Stable URL: as PDF
Last Updated on 09 Jul 2018

Author: Paschalis Paschidis

CAPInv. 709: hoi synthreskeutai kleines (l. klines) theou megalou Sarapidos


i. Geographical area Macedonia
ii. Region Mygdonia
iii. Site Thessalonike


i. Full name (original language) οἱ συνθρησκευταὶ κλείνης (l. κλίνης) θεοῦ μεγάλου Σαράπιδος (IG X.2.1 192, ll. 9-11)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi synthreskeutai kleines (l. klines) theou megalou Sarapidos


i. Date(s) f. iii AD


ii. Name elements
Cultic:synthreskeutai, kline couch, for rituals
Theophoric:theos megas Sarapis
Other:kline couch, for rituals


i. Source(s) IG X.2.1 192 (f. iii AD)
Online Resources IG X.2.1 192 and AGRW ID 23819
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Honorific inscription in Greek
i.c. Physical format(s) Honorific statue base
ii. Source(s) provenance Found near the Kassandreotike city gate of Thessalonike.


ii. References to buildings/objects Although there is no explicit reference to a statue in the text, IG X.2.1 192 was inscribed on the base of a statue of the honourand.


ii. Leadership Poplios Ailios Nikanor, the Macedoniarch honoured with a statue by the synthreskeutai of Sarapis, is called the προστάτης, prostates (IG X.2.1 192, l. 12). The term is ambiguous: it may merely mean 'patron', in which case the honorand need not even be a member of the association, or it may mean that the he was the leader of the association (see Nigdelis 2010: 34).


iv. Status If the honorand Poplios Ailios Nikanor, Macedoniarch, was indeed a member (or even the leader) of the association (see VII ii, above), then the association of the synthreskeutai of Sarapis counted among its members Thessalonicans of the highest social status.


i. Local interaction Whatever the exact relation of the association of the synthreskeutai with the Macedoniarch (see VII ii, above), the association had the necessary status and political connections to secure a decree of the city council and a vote by hand in the assembly (ll. 2-5) in order to erect a statue for the honourand, presumably on a public space.
ii. Interaction abroad Given that the honorand led the koinon of the Macedonians, the association appears to have been potentially influential even beyond the borders of Thessalonike, and would at the very least have access to the Roman administration of the province.


i. Comments For all the archaelogical and epigraphical evidence pertaining to the cult of the Egyptian Gods, see conveniently Steimle 2006 and 2008: 79-132 and 185-190.

The ties between the cult of the Egyptian Gods and the top tiers of the civic elite of Thessalonike is attested in other inscriptions as well. SEG 56: 744 is a civic decree – rather than a decree by an association, pace Edson in IG X.2.1 16 and Nigdelis 2006: 211-6 no. 16 – in honour of a Thessalonican lady claiming descent from the old royal family; her father is honoured, among other things, for being an hieraphoros and sekobates of the cult, while IG X.2.1 222 and perhaps 258 testify to honours by the hieraphoroi to unknown individuals.
iii. Bibliography Nigdelis, P.M. (2010), ‘Voluntary Associations in Roman Thessalonike: in Search of Identity and Support in a Cosmpolitan Society’, in L. Nasrallah, Ch. Bakirtzis and S. Friesen (eds.), From Roman to Early Christian Thessalonike: Studies in Religion and Archaeology, Cambridge, Mass., London: 13-47, esp. 34-5.
Paschidis, P. (forthcoming), ‘Civic cults and (other) religious associations: in search of collective identities in Roman Macedonia’ in A. Casemier and S. Skaltsa (eds), Associations in Context: rethinking associations and religion in the post-classical polis, forthcoming.
Steimle, Chr. (2006), ‘Das Heiligtum der ägyptischen Götter in Thessaloniki und die Vereine in seinem Umfeld’ in C. Bonnet et al. (eds.), Religions orientales - culti misterici: Neue Perspektiven - nouvelles perspectives - prospettive nuove, Stuttgart: 27-38.
Steimle, Chr. (2008), Religion im römischen Thessaloniki. Sakraltopographie, Kult und Gesselschaft, 168 v. Chr. – 324 n. Chr.. Tübingen.
Voutiras, E. (2005), ‘Sanctuaire privé – culte public? Le cas du Sarapieion de Thessalonique’ in V. Dasen and M. Piérart (eds.), Ἰδίᾳ καὶ δημοσίᾳ. Les cadres «privés» et «publics» de la religion grecque antique. Actes du IXe colloque du Centre International d’Études de la Religion Grecque Antique (CIERGA) tenu à Fribourg du 8 au 10 septembre 2003 (Kernos Supplément 15), Liège: 273-88.


i. Private association Probable
Note There is no doubt about the associative nature of the synthreskeutai or the religious nature of the association. Whether this association should be labeled private or not, however, is a matter of a separate controversy. The cult of the Egyptian Gods at Thessalonike was from the very beginning organized on an associative model, with the liturgical associations of initiates apparently running the affairs of the cult; given the very public character of the cult and its sanctuary, and its prominence in Thessalonican civic life (as IG X.2.1 192 very vividly shows), one is entitled to say that association and organized cult more or less coincided structurally, in a grey area between public and private (see especially Voutiras 2005 and Paschidis, forthcoming).