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Last Updated on 05 Jul 2019

Author: Maria Paz de Hoz

CAPInv. 348: U-WAM-028


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Lydia
iii. Site Philadelpheia


i. Association with unknown name U-WAM-028


i. Date(s) ii BC - i AD


iii. Descriptive terms οἶκος, oikos (?)
Note oikos: TAM V.3 1539, ll. 5, 15, 32, 52.
It is not certain whether the word oikos means 'association' in all or even some of these cases.


i. Source(s) TAM V.3 1539 (ii BC - i AD)
Keil and von Premerstein 1911: no. 18
Syll.3 985
Sokolowski 1955: no. 20
de Hoz 1999: no. 1.2
AGRW 121
Online Resources AGRW ID# 141
CGRN 191
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Religious regulations of a private cult or a private cult association. Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) Stele
ii. Source(s) provenance Philadelpheia


ii. References to buildings/objects The term oikos could be used, at least in some instances (l. 15?), to refer to the meeting building of the association or to a private sanctuary. The lex sacra is said to be located at the goddess Agdistis, protector of the house, sanctuary or association (ll. 50-52). It probably means 'at the altar' of the goddess. There is also mention of altars (or images) of all the other gods worshipped (ll. 6-11). Cf. ll. 33-39 for altar and sacral objects (hiera) of the gods.


i. Founder(s) Dionysios by indication of Zeus through a dream (ll. 4, 12-14)
Gender Male
ii. Leadership The content of the inscription induces to belief that all members were equal status inside the oikos.
iii. Members All persons, men and women, free and slaves, are accepted in the cult or association (ll. 5-6, 15-16, 53-54).
vi. Laws and rules The rules, transmitted to Dionysios by the gods through a dream, are moral in character:
(1) no use of harmful magic.
(2) no use or knowledge of use of harmful enchantments.
(3) no use, complicity or knowledge of magic potions, poisons, abortives or any resources for killing
(4) refraining of not thinking well-disposed towards the association
(5) if somebody has knowledge of some of these things, he shall not permit or silent them, but make
them public and reject them.
(6) a man shall have no intercourse with another woman apart of his own, whether free or slave, who has
a man, neither with a child or a virgin, neither be accomplice of these facts; if he knows of other man
doing it, he shall make it public.
(7) any man or woman behaving like that shall not be able to enter the association.
(8) a free woman must be chaste (hagne) and not live or have intercourse with any other man besides her
own. If she doesn't behave like that she will be poluted and not worth of worshipping the gods.
vii. Judicial system There is no civic judicial system attested in relation to it, but a metaphorically judicial system imposed by the gods. The gods will punish any person not observing the rules (ll. 48-50)
viii. Obligations Members who follow all the rules and are pious will demonstrate it by touching, in presence of the others and during the monthly and anual sacrifices, the stele where the rules are written. This is the way to know who is following the rules and who is not (ll. 54-60).
ix. Privileges The gods will award members who follow the rules with every good thing that gods grant to humans (ll. 46-48, 60-64).


ii. Realty The association or cult owns a private house with altars (or images) and other cult objects.


ii. Gender Men
iv. Status Free and slaves


ii. Meetings and events (1) oath related to the observance of the cult or association rules when becoming a member (ll. 14ff.).
(2) celebration of mysteria (τὰ μυστήρια ἐπιτελεῖν, ta mysteria epitelein, ll. 13-14, cf. l. 41).
(3) sacrifices for spiritual and ritual purification (ἁγνισμὰ καὶ καθαρμά, hagnisma kai katharma, l. 40, cf. 12-14).
(4) monthly and annual sacrifices, probably the same mentioned in (3) (ll. 55-57).
(5) a sort of ordeal by which the pious members will show their purity by touching the stele with the rules written on it, whereas the impious will be recognised as such.
iii. Worship All the events mentioned in the inscription are related to the worship of the gods.
The main goddess is Agdistis, the indigenous one of the whole divine group. She is the oikodespoina of the sanctuary or association.
Deities worshipped Agdistis, Zeus Eumenes, Hestia, all the saviour gods, [Eudai]monia, Plutos, Arete, Hygieia, Tyche Agathe, Agathos [Daimon], [Mne]me, Charites, Nike


