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Last Updated on 02 Mar 2017

Author: Paschalis Paschidis

CAPInv. 751: U-MAC-007


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


i. Association with unknown name U-MAC-007


i. Date(s) iii AD


i. Source(s) IG X.2.1 65 (iii AD)
Online Resources IG X.2.1 65
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script A Greek funerary inscription
i.c. Physical format(s) Funerary altar, with reliefs of a crook on the left side and a caduceus on the right.


ii. References to buildings/objects Pace Robert 1934: 812, the terms magaron, neos and spelaion implied by the titles of the association's leader (see VII.ii, below) need not refer to three different sacred places (a crypt, a temple and a cave), but most probably to a single, at least partly underground (as the terms magaron and spelaion imply), location, where the sacrifices were performed.


ii. Leadership One of the two dedicants who paid for this funerary altar is ὁ ἀρχιμαγαρεὺς καὶ ἀρχινεωκόρος καὶ πατὴρ σπηλλέου, ho archimagareus kai archineokoros kai pater spelaiou (ll. 3-6), undoubtedly the association's leader.
His titles are all related to superintendence of the holy precinct of the god.
iv. Officials The second dedicant, and apparently the second in command in the association, is its γαλακτηφόρος, galaktephoros (ll. 7-8), and κισταφόρος, kistaphoros (ll. 8-9), who held her second office for 30 years.
The fact that the kistaphoros of the association held her office for 30 years means that at least some of the offices were held without fixed terms, for life.


ii. Gender Men
Note The two officials, who are also the only members that we know of, were a man and a woman. The presence of a woman among the officials of the association is a strong argument against the interpretation of the association as a cult association of Mithras (see X.iii, below).


iii. Worship The title of the association's leader implies sacrifices performed at some underground location (not necessarily an actual natural cave).
The title of the galaktephoros, a hapax legomenon, probably refers to a ceremony where new initiates drank milk (Robert 1974: 804).
There is considerable literature on the possible deity worshiped by this association. Robert 1974: 199-205 (with all earlier literature) summarizes and criticizes earlier views that the god was Dionysos or Mithras, and forcefully insists on his convincing earlier view (Robert 1934) that the association worshiped Kybele, Attis and Hermes. Marki 1987: 491 and Pachis 1994: 237 tentatively return to the Mithraic interpretation.


i. Comments The term σπήλλεον (l. σπήλαιον), spelleon (l. spelaion), "cave", may have been part of the association's name, if one judges by the title πατὴρ σπηλλέου, pater spelleou (ll. 5-6), but this is not certain.
The five titles that the two officials bear, along with the fact that, contrary to normal custom, it is not the association that pays for the funerary monument but the officials themselves in a private capacity, seem to point to a very small association with limited resources.
iii. Bibliography Marki, E. (1987), ‘Δύο μιθραϊκά ευρήματα από τη Θεσσαλονίκη’, in Αμητός. Τιμητικός τόμος για τον καθηγητή Μανόλη Ανδρόνικο. Thessaloniki: I 487-93, esp. 491.
Pachis, P. (1994), ‘The Cult of Mithras in Thessalonica’ in I.R. Hinnels (ed.), Studies in Mithraism. Papers Associated with the Mithraic Panel Organised on the Occasion of the XVIth Congress of the International Association for the History of Religion, Rome 1990. Rome: 229-55, esp. 237.
Robert, L. (1934), ‘Inscription de Thessalonique’, in Mélanges Bidez, Annuaire de l’institut de philologie et d’histoire orientales II: 793-812 [OMS II 990-1007].
Robert, L. (1974), ‘Les inscriptions de Thessalonique’, RPh 48: 180-246 [OMS V 267-333], esp. 199-205.


i. Private association Certain
Note Judging from the impression of a small number of members and limited resources , and from the fact that the attested officials held office for a number of years this was most probably a small private cultic association.