A. Greek Sanctuaries and Cities


Syll.3 557                                                                                                  after 208/7

In 221/0 Artemis Leukophryene appeared at Magnesia-on-the-Maeander. The Magnesians consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi and, following what they took to be his advice, began to institute crowned games for those dwelling in Asia in the goddess' honor. The proclamation, including a request to recognize Magnesia itself as sacred and inviolable, was apparently sent out and universally (or at least widely) disregarded. In 208/7 they renewed the attempt and this time met with success. Numerous replies were received from the Greek cities and leagues (see 128 for those from the kings) accepting the games and recognizing the city as sacred and inviolable. The present text is what remains of the city's history of the venture, inscribed sometime after the events themselves (the specification of the men's pankration, if the restoration is correct, means a date of 200 or after, as the boys' pankration was instituted in that year).

---(line 4) the god, by which things they will keep the city sacred. When Artemis Le[ukophryene, after her] brother,  appeared to [the priestess] Aristo, he gave the following response to [their] inquiry: that it would be more propitious and better for those who revere [Pythian] Apollo and Artemis Leukophryene and who recognize the [city and the] land of the Magnesians on the Maeander as [sacred and inviolable].

When [Artemis] appeared, accepting the oracle in the stephanephorate of Zenodotos - in the archonship of Thrasyph[on] at Athens, when [ ... ] the Boeotian was the victorious lyrist [at the Pythian games] in the previous year, and when Hagesidemos the Messenian was victorious, in the following year, in the [men's] pankration at the Olympic games in the [one hundred] and fortieth Olympiad - they first [set about establishing crowned] games for the inhabitants of Asia, taking this to be the sense of the oracle: [that] they would thus honor Artemis Leukophryene, being otherwise piously disposed [toward] the divine, if, [coming] to the [holy] altar, [they brought] welcome gifts to the mistress, inasmuch as the other games were originally established with money as the prize but later became crowned because of oracles. But after they were disregarded in this undertaking, in the stephanephorate of Moiragoras, who is the four[teenth] from Zenodotos - in whose time they received the oracle - calling to mind ancestral ways (?), they pointed out to others also [their experience]. In the stephanephorate of Moiragoras son of Stephanos, they gave a crown of Pythian rank made from fifty gold pieces, and when the kings accepted and when [all] the other [Greeks] to whom they sent envoys by leagues and by cities [agreed] to honor Artemis Leukophryene and to [recognize as inviolable] the city and land of the Magnesians, on account of the bidding [of the god] and the [friendships and] relationships obtaining from ancestral times between them all and the Magnesians---.


After her brother: An epiphany of Apollo had evidently preceded that of his sister.

Pythian games, Olympiad: The Pythian games were held in 222, the Olympic in 220.

Kings accepted: This suggests that the kings accepted the games but that the leagues and cities accepted more; cf. 128.


RC 31-34                                                                                                       ca. 205

Among the responses to the Magnesian proclamation were letters from Antiochus III, his son Antiochus, Ptolemy IV, and Attalus I of Pergamon. All welcome the provisions about the games, but Attalus and the Seleucids say nothing about recognizing the city as inviolable. Nor, it seems, did Philip V of Macedon (his letter is lost, but the response of Chalkis, which he directed, is silent on the issue). Ptolemy, then, is alone among the kings in acceding to this element of the Magnesians' request, and he, unlike the other rulers, had no territorial interest in the area (cf. RC, p. 147).


King Antiochus to the boule and the demos of the Magnesians, greeting. Demophon and Philiskos and Pheres, the theoroi, sent by you to us to proclaim the games and the other things which the demos has voted to perform for the mistress of the city Artemis Leukophryene, met (with us) in Antioch in Persis, and delivered your decree and themselves spoke with enthusiasm in accordance with what was set out in the decree, calling upon (us) to recognize as crowned (and) of Pythian rank the games which you hold in honor of the goddess every four years. Since we have had from the beginning the kindliest feeling for the demos because of the good-will which you have shown on all occasions to us and to our state, and since we are anxious to make clear our policy, we give our approval of the honors decreed for the goddess and we propose to aid in furthering them in whatever (ways) you may call upon us or we ourselves think of. We have written also to those in positions of authority so that the cities may also give their approval accordingly. Farewell.


King Antiochus to the boule and the demos of the Magnesians, greeting. Demophon and Philiskos and Pheres, the theoroi sent by you to my father to proclaim the games and the other things which the demos has voted to perform every four years for the mistress of the city Artemis Leukophryene, delivered the decree addressed to me and spoke with enthusiasm in accordance with what was set out in it, calling upon (me) to recognize as crowned (and) of Pythian rank the games which you hold in honor of the goddess. Since my father has the kindliest feeling toward the demos and has approved these things, being anxious myself to follow his policy, I now approve the honors decreed by you for the goddess and [in the future] shall try, following my father's example, to aid you in furthering them [in whatever (ways)] you may call upon (me) or I myself think of. Farewell.


King [Ptolemy to the boule and the demos of the Magnesians, greeting. [The] envoys sent out by you, Diopeithes [ ... ] and Ithalides [ ... J delivered [to me] the decree in which games of the [Leukophryena which] you celebrate in accordance with the oracle [of the god] in honor of Artemis Leukophryene, [and] about considering [the city and its land) as sacred and [inviolable]; I also [was called upon (?)] to recognize [the games] as crowned (and) of Pythian rank [in honors] as you have proclaimed them to us. [Those] sent [by] you themselves spoke with all zeal [also in accordance with] the other things in [the decree about which they had] instructions. [I have, therefore], recognized as crowned [the games], as you requested, [and---].


King Attalus to the boule and the demos of the [Ma]gnesians, greeting. Pythion and Lykomedes who (came) from you brought to me a decree in accordance with which you call upon me to recognize as crowned (and) of Pythian rank the musical and equestrian and gymnastic games which you celebrate in honor of Artemis Leukophryene; and they spoke themselves according to what was written (in the decree); and they asked that the cities subject to me also grant their approval in the same manner. Seeing that the demos is mindful of the favors conferred upon it [by] me, and zealous in the service of the Muses, I recognize the games as you request, and I have ordered a contribution to be made (toward them), and the cities which [obey] me will do likewise, for [I have written] calling upon them (to do so). And as the demos [asks], I shall aid in furthering the games.


