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Last Updated on 18 Jan 2019

Author: Mario C.D. Paganini

CAPInv. GR-83: thiasoi polyanthropoi


i. Geographical area Egypt
ii. Nome Alexandria (L00)
iii. Site Alexandria


i.a. Full reference (original language) θίασοι πολυάνθρωποι
i.b. Full reference (transliterated) thiasoi polyanthropoi
ii. Reference context Philo denounces the presence of many popular private associations (thiasoi) in Alexandria, with a large membership: their sole purpose was drunkenness, disorder, and violence. He declares that the locals called them synodoi and klinai. Isidorus, one of the villains of Philo's story together with the prefect Flaccus and with Lampo, is said to have been a leading person in all or most of these clubs. Upon his command, the members of these associations would gather and act as one body, to do and say what Isidorus wanted.


i. Date(s) 32 - 38 AD


i. Descriptive terms θίασοι, thiasoi
σύνοδοι, synodoi
κλῖναι, klinai
Note thiasoi, synodoi, klinai: Ph. In Flaccum 136


i. Source(s) Ph. In Flaccum 136
i.a. Source type(s) Literary source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Greek literary work by Philo against the prefect of Egypt Flaccus.


ii. Leadership It is claimed that Isidorus had a leading position in all or most of these clubs in Alexandria, where he was called συμποσίαρχος, symposiarchos, κλινάρχης, klinarches, ταραξίπολις taraxipolis.


i. Private associations Certain
Note The terminology used and the context makes it certain that the text refers to private associations.
ii. Historical authenticity There is no doubt that Alexandria housed many associations and that these clubs could bear the name of synodoi and klinai, and be devoted to the entertainment of their members (with drinking parties occupying an important position in the association's agenda). However, Philo's moralistic account of their activities may be questionable, together with Isidorus's specific and actual involvement in (all) of them.