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Last Updated on 21 May 2019

Author: Nikolaos Giannakopoulos

CAPInv. 213: hoi thiasitai kai thiasitides


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Bithynia
iii. Site Triglia


i. Full name (original language) οἱ θιασῖται καὶ θιασίτιδες (I.Apameia und Pylai 35, l. 1)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi thiasitai kai thiasitides


i. Date(s) l. ii BC - e. ii AD


i. Name in other forms οἱ θιασῖται, hoi thiasitai (I.Apameia und Pylai 33 l. 1)
ii. Name elements


i. Source(s) I.Apameia und Pylai 33
I.Apameia und Pylai 34
I.Apameia und Pylai 35
Note See also:
Ascough, Harland and Kloppenborg 2012: 68 no. 95 (I.Apameia und Pylai 35).
Online Resources I.Apameia und Pylai 33
I.Apameia und Pylai 34
I.Apameia und Pylai 35

AGRW 13198
AGRW 13200
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Honorific inscriptions in Greek set up by the association for two priests and one priestess
i.c. Physical format(s) I.Apameia und Pylai 33: Rectangular stele with a crown engraved on the upper part. Under the crown there is a relief representing a sacrifice performed by a priest (the honorand Asklepiades dressed with chiton and himation and raising his right hand in a prayer) assisted by two servants (a young woman with a basket resting upon her head and a victim can in her right hand and a boy bringing a sheep to an altar) to Zeus (leaning towards a sceptre with his left hand and holding a patera in his right hand). On the left side of the relief there is an eagle sitting on a branch of a tree. See Foucart 1873: 237-8 no. 64; Th. Corsten in I.Apameia und Pylai 33, p. 51.
I.Apameia und Pylai 34: Rectangular stele with relief representing a sacrificial scene. On the right side stands Zeus leaning towards a sceptre with his left hand and holding a crown in his right hand. An eagle is depicted at his feet. In the middle a tree and an altar are depicted. On the left side two persons carry offerings and bring an animal to the altar. See Legrand 1893: 545; Perdrizet 1899: 594.
I.Apameia und Pylai 35: Rectangular stele with a double relief. The main relief depicts a sacrificial scene. On the right side there are Kybele, sitting on a throne and Apollo carrying a kithara and holding a lyre with his right hand and a patera with his left hand. In the middle an altar and a tree are depicted. On the left side a priestess (the honorand Stratonike) dressed with a himation covering her head, raises her right hand. A boy bringing a sheep to the altar and a young woman playing the flute are also depicted.
On the lower part of the stele a second relief depicts the banquet following the sacrifice. Ten male figures (representing the members of the association) are sitting on a couch. They are assisted by servants and entertained by flute-players. See Foucart 1873: 238-239; Perdrizet 1899: 593; Corsten in I. Apameia und Pylai 35, p. 53.
ii. Source(s) provenance I.Apameia und Pylai 34 was found in a private house in Triglia (territory of Apameia). The provenance of the two other inscriptions is unknown but the common iconographic elements suggest that they also come from Triglia. See Perdrizet 1899: 595-596; Robert 1949: 41-44 and Corsten in I.Apameia und Pyla,i p. 50 with further bibliography.


ii. References to buildings/objects στήλη, stele (I.Apameia und Pylai 33, l. 5; 34, l. 4)
στεφάνος ἄνθινος μετὰ ταινίας, stephanos anthinos meta tainias (I.Apameia und Pylai 33, l. 5)
στεφάνος κηρυκτός’, stephanos keryktos (I.Apameia und Pylai 34 ll. 4-5)
στέφανος γραπτός, stephanos graptos (I.Apameia und Pylai 35 ll. 4-5)
στέφανος κηρυκτός σὺν ταινία, stephanos keryktos syn tainia (I.Apameia und Pylai 35 ll. 5-7)


