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Last Updated on 20 May 2019

Author: Benedikt Eckhardt

CAPInv. 1595: artokopoi


i. Geographical area Western Asia Minor
ii. Region Ionia
iii. Site Ephesos


i. Full name (original language) ἀρτοκόποι (I.Eph(esos) 215, l. 3)
ii. Full name (transliterated) artokopoi


i. Date(s) 150 (?) - 250 (?) AD


ii. Name elements


i. Source(s) I.Eph(esos) 215 (150 (?) - 250 (?) AD)
Note See also:
Dittmann-Schöne II.1.29
Online Resources I.Eph(esos) 215
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Edict of a proconsul Asiae, accompanied by a decree by of the civic boule. In Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) Rectangular plate
ii. Source(s) provenance Found at Magnesia on the Maeander


ii. Leadership προεστηκότες, proestekotes (l. 8): The proconsular edict forbids the leaders to be bold (θρασύνεσθαι, thrasynesthai). These leaders could be the leaders of the protest, but it is more plausible in light of the epigraphic parallels to see them as the leaders of the association (cf. the proedria of porphyrabaphoi in Hierapolis). This would fit the tendency of Roman collegia to develop structures of corporate representation.

ἐργαστηριαρχαί, ergasteriarchai (l. 17): The decree of the boule presumably refers to the same people, i.e. the leaders of the association. The difference in wording is explicable in light of the fact that the Roman decree was originally written in Latin and then translated.


i. Assemblies The association had, from a Roman perspective, created unrest and turmoil. The reasons are not mentioned, but they seem to have stopped doing their work, which is why the literature refers to this episode as the strike of the bakers (for discussion, see Dittmann-Schöne 2010: 70-2).


i. Comments The legal aspects involved are not entirely clear. We should assume that the bakers had originally formed a professional association with a defined leadership, had resorted to corporate action against what they saw as a thread to their interests, and were now legally persecuted as a corporation. But what happened to them? That they are not allowed to assemble in hetairiai (συνέρχεσθαι κατ’ ἑταιρίαν, synerchesthai kat’ hetairian, ll. 7-8) has been taken by scholars to mean that certain sorts of political gatherings are prohibited, while the association as such would not have been declared illegal, as it was useful to the city (Dittmann-Schöne 2010: 71; Arnaoutoglou 2002: 40-1, who even argues that there was no association; Rohde 2012: 315-8). It is true that the inscription stresses the necessity of baking bread (ἀναγκαία τοῦ ἄρτου ἐργασία, anankaia tou artou ergasia, ll. 8-9). However, l. 10 could be read as a rule against all kinds of gatherings (συνιὼν παρὰ τὰ διηγορευμένα, synion para ta diegoreumena). One could argue that the ἀναγκαία ἐργασία, anankaia ergasia, already points towards the late antique cooptation of pistores in state service, who were organized as corporations (in the sense of a group of people with common funds, duties and privileges), but did not necessarily have a communal life as private associations had (on the rules in CTh., see now Heuft 2013; on this inscription, Carrié 2002: 320). The idea of a legal corporation of bakers without the right to assemble is not unthinkable.
iii. Bibliography Arnaoutoglou, I. (2002), ‘Roman Law and collegia in Asia Minor’, RIDA 49: 27-44.
Carrié, J.-M. (2002), ‘Les associations professionnelles à l'époque tardive: entre munus et convivialité’, in J.-M. Carrié and R. Lizzi Testa (eds.), "Humana sapit". Études d'antiquité tardive offertes à Lellia Cracco Ruggini, Paris: 309-32.
Dittmann-Schöne, I. (2010), Die Berufsvereine in den Städten des kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasiens. 2nd. ed. Regensburg.
Heuft, Chr. (2013), Spätantike Zwangsverbände zur Versorgung der römischen Bevölkerung. Rechtshistorische Untersuchungen zu Codex Theodosianus 13.5-9 sowie 14.2-4. Hildesheim.
Rohde, D. (2012), Zwischen Individuum und Stadtgemeinde. Zur Integration von collegia in Hafenstädten. Berlin.


i. Private association Probable
Note Professional associations in the 2nd/3rd century were often very close to the official civic institutions, but they probably remained essentially private associations.
ii. Historical authenticity Certain