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Last Updated on 18 Jun 2019

Author: Stella Skaltsa

CAPInv. 991: synodos thymelike peripolistike ton peri ton Dionyson techneiton hieroneikon stephaneiton


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Troas
iii. Site Alexandreia Troas


i. Full name (original language) σύνοδος θυμελικὴ περιπολιστικὴ τῶν περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τεχνειτῶν ἱερονεικῶν στεφανειτῶν (SEG 56: 1359, ll. 5-7, 58-9 )
ii. Full name (transliterated) synodos thymelike peripolistike ton peri ton Dionyson techneiton hieroneikon stephaneiton


i. Date(s) 134 AD


i. Name in other forms σύνοδος θυμελικὴ τῶν περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τεχνειτῶν, synodos thymelike ton peri ton Dionyson techneiton (l. 86)
ii. Name elements
Status-related:hieronikai (victors at sacred games)
stephanitai (crowned victors: usually equivalent to hieronikai)
Theophoric:peri ton Dionyson
Other:thymelike: the adjective refers to performances of music, singing and dancing; it derives from the substantive thymele that stands for the altar of Dionysos in the theatre or for the orchestra itself.

peripolistike: the adjective refers to wandering/circulating artists and athletes.
iii. Descriptive terms σύνοδος
Note synodos


i. Source(s) SEG 56: 1359 (134 AD)
Note Edd. pr.: Petzl & Schwertheim 2006.
See also:
AE 2006: 1403a-c
SEG 59: 1410
SEG 60: 1308
Online Resources SEG 56: 1359
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Three letters in Greek of Hadrian to the international association of Dionysiac artists. The first letter is a rescript. The first two letters are addressed to the synodos thymelike peripolistike ton peri ton Dionyson techneiton hieroneikon stephaneiton (ll. 5-7, 58-9). The third letter is addressed to the synodos thymelike ton peri ton Dionyson techneitai (l. 86), an abbreviated form of the name. The letters date in the last months of AD 134.
i.c. Physical format(s) Large rectangular marble slab. Pediment on top with two corner akroteria. The text of the inscription is carved in a slightly recessed, framed field.
H.181 x W. 90 x Th. 9 cm.
ii. Source(s) provenance Found during excavations in the center of the ancient city.


i. Archaeological remains The inscription was found in a building-complex consisting of a Roman podium-temple, an odeion and a stoa.


iii. Members see below: VII.viii
iv. Officials see below XII.i.
v. Other staff see below XII.i.
vi. Laws and rules κατὰ τοὺς τῆς συνόδου νόμους, hoi kata tous tes synodous nomous (l. 51)

There are provisions for the rules of the contests (l. 52: τοὺς νόμους τοὺς τῶν ἀγώνων, tous nomous tous ton agonon). These rules shall be written up at the time of each festival (panegyris).
vii. Judicial system
- corporal punishment (ll. 28-32): punishment of contestants included whipping (μαστιγοῦν, masteigoun) and more specifically beatingon the legs. Provisions are taken so that punishment will not leave someone crippled or with any major injuries. The purpose of corporal punishment is that those who err (πλημελοῦντας, plemelountas) should be corrected (σωφρονίζεσθαι, sophronizesthai) .

- about the selection-competitions (ἐν ταῖς ἐνκρίσεσιν, en tais enkrisesin, l. 53): it is not permitted for a citizen to speak in support, as it is believed that the selections are made unfair by the influence of the locals.

- concerning punishment (περὶ τῶν ζημιῶν, peri ton zemion, l. 54): the customary courts (τὰ νενομισμένα δικαστήρια, ta nenomismena dikasteria, l. 54) shall be established according to the laws in force at each place (κατὰ τοῖς παρ᾽ ἑκαστοις νόμοις, kata tous par'ekastois nomois, l. 55). See also Harter-Uibopuu 2009 on the δικαστήρια, dikasteria.
viii. Obligations This clause seems to be about membership in the association (ll. 51-52) - payments of a fee:
οἱ κατὰ τοὺς τῆς συνόδου νόμους συνβάλλοντες....., hoi kata tous tes synodou nomous synballontes.... (l. 51-52): even if members become Roman citizens, they are bound by the same rules as those under which they originally contributed.
ix. Privileges ἀνεῖσθαι τὰ τὲλη τὰ ἐπὶ ταῖς ταφίαις, aneisthai ta tele ta épi tais taphiais (l. 49): Hadrian thinks that is humane to remit the taxes on burials for wandering athletes and artists who have lived abroad.

