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Last Updated on 03 Mar 2017

Author: Maria-Gabriella Parissaki

CAPInv. 738: U-THR-011


i. Geographical area Thrace
ii. Region Aegean Thrace
iii. Site Abdera


i. Association with unknown name U-THR-011


i. Date(s) iii AD


i. Source(s) I.Thrac.Aeg. E18 (iii AD)
Note See also: Jaccottet II no. 35; GRA I 83; AGRW 60
Online Resources I.Thrac.Aeg. E18 and AGRW ID# 2554
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Dedication in Greek of the archiboukolos Gaius Cassius Sextus to Dionysos and the synmystai.
i.c. Physical format(s) Monolithic limestone pediment (h. 0.43 and l. 0.81 at its base), with one central and two small side acroteria. The inscription was engraved in the pediment's tympanon.
ii. Source(s) provenance Seen in 1937 by Bousquet at the basement of a private house at the village of Bouloustra (modern village of Abdera, appr. 5 km to the N of the archaeological site). According to the owners of the house, the stone originated from the acropolis of ancient Abdera. No recorded autopsy since then; present whereabouts unknown.


i. Archaeological remains The acropolis of Hellenistic and Roman Abdera is located on Polystylon Hill; no important architectural remains of these periods have as yet been reported there.
ii. References to buildings/objects The text mentions a μάγαρον, magaron.

The physical format of the stone on which the inscription is engraved (small pediment, see above section V.i.c) indicate an entrance to a small structure; but the actual architectural form of the structure itself evades us. In the past, scholars have suggested a Dionysiac grotto (Nilsson 1957: 53, no. 47), a grotto or a small chapel (Bousquet 1938: 53). But modern references are more generic and refer to a place that, regardless of its physical appearance, served the cultic activities of the association; thus Nigdelis 2006: 132-3: a place of sacrifice and possibly of initiation ceremonies; GRA I 83: 'it could be translated "sanctuary", "shrine" or "grotto", but its sense is clearly indicative of a meeting place, most likely for rituals'; Jaccottet 2003: 73-4: 'le terme ne contient aucune obligation architecturale... cette structure devait servir de lieu d'initiation'.


ii. Leadership ἀρχιβούκολος, archiboukolos (ll. 3-4: Γ(άϊος) Κάσσιος Σέξτος, G(aios) Kassios Sextos).

According to GRA I 83 (following Bousquet 1938: 54, no. 2) the fact that the archiboukolos refers to the other members of the association as synmystai and not as boukoloi may indicate a superior category of initiate and not a leadership role. Jaccottet 2003: 73 also notes that the reference to mystai and not to boukoloi may indicate that the title has gradually lost its original functional meaning.
iii. Members συνμύσται, synmystai, l. symmystai (l. 5)


ii. Realty The association possessed a μάγαρον, magaron (l. 6).


iv. Status The only person named was a Roman citizen.


iii. Worship The existence of a μάγαρον, magaron, indicates cultic activities, see above section VI.ii.


i. Comments No name and no descriptive term occur in the text. But references to an ἀρχιβούκολος, archiboukolos (1. 4), to a μάγαρον, magaron (1. 6), and to συνμύσται, synmystai (l. 5), point to the cult of Dionysos.
iii. Bibliography Bousquet, J. (1938), ‘Inscription d'Abdère’, BCH 62: 51-4.
Jaccottet, A.-F. (2003), Choisir Dionysos. Les associations dionysiaques ou la face cachée du dionysisme. 2 vols. Zürich: 73-4, no. 35.
Kloppenborg, J.S., and Ascough, R.S. (2011), Greco-Roman Associations: Texts, Translations, and Commentary. I. Attica, Central Greece, Macedonia, Thrace. Göttingen: 381-2, no. 83.
Nilsson, M.P. (1957), The Dionysiac Mysteries of the Hellenistic and Roman Age. Lund.


i. Private association Certain
Note A more permanent associative organisation is indicated by the presence of the term ἀρχιβούκολος, archiboukolos.