RC 35                                                                                                                  205-201

Near the end of the third century the Teans sought recognition of their city as sacred to Dionysos and thus inviolable and as free from the imposition of tax or tribute. They were widely successful, at least over a period of time (cf. 37 for the granting of the request by Rome). The position of Teos on the coast made it particularly vulnerable to pirates, and the Teans were especially anxious for favorable replies from such as the Aetolians (which they received) and the rulers of Athamania.

(From the) Athamanians. King Theodoros` and Amynander to the boule and the demos of the Teans, greeting. Pythagoras and Kleitos, the envoys sent out by you, have both delivered the decree [and themselves] spoken [to us] about its being granted on our part that (the) city and the land be sacred to Dionysos and inviolable and free from tribute; having heard them through with favor we accede to all your requests and consent that your city and the land be sacred and inviolable and free from tribute. This we do both because of our being in fact related to all the Greeks, since there exists a kinship between us and the original himself of the common appellation of the Greeks"' and also, to no slight extent, because of our having a very friendly feeling toward your city, and still further because we are at the same time about to confer a favor on you who have asked it and, as we think, gain the favor of the god


Theodorus: About Theodorus nothing further is known, and his appearance here is odd, as Amynander is king of Athamania from as early as 220; cf. 130, note.

Common appellation of the Greeks: Among the sons of Hellen (whence “Hellenes”) was Athamas (whence “Athamanians”).


I.Délos 442                                                                                                                   179

The temple of Apollo on Delos was one of the greatest of the panhellenic shrines, and as such it was the recipient of dedications made by kings, cities, commanders, and private individuals from all over the Mediterranean world. It was at the same time an active financial center. Loans at interest (generally 10076) were regularly made from the great wealth of the sanctuary, houses and agricultural land owned by the temple (these often representing property confiscated from religious offenders) were rented out, and the temple itself housed not only the treasure chest of the god but the public chest of the city of Delos as well. The annually appointed officials of the sanctuary, the hieropoioi, supervised both the more standard operations of the sanctuary (e.g., sacrifices) and were responsible besides for the accumulated dedications and the various financial transactions. Each year they published their accounts on stone. These contained the records of income and expenditure, first for the god's chest and then for the public chest, and complete inventories of the dedications located in all the temples of the sanctuary. The accounts for 179 are among the best preserved and begin with the statement "Gods. [Account] of the hieropoioi who held that office for the year of the archonship of Demares, Amphoteros son of Aristeas (and) Polyxenos son of Parmenion (and) Silenos son of Silenos (and) Philippos son of Akesimbrotos." The selections presented here are as follows. A: the list of the jars of money deposited in the sacred chest during the year (I. Delos 442A.38-55; this follows the list of what these hieropoioi took over from their predecessors); B: list of monies expended from the sacred chest (442A.55-75; this is followed by the analogous accounting for the public chest); C: from the inventory of dedications in the temple of Apollo (442 B.1-17); D: additions to the lists of monies received (442C - these represent late payments); E: final additions to the list of outstanding debts (442D).


The following money also was deposited in the sacred chest during our tenure of office: a jar, on which the inscription "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Aresion, the hieropoioi Polyxenos, Philippos, Amphoteros, Silenos deposited the capital of the loan which Hermon son of Solon paid back, 605 drs. I V2 ob., and the interest he said he owed, 242 drs. I ob."; another jar, with the inscription "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Apatourion, the hieropoioi in the archonship of Phokaieus, Krittis, Nikarchos, Synonymos, Hierombrotos deposited in the temple the surplus from the account, 220 drs. 4 1/4 ob. "; another jar, (with the inscription) "from the (bank) of Hellen and Mantineus, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the treasurers"' Menyllos and Phokaieus deposited in the temple, in accordance with the budget, 1000 drs. toward repayment of the city's outstanding loans from the god, and 1350 drs. toward repayment of the amount advanced for the crown for King Philip"' and King Massinissa l" and toward the amount still owing on the crowns in the archonship of Telesarchides"; another jar, (with the inscription) "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the treasurers Menyllos and Phokaieus deposited 1303 drs. 3Y, ob., proceeds of the market place rents"; another jar, (with the inscription) "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the treasurers Menyllos and Phokaieus deposited 40 drs., from the tax on boundary markers"; another jar, (with the inscription) "from the bank of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the treasurers Menyllos and Phokaieus deposited 486 drs. 4 ob., the choregic fund' '; another jar, (with the inscription "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the treasurers Menyllos and Phokaieus deposited 200 drs., from the tax on banks"; another jar, with the inscription "from the (bank) of Nymphodoros and Herakleides in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the hieropoioi in the archonship of Telesarchides, Euboeus and Parmenion, deposited 6998 drs. 41y, ob., the proceeds from farm rents, house rents, taxes, and interest"; another jar with the inscription "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenus, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the hieropoioi in the archonship of Telesarchides, Euboeus and Parmenion, deposited in the temple the remaining sum which according to the stele they collected from farm-rents, house rents, taxes and interest, 1600 drs. "; another jar, with the inscription "from (the bank) of Nymphodoros and Herakleides, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the hieropoioi Polyxenos, Silenos, Amphoteros, Philippos deposited 500 drs., the capital of the loan which Paches paid back on behalf of his father Diogenes and which the latter had borrowed from the hieropoioi Euboeus and Parmenion, and 60 drs., the interest he paid, saying that he owed it, for one year and two months"; another jar, with the inscription "in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, Menyllos and Phokaieus deposited in the temple 15 drs. I ob., the surplus from the (amount allocated for the Dionysiac) artists". Total of what was deposited during our tenure of office: 14,623 drs., 1 1/4 ob. Total of what was handed over to us and deposited during our tenure of office, 75,553 drs. 1/12 ob. And (total) of the copper handed over to us by the treasurers Menyllos and Phokaieus, 3733 drs. 2 ob.


