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Last Updated on 11 Jun 2019

Author: Stella Skaltsa

CAPInv. 67: to hierotaton neon Bakchion


i. Geographical area Aegean Islands
ii. Region Thasos
iii. Site Thasos


i. Full name (original language) τὸ ἱερώτατον ν̣έον Βακχῖον (IG XII.8, 387, ll. 2-3)
ii. Full name (transliterated) to hierotaton neon Bakchion


i. Date(s) 211 - 217 AD


ii. Name elements
Cultic:hierotaton: the most sacred
Theophoric:Bakchion (Dionysos): it derives from Bacchus, name of Dionysos. In this case it stands for the name of the association, though in other cases it can also denote the club building.
The epithet neon before Bakchion bears connotations to neos Dionysos


i. Source(s) IG XII.8 387 (211-217 AD)
Note Edd. pr. Hicks & Bent 1887: 426-7 no. 32.

Other editions:
Jaccottet 2003: no. 34
Online Resources IG XII.8 387
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Honorary inscription in Greek for Iunius Laberius Makedona, hierophantes of the neon Bakchion.
i.c. Physical format(s) High pedestal (dimensions not given but it might be of similar dimensions to the statue base of Flavia Vibia Sabina [see VI.i], ca. 2.10m high). Feet cuttings on the top surface for a marble statue (found fallen in front of the pedestal).
ii. Source(s) provenance The pedestal stood on the southern side on the left of the central opening of the Arch of Caracalla in the city of Thasos.


i. Archaeological remains The inscribed pedestal is one of four high pedestals, flanking the central opening (4.45 m wide) of the Arch of Caracalla in the city of Thasos. Two pedestals stood in front of the northern side that faced in the direction of the agora and another two in front of the southern side that faced in the direction of the temple of Roma ands Augustus. The arch is dated to 212-217 AD on the basis of the dedicatory inscription, IG XII.8 382 (see also Guide de Thasos: no. 81).
The draped marble statue of Junius Laberius Makedon (found fallen close to his pedestal) along with another draped male statue stood on the southern side of the arch (Picard 1912: 221).
The pedestals that stood on the northern side of the arch supported two draped female statues; the base on the left side of the central opening of the arch supported a statue of Memmia Velleia Alexandra, whereas the base on the right was for the draped statue of Flavia Vibia Sabina (now in Istanbul). Their statues were set up by the gerousia. Both women were honoured as archiereiai and as Mothers of the gerousia.


ii. Leadership ἱεροφάντης (hierophantes, ll. 6-7, revealer of sacred things)
The honorand is hierophantes of the association ([τὸ]ν ἑαυτῶν ἱεροφά[ντη]ν̣, ton heauton hierophanten).
In the Dionysiac cult, the hierophantes is usually the highest ranking official.
For the hierophantes in associations centered around mystery cults see Poland 1909: 395-6.


ii. Gender Men
Note The hierophantes is a man.


iv. Honours/Other activities As inferred by the honorific formula the association set up an honorific statue for Iunius Laberius Makedon, hierphantes of the association, who was opposed to nothing (μηθὲν ἀντεστ[ηκότα], ll. 7-8; perhaps with regard to religious or other duties). Iunius Laberius Makedon is also called ἀξιολογώτατον, axiologotatos, most important (ll. 3-4), a title given to prominent men and women of the local elite in the 3rd c. AD (Pflaum 1970: 182-184).


ii. Interaction abroad The erection of the Junius Laberius Makedon's honorific statue in front of the arch of Caracalla is a clear statement of the association's political orientation and allegiance (Rome and the Imperial house).


i. Comments Jaccottet (2003: vol. 2, 72) thinks that the hierotaton neon Bakhion is one and the same association with the Bachcheion pro poleos (CAP Inv. 92); the change of epithets in the name of the association might reflect a predilection of those in charge and not a juxtaposition between two different associations. This may well hold true, especially if the following is adduced:
- the honorand in both cases is the hierophantes of the association
- the honorand in both cases is a high-profile individual, holding Roman citizenship
Nonetheless, given the popularity that the Dionyiac cult met in the late imperial period and in the light of the prominence of Dionysos' cult in Thasos already from earlier times, the existence of two associations should not be ruled out. Considering that a name is part of the identity of a group, the way in which the group fashions itself and is recognised by outsiders, I have created two CAP entries.
ii. Poland concordance Poland B 152
iii. Bibliography Guide de Thasos: Grandjean, Y. and Salviat, F. (2000), Guide de Thasos. Paris.
Hicks, E.L. & Bent, J.T. (1887), 'Inscriptions from Thasos', JHS 8: 409-38.
Jaccottet, A.-F. (2003), Choisir Dionysos: les associations dionysiaques, ou, La face cachée du dionysisme. Kilchberg.
Pflaum, H.-G. (1970), 'Titulature et Rank Social sous 1e Haut-Empire', in C. Nicolet (ed.), Recherches sur les structures sociales dans l’antiquité classique, Caen 25-26 avril 1969. Paris: 159-85.
Picard, Ch. (1912), 'Les fouilles de Thasos (1re partie)', CRAI 56.3: 193-221.


i. Private association Certain
Note The name of the group points to a cultic group centred around the cult of Dionysos. The presence of a cult official (hierophantes) suggests an internal organization.