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Last Updated on 24 May 2019

Author: Andreas Victor Walser

CAPInv. 221: Attabokaoi


i. Geographical area Eastern Asia Minor
ii. Region Galatia
iii. Site Pessinous


i. Full name (original language) Ἀτταβοκαοί (I.Pessinous 17 l. 20; I.Pessinous 18 ll. 7)
ii. Full name (transliterated) Attabokaoi


i. Date(s) s. ii (?) AD


ii. Name elements
Cultic:Attas may be a reference to the Pessinuntine priesthood; reference to a divinity Attas/Attis seems less likely.
Theophoric:The name could refer to a divinity Attas/Attis, but this seems unlikely (cf. above).


i. Source(s) I.Pessinous 17 (s. ii)
I.Pessinous 18 (l. ii)
Note IGR III 230; OGIS 540; Ascough et al. 2012: no. 216; a full list of earlier edition is provided in I.Pessinous 17

IGR III 225; OGIS 541; Harland 2014: no. 151; a full list of earlier editions in provided in I.Pessinoous 18

On the dates cf. Notes
Online Resources I.Pessinous 17
I.Pessinous 18
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script I.Pessinous 17: Honorary inscription for Tib. Claudius Heras.
I.Pessinous 18: Honorary inscription for Tib. Claudius Deiotaros.

In Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) I.Pessinous 17: Marble slab, probably part of a base.
I.Pessinous 18: Marble slab.
ii. Source(s) provenance I.Pessinous 17; 18: Sivrihisar, in the Armenian cemetery; now lost.
As many other inscriptions, both stones must have been brought to Sivrihisar from the site of Pessinous (modern Ballıhisar) to Sivrihisar.


iii. Members οἱ τῶν τῆς θεοῦ μυστηρίων μύσται, hoi ton tes theou mysterion mystai (I. Pessinous 17 ll. 20-21)
οἱ τῶν τῆς θεοῦ μυστηρίων συνμύσται, hoi ton tes theou mysterion synmystai (I.Pessinous 18 ll. 7-9)


iv. Status The identity of the mystai is unclear. Poland (Vereinswesen, 68) suggested that the Attabokaoi could be a term for the worshippers as a whole as well as for a association within the cult. Roller 1999, 341 identifies the Attabokaoi as a 'group responsible for conducting the mysteries of the goddess. … [T]he use of the name Attas in their title probably refers to an association with the Pessinuntine priesthood and not to a divinity named Attis.'
The benefactor in I.Pessinous 18, who is honored by the Attabokaoi as his 'fellow initiates' (synmystai) and is therefore a member of the association, is a priest of the Mother of Gods; he is a Roman citizen, most probably of equestrian rank.
v. Relations The honorand in I.Pessinous 18, who is a member of the association himself is the son of the honorand in I.Pessinous 17, who is most probably also a member.


Deities worshipped Megale Meter Theon
iv. Honours/Other activities In I.Pessinous 17, the Attabokaoi honor Tib. Claudius Heras. He is priest for life of the great Mother of Gods (διὰ βίου ἱερεὺς Μητρὸς θεῶν μεγάλης, dia biou hiereus Metros theon megales) in Pessinous and in Meidaeion, the tenth after the high-priest and the fifth of the Galatians. He was six times high-priest (ἀρχιερεύς, archiereus) of the Emperors and ἀγονοθέτης, agonothetes, of the provincial koinon of the Galatians, the first σεβαστοφάντης, sebastophantes, of the Temple in Pessinous. He acted as gymnasiarch and had made voluntary contributions. As an equestrian officer in an auxiliary unit and the legions he had been honored with dona militaris by the Emperors.

I.Pessinous 18 honors Tib. Claudius Deiotaros, the son of Heras honored in I.Pessinous 17. Like his father, he was priest of the Mother of Gods, the ninth after the high-priest, and as such bore the name Ἄττις ἱερεύς, Attis hiereus. He was high-priest of the Emperors of the Galatian koinon twice and sebastophantes. The Attabokaoi, his fellow initiates in the mysteries of the goddess, honor Deiotaros as their friend and benefactor for his virtue and benevolence.


i. Local interaction The association might be responsible or is at least directly involved in the cult of the Mother of God, but the exact role remains unclear.


i. Comments Name:
The expression οἱ τῶν τῆς θεοῦ μυστηρίων (συν)μύσται, hoi ton tes theou mysterion (syn)mystai, describing the members of the association could also be taken as an element of the name.

Mitchell --- argues for the dating of these inscriptions to the late first century AD. This is well possible, but a date in the late second century is still more likely.
ii. Poland concordance Poland B *437a (I.Pessinous 17)
Poland B *437b (I.Pessinous 18)
iii. Bibliography Ascough, S., Harland, Ph.A., and Kloppenborg, J.S. (2012), Associations in the Greco-Roman World. A Sourcebook. Waco.
Harland, Ph.A. (2014), Greco-Roman Associations: Texts, Translations and Commentary. II. North Coast of the Black Sea, Asia Minor. Berlin, Boston.
Mitchell, S. (2008), 'The Imperial Cult in Galatia from Claudius to Traja', in E. Winter (ed.), Vom Euphrat bis zum Bosporus : Kleinasien in der Antike : Festschrift für Elmar Schwertheim zum 65. Geburtstag. Bonn: 471-484.
Roller, L. E. (1999), In Search of God the Mother. The Cult of Anatolian Cybele. Berkeley.


i. Private association Probable
Note cf. the comments on the status of the association's members.