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Last Updated on 25 Nov 2018

Author: Mario C.D. Paganini

CAPInv. 163: to politeuma kai hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi


i. Geographical area Egypt
ii. Nome Memphites (L01)
iii. Site Memphis


i. Full name (original language) τὸ πολίτευμα καὶ οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως Ἰδουμαῖοι (I.Prose 25, ll. 3-4)
ii. Full name (transliterated) to politeuma kai hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi


i. Date(s) 112 / 111 BC


ii. Name elements
Geographical:apo tes poleos
iii. Descriptive terms πολίτευμα, politeuma
πόλις (?), polis (?)
Note Politeuma: ll. 3, 18.
Polis (?): it seems likely that the term, employed in l. 24, refers to the collective body granting the honours, i.e. the politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi (cf. Thompson Crawford 1984: 1073): ἵν’ εἰδῆι ἣν ἔσχηκεν | πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ πόλις εὐχάριστον ἀπάντησιν, hin' eidei hen escheken pros auton he polis euchariston apantesin (ll. 23-24). On the other hand, the term polis in l. 4 (τῶν | ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως Ἰδουμαίων, ton apo tes poleos Idoumaion, ll. 4-5), would simply refer to the geographical locality of the city of Memphis, where the Idumaeans lived. In this case, the term polis would have been employed with two very different meanings in the same text.


i. Source(s) I.Prose 25 (112/1 BC)
Note Other editions are: OGIS II 737, SB V 8929 (with SEG XX 643).
Online Resources I.Prose 25
TM 6421
AGRW ID 20335
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Greek honorific decree of the politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idumaioi.
i.c. Physical format(s) Limestone stele.


ii. References to buildings/objects The politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi met in τὸ ἄνω Ἀπολλ[ω]|νιεῖον, to ano Apollonieion, (also referred to as ἱερόν, hieron, ll. 11 and 22) the Upper Temple of Apollo (to be identified with Qos, the chief god of the Idumaeans: see Thompson Crawford 1984: 1071), where the present inscription was also to be set up. Dorion, the man honoured by the politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi in the present text, had spent money on the plastering and whitewashing of the temple.
θαλλός, thallos (l. 15)
ἔξαλλος στέφανος, exallos stephanos (l. 19)
ψήφισμα, psephisma (l. 20)
στήλη λιθίνη, stele lithine (ll. 20-21)


iii. Members The membership of the association was formed by two sub-groups: the politeuma proper, which was a military group, and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi (ll. 3-4), who probably were the civilians supporters connected to the politeuma, that is to say their families and civilian fellow-Idumaeans (see Thompson Crawford 1984 and Thompson 2012: 94).
iv. Officials The politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi had religious officials: ἱερεῖς and ἱεροψάλται, hiereis and hieropsaltai (l. 16).
If the identification of the politeuma with the machairophoroi (CAPInv. 291) by Thompson Crawford 1984 is valid, the politeuma had an honorary priest (presumably for life): ἱερεὺς τοῦ πλήθους τῶν μαχαιροφόρων, hiereus tou plethous ton machairophoron.


ii. Gender Men
Note The politeuma was presumably formed by military men. On the membership of the hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi nothing is known with certainty. It is probable however that they were men too.
iii. Age Adults
Note If the military character of the politeuma is correct, it does not seem likely that children took part in it.
iv. Status The members of the politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi shared religious practices and traditions (mention of patrios nomos in l. 15) and therefore (at least originally) both belonged to the same 'ethnic background'. They were probably all Idumeans. According to the interpretation by Thompson Crawford 1984, the politeuma was formed by mercenary guards machairophoroi. The politeuma would be formed by military men, whereas other civilian Idumaeans from Memphis (οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως Ἰδουμαίοι, hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi, ll. 3-4) joined the dealings and life of the politeuma.
Dorion, the man honoured by the politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi, bore the court title of syngenes and was strategos. He also held the honorary office of priest of the plethos ton machairophoron (l. 6: according to Thompson Crawford 1984, these machairophoroi corresponded to the politeuma itself: cf. CAPInv. 291). Dorion is known from other texts in hieroglyphic: he was also priest of Horos, Onnophris, and Osiris; his mother was a priestess of Horos of Athribis and therefore probably a hellenising Egyptian from a priestly family (see Thompson Crawford 1984: 1070-1, Thompson 2012: 95-6, and Mooren 1975: no. 093).
vi. Proper names and physical features Δωρίων ὁ συγγενὴς καὶ στρατηγὸς καὶ ἱερεὺς τοῦ πλήθους τῶν μαχαιροφόρων