iii. Members Referred to as θιασῖται (thiasitai) and θιασίτιδες (thiasitides). See I.Apameia und Pylai 33 l. 1, 34 l. 2, 35 l. 1.
iv. Officials An ἱερεύς (hiereus), probably of Zeus as the iconography in I. Apameia und Pylai 33-34 indicates, and an ἱέρεια (hiereia) of Apollo and Kybele, were included among the officials of the association (I.Apameia und Pylai 33, l. 2; 34, ll. 4-5; 35 l.3). As it is explicitly stated in I.Apameia und Pylai 33, ll. 3-4 (ἱερωτεύσαντα καλῶς καὶ ἀξίως ἐν τῶι τετάρτωι καὶ ἑβδομηκοστῶι καὶ ἑκατοστῶι ἔτει, hieroteusanta kalos kai axios en toi tetartoi kai hebdomekostoi kai hekatostoi etei) and in I.Apameia und Pylai 35, l. 3 (ἱερωτεύσασαν ἐν τῶι ηʹ καὶ οʹ καὶ ρʹ [ἔ]τει, hieroteusasan en toi 178 etei) , these were annual priesthoods. However, the formula used in I. Apameia und Pylai 34, ll 1-3 is slightly different: [ἔ]τους ζορ’ έστεφάνωσαν [οἱ θ]ιασεῖται Μήδεον Μύρμηκος καλῶς καὶ δικαίως ἱερωτεύσαν[τ]α (etous 177 estephanosan hoi thiaseitai Medeon Myrmekos kalos kai dikaios hieroteusanta). Here, Medeos’ term of office is not specifically attested as covering only a single year. Since he was honoured in the 177th year, while Asklepiades served under the 174th year, it is possible, but of course not certain, that he may have served for two or three successive years. See also below under field XII.i: Comments.


ii. Gender Men
Note The name of the honouring groups and the existence of both priests and priestesses in its internal hierarchy indicate that both men and women participated. See below under field XIII.i: Comments.


ii. Meetings and events Sacrifices and banquets were regularly held by the association, as the scenes depicted in I.Apameia und Pylai 33-35 indicate. The τοῦ Διὸς συναγωγή (tou Dios synagoge) mentioned in I.Apameia und Pylai 35, l. 7 also refers to religious ceremonies organized by the association. See below under field X.iv: Honours.
iii. Worship The sacrificial scenes depicted in the honorary inscriptions set up by the association for its priests indicate the performance of sacrifices to Zeus, Apollo and Kybele and the organization of banquets.
τοῦ Διὸς συναγωγή, tou Dios synagoge (I.Apameia und Pylai 35, l. 7)
Deities worshipped Zeus
iv. Honours/Other activities The honours awarded to the priest Asklepiades by the association (I.Apameia und Pylai 33) included:
a) The erection of a stele (where a crown was sculpted).
b) The bestowal of a στέφανος ἄνθινος μετὰ ταινίας διὰ βίου (stephanos anthinos meta tainias dia biou), i.e. a crown from flowers with fillet.
The honours awarded to the priest Medeos (I.Apameia und Pylai 34) included:
a) The erection of a stele
b) The bestowal of a στέφανος κηρυκτός (stephanos keryktos), i.e., a crown which was to be proclaimed by a herald.
In both these cases the honours were justified with reference to the honorand's proper service as priests. The stehphanos dia biou awarded to Asklepiades probably means that the crowning was to be regularly proclaimed in meetings or other collective events of the association. Cf. I. Kaunos 33 ll. 27-31 where a στέφανος διὰ βίου κατ’ ἐνιαυτόν (stephanos dia biou kat’ eniauton) is awarded and IG XII.2, 505 ll. 9-12 from Methymna where Aristophanes is to be crowned κα[θ’] ἕκαστον ἐνιαυτὸν διὰ βίου (kath’ hekaston eniauton dia biou). Whether the stephanos keryktos awarded to Medeos had the same meaning or was just referring to a single crowning and proclamation cannot be ascertained.
The honours awarded to the priestess of Apollo and Kybele Stratonike (I.Apameia und Pylai 35) also included:
a) The erection of a stele where a crown was sculpted.
b) The bestowal of a στέφανος κηρυκτός (stephanos keryktos) with fillet.
These honours were again presented as a reward for the honorand's proper service as priestess. Furthermore an additional στέφανος κηρυκτός (stephanos keryktos) with fillet was awarded to her ἐν τῆι τοῦ Διὸς συναγωγῇ φιλαγαθήσασ[αν] (en tei tou Dios synagogei philagathesasan). See I.Apameia und Pylai 35, ll. 6-7. The term συναγωγή has been interpreted as referring to a religious meeting and ceremony (perhaps followed by a banquet) in honour of Zeus (See Foucart 1873: 242, followed by Corsten in I. Apameia und Pylai p. 54). As far as the term φιλαγαθήσασαν is concerned, Foucart (1873: 239 and 242) understood it as a ‘dignité’ or a ‘fonction’ within the association, but further parallels (see for example TAM V.1 156 and 488 and the inscriptions mentioned by Corsten in I.Apameia und Pylai p. 54) demonstrate that the term refers to benefactions provided by the honorand during a religious ceremony in honour of Zeus.


