Stable URL: as PDF
Last Updated on 20 May 2019

Author: Benedikt Eckhardt

CAPInv. 1611: hoi pro poleos Demetriastai


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


i. Full name (original language) οἱ πρὸ πόλεως Δημητριασταί (I.Eph(esos) 4337, l. 27)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi pro poleos Demetriastai


i. Date(s) 19 - 200 (?) AD


i. Name in other forms οἱ πρὸ πόλεως Δημητριασταί καὶ Διονύσου Φλέω μυσταί, hoi propoleos Demetriastai kai Dionysou Phleo mystai(I.Eph(esos) 1595, ll. 3-6)

ii. Name elements
Geographical:pro poleos
Note I.Eph(esos) 1595 seems to indicate that the Demetriastai at some point of their history combined their resources and internal structures with those of another association, the mystai of Dionysos Phleus (cf. Schipporeit 2013: 49, 441). As there are several officials mentioned, one of them officiating for life, the idea that this was a temporary coalition during a festival or the like can hardly be entertained. The only other interpretation would be that the association remained the same, but added the designation mystai (not without parallel in this period) as well as the cult of Dionysos Phleus. At any rate, the officials mentioned certainly indicate that the organizational structure changed as well.


i. Source(s) I.Eph(esos) 213 (88/89 AD)
I.Eph(esos) 1595 (ii AD)
I.Eph(esos) 4337 (19-23 AD)

All in Greek.
Note See also:
GRA II 128

I.Eph(esos) 4337 is the earliest inscription (19-23 AD). I.Eph(esos) 213 dates to 88/89 AD; I.Eph(esos) 1595 is from the second century AD.

It is normally assumed that I.Eph(esos) 213 is a letter written by a representative of the association (e.g. Harland 2014: 260-7). The combination of the cult of Demeter and imperial worship may be argued to support this view (although there are differences: I.Eph(esos) 4337 identifies Demeter with Livia, while I.Eph(esos) 213 mentions sacrifices for Demeter – without Augusta – and the emperors). But the mystai of I.Eph(esos) 213 are not necessarily an association. The matter cannot be decided with certainty.
Online Resources I.Eph(esos) 213
I.Eph(esos) 1595
I.Eph(esos) 4337
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script I.Eph(esos) 213 is a petition to the provincial governor of Asia. I.Eph(esos) 1595 is a fragmentary decree (possibly honorific); I.Eph(esos) 4337 is an honorific decree.

All in Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) I.Eph(esos) 213: Marble statue base
I.Eph(esos) 1595: Fragment of a column
I.Eph(esos) 4337: Slab of blue marble
ii. Source(s) provenance I.Eph(esos) 1595: Found at Ayasoluk
I.Eph(esos) 4337: one of the two pieces comes from the church of St. John


iv. Officials ἱερεὺς δὶα βίου, hiereus dia biou: The two inscriptions that can with certainty be ascribed to the association both mention priests for life. In I.Eph(esos) 4337, three priesthoods for life are given as rewards to benefactors. In I.Eph(esos) 1595, ll. 2-3, there seems to be only one priesthood for life alongside two other religious offices, but at that period, the association had already merged with another one and thus significantly altered its structure.
ἱεροφάντης, hierophantes: I.Eph(esos) 1595, ll. 7-8 shows that after joining forces with the mystai of Dionysos, the association had a hierophantes (apparently not for life).
ἐπιμελητὴς τῶν μυστηρίων, epimeletes ton mysterion: I.Eph(esos) 1595, ll. 9-11 mentions this official, to be distinguished from the hierophantes; it is likely that his introduction was the result of the merging with the mystai of Dionysus.


iii. Income If I.Eph(esos) 213 belongs to this association, it had direct and repeated contact with the Roman governors of Asia, who had to confirm the group’s financial demands against reluctant civic officials. This would show some sort of obligation by the city to finance the association’s cult. None of the parallels adduced by Petzl 2009 clearly relates to an association, so this problem cannot be easily solved.


iii. Worship In I.Eph(esos) 4337, the association awards the benefactors with three priesthoods: of Artemis, Augusta Demeter Karpophoros, and the new Dioskouroi, the sons of Drusus. It is interesting to note that two of the three priesthoods are evidently connected to the imperial cult, and that the only one that is not is not that of Demeter, but of Artemis. The normal conclusion would perhaps be that this was an association of Artemis that added loyalist cults and their priesthoods to its own religious inventory, but the name Demetriastai suggests otherwise. If I.Eph(esos) 213 really referred to this association as well, it would show that the imperial cult (in this case of the emperors themselves) continued to be an important part of the association’s activities, and that it was connected with mysteries already under Domitian. But this must remain uncertain. I.Eph(esos) 1595 shows the association in connection with a mystery cult of Dionysos Phleus, perhaps because it has merged with an association of mystai.
Deities worshipped (Augusta) Demeter Karpohoros
Neoi Dioskouroi
Dionysos Phleus
iv. Honours/Other activities In I.Eph(esos) 4337, the Demetriasts honoured three benefactors (or perhaps one benefactor and his family): Bassos, Servilia Secunda and Proklos. They all receive as rewards a priesthood for life, with a double-share (presumably of portions at the sacrificial meal), and without having to render any services to the association.


i. Local interaction In I.Eph(esos) 4337, the association expressly involves civic affairs into its decision. If the reconstructions are to be trusted, the city is mentioned alongside the association as a recipient of benefactions (presumably by Proklos, the last benefactor mentioned at the end). None of the benefactions mentioned seems to be of special relevance to the association; they are all directed towards the city as a whole. The association also refers to the process of setting up images of the benefactors in a public place, and announces the publication of a civic decree concerning either this matter or the benefactors.


ii. Poland concordance Poland B 326 (I.Eph(esos) 1595)
Poland B 328 (I.Eph(esos) 213)
iii. Bibliography Harland, P.A. (2014), Greco-Roman Associations: Texts, Translations, and Commentaries. II. North Coast of the Black Sea, Asia Minor. Berlin, Boston.
Petzl, G. (2009), ‘Bedrohter Kultvollzug: Hilfe von höherer Stelle’, in A. Martínez Fernández (ed.), Estudios de Epigrafía Griega, La Laguna: 377-86.
Schipporeit, S.T. (2013), Kulte und Heiligtümer der Demeter und Kore in Ionien. Istanbul.


i. Private association Possible
Note The many links to official polis-contexts cast doubt on the strictly private nature of the association.
ii. Historical authenticity Certain