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Last Updated on 28 Feb 2017

Author: Sophia Zoumbaki

CAPInv. 432: he synodos ton Asklepiou hiereon


i. Geographical area Peloponnese with Adjacent Islands
ii. Region Arcadia
iii. Site Mantinea


i. Full name (original language) ἡ σύνοδος τῶν Ἀσκληπιοῦ ἱερέων (IG V.2 269, ll. 35-36)
ii. Full name (transliterated) he synodos ton Asklepiou hiereon


i. Date(s) i AD


i. Name in other forms ἡ σύνοδος, he synodos (l. 5)
οἱ ἱερεῖς τοῦ Ἀσκληπιοῦ, hoi hiereis tou Asklepiou (ll. 9-10, 12-13, 17)
οἱ ἱερεῖς, hoi hiereis (l. 24, 30)
ii. Name elements
Theophoric:Asklepios, Asclepius
iii. Descriptive terms σύνοδος, synodos
Note synodos: IG V.2 269, ll. 5, 35


i. Source(s) IG V.2 269 (i AD)
Online Resources IG V.2 269
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Honorary decree in Greek by the association of the priests of Asklepios for Iulia Eudia in return for her donation of land including vineyards to the synod.
i.c. Physical format(s) A stele damaged at its lower part.
ii. Source(s) provenance It was found built into the city-wall of Mantinea.


ii. References to buildings/objects τῶι ναῶι τοῦ Ἀσκλ[η]πιοῦ, toi naoi tou Askl[e]piou, l. 15.
τὸ ἱερὸν τοῦ Ἀσκληπιοῦ, to hieron tou Asklepiou, l. 34
The temple must be identified with that described by Pausanias (8.9.1), where the cult statue of the god was a work of Alkamenes, which shows the super-local prestige of the sanctuary at least in the Classical period. That Asklepios was still in the Imperial period a prominent deity of the town, is shown by the depiction of Asklepios on coins of Mantinea (see Gardner and Poole 1887: 187). For representation of Hygieia on coins and sculpture fragments that have been attributed to the sanctuary see Jost 1985: 125.
According to Jost (1985: 125) the fact that Isiaca and Pyrophorika Deipna are mentioned in the decree reveals that there was also a banquet hall in the proximity of the temple; however these banquets and the banquet hall are not directly related to the association of the priests of Asklepios.

εἰκόνα γραπτὴν ... ἐν ὅπλωι ἐπιχρύσωι, eikona grapten ... en hoploi epichrysoi, ll. 15-16.
The dedication of a painted imago clipeata of Eudia in a gilded frame bearing the relevant honorary inscription in the temple of Asklepios was a part of the honours voted for her by the association of the priests of Asklepios.


iii. Members ἱερεῖς, hiereis (l. 24, 30)
vii. Judicial system Violation of certain provisions of the decree concerning honours to Eudia means a fine of 50 drachmas, which the culprit has to pay to her, her descandants and the priests of Asklepios (ll. 27-32). The epignoma, probably a civic officeholder, controls the whole procedure. For judicial details concerning the procedure see Harter-Uibopuu 2010: 250-1.


ii. Realty The synodos owns landed property. Iulia Eudia, daughter of Euteleinos, donated to the association vineyards of six or more plethra (l. 10: ἀμπέλων πλέθρα ἓξ [...], ampelon plethra hes [...]).
iv. Endowments The bequest of Iulia Eudia, daughter of Euteleinos, is the only known endowment to the association (see VIII.ii: Realty, above).


ii. Gender Men
Note The members of the group were the priests of Asklepios
iii. Age Adults
Note The priests of Asklepios were adults.