i. Comments Ziebarth (1896: 50) draws attention to the common elements between I.Apameia und Pylai 33 and 35, of unknown origin, and 34, found in Triglia. But he regroups these three inscriptions under two different entries, one corresponding to the θιασῖται (thiasitai) mentioned in I.Apameia und Pylai 33 and 35 and another corresponding to the θιασεῖται (thiaseitai) mentioned in I.Apameia und Pylai 34. Poland follows Ziebarth, assigning I.Apameia und Pylai 33 and 35 to Chalcedon (B 414 (a+b)) and I.Apameia und Pylai 34 to Triglia (B 412). However, the common iconography indicates that all three inscriptions come from Triglia (see above under field V.ii: Provenance).
According to Corsten (I.Apameia und Pylai, p. 55) these three honorary inscriptions (I.Apameia und Pylai 33-35) were set up by a single association subdivided in two groups, one consisting of men and devoted to the cult of Zeus and one consisting both of men and women and devoted to the cult of Apollo and Kybele. The priesthoods of Zeus were accordingly reserved for men and those of Apollo and Kybele for women. Within this framework, when a priest of Zeus was to be honoured, the single mention of the men's subgroup (θιασ(ε)ῖται, thias(e)itai) was enough, while, as far as the honours bestowed on priestesses of Apollo and Kybele were concerned, both subgroups (θιασ(ε)ῖται καὶ θιασίτιδες, this(e)itai kai thiasitides) had to appear as the honouring body. One could of course raise the objection that the thiasitai of Zeus and the thiasitidai of Apollo and Kybele were two different associations, but the fact that the priestess Stratonike was also active in a ceremony in honour of Zeus speaks in favor of Corsten’s interpretation.
These three honorific inscriptions are dated to the years 174, 177 and 178 respectively. If what is used here is the royal Bithynian era, we may date these inscriptions to 123, 120 and 119 BC. If the era used is the Apamean one, the date should be 108, 105 and 104 BC. Other possibilities include the provincial era of Bithynia, or the Pompeian era, which would date the inscriptions in question to the early 2nd century AD. See on all this the remarks by Th. Corsten in I.Apameia und Pylai 35, p. 55-56.
ii. Poland concordance B 412 (I.Apameia und Pylai 35)
B 414 a (I.Apameia und Pylai 33)
B 414 b (I.Apameia und Pylai 34)

iii. Bibliography Ascough, R.S., Harland, P.A., and Kloppenborg, J.S. (2012), Associations in the Greco-Roman World: A Sourcebook. Berlin.
Foucart, P. (1873), Des associations religieuses chez les Grecs. Thiases, éranes, orgéons. Paris.
Legrand, P.E. (1893), ‘Inscriptions de Mysie et de Bithynie’, BCH 17: 534-56.
Perdizet, P. (1899), ‘Reliefs mysiens’, BCH 23: 592-99.
Poland, F. (1909), Geschichte des griechischen Vereinswesens. Leipzig.
Robert, L. (1949), Hellenica, Recueil d'épigraphie, de numismatique et d'antiquités grecques. Vol 7. Paris.
Schwertheim, E. (1978), ‘Denkmäler zur Meterverehrung in Bithynien und Mysien’, in S. Şahin, E. Schwertheim, and J. Wagner (eds.), Studien zur Religion und Kultur Kleinasiens. Fetsschrift für Friedrich Karl Dörner zum 65. Geburtstag am 28. Februar 1976. 2 vols, Leiden: 791-837.
Ziebarth, E. (1896), Das griechische Vereinswesen. Leipzig.


i. Private association Certain
Note The use of the terms οἱ θιασῖται καὶ θιασίτιδες (hoi thiasitai kai thiasitides) to describe the body setting up these three honorific inscriptions indicate that it was a private cult-association