i. Assemblies The assemblies of the politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi were called συναγωγαί, synagogai: ἐπὶ συναγωγῆς | τῆς γενηθείσης ἐν τῶι ἄνω Ἀπολλ[ω]|νιείωι τοῦ πολιτεύματος καὶ τῶν | ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως Ἰδουμαίων, epi synagoges tes genetheises en toi ano Apollonieioi tou politeumatos kai ton apo tes poleos Idoumaion (ll. 1-4).
ii. Meetings and events The politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi held sacrifices (l. 14: θυσίαι, thysiai), religious celebrations with hymns (l. 17: ὕμνοι, hymnoi) sung by priests and harpists, and banquets (l. 18: αἱ τοῦ πολιτεύματος εὐωχίαι, hai tou politeumatos euochiai).
iv. Honours/Other activities The politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi honoured Dorion, syngenes, strategos, and priest of the plethos ton machairophoron with a leaf-wreath at every sacrifice (ll. 13-15: ἐπὶ | τῶν δὲ ἀεὶ γινομένων θυσιῶν ἀναγορεύ|εσθαι αὐτῶι θαλλὸν κατὰ τὸν πάτριον νόμον, epi ton de aei ginomenon thysion anagoreuesthai autoi thallon kata ton patrion nomon), with mention in hymns (ll. 16-17: ἐπιτάξαι τοῖς ἱερεύσι καὶ ἱεροψάλταις | ἐπὶ τῶν ὕμνων μεμνῆσθαι αὐτοῦ, epitaxai tois hiereusi kai hieropsaltais epi ton hymnon memnesthai autou), with a special crown at every banquet of the politeuma (ll. 18-19: ἐπὶ τῶν τοῦ πολιτεύματος εὐωχιῶν στε|φανοῦσθαι διὰ παντὸς ἐξάλλωι στεφάνῳ, epi ton tou politeumatos euochion stephanousthai dia pantos exalloi stephano), and with the setting up of the present decree in the most visible place of the Upper Temple of Apollo with a copy being given to Dorion himself (ll. 20-23: τὸ δὲ ψήφισμα ἐνγράψαντας εἰς στήλην | λιθίνην ἀναθεῖναι ἐν τῶι ἐπιφανεστάτωι | τοῦ ἱεροῦ τόπωι καὶ μεταδοθῆναι αὐτοῦ ἀντί|γραφον τῶι Δωρίωνι, to de psephisma engrapsantas eis stelen lithinen anatheinai en toi epiphanestatoi tou hierou topoi kai metadothenai autou antigraphon toi Dorioni).


i. Comments The present association was formed by two main sub-groups, which were represented in the association's name: the politeuma and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi. They shared common background and traditions, religious celebrations and personnel, and took decisions together. According to the interpretation by Thompson Crawford 1984, the politeuma here was in fact the politeuma of the Idumaeans (also corresponding to the machairophoroi in l. 6: cf. CAPInv. 291) and hoi apo tes poleos Idoumaioi were the civilian Idumaeans of Memphis who joined the politeuma's activities.
iii. Bibliography Mooren, L. (1975), The aulic titulature in Ptolemaic Egypt. Brussel.
Thompson Crawford, D. J. (1984), 'The Idumaeans of Memphis and the Ptolemaic Politeumata', in Atti del XVII Congresso Internazionale di Papirologia, Napoli: 1069-75.
Thompson, D. J. (2012), Memphis under the Ptolemies. 2nd edn. Princeton and Oxford.


i. Private association Certain
Note The group presents all the characteristics (internal organisation, activities, officials etc) of a private association. There are no hints at the fact that this group had larger responsibilities of whatever character, like it is the case for other politeumata (cf. CAPInv. 1370). It therefore seems certain that this politeuma functioned and was a private association.