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Last Updated on 13 Jun 2019

Author: Stella Skaltsa

CAPInv. 440: hetairoi


i. Geographical area Aegean Islands
ii. Region Delos
iii. Site Delos


i. Full name (original language) ἑταίροι (ID 2420, l. 4)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hetairoi


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


ii. Name elements
Status-related:hetairoi: the word can take on several meanings (LSJ9 s.v.), ranging from companions and messmates to members of associations.
See also Poland 1909: 54.


i. Source(s) ID 2420 (i BC/i AD?)
Note See also:
Plassart 1928: 103-4.
Online Resources ID 2420
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Dedicatory inscription in Greek to Zeus Kynthios and Athena Kynthia by Apollonides son of Theogeiton Laodikeus on behalf of himself and the hetairoi. Apollonides, a Syrian, dedicated the kataklyston.
i.c. Physical format(s) Mosaic floor with inscription. Dimensions of the mosaic: 1.42 x 76 cm.
The mosaic consists of small white stones and fragments of brick set in cement. The inscription is laid out in bluish tesserae on a white ground with an oblong framework of bluish stones.
ii. Source(s) provenance Found in terrace K in the Kynthion on Delos (see VI.i).


i. Archaeological remains On the summit of Mt Kynthos is a small plateau. A precinct wall demarcates the sanctuary of Zeus Kynthios and Athena Kynthia. The sanctuary is mentioned in the Delian inventories of the third and second centuries BC. A Doric tetrastyle propylon lies on the western side of the precinct and gives access to a terrace. Two oikoi flank the northern side of the terrace. Two terraces flanking the eastern side (J and K in GD 105) were leveled out after 167 BC. A mosaic floor with the inscription commemorating the dedication of the kataklyston (ID 2420) was laid out in terrace K. To the east of the mosaic floor stood probably the colossal bronze statue of Ptolemy IX Soter II (ID 1532).
For a summary of the remains of the sanctuary see GD 105 as well as Roussel 1987: 223-8.
ii. References to buildings/objects κατάκλυστον, kataklyston (ll. 4-5): washable pavement (Hellmann 1992: 193). The term kataklyston seems to designate the mosaic itself. For the various interpretations of this term that incited a fervent debate among two French scholars see Hellmann (1992: 193-4).


iii. Members hetairoi


iii. Worship Dedication of the mosaic floor to Zeus Kynthios and Athena Kynthia.
Deities worshipped Zeus Kynthios
Athena Kynthia


i. Comments Rousset (1987: 94 n. 3) wonders whether the hetairoi of the inscription should be considered members of an association.
Baslez (2001: 244) appears more assertive in thinking that the hetairoi attested in the dedication formed an association centered in the Kynthion.

It should be noted that the formula of the dedicatory inscription strongly resembles the dedications made in the sanctuary of the Syrian goddess; dedicatory formula of ὑπέρ + genitive. In the sanctuary of the Syrian goddess dedications are normally made on behalf of one's children, wife, and/ or the civic communities of the island, the Athenians and the Romans, thus paying respect to members of close family and the political authority.
ID 2420 is made on behalf of the dedicator himself and the hetairoi. The term hetairoi is attested twice in Delian funerary inscriptions (EAD 30: 143; 348), which however do not reveal much about the identity of the hetairoi besides a close relationship between the deceased and those setting up the funerary stele. In the case of the dedicatory inscription from the Kynthion one could envisage that strong ties of friendship or companionship bonded the dedicator to the hetairoi but it remains unclear whether the hetairoi constituted a formally organized private association.

The priest and zakoros constitute the personnel of the official cult of Zeus Kynthios and Athena Kynthia. Something similar may apply to the epimeletes Kointos, who is otherwise unattested among the Athenian epimeletai of Delos.
iii. Bibliography Baslez, M.F. (2001), 'Entre traditions nationales et intégration: les associations sémitiques du monde grec', in S. Ribichini et al. (eds.), La questione delle influenze vicino-orientali sulla religione greca : stato degli studi e prospettive della ricerca. Atti del colloquio internazionale, Roma, 20-22 maggio 1999. Roma: 235-47.
GD: Bruneau, Ph. & J. Ducat (2005), Guide de Délos. Paris.
Hellmann, M.-Ch. (1992). Recherches sur le vocabulaire de l'architecture grecque, d'après les inscriptions de Délos. BEFAR 278. Paris.
Plassart, A. (1928), Les Sanctuaires et les cultes du Mont Cynthe. EAD 11. Paris.
Roussel, P. (1987), Délos: colonie athénienne. repr. and augm. Paris.


i. Private association Possible
Note See XII.i.