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Last Updated on 04 Mar 2018

Author: Sophia Zoumbaki

CAPInv. 241: to koinon ton Phaenistan (l. Phaeniston)


i. Geographical area Peloponnese with Adjacent Islands
ii. Region Argolid
iii. Site Argos


i. Full name (original language) τὸ κοινὸν τῶν Φαηνιστᾶν (l.Φαηνιστῶν) (Vollgraff 1903: 260 no. 1)
ii. Full name (transliterated) to koinon ton Phaenistan (l. Phaeniston)


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


i. Name in other forms [τὸ κοινὸν or ἡ σύνοδος] τῶν Φαη[νιστᾶν] (Vollgraff 1919: 170, ll. 1-2),
Φαηνισταί (Vollgraff 1919: 170, l. 10)
ii. Name elements
Personal:Phaenistai: Phaenos, personal name, either of the founder of the association or of the individual in whose honour it was founded.
iii. Descriptive terms κοινόν, koinon
σύνοδος, synodos
Note koinon: Vollgraff 1903: 260, l. 1; Vollgraff 1919: 170, l. 1 (?), l. 19 ([κοιν]όν, [koin]on)
synodos: Vollgraff 1919: 170, ll. 4 (τὰν σύνο[δον, tan syno[don), l. 8 (σύνοδον, synodon), l. 15 (ἁ σύνοδος ha synodos)


i. Source(s) Vollgraff 1903: 260 no. 1 (II BC ?)
Vollgraff 1919: 169-70 (II BC ?)
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Vollgraff 1903: Honorific inscription in Greek on a statue base erected by the koinon ton Phaenistan for Phaenos, son of Aristokrates.
Vollgraff 1919: A fragmentary decree in Greek of the Phaenistai in honour of a benefactor of the synodos and his wife.
i.c. Physical format(s) Vollgraff 1903: A statue base of white marble
Vollgraff 1919: A fragment of a slab of white limestone
ii. Source(s) provenance Both stones are kept at the Museum of Argos, but no information about their provenance is given.


iii. Members Φαηνισταί, Phaenistai (Vollgraff 1919: 169-170, l. 10)


ii. Meetings and events The decree Vollgraff 1919: 169-170 includes the phrase κατ’ενιαυτόν (kat' eniauton, l. 9), which implies that that some annual event(s) took place. These annual events perhaps included sacrifices, if the fragmentary text of ll. 9-10 is correctly completed as ταῖς θ[υσίαις ὅσας κα ἄ]γωντι οἱ Φαηνισταί, tais th[ysiais hosas ka a]gonti hoi Phaenistai. Further, the phrase καλεῖν αὐτοὺς ἐπὶ τὰ γέρα (kalein autous epi ta gera, l. 19) implies performance of sacrifices and participation in common banquets.
A crucial but fragmentary phrase in l. 8 ΠΡΟΤΙΘΗΤΙΔΕΚΑΙΕΛ[- - -], cannot be restored with certainty. Vollgraff’s restoration ἐλ[ατῆρας (i.e. drivers, charioteers, but also sacrificial cakes) πολλάκις] κατ’ἐνιαυτὸν (el[ateras pollakis] kat' eniauton) is very attractive, since athletic games could also be a part of festivities of this kind, as the foundation of Kritolaos (IG XII.7 515) from Amorgos shows. It is however somehow unusual to find ἐλ[ατῆρας] (el[ateras]) as the object of προτίθημι, protithemi, whilst ἆθλα or ὅπλα (athla or hopla) would fit better. The restoration προτίθητι δὲ καὶ ἔ[λαιον] (protitheti de kai e[laion]) seems more prudent, as donations of oil were important for any kind of festivities, athletic or ritual.
iii. Worship The dedication of Vollgraff 1903: 260 no. 1 is addressed to theois. The possible mention of sacrifices also suggests worship: see X.ii
Deities worshipped θεοῖς, theois
iv. Honours/Other activities Two initiatives for honours on the part of the Phaenistai are attested in two documents of the group. The koinon honours Phaenos, son of Aristokrates, whose statue base is preserved. Further, the fragmentary decree shows that the association voted for honours for a benefactor and his wife.


i. Local interaction The individuals honoured by the association were obviously prominent figures of Argos. To judge from the patronymic of Phaenos, Aristokrates, it seems that we are dealing with a member of a notable family of Argos, which included officeholders and had connections with Athens and Corinth. For the family see Millis and BAlzat 2013: 615-72
The outstanding couple of benefactors honoured by the decree of the koinon supports the association on every occasion. It seems that the association's impact on local society is considerable and it aspires to attract support of prominent citizens.


i. Comments The name of the honorand in the inscription Vollgraff 1903: 260 no. 1, Phaenos son of Aristokrates, implies that he is either the individual after whom the association was named or a man of the same family, one of his descendants. This strengthens the assumption that members of Phaenistai were relatives and perhaps also friends of some Phaenos, and they most likely met to offer post-mortal honours to him as a hero. Members of a family can act collectively in connection either with the honour of a heroized ancestor or with the private cult of a divinity or in connection with both. They can appear either as a kinship group without further definition or can bear definitions such as koinon, thiasos etc., see Carbon and Pirenne-Delforge 2013: 65-119.
In the case of the Phaenistai, if our assumption is correct, it is possible that sacrifices and banquets were held in memory of the heroized deceased.
ii. Poland concordance Poland B 4A
iii. Bibliography Carbon J.-M. and Pirenne-Delforge, V. (2013), ‘Priests and Cult Personnel in Three Hellenistic Families’, in: M. Horster and A. Klöckner (eds.), Cities and Priests. Cult personnel in Asia Minor and the Aegean islands from the Hellenistic to the Imperial period, Berlin, Boston: 65-119.
Millis, B. and Balzat, S. (2013), ‘M. Antonius Aristocrates: Provincial involvement with Roman power in the Late 1st c. BC’, Hesperia 82.4: 651-72.
Vollgraff, W. (1903), ‘Inscriptions d'Argos’, BCH 27: 260-79.
Vollgraff, W. (1919), ‘Novae Inscriptiones Argivae’, Mnemosyne 47: 160-70.


i. Private association Certain
Note The fact that Phaenistai are mentioned in two documents shows their duration. Especially the decree shows an organized group with a systematic activity. The term koinon and name of the group, which derives from a personal name, indicate that we are dealing with an association of private nature, cf. XII.i: Comments, above.