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Last Updated on 04 Mar 2018

Author: Sophia Zoumbaki

CAPInv. 748: Statianitai


i. Geographical area Peloponnese with Adjacent Islands
ii. Region Achaia
iii. Site Patras


i. Full name (original language) Στατιανῖται (Papapostolou 2004-2009: 321-26, l. 2)
ii. Full name (transliterated) Statianitai


i. Date(s) iii AD


i. Source(s) Papapostolou 2004-2009: 321-26 (III AD)
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Building inscription of a mosaic commemorating the construction or repair of a triklinon, which was financed by a [- - -]doros ὑπὲρ γραματίας hyper gramatias (sic), in the sense of summa honoraria.
i.c. Physical format(s) The inscription is put in the central panel of a mosaic floor, where the god Pan is depicted in a wine press framed by two further figures, whom he hold the hands. The grape-must is collected in three pithoi. Two more figures bring baskets of grapes. The mosaic floor belongs to an oblong space (13m x 3.25 m) which is perhaps to be identified with the triklinon mentioned in the inscription.
The mosaic is published by Papapostolou 2009.
ii. Source(s) provenance The mosaic was found in the ruins of the oblong building in Patras.


i. Archaeological remains The mosaic floor belongs to an oblong space (13m x 3.25 m) which is perhaps to be identified with the triklinon mentioned in the inscription.
ii. References to buildings/objects [- - -]doros donated a triklinon to the Statianitai, which is probably to be identified with the building where the mosaic was found.


iv. Officials γραμματεύς, grammateus: the donor [- - -]doros of the triklinon commemorates his office as grammateus.


ii. Realty The group of the Statianitai appartently owned the triklinon whose construction or repair was financed by [---]doros.


ii. Meetings and events The fact that a triklinon belongs to the Statianitai, implies that they had there meetings and common banquets.


