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Last Updated on 28 Feb 2017

Author: Sophia Zoumbaki

CAPInv. 428: he synodos ton Koragon (l. Koregon)


i. Geographical area Peloponnese with Adjacent Islands
ii. Region Arcadia
iii. Site Mantinea


i. Full name (original language) ἡ σύνοδος τῶν Κοραγῶν (l. Κορηγῶν) (IG V.2 265, l. 26-27)
ii. Full name (transliterated) he synodos ton Koragon (l. Koregon)


i. Date(s) 61 / 60 BC


ii. Name elements
Cultic:hoi Koragoi. The name of the association is derived from the festival under the name Koragia, to the cult of Kore.
iii. Descriptive terms σύνοδος, synodos
Note synodos: IG V.2 265, ll. 15, 17, 18, 29, 31


i. Source(s) IG V.2 265 (61/60 BC)

Note See also: Thür and Taeuber 1994: 114-8 no. 11
Online Resources ΙG V.2 265
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Honorary decree in Greek of the synodos ton koragon for Nikippa, daughter of Pasias, for her numerous benafactions towards the association.
i.c. Physical format(s) A stele with a "dens" (as in the description of IG V 2, 265) at the bottom, probably for its embedding at the point of its setting up.
ii. Source(s) provenance The stele was found in the ancient town of Mantinea rebuilt into a wall and was kept for some time at Tsipiana (Nestani); now lost. The content of the text testifies in any case the origin of the stone from Mantinea.


ii. References to buildings/objects The sanctuary and the temple of Kore are mentioned in the honourary decree for Nikippa. In ll. 20-21 it is recorded that the honorand Nikippa ἐστέγασεν καὶ εὐσχημόνισεν τὰ περὶ τὰν θεὸν ἄρρητα μυστήρια, estegasen kai euschemonisen ta peri tan theon arreta mysteria, in literal translation "she gave a roof to the sacred mysteries and she decorated them", which perhaps means that she had the related building repaired. She also took care of all “additional building needs” of the temple (ll. 25-26: ἇς προσεδεῖτο ὁ ναός [ο]ἰκοδομᾶς, has prosedeito ho naos [o]ikodomas). There was apparently a monthly ceremony on the 30th day including the opening of the temple, as ll. 23-25 ἐποίησε δὲ καὶ τὰ νομιζόμενα ἐν τοῖς τριακοστοῖς τᾶι ἀνοίξει τοῦ ναοῦ μεγαλομερῶς (epoiese de kai ta nomizomena en tois triakostois tai anoixei tou naou megalomeros) imply.
Moreover, it is mentioned that the honorary decree for Nikippa was to be set up at the most prominent place of the sanctuary (ll. 44-45: ἐν τῶι ἐπιφανεστάτωι τοῦ ἱεροῦ τόπωι, en toi epiphanestatoi tou hierou topoi).
Pausanias (8.9.2) records the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore under the sanctuaries of Mantinea. The fact that Pausanias only records one sanctuary devoted to both Demeter and Kore reflects according to Stiglitz (1967: 75-6) the situation of Pausanias’s age, when the cult of Demeter was already added to that of Kore in her urban sanctuary. Stiglitz takes for granted that the megaron whose repair Phaena supported financially (IG V.2 266, see also CAPInv. 430), was placed in the sanctuary of Nestane and is to be identified with the ἱερὸν ἅγιον (hieron hagion) of Demeter mentioned by Paus. 8.1 in Nestane.
Bölte (1930: 1338-9) places the origins of the cult of Kore at the old demos of Nestane and connects the place-name Nestane with Nostia which is recorded by Theopompos (F 175 ap. Stephanus Byzantius, s.v.); he interprets consequently the place-name Nestane as "the place of the one who came back" and therefore as an echo of the legendary return of Kore from the underworld. In any case, the sanctuary of Kore mentioned in the honorary decree for Nikippa seems to be identified with the Koragion which is known from the honorary decree of the koinon of the Demeter-priestesses (IG V.2 266, l. 41) and which was probably located within the public space of the ancient town of Mantinea. Jost (1985: 127) discerns the megaron from the koragion: she identifies the megaron with the sanctuary mentioned by Pausanias, where "they keep a fire, taking anxious care not to let it go out" and where she places the mysteries recorded in IG V.2 265. Jost further identifies the temple mentioned in IG V.2 265 and wonders, whether it could also be a hall for the meetings of the association of Koragoi.
As for objects related to the cult, the fact that Nikippa received at her home τὰν θεόν (tan theon ll. 23-24), as "it is a custom to do for those who become priests", indicates that there was a cult-statue of the goddess, which was transported to the priest's house, perhaps on the festival's eve, according to the ritual. For temporary transport of cult statues during festivals see Weddle 2010: 124.
The ritual apparently also dictated that the goddess received a new peplos, which in this case was offered by Nikippa.