ii. Meetings and events Sacrifices are performed, and banquets take place, perhaps after the sacrifices (ll. 24-25). From the decree of the association in honour of Iulia Eudia it also becomes clear that the priests of Asklepios took part in the so-called Isiaka and Pyrphorika deipna, to which the honorand Iulia Eudia is not invited. Jost (1985: 505-6) suggests that we are dealing with two different kinds of banquets. The pyrphorika deipna are to be connected with the function of pyrphoros, attested in the Asklepieia of Epidauros and Athens, the "bearer of the sacred fire". This function became prominent in the Imperial period. Thus, according to Jost, the pyrphorika deipna were organized by the pyrphoroi. The isiaka deipna are puzzling, as there is no obvious reason why the priests of Asklepios participated in those banquets. After suggesting several hypotheses, Dunand (1973: 163-4) leaves the question open. Jost (1985: 506) suggests that the isiaka deipna were not the banquets in honour of Isis, which display a particular ritual, but merely banquets organized by the functionaries of Isis, as the pyrphorika deipna were organized by the pyrphoroi; it is to be further stressed that both groups were in service of deities protecting the health of the believers and thus in this sense related to the priests of Asklepios.
In the decree it is further established that in the fifth month of the year Eudia's birthday is henceforth to be celebrated with sacrifices to Asklepios and Hygeia (ll. 19-24).
iii. Worship Mention of sacrifices to Asklepios and Hygeia (ll. 19-24) prove worship by the group.
Deities worshipped Asklepio, Hygeia
iv. Honours/Other activities Iulia Eudia, Euteleinos's daughter, is honoured by the association. From ll. 35-37 we see that voting of honours was a common practice of the association towards its benefactors.
Beyond the praise of Eudia and the dedication of her portrait in the temple of Asklepios, her birthday in the fifth month of the year is to be regularly celebrated by the synodos with sacrifices to Asklepios and Hygeia for her and her husband's safety. Moreover, she is to be invited lifelong ἐπὶ τὰ γέρα, epi ta gera, together with her husband – an honour which is to be extended to her descendants – in every meal of the priests, whilst her share (αἶσα, aisa) is to be sent to her in case of Isiaka and Pyrophorika Deipna (ll. 13-27).


i. Local interaction The individual honoured by the association, Iulia Eudia, was probably an outstanding member of the local society. She was wealthy enough to make further donations, perhaps vineyards again, to an other association, that of the priests of Zeus (IG V 2, 270), cf. CAP Inv. 433.
The prominent role of the association in the local community is further shown by the fact that a civic office-holder, the epignoma, has the control of the procedure of punishment in case of violation of the association's decisions.


i. Comments The fact that the priests decide to celebrate Eudia’s birthday with sacrifices reinforces the assumption that the synodos of the priests of Asklepios, even if it consisted of actual priests, does not act as a collegium of acting priests, an official polis-capacity, since the beneficiary of the sacrifice was not in this case the community of citizens but private individuals. This is a private initiative insofar as this sacrifice was not included in the fixed programme of the ritual of the civic cult of Asklepios, and implies that the priests, even if they are currently active functionaries of the sanctuary, act in this case as members of a separate group.

The donation of six or more plethra of vineyards on the part of Iulia Eudia to the association apparently required her husband's consent, as it arises from ll. 6-8. Cf. Mantas 1999: 121-2.

As sacrifices to Hygieia together with Asklepios are mentioned in the decree, it seems that there was an altar of Hygeia in the sanctuary, cf. Jost 1985: 125.
ii. Poland concordance Poland B 26
iii. Bibliography Dunand, F. (1973), Le culte d’Isis dans le bassin oriental de la Méditerranée, vol. II. Le culte d'Isis en Grèce. Leiden.
Gardner, P. and Poole, R.S. (1887), Catalogue of Greek coins. Peloponnesus (excluding Corinth). London.
Jost, M. (1985), Sanctuaires et cultes d'Arcadie. Paris.
Harter-Uibopuu, K. (2013), ‘Auf dass Ehren ewig währen – Epigraphische Zeugnisse zum Schutz von Auszeichnungen’, in: R. Breitwieser, M. Frass, and G. Nightingale (eds.) Calamus. Festschrift für Herbert Graßl zum 65. Geburtstag. Wiesbaden: 245-61.
Mantas, K. (1999), ‘Marriage in the Roman Imperial period’, Polis 11: 111-34.


i. Private association Certain
Note The fact that the group defines itself as synodos, issues decrees and displays an internal organization, shows that it was a private association.