In the holy month we withdrew for (expenditure on) works, in the presence of the archon of the city and the secretaries and the monthly prytaneis, (the following): a jar, with the inscription "from the (bank) of Nymphodoros and Herakleides, in (the archonship) of Telesarchides, (the month) Posideon, the hieropoioi Euboeus and Parmenion deposited, in accordance with the decree of the demos, the capital of the loan which Ostakos son of Ktesikles paid back, 500 drs., and the interest he said was outstanding, 20 drs. 5 ob., and the capital of the loan which Boethos son of Orthokles paid back, 500 drs., and the interest he said was outstanding, 20 drs. 5 ob., and the capital of the loan which Kaibon son of Kaibon paid back, 500 drs., and the interest he said was outstanding, 20 drs. 5 ob., and the capital of the loan which Theodoros son of Sosibios paid back, 500 drs., and the interest he said was outstanding, 20 drs. 5 ob. " - the whole amount, 2083 drs. 2 ob.

On the twentieth of the month Galaxion we withdrew from a jar with the inscription "from the (bank) of Nymphodoros and Herakleides, the hieropoioi in the archonship of Apatourios, Praximenes and Telesarchides, deposited the surplus referred to in the stele, 4349 drs. 2 ob.": from this we withdrew 1350 drs. for the crown for King Philip; the remainder in (the jar) is 2999 drs. 2 ob.; from this we withdrew for works on the fifth of the month Thargelion 2000 drs.; the remainder in the jar is 999 drs. 2 ob. And the following money also we withdrew for works in the month Bouphonion: a jar with the inscription "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Phokaieus, (the month) Posideon, the treasurers Kaibon and Mnesikleides deposited in the temple in repayment to the god of what the city borrowed for the crown for King Philip and that for King Eumenes “I and the one (sent) to Rhodes, 1300 drs." In the month Posideon we withdrew from a jar with the inscription "from the (bank) of Hellen and Mantineus, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the treasurers Menyllos and Phokaieus deposited in the temple, in accordance with the budget, 1000 drs. toward repayment of the city's outstanding loans from the god, and 1350 drs. toward repayment of the amount advanced for the crown for King Philip and King Massinissa and toward the amount still owing on the crowns in the archonship of Telesarchides"; from this we, the hieropoioi in the archonship of Demares, withdrew 2200 drs. for work on the temple of Artemis, according to the decree of the demos; the remainder in the jar is 150 drs. In the month Posideon we withdrew from a jar with the inscription "from the (bank) of Nymphodoros and Herakleides, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Posideon, the hieropoioi in the archonship of Telesarchides, Euboeus and Parmenion, deposited 6998 drs. 4'Y,, ob., the proceeds from farm-rents, house-rents, taxes, and interest": from this we the hieropoioi, Polyxenos, Amphoteros, Philippos, Silenos withdrew for works in the month Posideon 1120 drs. (4 ob.); the remainder in the jar is 5878 drs. ' Y, ob. In the month Posideon we withdrew 500 drs. for the loan to Euboeus, according to the decree of the demos, from a jar with the inscription "from the (bank) of Philon and Silenos, in (the archonship) of Demares, (the month) Aresion, the hieropoioi Polyxenos, Philippos, Silenos, Amphoteros deposited the capital of the loan which Hermon son of Solon paid back, 605 drs. I Y, ob., and the interest he said he owed, 242 drs. I ob."; the remainder in the jar is 347 drs. 2Y, ob. Total of what was withdrawn during our tenure of office: 11,553 drs., (2) ob. The rest we turned over to the hieropoioi after ourselves, Demetrios and Meilichides, 63,999 drs. 4 1/2 ob. We turned over also to the hieropoioi after ourselves the copper which we received from the treasurers Menyllos and Phokaieus, 3733 drs. 2 ob.


We received the following items in the temple of Apollo from the hieropoioi Krittis son of Nikarchos (and) Synonymos of Hierombrotos, in the presence of the boule and the secretary of the city Poseidikos son of Soteles, and the (secretary) of the hieropoioi Neokrontides son of Neokrontides, and we turned (these items) over to the hieropoioi after ourselves, Demetrios son of Timoxenos (and) Meilichides son of Kritoboulos, in the presence of the boule and the secretary of the city Telemnestos son of Antigonos, and the (secretary) of the hieropoioi Timoxenos son of Timoxenos: a gold signet, with an image of Apollo in carnelian, which Stratonike ‘ll dedicated to Leto: weight 10 drs.; a gold necklace set with precious stones, which Stratonike dedicated to Leto, comprising 48 shield-shaped disks, and one (such disk) in two halves, and (two more) one on either side of the central piece, and 141 pendants: weight 106 drs.; a gold signet, which Stratonike dedicated to Apollo (and) Artemis, with an image of Nike; weight with the ring, 36 drs. 4 ob.; 3 miniature gold crowns, which Stratonike dedicated to the Graces, one without rings or fastenings, in pieces: weight 60 drs. 3 ob.; a gold ingot from the statue of Apollo: weight 98 drs. 3 ob.; another gold ingot from (the statues of) the three (Graces): weight 27 drs. 3 ob.; 3 gold coins of Philip; I of Alexander; coin from various places: weight 68 drs.; a gold drinking cup, dedication of Echenike : 3 64 weight 49 drs. 3 ob.; a gold crown of oak leaves, dedication of Lysander: 365 weight 63 drs. 3 ob.; a gold crown of ivy leaves, dedication of King Ptolemy, 366 in pieces, and five clusters: weight 107 drs.; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of King Demetrius: 367 weight 71 drs. 3 ob.; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of Polykleitos :361 weight 65 drs. 3 ob.; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of Philokles: 369 weight 77 drs. 3 ob.; a gold crown of ivy leaves, dedication of the Delians, three broken clusters: weight 76 drs.; a gold crown of myrtle, dedication of lomilkos: 111 weight 21 drs. 3 ob.; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of King Antigonus: weight 26 drs.; golden snakeweed, dedication of Solon to Asklepios: weight 88 drs.; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of King Antigonus; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of Antipatros: weight 39 drs. 3 ob.; a gold crown of bay leaves, uninscribed: weight 37 drs.; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of Pharax: weight 43 drs.; a gold crown of bay leaves, dedication of Pnytagoras : 3 7 1 weight 62 drs.; a new gold crown of bay leaves: weight 61 drs.; a gold ball in a case, dedication of Phila 17 1 daughter of Theodoros: weight 58 drs.; a gold crown of myrtle, dedication of Xenophantos: 171 weight 48 drs. 3 ob.; 2 tetradrachmas; one part-copper coin of Lysimachus; one coin of Antiochus; a drachma of Alexander; 18 silver signets and a small cup and handle, two with stones, one of iron: weight 34 drs.; I I gilt iron signets; a partly copper tetradrachm of Lysimachus; 5 phialai removed from cases: one a dedication of the Deliades, presented by the theoroi and the architheoros Kleanax: another a dedication of the Pontic Chersonnetai, another a dedication of the Pontic Chersonnetai, another a dedication of Bacchios of Kolophon, another a dedication of the Pontic Chersonnetai - weight 480 drs.; 7 gold distaffs: weight 12 drs.; a tetradrachm of Lysimachus. (The inventory of the temple of Apollo continues for another 150 lines.)