- confirmation of ἀλειτουργησία, aleitourgesia (l. 48)
- confirmation of ἀτέλεια, ateleia (l. 48)
- grant of the right of ἀνάπτωσις, anaptosis (l. 87-88) (on this privilege see Jones 2007). According to Jones (2007: 152-3) anaptosis refers to the right to 'be entertained at a public banquet'. The agonothetes is instructed by Hadrian to pay for public dining, probably of the victorious competitors. However, Hadrian confirms that public funds should not be allocated towards this expenditure. Likewise, the agonothetes must not try to push the expense onto the councils.


i. Treasury/Funds There are funds earmarked for the contests, set aside for the payment of prizes (athla, l. 10) and pensions (syntaxeis, l. 10) to the contestants agonistai, l. 10). This money is called: apotetagmenea chremata, poroi. The emperor takes measures as no one, not even the public authorities, use the money for purposes other than the contests (ll. 8-18).

On membership fee see above VII.viii.
iii. Income - section on the ἆθλα (athla, l. 10), i.e. prizes for victors (ll. 19-27). Four terms are employed in the text: ἆθλον (athlon), χρήματα (chremata), θέμα (thema), σύνταξις (syntaxis).
It seems that there are two categories of victors and they receive different rewards respectively: (1) victors in games and (2) victors in sacred games.
The sacred victors (ἱερονῖκαι, hieronikai, l. 26) will also get συντάξεις (syntaxeis, l. 19, 25, 27, 46, 49), allowances (according to Slater: lifetime pensions). The hieronikai shall get their prize, straight after their victory, together with the crown while everybody is watching (l. 25-26). Allowances shall be given to the sacred victors on fixed dates. If not, the magistrate or treasurer shall pay out in addition one and a half times (ἡμιόλιον, hemiolion, l. 27) to the sacred victor (ll. 26-28).
Regulations are provided for the payment of syntaxeis (ll. 49-51): the allowances are due from the day when the documents abut the victory are delivered to the relevant city (and not from the day when the victor enters into the city as ordered by Trajan).


iv. Status The text regulates the participations of contestants in festivals. As the terminology is agonistic in nature, revolving around the different categories of participants in contests according to their specialisation (e.g. athletes vs artists), I chose not to include the terms in the field 'members'. Furthermore, the regulations concern not only the international associations of Dionysiac artists to whom the letters are addressed but also the international association of athletes. In other words the different categories recorded in this field refer to both artists and athletes:
ἀγωνισταί, agonistai (ll. 10, 16, 27, 28, 30 ff.)
ἀθληταί, athletai (l. 21, 36, 48 ff.)
hieronikai (l. 26, 33 ff.)
mousikoi (l. 34, 35, 48 ff.)


ii. Meetings and events πανήγυρις, panegyris (l. 52)

In the second letter, Hadrian provides a new calendar of contests, taking place in a four year timespan. The τάξις, taxis (l. 60) of the contests starts with the Olympic Games (l. 61). For the games see commentary of Pleket in SEG 56: 1359.


