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Last Updated on 09 Jul 2018

Author: Paschalis Paschidis

CAPInv. 41: hoi synelthontes threskeutai epi theou Dios Hypsistou


i. Geographical area Macedonia
ii. Region Pieria
iii. Site Pydna


i. Full name (original language) οἱ συνελθόντες θρησκευταὶ ἐπὶ θεοῦ Διὸς Ὑψίστου (SEG 46: 800, ll. 5-7)
ii. Full name (transliterated) hoi synelthontes threskeutai epi theou Dios Hypsistou


i. Date(s) 250 AD


ii. Name elements
Theophoric:epi theou Dios Hypsistou
Other:hoi synelthontes (communal)


i. Source(s) SEG 46: 800 (AD 250, Daisios 18 [ca. May])
Note See also: AGRW 45; GRA I 72
Online Resources Cormack 1974: 51 and AGRW ID 163

i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Commemorative stele set up by the association, in Greek.
i.c. Physical format(s) Stele
ii. Source(s) provenance The stele was found at the modern village of Alonia (Cormack 1974: 54), about 4 km west of the site of ancient Pydna, explicitly referred to in the document (SEG 46: 800, l. 4: ἐν Πύδνῃ, en Pydnei).

Pydna was perhaps incorporated to the territory of the Roman colony of Dion.


ii. Leadership ἀρχισυνάγωγος, archisynagogos (SEG 46: 800, ll. 12-14)

Despite the cumbersome syntax of our only source (apparently mentioning two other officials serving as eponymous) and the existence of an archon, the fact that most associations of Zeus Hypsistos are led by an archisynagogos and the preposition ὑπό, hypo, which precedes his mention, make his leadership highly probable. The archisynagogos was also the ἐπιμελητής, epimeletes, responsible for setting up the stele, along with his brother, the secretary of the association (face b).
iii. Members θρησκευταί, threskeutai (ll. 6 and 17-18)
iv. Officials A λογιστεύων, logisteuon (acting curator?) and an ἄρχων, archon serve as eponymous officials; this is probably not the case with the προστάτης, prostates (protector) and the γραμματεύς, grammateus (secretary), whose mention in the genitive is probably influenced by the genitive of the archisynagogos’ patronymic which precedes them. With the exception of the archisynagogos, all other offices are unattested in other associations of Zeus Hypsistos in Macedonia; the logisteuon is unattested in all other Macedonian associations.
Eponymous officials λογιστεύων, logisteuon and ἄρχων, archon are used eponymously: λογιστεύοντος Οὐρ|βανιανοῦ Βιλίστου, | ἄρχοντος Αὐρ(ηλίου) Νιγερ[ί]|ωνος, logisteuontos Ourbanianou Bilistou, archontos Aureliou Nigerionos (ll. 9-12).
v. Other staff The archisynagogos also served, along with his brother, as the ἐπιμελητής, epimeletes responsible for setting up the stele, along with his brother, the secretary of the association (face b).


i. Number 34 members, including the 5 officials.
ii. Gender Men
Note Three members are women (ll. 25, 27, 41). All officials are men.
iv. Status Two of the members are slaves (ll. 32-33), one explicitly (οἰκέτης, oiketes) and the other (οἰκονόμος, oikonomos) implicitly, judging by the fact that he does not carry a Roman name (cf. BE 1976: no. 351). The fact that 20 members, including four out of the five officials, bear the gentilicium Aurelius suggests that the association's members predominantly belonged to families having acquired the Roman citizenship only after the Constitutio Antoniniana.
v. Relations The leader of the association and its secretary are brothers.


ii. Meetings and events The only recorded activity of the association is the devotees' gathering ἐπὶ θεοῦ Διὸς Ὑψίστου (epi theou Dios Hypsistou, ll. 6-7). The meaning is unclear. Most probably, the phrase points to a sanctuary of the god (so Nigdelis 2006: 163-4). If, however, the preposition ἐπί, epi, is understood in its temporal sense, then the reference is to a specific occasion pertaining to the god's cult. The latter interpretation would explain the fact that the gathering is emphasized immediately after the preamble (l. 5: συνελθόντες, synelthontes), even before the association’s descriptive term. Such an occasion could be a festival of the god: Zeus Hypsistos is often associated in Lower Macedonia with the Mother of the Gods, for whose cult festivals are attested in the second half of Dios and on Daisios (see I. Leukopetra p. 24), as in this case.
iii. Worship See X.ii: Meetings & Events, above.
Deities worshipped Zeus Hypsistos


iii. Bibliography Chrysostomou, P. (1989-1991), ‘Η λατρεία του Δία ως καιρικού θεού στη Θεσσαλία και στη Μακεδονία’, AD 44-46: 21-72, esp. 44-5.
Cormack, J.M.R. (1974), ‘Zeus Hypsistos à Pydna’, in Mélanges helléniques offerts à Georges Daux, Paris: 51-5.
Nigdelis, P.M. (2006), Επιγραφικά Θεσσαλονίκεια. Συμβολή στην πολιτική και κοινωνική ιστορία της αρχαίας Θεσσαλονίκης. Thessaloniki.


i. Private association Certain
Note The group of worshipers of Zeus Hypsistos gathered at Pydna has all the attributes of a private cultic association, indeed, more so than is usually the case in the evidence from Macedonia. They have an identity mark (“worshipers of Zeus Hypsistos”), a structured and hierarchical organization, and a number of officials, some of whom on an annual basis.