From Charistias son of Antigonos (?), on behalf of his grandfather Nikomachos, the interest on the sacred money which he said his grandfather Nikomachos owed, on the loan he received from the hieropoioi Praximenes and -Telesarchides, for the year of Demares, 100 drs.; and on behalf of Euthytime daughter of Diodotos, the interest he said he owed on the sacred money for the year of Demares, 39 drs. I Y, ob. From Aristoboulos son of Aristoboulos, on behalf of Orthokles son of Orthokles, the interest, arising from the guarantee made for the sacred money, which he said was his share, 80 drs. From Tlepolemos son of Amnes, the interest he said he owed on the sacred money, 101 drs. 3 ob. From Demochares son of Sotion, on behalf of Antichares son of Authosthenes, the amount (for which) he said his name had been entered by the hieropoioi in the archonship of Ariston for the cargo-discharge tax... From Diaktorides son of Aristotheos, the interest he said he owed on the sacred money, I I drs. 4 ob. From Glaukyrios son of Tharsagoras, on behalf of Ktesylis, the interest for the year of Demares, arising from the guarantee made for the sacred money, which he said Ktesylis owed, 9 drs. From Demokritos son of Parmenion, the amount (for which) he said the hieropoioi Kineas and Kallias entered his name for interest at one-sixth, 50 drs. From Phokaieus son of Leukinos, on behalf of his mother Aristako, the interest on the sacred money owing in the archonship of Demares---


We enter (the names of these debtors) also: Euphranor and his guarantor Aristeides son of Aristeides, (for) the amount he did not pay for rent on the sacred 'Episthenes' house,. . . and 24 drs. 2/3 ob.; and Dionysodoros son of Marathonios and his guarantor Demeas son of Phokritos, (for) the amount he did not pay for the ferry-toll to Rheneia, 62 drs.; and Antigonos son of Charistias, (for) the amount he did not pay for the harbor-tax, 19 drs.; and Orthokles son of Orthokles, for interest on the sacred money, one half the principal sum, 80 drs. If we have not entered any who are in debt to the god, we enter them and their guarantors as being in debt to the god.


359. These are public officials of the city of Delos.

360. Philip V of Macedon, who is named elsewhere in these accounts. Telesarchides' (second) archonship was in 181. This jar reappears in B (expenditures).

361. King of Numidia and long-time ally of Rome; he frequently sent shipments of grain to Delos.

362. Eumenes 11 of Pergamon.

363. Daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes, wife of Seleucus I then Antiochus I. Her offerings appear also in the inventory for 250.

364. This dedication, one of many from Echenike, was made in 250.

365. The famous Spartan admiral. Another Spartan admiral, Pharax (active from the 390's) appears below.

366. Ptolemy I.

367. Demetrius Poliorcetes. His father Antigonus appears below.

368. A naval commander in the service of Ptolemy I (cf. Diodorus 19.62, 64); the dedication was made prior to 280.

369. King of the Sidonians; the dedication dates from before 280.

370. This dedication also pre-dates 280. lomilkos was a Carthaginian; he is elsewhere designated as "king".

371. King of Salamis (Cyprus), predecessor of Nikokreon. the dedication was there in 280.

372. Daughter of Theodoros King of Athamania; cf. no. 129.

373. A Theban flutist active in the 280's. The crown, dedicated by 280, is likely a prize he won.



RC 36-37 (OGIS 224)                                                                                               193

In the Seleucid kingdom, queens were not as a matter of course included in the royal cult. In 193 Antiochus III set about establishing the official worship throughout his realm of his wife Laodike (although styled "sister" she was in fact his cousin, a daughter of Mithridates of Pontus). This required the establishment of a chief-priestess of the queen in all the satrapies, and indeed the king's letter was sent, with the insertion of the names, to all the governors. The letter here is addressed to the strategos of the Carian satrapy, but others have been found elsewhere; one from Nehavend in Iran, indeed, finally settled the question of the date (L. Robert, Hellenica 7 [1949] 5 ff.). It is preceded by a covering letter from the governor to the hyparch of the district around Eriza, where the stone was found.


