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Last Updated on 13 Mar 2017

Author: Maria-Gabriella Parissaki

CAPInv. 1753: bacchium vernaculorum


i. Geographical area Thrace
ii. Region Inland Thrace
iii. Site Nicopolis ad Istrum


i. Full name (original language) bacchium vernaculorum (ILBulg 438, l. 3)
ii. Full name (transliterated) bacchium vernaculorum


i. Date(s) 227 AD


ii. Name elements
Ethnic:Vernaculi (= native, indigenous), as opposed to bacchia of foreigners, namely Ἀσιανοί, Asianoi.
iii. Descriptive terms bacchium, bacchium
Note bacchium: ILBulg 438, l. 3


i. Source(s) ILBulg 438 (AD 227)
Note See also:
Jaccottet II no. 67

A latin inscription from Martvitza (Podem) in the district of Pleven -to the west of Nicopolis ad Istrum's territory- mentions an archibucolus vern(aculorum), see ILBulg 219 and Jaccottet 2003: 140-1, no 69. The presence of the term vernaculi gives in interesting parallel to the text presented here; but, as noted by Jaccottet 2003: 141, distance does not allow further associations.

An inscription from Gorna Orjahovitsa, in the territory of Nicopolis ad Istrum, moreover, offers a catalogue of names preceded by the heading τὸν Διόνυσον μύσται, see IGBulg V 5244 and also Jaccottet 2003: 137-8, 140, no. 67 (AGRW ID 14148). Jaccottet wonders whether the bacchium vernaculorum should be consider a 'slightly later version' of these mystai, though she notes that perhaps "les tendances parallèles que nous retrouvons dans les deux documents doivent plus à leur proximité temporelle et géographique qu’à une identité fondamentale". The inscription of Gorna Orjahovitsa offers no firm ground for its association to the bacchium vernaculorum nor to its interpretation as an association.
Online Resources ILBulg 438
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Membership list (album) of the association, in Latin
i.c. Physical format(s) Stele (2.15 X 1.12 X 0.20)
ii. Source(s) provenance Found at Pavlikeni, between the villages of Butovo and Nedan in the territory of Nicopolis ad Istrum. It is to be noted that Butovo is also the finding-place of CAPInv. 705, referring to the bakcheion Asianon.


ii. Leadership princeps: The two persons named at the top of the list (l. 4) and preceded by the term per principes represent the head of the association (see Nigdelis 2006: 108); Jaccottet 2003: 139, translates this "par ordre d'importance (?)".
iii. Members
iv. Officials After the two principes (l. 4), the following titles occur:

sacerdos: the association's priest; one person named along with his two sons (l. 5).

arcarius: the association's treasurer; one person named along with his brother (l. 6).

archimystae: two persons named, the second along with his son (l. 7). The number of archimystae is usually considered as indicative of an association's size (see Nigdelis 2006: 108).

ecdicus: the association's legal representative; two persons named, the first along with his son (l. 8).

pariator?: the word par(iatores) is tentatively restituted at the beginning of l. 9. Due to its positioning, it can be understood as a title born by the two persons mentioned in ll. 9-10. The word derives from pario/-ere; for its meaning, see OLD s.v. ("one who balances or squares accounts") and the recent commentary of Sarnowski 2013: 138 with no. 7. Of the two persons, one is designated as the son of a veteran and the other as a veteran.

decurio: for one person named in l. 11. For the presence of this title in an associative context, see van Nijf 1997: 199, no. 50, with relevant bibliography.

vexillarii (vixillarii on the stone; holder of the vexillum=standard-bearer). Three persons named in ll. 12-14 seem to bear this title. Van Nijf 1997: 198-9, notes that they are mentioned last among those bearing titles and concludes that "they had taken only a first step up the internal ladder of offices".


i. Number The catalogue gives the names of appr. 100 members.
ii. Gender Men
Note All names recorded are male names.
v. Relations Members - especially those mentioned in the first half of the list - more often than not occur in groups of two or three, along with members of their family (sons or sometimes brothers). Names in the second half of the list are usually -though not always- mentioned alone.


ii. Meetings and events According to van Nijf: 198-9, the presence of vexillarii (for which see section VII.iii) "suggests that processions and parades made regular appearances on the festive calendar" of a private association.


i. Local interaction The presence of a librarius legionis (l. 6), of veterani (ll. 9-10) and of a three bouleutes (ll. 7, 8 and 17) among the members indicate a certain degree of interaction with provincial and civic authorities. A connection with the army, especially, has been postulated on the evidence of the title vexillarius (see above, section VII.iv and the relevant comment of Jaccottet 2003: 140).


i. Comments The term bacchium points to a Dionysiac cult association.
Two bakcheia seem to have existed simultaneously at Nicopolis ad Istrum's territory: one gathering, at least initially, devotees originating from Asia Minor see (CAPInv. 705), and one gathering those designated as vernaculi. Jaccottet 2003: 139, wonders whether the members of these associations “faisaient référence à leur origine ethnique ou plutôt au type de culte qu’ils rendaient au dieu”, but concludes that no certainty can be reached for the time being, due to lack of adequate information.
ii. Poland concordance Poland B *83A
iii. Bibliography Jaccottet, A.-F. (2003), Choisir Dionysos. Les associations dionysiaques ou la face cachée du dionysisme. 2 vols. Zürich: 138-40, no. 68.
Nigdelis, P.M. (2006), Επιγραφικά Θεσσαλονίκεια. Συμβολή στην πολιτική και κοινωνική ιστορία της αρχαίας Θεσσαλονίκης. Thessaloniki.
Sarnowski, T. (2013), ‘Accepta pariatoria und pastas militum. Eine neue Statuenbasis mit zwei Inschriften aus Novae’, Tyche 28: 135-46.
Van Nijf, O. (1997), The Civic World of Professional Associations in the Roman East. Amsterdam.


i. Private association Certain
Note On the evidence of its nomenclature and inner organization.