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Last Updated on 24 Jun 2019

Author: Jan-Mathieu Carbon

CAPInv. 840: syggeneia


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Caria
iii. Site Halikarnassos or Mylasa?


i. Full name (original language) συγγέν[ε]ια (Isager 2014: 186 A, line 8)
ii. Full name (transliterated) syggeneia


i. Date(s) 150 (?) - 100 (?) BC


ii. Name elements
Kinship-related:συγγέν[ε]ια, syggeneia


i. Source(s) Isager 2014: 186-8, text A (cf. also text B, ca. 150-100 BC?).
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script As preserved, the document (A) contains a series of restrictions against bad behaviour. The precepts implicitly allude to the respect of a testament (diatheke) and other commands (see made by the one founding the association. The text concludes with a curse against transgressors (lines 11-13).
i.c. Physical format(s) Large block, inscribed on one large face (A), and a shorter extremely fragmentary side (B).
The conclusion of text A is preserved and virtually intact on the block; its beginning would have been inscribed on one or more blocks situated above it. Text B has similar letters and is likely to be a related document (perhaps part of the constitutive dossier of the association, such as the testament of the founder).
ii. Source(s) provenance Now located in the Bodrum Museum, but thought to have been brought from the Sakarya İlkokul, a school in the centre of Milas (Mylasa). For discussion and some doubts about this provenance, see Isager 2014: 185 and 190.


ii. References to buildings/objects τάφοι, taphoi (line 3)
Reference is made to prescribed actions which must be performed "at the tombs". These may be presumed to be burial places of honorands, such as relatives or members of the wider family of the founder, as well as loci of the cult concerned in this document.

περίβολος, peribolos (line 4)
ἄλσος τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς καὶ [---], alsos tes Athenas kai [---] (lines 10-11)
τὰ ὅρια, ta horia (line 11)
Various expressions serve to designate what seems to be a centre of worship for the group. It is probable that all of these expressions overlap, though this remains difficult to demonstrate absolutely. Specifically, the boundaries (horia) seem to delimit the space of the grove of Athena where the association is supposed to meet. The peribolos is likely to refer to the same structure. If this assumption is correct, it is also possible that the tombs referred to above may have constituted an integral part of this wider complex.
Note that the fragmentary text B mentions perhaps the same peribolos (line 8), as well as a cultic οἰκία, oikia (lines 13-15).


iii. Members συγγενεῖς, syggeneis (lines 6-7)
vi. Laws and rules διαθήκη, diatheke (line 1; cp. lines 8-9 and 11)
τὰ διατεταγμένα, ta diatetagmena (lines 2-3)
τὰ ἐπιτεταγμένα, ta epitetagmena (lines 3-4)
The inscription appears to be a legal or regulatory document. It refers to several obligations that must be respected, probably by the members of the association (lines 1-11). See below VII.viii for details of these obligations. The text concludes with a curse against transgressors (lines 11-13).
The primary reference is to a testament, diatheke, made by the founder of the group (καθότι ἐγὼ διατέθειμαι, kathoti ego diatetheimai, lines 8-9, cp. line 11). Allusions to other precepts and commands (tetagmena) enacted by the founder (ὑπ᾽ ἐμοῦ, hyp' emou), either refer to other documents or to this same testament. It remains unclear whether the text as we have it is the conclusion of the testament itself or, perhaps more likely since the reference to the testament appears to be external rather than internal to the document, another formal set of rules of the association.
viii. Obligations The individuals concerned by the legal document--probably the members, though a group of officials might also be intended--are (often by negative implication) enjoined to respect the following precepts:
-not to dissolve the testament or to meet on days other than those stipulated (lines 1-3);
-to perform the stipulated things at the tombs (lines 3-4);
-to have foresight and care (pronoia) concerning the peribolos (line 4);
-not to squander the money of the group and (instead) to use it all on the sacrifices and meetings of the group (lines 4-6);
-not to split the unified group (lines 7-9)
-not to curtail or cut short the Eisiteria (rites?) (line 9)
-not to meet in another place than the grove of Athena (and a further missing place, lines 9-11).


i. Treasury/Funds πρόσοδος, prosodos
A source of revenue is mentioned in lines 5-7: these funds must be used solely and completely for the purpose of the sacrifices and meetings of the association. It is probable that the revenue was derived from some form of endowment for the group made in the testament of the founder (now lost).
ii. Realty It is possible that most if not all of the structures mentioned in VI.ii above are the property of the association.
iii. Income See above VIII.i.
iv. Endowments See above VIII.i.


ii. Meetings and events συνόδοι, synodoi (lines 2 and 6)
Several meetings of the syggeneis, held on specific days of the year, were envisaged by the founder in his rules (now missing).
iii. Worship θυσίαι, thysiai (line 6)
Sacrifices are mentioned in close connection with the synodoi, perhaps implying that these went hand-in-hand: periodic sacrifices may have preceded the regular meetings of the group.

εἰσιτήρια, Eisiteria (line 9)
If one of the interpretations suggested in Isager (2014) is correct, this would appear to refer to inaugural and commemorative rites of the association. However, the phrase is allusive and the precise content of this festival remains elusive. Alternative points of reference cannot be wholly excluded; for instance, to entrance-fees or entrance ways.

See also above VI.ii for the mention of tombs in one of the clauses of the regulations. It would appear that certain ritual gestures (e.g. ta nomizomena, customary rites for the dead, sacrifices) were to be performed at the tomb.
Deities worshipped Heroised dead? (tombs, see VI.ii)

The grove of Athena is mentioned (see VI.ii), probably as part of the property of the association. It is thus likely that the cult of the goddess was in some way connected with the syggeneia.


iii. Bibliography Isager, S. (2014), 'New Inscriptions in the Bodrum Museum. A Hellenistic foundation from the area of Mylasa', Opuscula 7: 185-92.


i. Private association Certain
Note If the text is correctly identified as coming from Mylasa, it would represent our first case of a privately created syngeneia from this city (syngeneiai are well attested as originally independent political bodies at Labraunda and Sinuri and elsewhere in the region, and as public subdivisions at Mylasa itself). However, Halikarnassos also remains a good possibility; for a group of syggeneis involved in a private cult at Halikarnassos, cf. here CAPInv. 829.