[Anaxim]brotos to Dionytas, greeting. Enclosed is the copy of the decree written by the king concerning the appointment of Berenike, the daughter of Ptolemy son of Lysimachus,"' as chief-priestess of the queen in the satrapy. Carry out (the matter) according to the instructions, just as he enjoins, and see to it that copies, inscribed on a stone stele, are set up in the most conspicuous place. Farewell. Year 119, Artemisios 19.111


King Antiochus to Anaximbrotos, greeting. As we desire to increase still further the honors of our sister Queen Laodike, and as we think this most important for ourselves because she not only lives with us lovingly and considerately but is also reverently disposed toward the divine, we continue to do lovingly the things which it is fitting and right for her to receive from us and we have decided that just as there are appointed throughout the kingdom chief-priests of us, (so) there are to be established [in] the same districts chief-priestesses of her also, who shall wear golden crowns bearing her [images] and who shall be mentioned in [the] contracts after the chief-priests of our [ancestors] and of us. Since, therefore, in the districts under your administration Berenike, the daughter of our relative Ptolemy son of Lysimachus, has been appointed, carry everything out according to what has been written above and have copies of the letters, inscribed on stelae, set up in the most conspicuous places, so that both now and in the future there may be evident to all in these matters also our policy toward our sister.


374. In Antiochus' letter he appears as a relation of the king. He is to be identified with the Ptolemy of Telmessos of Livy 37.56.4 and seen as the grandson of the Ptolemy son of Lysimachus who received Telmessos from Ptolemy ill in 240/39 (OGIS 55) or even earlier. Descent from Lysimachus would make him a relative of Seleucids and Ptolemies alike.

375. 9 May 193 B.C.


RC 44 (OGIS 244)                                                                                                   189

Faithful supporters of a dynasty might be rewarded with land (cf. 18), or with comfortable positions. The man whom Antiochus here appoints to supervise the sanctuaries at Daphne had been high in the service of the Seleucids for thirty-five years or more, and it is clear that his new occupation would indeed allow him to live in the quiet he so earnestly requested. This letter was written something less than a year after Antiochus was defeated by the Romans at Magnesia.

--, as he had been in honor and trust with our brother "I [and] has zealously given many great demonstrations of his attitude toward us and our state, and as he has spared neither his life nor his property in what is beneficial to us, but has performed everything entrusted to him as was fitting and in general conducts himself consistently with his past services in behalf of our state, we wished to keep him still associated with us in our affairs. He often, however, called our attention to the bodily infirmity which had come to him from the incessant hardship, and asked us to allow him to live in quiet in order that he might spend the remaining time of his life without distraction in good bodily health; we have accordingly yielded, wishing to make clear in these matters also the attitude we have toward him. We shall take care that in the future he will receive all that pertains to honor and glory, for as the chief-priesthood of Apollo and Artemis Daittai and of the other sanctuaries whose precincts are at Daphne requires a man who is a friend and competent to fill it in a manner worthy of the interest both our ancestors and ourselves have had in the place"' and of our reverence toward the divine, we have appointed him chief-priest of these (sanctuaries) in the conviction that the administration of the sanctuaries will be carried on by him as is necessary. Give orders to include him as chief-priest of the specified sanctuaries in legal documents and to honor the man in a manner worthy of our decision; and if he calls upon (anyone) to perform any of the regular duties in these connections, (for all) to assist him, both those who may be connected with the sanctuaries and all others for whom it is proper to obey him - make clear that (we) have given orders to obey him in all matters about which he may write or issue orders. (Give orders) also for the copy of the letter to be inscribed on stelae and set up in the most conspicuous places. Year 124, Dios 14.'


376. Seleucus 111, who ruled from 226 to 223.

377. Daphne was held in special regard by the Seleucids, who claimed descent from Apollo.

378. 12 October 189 B.C.



BGU VI 121                                                                                             ca. 215-205

Ptolemy IV is known to have been particularly interested in the cult of Dionysos. Here he orders all of the technitai of Dionysos in Egypt to register in Alexandria, to make known the source of their training, and to submit their copies of the book concerning these mysteries. The purpose of this royal decree is much debated (see the summary in C.Ord.Ptol.),  but it is likely that the desire to exercise control over the activities of this group of performers was predominant.

By decree of the king. Persons who perform the rite of Dionysos in the country shall sail down within 10 days from the day on which the decree is published and those beyond Naukratis within 20 days, and shall register themselves before Aristoboulos at the registration-office within three days from the day on which they arrive, and shall declare forthwith from what persons they have received the transmission of the sacred rites for three generations back and shall hand in the sacred book sealed up, each inscribing thereon his own name.


Republished in C.Ord.Ptol. 29 with extensive bibliography. The translation of Sel.Pap. II 208 is used. The date is based on the fact that this decree is written on the back of a document of 215/4.


SB XX 14699                                                                                                           230 (?)

The Hellenistic settlement of the Fayyum was not only a Greek affair. The Ptolemies also brought in Egyptian settlers from other parts of the country, often naming their new villages after their place of origin. In this papyrus we learn that one such group, the residents of Oxyrhyncha, were accustomed to keep their religious ties to their home district, the Oxyrhynchite nome. The proper occasion for their bringing offerings to the sanctuaries there, however, coincided in 230 with the season for sowing sesame. (The letter is dated 24 February.) Dionysodoros, in asking Asklepiades for authorization to accompany the villagers on their religious, probably has in mind making sure they come home promptly to get the work done. Asklepiades scribbled his reply at the bottom of the sheet and sent it back.

Dionysodoros to Asklepiades, greetings. The cultivators from Oxyrhyncha are accustomed to go off to the Oxyrhynchite and present sacred offerings, because they come from the Oxyrhynchite. So that they may return quickly and be present for the sowing of sesame, I thought that if you agreed I would accompany them. I supposed that it would be a good idea to write to you so that you may be informed and write me what you think. Farewell. Year 17, Tybi 8.

(Reply) If you think it necessary, go at once…Farewell.



