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Last Updated on 03 Jul 2019

Author: Annelies Cazemier

CAPInv. 126: [Sa]rapiasta[i]


i. Geographical area Aegean Islands
ii. Region Lesbos
iii. Site Methymna


i. Full name (original language) [Σα]ραπιαστα[ὶ] (IG XII.2 511 a, l. 1)
ii. Full name (transliterated) [Sa]rapiasta[i]


i. Date(s) ii - i BC


ii. Name elements
iii. Descriptive terms σπείρα, speira ?
Note speira: IG XII.2 511 a, l. 3

σπείρα, speira (IG XII.2 511 a, l. 3) as restored by Wilhelm 1900: 53, no. 14; followed by Von Gaertringen 1939 in IG XII Suppl. p. 32 (cf. RICIS 205/0401). Note, however, the objections by Poland (1929: 1587) and Edson (1948: 156, 204). Both think it more likely that we should read a word in the accusative after εἰσενέγκαντες, eisenengantes (line 2) and not the dative τ[ῇ σ]πείρᾳ, t[ei s]peirai suggested by Wilhelm.
Poland's alternative suggestion εἰσενέγκαντες τ[ὰ ἱε]ρά, eisenengantes t[a hie]ra (Poland 1929: 1587; cf. Fraser 1960: 51, no. 4) is not compatible with the letters ΠΕΙΡΑ, PEIRA at the start of line 3 (cf. Hodot 1976: 46; Edson 1984: 204). Edson tentatively put forward a reading of εἰσενέγκαντες τ[ὰ πέ]πειρα, eisenengantes t[a pe]peira or π[έ]πειρα, p[e]peira, meaning 'ripe fruits' (Edson 1984: 156).

The word σύνοδος, synodos appears in the text (IG XII.2 511 a, l. 3), but it seems used here in the meaning of 'gathering' (see, e.g., Labarre 1996: 59; RICIS 205/0401) rather than 'association' (Buchholz 1975: 53).


i. Source(s) IG XII.2 511 with IG XII Suppl. p. 32 (a. 200 BC: Brun 1991: 105, n. 26)
Note Other editions of IG XII.2 511 a, ll. 1-6:
Fraser 1960: 51, no. 4
RICIS 205/0401
Online Resources IG XII.2 511 (old ed.)
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script List in Greek of contributors to festival.
i.c. Physical format(s) Fragment of a rectangular slab of marble, inscribed on the front (IG XII.2 511 a) and on the sides (b and c); the letters on the sides are smaller than those on the front.
ii. Source(s) provenance Castle in Molyvos (Paton 1899 in IG XII.2 511); moved to the museum in Mytilene, Inv. 1036 (Von Gaertringen 1939 in IG XII Suppl. p. 32 and Charitonidis, Ἐπιγραφαί: p. 82).


i. Number The list of contributors contains at least 41 names (cf. Labarre 1996: 59).
ii. Gender Men
Note All names preserved on the list of contributing Sarapiastai are names of men.
iv. Status Ktesiphon son of Antikrates, named in the list of contributors (IG XII.2 511 b, ll. 14-15), might be the same as the eponymous official of the phyle Aiolis in Methymna: IG XII.2 505, l. 1 (cf. Buchholz 1975: 157 (no. 533) and 187, H 135).
The name and patronymic of the person listed in IG XII.2 511 c, ll. 8-9 (Teres son of Sadalas) have been identified as Thracian (Odrysian) (Wilhelm 1900: 53, no. 14; Von Gaertringen 1939 in IG XII Suppl. p. 32; Buchholz 1975: 192, H 189).


ii. Meetings and events σύνοδος, synodos (IG XII.2 511 a, l. 3) -- The word σύνοδος, synodos appears in the text (IG XII.2 511 a, l. 3), but it seems used here in the meaning of 'gathering' (see, e.g., Labarre 1996: 59; RICIS 205/0401) rather than 'association' (Buchholz
1975: 53).
iii. Worship The listed Sarapiastai contributed to the σύνοδος (synodos) of the great Sarapieia, so that sacrifices (θυσίαι, thysiai) would be performed each year in perpetuity. These sacrifices were performed at a Nile festival (Νει[λῴ]α, Nei[loi]a), if this widely accepted restoration and interpretation of the dative plural noun in IG XII.2 511 a, ll. 4-5 is correct (Wilhelm 1900: 53, no. 14; followed by Von Gaertringen 1939 in IG XII Suppl. p. 32; Fraser 1960: 51, no. 4; SIRIS 262; RICIS 205/0401. Alternative restorations in Rusch 1906: 68 and Salaç 1915: 51; cf. SIRIS 262. A more likely interpretation might be that sacrifices were offered to Nile gods).
Deities worshipped Sarapis
Nile gods ?


i. Comments While Edson places IG XII.2 511 in e. i AD (Edson 1948: 156; cf. Shields 1917: 75), the text is most commonly dated to the Hellenistic or late Hellenistic period (Fraser 1960: 26, no. 2; SIRIS 262; RICIS 205/0401), more specifically after 200 BC (Pistorius 1913: 159-60; Brun 1991: 105, no. 26), in ii BC or perhaps i BC (Rusch 1906: 68; cf. Buchholz 1975: 53, no. 123).
ii. Poland concordance Poland B *157 (SIRIS 262 = RICIS 205/0401)
iii. Bibliography Brun, P. (1991), ‘Les Lagides à Lesbos: essai de chronologie’, ZPE 85: 99-113.
Buchholz, H.-G. (1975), Methymna: archäologische Beiträge zur Topographie und Geschichte von Nordlesbos. Mainz.
Edson, C. (1948), ‘Cults of Thessalonica (Macedonica III)’, HThr 41.3: 153-204.
Fraser, P.M. (1960), ‘Two studies on the cult of Sarapis in the Hellenistic world’, OAth 3: 1-54.
Hodot, R. (1976), ‘Notes critiques sur le corpus épigraphique de Lesbos’, Études d'Archéologie Classique 5: 17-81.
Labarre, G. (1996), Les cités de Lesbos aux époques hellénistique et impériale. Paris.
Pistorius, H. (1913), Beiträge zur Geschichte von Lesbos im vierten Jahrhundert v. Chr.. Bonn.
Poland, F. (1929), ‘Speira’, RE2 3.2: 1586-92.
Rusch, A. (1906), De Serapide et Iside in Graecia cultis (Dissertation. Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Berlin).
Salaç, A. (1915), Isis, Sarapis a božstva sdružená. Prague.
Shields, E.L. (1917), The cults of Lesbos. (Dissertation. Johns Hopkins University).
Wilhelm, A. (1900), ‘Nachlese zu griechischen Inschriften’, JÖAI 3: 40-62.


i. Private association Probable
Note The use of a theophoric name (Sarapiastai, partly restored), together with the intended recurrence (each year) and durability (in perpetuity) of the sacrifices, makes it likely that the Sarapiastai formed a private association. If indeed the group is referred to as a speira, this would add further support. The restorations of the inscription, however, are not entirely satisfactory.