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Last Updated on 28 Feb 2017

Author: Sophia Zoumbaki

CAPInv. 552: [hoi thyak]tai tas Aphroditas tas em Bassais (l. hoi thyaktai tes Aphrodites tes en Bessais)


i. Geographical area Peloponnese with Adjacent Islands
ii. Region Argolis
iii. Site Troizen


i. Full name (original language) [οἱ θυάκ]τ̣αι τᾶς Ἀφροδίτας τᾶς ἐμ Βάσσαις (l. οἱ θυάκται τῆς Ἀφροδίτης τῆς ἐν Βήσσαις, IG IV 757, l. 14)
ii. Full name (transliterated) [hoi thyak]tai tas Aphroditas tas em Bassais (l. hoi thyaktai tes Aphrodites tes en Bessais)


i. Date(s) 146 BC


ii. Name elements
Cultic:thyaktai: a sacrificing priest (see LSJ, s.v.).
Geographical:en Bassais
Theophoric:tes Aphrodites


i. Source(s) IG IV 757 (146 BC)
Note Ed. pr.: Mylonas 1886: 139.

See also: SGDI 3364
Online Resources IG IV 757
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script A Greek decree by the polis of Troizen followed by a list of various groups who contribute to the construction of a diateichisma.
i.c. Physical format(s) A plaque of white stone written on two sides, A and B. The stone is very damaged and the text is extremely lacunose.
ii. Source(s) provenance Found in a private field at the village Damala (ancient Troizen).


ii. References to buildings/objects The contributions mentioned in the inscription aim at the construction of a diateichisma. Remains of the diateichisma are preserved.


ii. Realty τὸ χωρίον τὸ π̣οὶ τῶι ἱαρῶι, l. τὸ χωρίον τὸ πρὸς τῶι ἱερῶι (to chorion to poi toi haroi, l. to chorion to pros toi hieroi, B.1, l. 14)


i. Local interaction The thyaktai of Aphrotite en Bassais contribute to the construction of a diateichisma for the protection of the town.


i. Comments Since the decree βυ the polis of Troizen depends upon a decree of the Achaian League, the document is to be dated to the period when Troizen was a member of the league, namely from 243 to 146 BC. The ed. pr. of the text (Mylonas 1886: 139) is inclined to date it to 225 BC, namely during the war between Kleomenes III and Aratos. The editor of IG IV, M. Fraenkel, and the subsequent scholars date the inscription to the eve of 146 BC, a chronology which is in accordance with Polybius's record about the economic depletion of the towns before the war against Rome (38.15.6).
The contributors for the construction of the diateichisma are not private individuals, as far as the fragmentary state of the text allows us to know, but bodies of various nature.
The groups can be categorized as: 1. villages and komai, 2. patriotai, namely members of patriai, which mainly appear as patriotai hoi peri..., 3. names in plural ending at -eis and -i(a)dai, 4. religious groups.
However, as these designations hardly offer an indication about their nature, it is difficult to discern private associations from groups of a public nature. In the editio princeps, Mylonas 1886: 137 divides the groups according to their nature in patriai, gene, somateia or koinotetes. Meyer 1939: 647 regards the religious groups as "Kultvereine", the plurals as patronymics defining gene and the patriotai peri... as "den πάτραι entsprechende Kultverbände, Thiasoi". Jones 1987: 111 more or less adopts Meyer's interpretations of the listed entities.
These interpretations are however not to be taken for granted, since closer investigations focused on specific questions related to this inscription offer new points of view, cf. for example Frost 1980: 186-88 who rejects the interpretation of the entity of Skyllaieis (Face B1, l. 24) as a genos and connects it with Cape Skyllaion attested in literary sources, which he places at modern Phourkari.
Jones 1987: 111 wonders, which of the aforementioned groups, if any, possessed a public status and inclines to accept that "only for the kome might a positive case be made on the assumption that the “villages” played a role comparable to that at Argos and elsewhere", whilst he doubts the public function of the patria.
There is no evidence to identify the religious bodies, such as the thyaktai of Aphrodite in Bassai, with private associations centered on a cult and to exclude the possibility that they were functionaries of a civic cult. Mylonas 1886: 146 regards the cult of Aphrodite in Bassai as one of the numerous cults of Aphrodite in Troizen and interprets the word βάσσα/βήσση (bassa/besse) on the basis of lexicographers and Strabo 9.426 as a woody place, by analogy of further invocations of Aphrodite, such as ἐν κήποις, en kepois. Cooper 1996: 62-3 connects the cult of the goddess with that of Bassai-Kotilion in Arcadia and believes that his suggestion is corroborated by the mention of τοῖς πατ[ριώταις τοῖς ἐγκτ]η̣μένοις Ἀρκάσι (tois pat[riotais tois enkt]emenois Arkasi, ll. 20-21).
Generally on the construction of diateichisma in the Greek poleis see Sokolicek 2003.

For the other groups involved in the contribution, see CAPInv. 553, CAPInv. 555, and CAPInv. 556.
ii. Poland concordance Poland B 9
iii. Bibliography Cooper, F.A. (1996), The temple of Apollo Bassitas. I. The architecture. Baltimore.
Frost, F.J. (1980), ‘Skyllaieis, a district of Troizenia’, AJA 84: 186-8.
Hennig, D. (1995), ‘Staatliche Ansprüche an privaten Immobilienbesitz in der klassischen und hellenistischen Polis‘, Chiron 25: 235-82, esp. 261
Jones, N.F. (1987), Public Organization in Ancient Greece: A Documentary Study. Philadelphia: 111.
Maier, F.G. (1959), Griechische Mauerbauinschriften I. Heidelberg: 140-145 no. 32.
Meyer, E. (1939), ‘Troizen’, RE VII.A.1: 617-54, esp. 647.
Migeotte, L. (1992), Les souscriptions publiques dans les cités grecques. Genève, Québec: 49-54 no. 21.
Mylonas, K.D. (1886), ‘Επιγραφή εκ της Τροιζήνος’, BCH 10: 136-47.
Sokolicek, A. (2003), ‘Zum Phänomen des Diateichisma im griechischen Städtebau’, Forum Archaeologiae, Zeitschrift für klassische Archaeologie 27. Url.


i. Private association Possible
Note As the designation thyaktai tes Aphrodites tes en Bessais does not offer any indication about the nature of this religious group, it is difficult to decide, whether it was a private cultic association or the functionaries of a public sanctuary.
Meyer 1939: 647 regards the religious groups which are listed in the inscription as "Kultvereine", and Jones 1987: 111 doubts the public function of the most – if not of all – of the listed bodies.