SB V 7835                                                                                                  ca. 69-58

This papyrus contains the regulations of an organization calling itself the Synodos of Zeus the Highest, made up probably of residents of Philadelphia in the reign of Ptolemy XII Auletes. What we have is probably a somewhat abridged member's copy of the general statutes. The organization was constituted for a year only, and if it was to continue after that a reenactment of the act of incorporation was necessary each year. The members meet in a public temple of Zeus for their banquets, at which they are to offer sacrifices for the king; despite the name of the union, no mention is made of any devotion to Zeus, who merely supplies the meeting place. The features of the organization, including the fact that the only officers are the president (elected for the year) and his assistant, are derived from Egyptian models, although the members of this organization may have been, as the language of the document would suggest, Greek. There is an extensive commentary in the original publication by C.H. Roberts, T.C. Skeat and A.D. Nock in Harvard Theological Review 29 (1936) 39-88.

May it be well. The law which those of the association of Zeus the highest made in common, that it should be authoritative. Acting in accordance with its provisions, they first chose as their president Petesouchos the son of Teephbennis, a man of parts, worthy of the place and of the company, for a year from the month and day aforesaid, that he should make for all the contributors one banquet a month in the sanctuary of Zeus, at 'which they should in a common room pouring libations, pray, and perform the other customary rites on behalf of the god and lord, the king. All are to obey the president and his servant in matters pertaining to the corporation, and they shall be present at all command occasions to be prescribed for them and at meetings and assemblies and outings. It shall not be permissible for any one of them to ... or to make factions or to leave the brotherhood of the president for another, or for men to enter into one another's pedigrees at the banquet or to abuse one another at the banquet or to chatter or to indict or to accuse another or to resign for the course of the year or again to bring the drinkings to nought or ... to hinder the (leader?)---contributions and other (?) levies and shall each pay ... If any of them becomes a father, he shall contribute (?)---.


Nock comments that Zeus Hypsistos or the Theos Hypsistos (highest god) are usefully vague terms, which appear alike in Macedonian and Semitic situations; exactly what is meant here is not certain, but is clearly not a Jewish cult. The contrast to Greek associations, typically made for permanence, endowed with a multiplicity of officers and other institutions, often owners of property and communal buildings, is very striking.


PSI IV 347                                                                                                                      254

The birthday of the king (Dystros 24 in this reign) was apparently no more than a few weeks off when this letter was written, seeking to persuade Apollonios (and Zenon) that the king's birthday was an auspicious time to pardon Epharmostos,  whose crimes are unknown.

Epharmostos, to Zenon, greeting. I have appended copies of the letter written by me to Apollonios; for I thought it proper to write also to him myself. Please show zeal both for my sake and your own that taking your opportunity on the king's birthday you may petition him with the rest on my behalf. Farewell. Year 31, Phamenoth ...

To Apollonios. Please look into my case; for it has now been a year already since I had the misfortune to be handed over to be imprisoned. And the occasion itself affords the chance of an inquiry even on my behalf on the king's birthday. Farewell.


Zenon had a brother of this name, but he is known to have been at large and active in the year preceding the date of the letter; this is therefore a different person, probably a Carian friend.


OGIS 56                                                                                                                      238

This trilingual inscription (Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian Demotic), which survives in three variously preserved copies, contains a set of resolutions passed by an assembly of Egyptian priests meeting at Canopus Oust to the northeast of Alexandria). It gives indication above all of the care taken by the third Ptolemy in conciliating the native population by way of the Egyptian priesthood. It is not certain whether the document was originally drafted in Greek and then translated into Egyptian or vice-versa, but it is clear that there is much less by way of Egyptian influence here (most notably in the titulature) than in the inscription of the Rosetta Stone some forty years later (137).

