαδ[ᾶν], tageuso dikaios kata toun nomous tas polios kai tous ton Labyadan (I will serve as tagos justly, according to the laws of the city and those of Labyadai (CID I, 9A ll. 1-3) and δικαίως οἰσεῖν κὰτ τὸν νόμους τῶν Δελφῶν, dikaios oisein kat ton nomous ton Delphon (they will vote justly according to the laws of Delphi) (CID I, 9B, ll. 15-17) is that the Labyadai do not act counter to the laws of Delphi.
b)the role of the group in prothysiai to and promanteiai of Apollo (a public-like role) (CID I, 9D, ll. 38-43), and its great concern of with the apellai and daratai (CID I, 9A), rituals embedded in the religious life of the Delphi.
Both elements can be explained with the tendency of private associations to imitate the organization and some functions of the polis and those of sanctuaries.
2)Elements suggesting that it is a private association.
a)In three instances the punishment of a member for breaking the rules of Labyadai is the exclusion from the group. The terminus technicus in the text for this exclusion is ἄτιμος ἔστω, atimos esto (CID I, 9 B41-42; C 17-18), a term used by the city to express a person’s loss of civic rights/citizenship. Since it is unlikely that the city of Delphi would permit one of its civic subdivisions to sentence citizens to atimia, this element if the proof that the Labyadai was probably a private association and the use of atimia by the group is yet another instance in which Labyadai imitate the polis. The meaning of atimia for the members of the group is probably analyzed in the sentence μὴ ἔστω Λαβυάδας μηδὲ κοινανείτω τῶν κοινῶν χρημ̣άτων μηδὲ τῶν θεμάτων̣, me esto Labyadas mede koinaneito ton koinon chrematon mede ton thematon (he is not to be a member of the Labyadai nor share the common funds / property or institutions) (CID I, 9B, ll. 48-50).
b)there are no evidence for civic subdivisions in Delphi.
ii. Historical authenticity It is indisputable because of the relevant inscriptions