i. Local interaction The interaction between artists and cities could take many different forms, not always on amicable terms. For example, it seems that in Ephesos the artists had initially put pressure on the city to set up statues. After the intervention of the emperor, it was resoled that the artists would put up statues by themselves (possible from the proceeds of funds) (ll. 41-43). In case of punishments, in all likelihood related to the contests, the laws of each city would apply (ll. 54-55).
ii. Interaction abroad Hadrian's letters found in Alexandria Troas reveal the extent of emperor's involvement in the smooth organization and conduct of the contests across the empire, mostly dealing with financial issues (first and third letters) and the adjustment of the calendar of the games (second letter). The emperor is fully involved in all aspects of agonistic life, confirming privileges to artists, regulating prizes and allowances, the organization of events as well as disputes. The emperor has the power to intervene into local communities (e.g. letters sent to the Chians and the Milesians) to restore the games (ll. 18-21). He also takes care to inform the provincial authorities for the reform of contests in Ephesos (ll. 45-49). The emperor's concern is to make sure that games will be conducted smoothly across the empire and cities will not mishandle funds allocated for the contests. He explicitly outlines aspects ranging from prizes and punishment of contestants to the responsibilities of officials and the reconstruction of an entire cycle of contests. It thus becomes apparent that the union of the artists is under his protection and tutelage. Although cities undertake the organization of games, Roman officials oversee certain aspects of the games, for example they double-check that they money for the prize comprises the right amount (ll. 21-25).


i. Comments The regulations provided in the Hadrian's first letter concern the artists as well as the athletes, despite the fact that the letter is addressed to the artists of Dionysos.
I am reluctant to include the following officials in the field VII.iv, as these officials are
closely connected with the organization of games:
ξυστάρχαι, xystarchai (l. 34, 35, 37, 38, 40)
οἱ τῶν μουσικῶν ἄρχοντες, hoi ton mousikon archontes (l. 36)
ἀγωνοθέται, agonothetai (ll. 22, 39)

The same goes for ad hoc officials, like the μαστειγοφόροι, masteigophoroi (l. 29): the whip-bearers are chosen by lot (κεκληρωμένοι, kekleromenoi).
iii. Bibliography Fündling, J. (2014), 'Vom Wettkampfreglement zur sozialen Grenzziehung durch ritualisierte Gewalt — Überlegungen zu Hadrians erstem Brief aus Alexandreia Troas', in K. Harter-Uibopuu & T. Kruse (eds.), Sport und Recht in der Antike. (Beiträge zur antiken Rechtsgeschichte, 27.-28.10.2011). Vienna: 217-47.
Gouw, P. (2008), 'Hadrian and the Calendar of Greek Agonistic Festivals. A New Proposal for the Third Year of the Olympic Cycle', ZPE 165: 96-104.
Harter-Uibopuu, K. (2009), 'Τὰ νενομισμένα δικαστήρια περὶ τῶν ζημιῶν. Zur gerichtlichen Kontrolle von Strafen nach den Anweisungen Hadrians an die dionysischen Künstler', ZPE 171: 109-12.
Jones, C.P. (2007), 'Three New Letters of the Emperor Hadrian', ZPE 161: 145-56.
Le Guen, B. (2010), 'Hadrien, l’Empereur philhellène, et la vie agonistique de son temps. À propos d’un livre récent: Hadrian und die dionysischen Künstler. Drei in Alexandreia Troas neugefundene Briefe des Kaisers an die Künstler-Vereinigung', Nikephoros 23: 205-39.
Petzl, G. & Schwertheim, E. (2006), Hadrian und die dionysischen Künstler. Drei in Alexandria Troas neugefundene Briefe des Kaisers an die Künstler-Vereinigung. (AMS 58). Bonn.
Sänger-Böhm, K. (2010), 'Die συντάξεις und τέλη τὰ ἐπὶ ταῖς ταφαῖς in der Hadriansinschrift aus Alexandria Troas: Eine papyrologische Bestandsaufnahme', ZPE 175: 167-70.
Schmidt, S. (2009), 'Zum Treffen in Neapel and den Panhellenia in der Hadrianinschrift aus Alexandria Troas', ZPE 170: 109-12.
Slater, W.J. (2008), 'Hadrian’s letters to the athletes and Dionysiac Artists concerning arrangements for the “circuit” of games', JRA 21: 610–20.
Strasser, J.-Y. (2010), '«Qu'on fouette les concurrents...» À propos des lettres d'Hadrien retrouvées à Alexandrie de Troade', REG 123: 585-622.


i. Private association Certain
Note Although SEG 56: 1359 provides little information about the internal organization of the synodos thymelike peripolistike ton peri ton Dionyson techneiton hieroneikon stephaneiton, there is no reason to doubt its corporate character.