iii. Members
iv. Officials ἱερεῖς, hiereis (l. 42).
The honourary decree for Nikippa mentions priests, who seem to have been exclusively male. It is however unclear, whether the priests are members of the association or religious functionaries of a public sanctuary, who collaborate with the association but are not necessarily to be identified as its members. What complicates things even more, is ll. 22-23, where Nikippa, who otherwise bears no title, appears to perform some action, the reception of the cult statue at her home, a privilege which was reserved for priests. However, she is not explicitly referred to as priestess and we do not know whether she was a member of the Koragoi.
v. Other staff The priests appoint a committee of eight people, apparently members of the association, to take care of setting up a stele bearing the decree at the most prominent place of the sanctuary. These men were Alexinikos son of Alexon, Thyonidas son of Thyonidas, Simias son of Anthemokritos, Aristarchos son of Menippos, Philesios son of Samidas, Alkamenes son of Mandrekidas, Aithon son of Philosthenes, Menas son of Menas (ll. 46-50)
Known practice of appointment The committee is appointed by the priests (ll. 41-42: καταστασάτωσαν δὲ οἱ ἱερεῖς τοὺς ἀναγράψοντας ..., katastasatosan de hoi hiereis tous anagrapsontas ...)
vii. Judicial system In case that the honours voted for Nikippa fail to be awarded to her, a punishment is to be imposed ll. 29-36). More specifically, the honours voted for Nikippa include the provision that οἱ ἀεὶ ὑποδεχόμενοι (hoi aei hypodechomenoi, “those who host a meal”) are to invite her ἐπὶ τὰ γέρα (epi ta gera, “to offer her perquisite”), together with the other individuals who have been honoured by the synod, whilst αἶσα, (aisa, “her share” of common meals or sacrifices) is to be sent to her; if a host of a meal does not invite her, a functionary called epignoma is to force him to invite Nikippa. The epignoma is apparently a public functionary performing a duty of inspector and arbiter who in such cases impels the offender to apologize. Otherwise, a fine of 50 drachmas is imposed to the offender. Harter-Uibopuu (2013: 250), who studies the judicial details of the whole procedure, stresses that the fine is much larger than the value of her share in common meals and sacrifices, but intends to reward her for a possible insult; the fact that the epignoma is involved, shows the importance of the association for the town.
It is remarkable that although it is the synod of the Koragoi who votes honours for Nikippa, it is the epignoma to whose judgment they appeal in case of failure to perform the voted honours to the honoree. That leads Jost (2003: 146) to suggest that the Koragoi at Mantinea are "ministers of the city". Since Koragoi call themselves a synodos, it is possible to assume that the cult of Kore was a "Staatskult", as Stiglitz (1967: 67) puts it, but a private synod of the Koragoi was active in the domain of a public cult.


iv. Status The members of a committee appointed by the priests to take care of the erection of a stele (see above VII.v: Other staff) are obviously citizens, as their names (proper names + patronymes) imply.