In the ninth year of the reign of Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy and Arsinoe the Brother-and-Sister Gods, the priest of Alexander and the Brother-and Sister Gods and the Benefactor Gods"' being Apollonidas son of Moschion and the canephore ‘ll of Arsinoe Philadelphos being Menekrateia daughter of Philammon, on the seventh of the month Apellaios, the seventeenth of the Egyptians' (month) Tybi : 3 8 7 decree: the chief-priests and the prophets"' and those who enter the shrine for the adorning of the gods and the featherbearers and the sacred scribes and the other priests who come together from the temples in the country for the fifth of (the month) Dios, on which day is celebrated the birthday of the king, and for the 25th of the same month, on which day he received the kingdom from his father, (all these) having assembled together on this day in the temple of the Benefactor Gods in Canopus spoke:` Whereas King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy and Arsinoe the Brother-and-Sister Gods, and Queen Berenike, his sister and wife, the Benefactor Gods, continually bestow many and great benefactions on the temples in the country and increase ever more the honors of the gods, and in all respects they exercise concern, with great expense and abundance, for Apis and for Mnevis ‘ll and for the other renowned sacred beasts of the country; and the king marched out and brought back safe to Egypt the sacred images, which had been carried out from the country by the Persians, and returned them to the temples whence each had originally been taken away;"' and he has maintained the country in a state of peace, fighting wars on its behalf against many peoples and those who rule among them; and they provide law and order for all those in the country and for the others who are ranged under their rule; and when the river once overflowed its banks insufficiently and all those in the country were terrified at this happening and were thinking upon the destruction that had taken place under some of the former kings, in whose reign those dwelling in the country met with droughts, exercising provident care over those in the temples and the others inhabiting the country, by exercising much forethought and forgoing not a little of their revenues for the sake of the safety of the people, and by sending for grain for the country from Syria and Phoenicia and Cyprus and many other places at rather high prices they saved the inhabitants of Egypt, leaving behind an immortal benefaction and the greatest record of their virtue both for contemporaries and for future generations; in return for which the gods have granted them their kingdom peacefully established and will give them all the other good things for all time; with good fortune, be it resolved by the priests of the country: To increase the already existing honors (paid) in the temples to King Ptolemy and Queen Berenike, the Benefactor Gods, and to their parents the Brother -and- Sister Gods, and to their grandparents the Savior Gods;` and for the priests in each of the temples of the country to be designated also "priests of the Benefactor Gods," and for the priesthood of the Benefactor Gods also to be written into all their documents and for it to be engraved in addition on the rings which they wear; and for there to be constituted, in addition to the now existing four tribes of the group of priests in each temple, also another (tribe), which shall be designated the fifth tribe of the Benefactor Gods, since it has happened with good fortune that the birth of King Ptolemy, son of the Brother-and-Sister Gods, also occurred on the fifth of (the month) Dios, which has also been the beginning of many good things for all men; for there to be enrolled in this tribe those who have become priests since the first year and those who are to be assigned until the month Mesore of the ninth year and their descendants for all time, but for those who were already priests prior to the first year to remain in the same tribes in which they previously were and similarly for their descendants henceforth to be enrolled in the same tribes in which their fathers are; instead of the twenty councillor priests chosen each year from the pre-existing four tribes, of whom five are taken from each tribe, for the councillor priests to be twenty-five, another five being added from the fifth tribe of the Benefactor Gods; and for those of the fifth tribe of the Benefactor Gods also to share in the ceremonies and everything else of those in the temples, and for there to be a phylarch of this (tribe), just as is the case also for the other four tribes. And whereas feasts of the Benefactor Gods are celebrated each month in the temples in accordance with the previously written decree, the first (day) and the ninth and the twenty-fifth, and feasts and public festivals are celebrated each year in honor of the other greatest gods, (be it resolved) for there to be held each year a public festival in the temples and throughout the whole country in honor of King Ptolemy and Queen Berenike, the Benefactor Gods, on the day on which the star of Isis"' rises, which is reckoned in the sacred writings to be the new year, and which now in the ninth year is observed on the first day of the month Pauni,11' at which time both the little Boubastia and the great Boubastia are celebrated and the gathering of the crops and the rise of the river takes place; but if, further, it happens that the rising of the star changes to another day in four years,"' for the festival not to be moved but to be held on the first of Pauni all the same, on which (day) it was originally held in the ninth year, and to celebrate it for five days with the wearing of garlands and with sacrifices and libations and what else that is fitting; and, in order also that the seasons may always do as they should, in accordance with the now existing order of the universe, and that it may not happen that some of the public feasts held in the winter are ever held in the summer, the star changing by one day every four years, and that others of those now held in the summer are held in the winter in future times as has happened in the past and as would be happening now, if the arrangement of the year remained of 360 days plus the five days later brought into usage (be it resolved) for a one-day feast of the Benefactor Gods to be added every four years to the five additional days before the new year,"" in order that all may know that the former defect in the arrangement of the seasons and the year and in the beliefs about the whole ordering of the heavens has come to be corrected and made good by the Benefactor Gods. And whereas it happened that the daughter born of King Ptolemy and Queen Berenike, the Benefactor Gods, and named Berenike, who was also immediately declared Princess,"' while still a maiden suddenly passed into the everlasting world, while the priests were still with the King who came to him every year from the country, who straightway made great lamentation at what had befallen and, petitioning the King and the Queen persuaded them to establish the goddess with Osiris in the temple in Canopus, which is not only among the first temples but also among those most honored by the King and by all in the country - and the sacred boat of Osiris is brought to this temple from the temple in the Herakleion every year on the 29th of Choiach, when all those from the first temples perform sacrifices on behalf of each of the first temples upon the altars built by them on both sides of the entry way - and after this they performed magnificently and with care the rites for her deification and for the conclusion of the mourning, as it is customary to do also for Apis and Mnevis, be it resolved: To perform everlasting honors to Berenike, the princess born of the Benefactor Gods, in all the temples in the country, and, since she went to the gods in the month of Tybi, the very month in which also the daughter of Helios, whom her father lovingly called sometimes his crown and sometimes his sight, in the beginning departed from life, and (since) they hold in her honor a feast and a boat procession in most of the temples of the first rank in this month, in which her apotheosis originally occurred, (be it resolved) to hold in honor of Berenike as well, the princess born of the Benefactor Gods, a feast and boat-procession in the month Tybi in all the temples in the country for four days from the seventeenth, on which day the boat-procession and the conclusion of the mourning for her originally took place; and to fashion a sacred image of her, of gold and precious stones, in each of the first- and second-rank temples and to set it up in the holy place; the prophet or (one) of those who [enter the shrine] for the adorning of the gods shall carry it in his arms, whenever there are processions or festivals of the other gods, in order that, being seen by all it may be honored and obeisance may be done to it, being called (the image) of Berenike Mistress of Maidens; and for the royal crown set upon her image, as distinct from the one set upon the images of her mother Queen Berenike, to consist of two ears of grain, in the middle of which shall be the asp-shaped insignia and behind which a commensurate papyrus-shaped scepter, such as the goddesses are wont to hold in their hands, about which the tail of the (asp-shaped) insignia shall be wound, so that the name of Berenike, in accordance with the symbol of the sacred script, will be signified by the arrangement of her royal crown; and, when the Kikellia are celebrated in the month of Choiach before the boat procession of Osiris, for the maiden daughters of the priests to fashion another image of Berenike, Mistress of Maidens, to which they shall likewise perform a sacrifice and the other rites performed at this feast; and for it to be permitted in the same way to the other maidens, who so wish, to perform the rites to the goddess; and for her to be hymned by the chosen sacred maidens who are in the service of the gods, when they have put on the individual royal crowns of the goddesses whose priestesses they are accounted as being; and, when the early sowing is at hand, for the sacred maidens to carry up ears of grain to be laid before the image of the goddess; and for the men and women singers to sing to her each day, during the feasts and festivals of the other gods, whatever hymns the sacred scribes write and give to the teacher of songs, of which also copies shall be entered in the sacred books. And whereas provisions are given to the priests from the sacred (revenues) whenever they are brought to the group (of priests in each temple), (be it resolved) for there to be given to the daughters of the priests from the day of their birth food from the sacred revenues, such as shall be determined by the councillor priests in each temple in proportion to the sacred revenues; and for the bread given to the wives of the priests to have its own particular shape and to be called the bread of Berenike. And let the appointed supervisor and chief-priest in each temple and the scribes of the temple inscribe this decree on a stone or bronze stele, in sacred characters"' and in Egyptian (characters),"' and in Greek (characters), and let them set it up in the most conspicuous place in the first- and second- and third-rank temples, in order that the priests in the country may be seen to honor the Benefactor Gods and their children, as is just.