i. Comments It has been stated that the word oikos is used for association in the Greco-Roman world, but there are in fact few instances of that meaning, since in most cases it refers to a building of the association, and the few sure cases belong to Imperial times (IG XIV 760; BCH 25: no. 184; I.Tomis 60, 132, 153; Ehrhardt and Günther 2013: 199-220; I. Magnesia 117; SEG 51: 2016). On the other hand, the word is very frequently used to denote a god’s house. With reference to the Philadelphian text, Weinreich 1919: 7 says: 'das passende Wort zur Bezeichnung eines Privatheiligtums'. For the sense of temple or building related to a sacral space cf. LSCG 118 (Chios, IV BC); I.Mylasa 336 (II BC); LSCG 65, ll. 112-3; Andania 91 BC or maybe 23AD); TAM V.1 538 (Maionia, Lydia, late Hell-beginning Imp); I.Eph(esos) 18 and Add. p. 1 (I AD); I.Erythrai 132 (II AD); I.Smyrna 725 (III AD); SEG 35: 1158 (Katakekaumene, Lydia: οἰκία τοῦ θεοῦ, oikia tou theou). On the other hand, many private associations are thought to have developed from a household structure. In fact, already Barton and Horsley 1981: 22, n. 68. Roller (1999) and Harland (2003) consider this oikos a type of association based on a household structure. The mentioned οἰκιακός, oikiakos in another inscription from Philadelphia (TAM V.3 1513, I BC - I AD) could indicate a member of an association called oikos.
The text is presenting new rules and mentioning already existing ones:one may therefore suppose that these rules concerned the renovation of a private cult or association (cf. the associations called neotera in Lydia), but it can also be interpreted as an invitation by Dionysios for people to join, invitation that could led to the formation of a future association.
iii. Bibliography Barton, S.C., and Horsley, G.H.R. (1981), ‘A Hellenistic Cult Group and the New Testament Churches’, JbAC 24: 7-41.
Chaniotis, A. (1997), ‘Reinheit des Körpers - Reinheit des Sinnes in den griechischen Kultgesetzen’, in J. Assmann and Th. Sundermeier (eds.), Schuld, Gewissen und Person (Studien zum Verstehen fremder Religionen, 9), Gütersloh: 159-62, 172f.
Ehrhardt, N., and Günther, W. (2013), ‘Hadrian, Milet und die Korporation der milesischen Schiffseigner : zu einem neu gefundenen kaiserlichen Schreiben’, Chiron 33: 199-220.
Harland, Ph.A. (2003), Associations, Synagogues and Congregations. Claiming a Place in Ancient Mediterranean. Minneapolis: 30-1, 33, 70-1.
de Hoz, M.-P. (1999), Die Lydischen Kulte im Lichte der griechischen Inschriften. Bonn: 128f., no. 1.2.
Keil, J., and von Premerstein, A. (1911), Bericht über eine zweite Reise in Lydien ausgeführt 1908, (Denkschriften Akad. Wien Band 54.2). Vienna: 18, Abb. 10 (ll. 1-9).
Roller, L.E. (1999), In Search of God the Mother. The Cult of Anatolian Cybele. Berkely, Los Angeles, London: 194-6.
Sokolowski, F. (1955), Lois sacrées de l'Asie Mineure. Paris: 53-8, no. 20.
Stowers, K. (1998), ‘A Cult from Philadelphia: Oikos Religion or Cultic Association?’, in A.J. Malherbe, F.W. Norris and J.W. Thompson (eds.), The Early Church in its Context. Essays in Honor of Everett Ferguson, Leiden, Boston, Köln: 287-301.
Weinreich, O. (1919), Stiftung und Kultsatzungen eines Privatheiligtums in Philadelpheia in Lydien. Heidelberg.


i. Private association Possible
Note It is not sure if it is an association or just a private cult. Cf. comments.