i. Comments The editor of the inscription, I. Papapostolou, mentions several possible interpretations of the group of Statianitai. He rejects a connection with a minor deity called Statanus, protector of little children, as there seems to be no relation of this divinity to the mosaic and its inscription. Papapostolou suggests that the ending -ίτης/-ίται implies geographic origin. The fundi with the name Statianus in pago Ambitrebio and Placentino pago Novioduno in Italy as well as Statanus ager in Campania where the so-called στατανός οἶνος statanos oinos (Strab. 5. 3, 6; 4, 3; Pliny, NH 14. 8, 65; Athen. 1. 48, 21) was produced (Στατιανῖται Statianitai instead of Στατανῖται Statanitai is explained on phonological grounds, Papapostolou's personal communication with L. Threatte) are possible candidates. He further mentions stamps on amphora handles Statianien(se) found in Rome (Torlonia) and Okarben, near Bad Homburg in Germany (CIL XV 2.1, 3192, where it is in any case mentioned that the reading of the ligature of the stamp is uncertain; another possible reading is Stati Anien(i) Sat). Papapostolou thus interprets Statianitai as an association engaged in production or import of στατανός οἶνος statanos oinos in Patras.
This is an attractive interpretation, yet it causes several difficulties, since an ager -in this case Ager Statanus- is not normally used as an origin-definition in the place of an ethic origin. Definition of origin by a fundus is further used only for slaves or at least for free tenants in villages and estates of Late Antiquity (cf. Zoumbaki 2005, where among others the definition Chersoneseitai of an inscription found near Olympia is discussed). Therefore, it is not expected that an association engaged in import of wine in Patras defines itself by use of the name of a fundus or an ager instead of their ethnic origin. Important collectivities of this kind are attested in Rome, Ostia and Puteoli as well as in less crucial commercial centres from Malaga to Dacia and German provinces. Such corporations owned places defined as stationes. They are always defined through their town, wider region (sometimes along with tribe) or province, whilst references to vici are either closer defined by their region or are to be found in unofficial graffiti, see e.g. Noy 2000: esp. 160-4 (with lists of the origins of the owners of stationes); Rohde 2009: 31-61; Verboven 2011; Terpstra 2014.
A further attractive idea would be to correlate the definition Statianitai with the word statio, gr. στατιών. However, the members of a statio are normally called στατιωνάριοι, stationarioi. That Statianitai is derived from a personal name Statianus seems equally difficult, as an ending -i(a)stai would be more expectable (such as in Agrippiastai, Pompeiastai, Phaenistai, as also Hermaistai, Poseidoniastai etc.).
The solution of the problem is to be sought in the examination of the definition Statianitai in parallel with the building where the mosaic belongs and the location of this building. Under this light it seems difficult to accept Papapostolou's suggestion that the building is part of a villa rustica (ἀγρέπαυλις, agrepaulis) in the territory of Patras, as an inscription of a collegium engaged in import of wine (as Papapostolou suggests) is rather incompatible in a private villa; it is moreover strange that the mosaic of a private villa is financed by a grammateus of an association ὑπὲρ γραμματίας hyper grammatias and offered (cf. dative Στατιανίταις Statanitais) to the members of the association. The building in question should have had some connection to the Statianitai. If their building indeed belongs to some villa, then the name of the group should have been derived from this place (as in the case of the aforementioned Chersoneseitai), perhaps indicating the owner of the estate (a Statianus ?). Such an interpretation does not, however, fits with the collegial internal organization of the group which had a grammateus and a triklinon.
The mosaic leads us to regard Statianitai as a group engaged in some business related to wine production and trade, as already I. Papapostolou suggested. Since Patras was a crucial port for commercial activity between Italy and the East and since the territory of the town had a considerable wine production, as the numerous wine-vats of the farmsteads show (Petropoulos1994), perhaps these wine-producers ot traders had formed a corporation in order to defend their common interests and also had a common club-house. This space could be part of a larger unit which perhaps included storage rooms, such as the horrea. Buildings like horrea were often named after an individual who was involved in their construction, cf. Horrea Epagathiana, Horrea Agrippiana etc. That systematically organized horrea existed in 3rd/4th c. Greece arises from the inscription IG VII 24 from Megara.
The identification of Statianitai, the interpretation of their name and the understanding of their engagements remain in any case open questions. Every future find and additional information should be combined with our remarks in order to gain more knowledge about the Statianitai.
iii. Bibliography Noy, D. (2000), Foreigners at Rome. Citizens and strangers. London.
Papapostolou I. (2004-2009) [with collaboration of G.E. Malouchou and G.K. Papadopoulos], 'Η επιγραφή του ψηφιδωτού του ληνού στην Πάτρα', Horos 17-21 (2004-2009): 321-26.
Papapostolou, I.A. (2009), 'Παρατηρήσεις σε ψηφιδωτά των Πατρών', in Patrasso colonia di Augusto, Atti del convegno internazionale, Patrasso 23-24 marzo 2006. Atene: 234-237, fig. 22-23.
Petropoulos, M. (1992), 'Ἀγροικίες Πατραϊκής', in P.N. Doukellis, L.G. Mendoni (eds.), Structures rurales et sociétés antiques, Actes du colloque de Corfou (14-16 mai 1992). Paris: 405-24.
Rohde, D. (2009), 'Der Piazzale delle Corporazioni in Ostia: wirtschaftliche Funktion und soziale Bedeutung', MBAH 27: 31-61.
Terpstra, T. (2014), 'The « Piazzale delle Corporazioni » reconsidered', MEFRA: 126-1: see online
Verboven, K. (2011), 'Resident aliens and translocal merchant collegia in the Roman Empire', in Ol. Hekster, T. Kaizer (eds), Frontiers in the RomanWorld, Proceedings of the Ninth Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (Durham, 16–19 April 2009). Leiden-Boston: 335-348.
Zoumbaki, S. (2005), 'The collective definition of slaves and the limits to their activity, in V.I. Anastasiadis and P.N. Doukellis (eds), Esclavage antique et discriminations socio-culturelles, Actes du XXVIIIe Colloque International du Groupement International de Recherche sur l’Esclavage Antique. Berne: 217-31.


i. Private association Probable
Note As we are not allowed to draw conclusions ex silentio, the question on the Statianitai remains open, as also comments in XII.i above show. The fact that a grammateus is mentioned points to an internal organization. Further the triklinon of the inscription, which is probably to be identified with the room of the mosaic, implies meetings and common banquets. However, the obscurity of the name and the lack of additional information prevent us from regarding the group with certainty as a private association.