ii. Meetings and events The members of the association of the Koragoi apparently gathered for the celebration of specific ceremonies related to the cult of Kore, namely the sacrifices, the performance of the mysteries of the goddess, the procession and the remaining rituals of the festival of Koragia and the monthly ceremonies which include the opening of the temple. Moreover, festive meals take place, in the framework of which the hosts have the obligation to invite the individuals that have been honoured by the association.
The festival of the Koragia includes following events:
1. It takes places in the eigth month and includes sacrifices and examination of the omens
2. There follows the performance of the secret mysteries of the goddess
3. Procession
4. Ritual carrying of the (cult statue of the) goddess to the priest’s house, perhaps as part of the procession
5. A new peplos is provided for the cult statue of the goddess
Further, it is mentioned that on the 30th day, the opening of the temple takes place. In this context Nikippa ἐποίησε δὲ καὶ τὰ νομιζόμενα, epoihse de kai ta nomizomena, which implies a customary procedure connected with the opening of the temple, but this is not described.
iii. Worship From the activities of the group it is clear that the synodos ton Koragon worshipped Kore. Kore is worshipped by the synodos ton Koragon, apparently without a connection to Demeter, which is regarded by Jost (2003: 155) as an indigenous feature of the cult, different from that of the Attic Kore.
Deities worshipped Kore
iv. Honours/Other activities The association honours Nikippa, daughter of Pasias for her benefactions. As a reward for her benefactions towards the synodos ton Koragon Nikippa is to be invited by οἱ ἀεὶ ὑποδεχόμενοι (hoi aei hypodechomenoi, "those who host a meal") and she is to be invited ἐπὶ τὰ γέρα (epi ta gera, “to receive her perquisite”) together with the other individuals who have been honoured by the synod; αἶσα, aisa, “her share” (of common meals or sacrifices ?) is to be sent to her (ll. 29-33).
From ll. 31-32 we can read that there were more individuals who had been honoured by the association for their benevolence.


i. Local interaction It is remarkable that the epignoma, who seems to be a civic functionary, plays the role of the arbiter in case of internal conflicts of the association (see VII.vii: Judicial System). As it seems, the priests mentioned in the decree collaborate with Koragoi, but they are not necessarilly members of the association (see above VII.iv: Officials). This shows on the one hand that the private synodos of the Koragoi was active in the domain of a public cult and of a sanctuary that was apparently administered by the town. On the other hand, it means that the association was fully integrated into the religious activity of the sanctuary and its proper functioning was important for the civic authorities. Further, the prominent status of Nikippa (see XII.i: Comments below) shows the impact of the Koragoi on local social elite.


i. Comments Nikippa, daughter of Pasias, who is honoured by the association of the Koragoi, was a prominent member of the local society. She is mentioned by Paus. 8.9.6 as the dedicant of a statue of Aphrodite Symmachia in the temple of the goddess in Mantinea. According to Pausanias "this sanctuary was made by the Mantineans to remind posterity of their fighting on the side of the Romans at the battle of Actium".
ii. Poland concordance Poland B 24
iii. Bibliography Bölte, F. (1930), ‘Mantinea’, RE XIV.2: 1290-1344.
Harter-Uibopuu, K. (2013), ‘Auf dass Ehren ewig währen – Epigraphische Zeugnisse zum Schutz von Auszeichnungen’, in: R. Breitwieser, M. Frass, and G. Nightingale (eds.) Calamus. Festschrift für Herbert Graßl zum 65. Geburtstag. Wiesbaden: 245-61.
Jost, M. (1985), Sanctuaires et cultes d'Arcadie. Paris.
Jost, M. (1996), ‘Évergétisme et tradition religieuse à Mantinée au Ier siècle avant J.-C.’ in: A. Chastagnol, S. Demougin, and C. Lepeley (eds.), Splendidissima civitas. Etudes d'histoire romaine en hommage à François Jacques, Paris: 193-200.
Jost, M. (2003) ‘Mystery cults in Arcadia’, in: M. Cosmopoulos (ed.), Greek mysteries. The archaeology and ritual of ancient Greek secret cults, London, New York: 143-68.
Stiglitz, R. (1967), Die grossen Göttinen Arkadiens. Der Kultname ΜΕΓΑΛΑΙ ΘΕΑΙ und seine Grundlagen. Wien.
Thür, G. and Taeuber, H. (1994), Prozessrechtliche Inschriften der griechischen Poleis: Arkadien. Wien.
Weddle, P. (2010), Touching the Gods: physical interaction with cult statues in the Roman world. Dissertation, Durham University.


i. Private association Certain
Note The fact that the epignoma, apparently a civic functionary undertakes the duty to regulate internal conflicts of the association of the Koragoi, leads Jost (2003: 146) to regard Koragoi as "ministers of the city". However, since Koragoi define themselves as a synodos, we are rather to assumte that we deal with a private club, the activities of which take place within the domain of a public cult (a "Staatskult", as Stiglitz (1967: 74) defines it).