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Last Updated on 09 Jul 2018

Author: Paschalis Paschidis

CAPInv. 515: asianon thiasos


i. Geographical area Macedonia
ii. Region Mygdonia
iii. Site Lete


i. Full name (original language) ἀσιανῶν θίασος (SEG 35: 751, l. 5)
ii. Full name (transliterated) asianon thiasos


i. Date(s) 187 / 188 (?) AD


ii. Name elements
Ethnic:asianoi: There are two possible interpretations of the term Asianoi, attested in various Dionysiac thiasoi in the Northern Balkans and the Propontis. According to Nigdelis 2006: 138 no. 116 (with earlier literature), the Asianoi were initiates of Dionysos at least initially originating from Asia Minor. According to Jaccottet 2003: II 108-9 this Asian origin may have been fictitious and with religious connotations, a means to distinguish these groups of initiates from other thiasoi of the god.
iii. Descriptive terms θίασος, thiasos
Note thiasos: SEG 35: 751, l. 5.


i. Source(s) SEG 35: 751 (AD 187/8)
Note See also: Jaccottet II 23
Online Resources SEG 35: 751
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Funerary epigram in Greek for Fabis.
i.c. Physical format(s) Early Hellenistic grave stele, reused for a funerary epigram in the second century AD.
ii. Source(s) provenance Found at the village of Lagina, very close to ancient Lete. Nigdelis 2006: 139-40 points out that we cannot exclude the possibility that the stele was transferred to Lagina by nearby Thessaloniki, where the other two inscriptions testifying to thiasoi of Asianoi were found.


iii. Members The initiates of the thiasos are called μύσται, mystai (σεμνοτάτων μυστῶν, semnotaton myston, l. 2)
iv. Officials According to one of the many interpretations of the epigram (M. B. Hatzopoulos in BE 1987: no. 684; for other interpretations see XII.i: Comments, below), the ἱεραὶ εὐιάδες, hierai euiades (l. 4) were priestesses of Bakchos.


ii. Interaction abroad Thiasoi of Asianoi are attested throughout the Northern Balkans and at Perinthos (see Jaccottet 2003: II 108-9), and twice more in Macedonia (both at Thessalonike: CAPInv. 722 and CAPInv. 723). There is no reason to assume, however, that there was contact between these groups.


i. Comments Jaccottet II 23 wonders if the term thiasos is not used here poetically, in lieu of another term, such as bakcheion, but the close parallel in prose from Thessalonike (CAPInv. 722: Ἀσιανῶν ὁ θίασος, Asianon ho thiasos) makes clear that this was the actual descriptive term for this association.
The date was originally engraved as θιτ΄ (Actian era, AD 287/8) and then corrected to θισ΄ (AD 187/8); see BE 1987: no. 684. Jaccottet II 23 maintains the reading and interpretation of the first editor (Rhomiopoulou 1981: 301-2 no. 6): θιτ΄, i.e. 319 according to the provincial (and not the Actian) era, i.e. AD 171/2. Finally, Nigdelis 2006: 140 no. 120 claims that the date should be read as θπσ΄, i.e. AD 289/2, that the era is the provincial one, and that the inscription should thus be dated to AD 141/2.
There are several different interpretations of this epigram depending on the interpretation of προφυγών, prophygon and ἱεραὶ εὐιάδες, hierai euiades (l. 4):
a) Fabis left the holy rituals of the venerable initiates and went to Hades (rightly rejected by Voutiras 1984: 47).
b) Fabis, one of the venerable initiates, left the holy vines of Dionysos for the Netherworld (Sijpestejn 1983).
c) Fabis, one of the venerable initiates, escaped the demonic Maenads and took refuge in Hades (Voutiras 1984: 48-50).
d) Fabis, one of the venerable initiates, took refuge among the holy vines of Hades (Jaccottet II 23).
e) Fabis, one of the venerable initiates, left the company of the holy priestesses of Bacchus and went to Hades (M. B. Hatzopoulos, BE 1987: no. 684).
iii. Bibliography Jaccottet, A.F. (2003), Choisir Dionysos. Les associations dionysiaques ou la face cachée du dionysisme, Zürich.
Nigdelis, P.M. (2006), Επιγραφικά Θεσσαλονίκεια. Συμβολή στην πολιτική και κοινωνική ιστορία της αρχαίας Θεσσαλονίκης, Thessaloniki: 138-42.
Rhomiopoulou, K. (1981), ‘New Inscriptions in the Archaeological Museum, Thessaloniki’ in H.J. Dell (ed.), Ancient Macedonian Studies in Honor of Charles F. Edson, Thessaloniki: 299-305, esp. 301-2 no. 6.
Sijpestejn, P.J. (1983), ‘Remarks on Some Recently Published Inscriptions’, ZPE 52: 288.
Voutiras, E. (1984), ‘Παρατηρήσεις σε τρία επιγράμματα’, Ἑλληνικά 35: 38-50, esp. 45-50.


i. Private association Certain
Note In the context of Dionysiac cults distinguishing between thiasos denoting the sum total of the god's devotees in a particular city and thiasos as a private cultic association is often strenuous. In this case, however, the fact that the group's name has a further mark of distinction (thiasos of the Asianoi) ensures that we are dealing with the latter case.