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Last Updated on 09 Jul 2018

Author: Paschalis Paschidis

CAPInv. 745: speira


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


i. Full name (original language) σπείρα (IG X.2.1 Suppl. 1077, l. II 3)
ii. Full name (transliterated) speira


i. Date(s) f. iii AD


iii. Descriptive terms σπείρα, speira
Note speira: IG X.2.1 Suppl. 1077, l. II 3.


i. Source(s) IG X.2.1 Suppl. 1077 (f. iii AD)
Note Other editions: SEG 56: 754; SEG 49: 814.
Online Resources IG X.2.1 Suppl. 1077 and AGRW ID 22497
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Greek list
i.c. Physical format(s) Stele, broken to the top, bottom and left.
ii. Source(s) provenance Near modern Navarinou Sq., in the eastern part of ancient Thessalonike.


ii. References to buildings/objects The title ἀρχιμαγαρεύς, archimagareus (see below, VII.iv: Officials) points to the existence of a μάγαρον, magaron.


ii. Leadership It is unclear which of the thirteen offices of the surviving catalogue refer to leaders of the association (or associations; see below XIII.i: Evaluation).
iv. Officials The catalogue provides a long list of officials. All terms are extensively discussed by Nigdelis 2006: 105-28. Given that any hierarchy is impossible to infer from the arrangement of the list, the titles are arranged here alphabetically:
Ἀρχιγάλλαρος, archigallaros (one person, l. I 4). A simple γάλλαρος, gallaros is mentioned in l. I 9.
Ἀρχικραν(ε)άρχης, archikran(e)arches (at least three and possibly five persons: ll. I 3, 7, 17, and possibly ll. I 8 and 13).
Ἀρχιλαμπαδηφόρος, archilampadephoros (one person, l. II 6).
Ἀρχιμαγαρεὺς ἀθύτου, archmagareus athytou (one person, l. I 5 of col. I).
Ἀρχιμύστης, archimystes (at least four and possibly five persons: ll. I 2, 14, 15 and 16; perhaps also l. I 3).
Ἱερεύς, hiereus (one person, l. I 10).
Μαγαρεύς / μαγάρισσα, magareus / magarissa (three persons, the two women are also nebraphoroi: l. I 18, II 12, II 15).
Μήτηρ σπείρας, meter speiras (one person, l. II 3).
Ναρθηκοφόρος, narthekophoros (one person: l. I 6).
Νεβριαφόρος or νεβραφόρος or νεβρίνη, nebriaphoros / nebraphoros / nebrine (three persons, all women, two of them are also μαγάρισσαι, magarissai, ll. I 11, II 12, II 14-15).
Παλεομύστης, paleomystes (one person: l. I 12)

With the exception of the γάλλαρος / ἀρχιγάλλαρος, gallaros / archigallaros, which is often related to the cult of Kybele and associated deities, all terms are clearly and often unambiguously connected with the cult of Dionysos.
vii. Judicial system A rasura in IG X.2.1 Suppl. 10774, l. I 14 has been tentatively interpreted by Nigdelis 2006: 111 as a result of expulsion from the association. As Nigdelis himself admits, however, a voluntary departure (or even death) is an equally likely explanation.


i. Number The number of the members (if indeed we are dealing with a single association here; see below XIII.i: Evaluation) seems to have been extraordinarily high, judging by the presence of four archimystai, whereas in no Dionysiac association are there more than two (Nigdelis 2006: 108-9).
ii. Gender Men
Note Both men and women bear titles. The preponderance of women in col. II (where there is no certain mention of a man), the fact that only one woman is mentioned in col. I and the fact that only one woman bears a title with archi- as the first compound (l. II 6) are noteworthy.
iv. Status The presence of several nomina of certain or possible Italian origin (Rupilius, Mestrius, Petronius, Folcillius) does not necessarily point to an upper-class status of the initiates (cf. Nigdelis 2006: 125-8), given that at least some of these initiates may be simply freedmen of wealthy families.
v. Relations The presence of at least three women bearing the nomen Rupilius may mean that they were related (if they were not liberated slaves).


i. Comments The term speira is commonly used for Dionysiac thiasoi in several areas (Nigdelis 2006: 106 n. 16 with earlier literature); this is its first mention in Macedonia, however.
iii. Bibliography Nigdelis, P. M. (2006), Επιγραφικά Θεσσαλονίκεια. Συμβολή στην πολιτική και κοινωνική ιστορία της αρχαίας Θεσσαλονίκης. Thessaloniki: 101-28 no. 1.
Paschidis, P. (forthcoming), ‘Civic cults and (other) religious associations: in search of collective identities in Roman Macedonia’ in A. Cazemier and S. Skaltsa (eds.), Associations in Context: rethinking associations and religion in the post-classical polis. Copenhagen.


i. Private association Certain
Note Nigdelis 2006: 101-28 has interpreted this inscription as the roster of officials of an extraordinarily large Dionysiac association. An alternative interpretation would be to view it as the catalogue of officials of more than one (perhaps all?) private associations related to the cult of Dionysos, in which case the official civic cult of Dionysos may have been somehow responsible for compiling the list (see in detail Paschidis, forthcoming).

Whether we are dealing with one or more Dionysiac associations, there is no reason to deny its / their private character.