385. Ptolemy III Euergetes ("Benefactor") and Berenike, daughter of Magas of Cyrene.

386. The canephore ("basket-bearer") was the priestess of the deified wife of Ptolemy Il Philadelphos, a Greek like the other official priests.

387. 7 March 238 B.C.

388. Interpreters of the sacred writings associated with various divinities.

389. The formula is that of a standard Greek decree. Here, however, the "proposer" is everyone at the meeting.

390. Mnevis was the sacred bull associated with Heliopolis, analogous to the more famous Apis bull at Memphis. For other sacred beasts cf. Diodorus 1.84.

391. Cf. 26.

392. Ptolemy I Soter and his wife Berenike.

393. Le., Sirius; at this time it rose at Alexandria about 24 July.

394. The tenth month of the Egyptian calendar which was at this time some two to three weeks ahead of the seasonal year.

395. The Egyptian year had twelve months of 30 days each, plus five additional days at the end. Every four years it would move one day ahead in relation to the seasonal (solar) year, since over the four year period it provided 1,460 days instead of the required 1,461.

396. The needed "leap-year" was thus provided for, but the provision fell before long into disuse.

397. The word is the same as that for queen.

398. Le., hieroglyphics.

399. I.e., Demotic Egyptian writing.


OGIS 90                                                                                                                     196

This trilingual inscription (in Greek and in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Demotic) contains, like the Canopus decree from the reign of Ptolemy III (136), a decree passed by an assembly of native Egyptian priests. The two are in many respects similar, but Egyptian influence is much more prominent in the Rosetta decree (note especially the royal titulature and the fact that the assembly took place at Memphis and not at Canopus). This reflects the increased prominence of the native element in Ptolemaic Egypt, a development fostered not least by the employment, for the first time on a large scale, of Egyptian troops by Ptolemy IV at Raphia in 217. Discovered at Rosetta (Raschid) by Napoleon's French in 1799 and transported to the British Museum in 1802, the inscription has achieved a wider fame than most, for "it was this stone which first gave the key of the ancient language of Egypt to the younger Champollion in 1824, and is thus the foundation upon which the whole of modern Egyptology has been built up" (Bevan, House of Ptolemy, 262).

In the reign of the young one  - who received the throne from his father - lord of crowns, glorious, the one who established Egypt, and pious towards the gods, superior to his opponents, the one who restored the life of men, lord of the thirty-years' feasts just as Hephaistos the great, king just as Helios the great king of the upper and lower regions, offspring of the Father-Loving Gods, the one whom Hephaistos approved, to whom Helios gave the victory, living image of Zeus son of Helios, Ptolemy Ever-Living, Beloved of Ptah, in the ninth year, the priest of Alexander and the Savior Gods and the Brother-and-Sister Gods and the Benefactor Gods and the Father-Loving Gods and the God Manifest (and) Gracious being Aetos son of Aetos, the athlophore of Berenike Euergetis being Pyrrha daughter of Philinos, the canephore of Arsinoe Philadelphos being Areia daughter of Diogenes, the priestess of Arsinoe Philopator being Eirene daughter of Ptolemy, on the fourth of the month Xandikos, the eighteenth of the Egyptians' (month) Mecheir:  decree: The chief priests and the prophets and those who enter the shrine for the adorning of the gods and the feather-bearers and the sacred scribes and all the other priests who came together from the temples of the country to Memphis to the king for the festival of the assumption of the throne of Ptolemy Ever-Living Beloved of Ptah, God Manifest (and) Gracious, which he received from his father, (all these) having gathered together in the temple at Memphis on this day, spoke: Whereas King Ptolemy Ever-Living Beloved of Ptah, God Manifest (and) Gracious, he born of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe, Father-Loving Gods, has in many ways conferred benefits on the temples and those in them and (on) all those ranged under his rule, being a god born of a god and goddess, just as Horus the son of Isis and Osiris, who avenged his father Osiris, and, being beneficently disposed toward the gods, has dedicated to the temples revenues in both silver and grain, and has undertaken many expenses for the sake of bringing Egypt into a state of prosperity and establishing the temples, and has been generous with all his own means, and of the revenues and tax-collections existing in Egypt he entirely remitted some and others he has lightened, in order that the native people and all the others might be in a state of serenity during his reign, and the royal debts, which both those iii Egypt and those in the rest of his kingdom owed and which were many in number, he remitted, and those who had been led off to prisons and those who were since long ago under accusation he freed from their charges; and he ordered that the revenues of the temples and the contributions in grain and silver given to them each year and likewise the proper share of the gods from the vine-land and the gardens and the other property of the gods are to remain in effect in the country (as they were) in his father's reign; and he ordered also, with regard to the priests, that they should pay no more for the consecration-tax than they were assessed during the reign of his father up until the first year (of his own reign); and he relieved those from the sacred tribes of the annual voyage down to Alexandria; and he directed that impressment into the navy is not to be practiced, and of the tax on byssus-cloth paid in the temples to the royal treasury he removed two-thirds, and all things that had been neglected in former times he restored to their proper arrangement, having a care that the customary (rites) might be performed for the gods according to what is proper; and likewise he dispensed justice to all, just as Hermes the Great and Great; and he ordered that those of the warrior class"" who came back and those who returned of the others who held disloyal views in the time of troubles are to remain in occupation of their own possessions; and he provided that cavalry and infantry forces and ships should be sent out against those who attacked Egypt"" by sea and land, submitting to great expenses in silver and grain in order that the temples and all those in them might be in safety; and going to Lykonpolis 41' in the Busirite (nome), which had been occupied and fortified against a siege with an abundant collection of arms and with all other provisions - for long standing was the disloyalty of the impious men gathered there, who had wrought much evil against the temples and those dwelling in Egypt - and encamping over against it, he surrounded it with mounds and trenches and remarkable fortifications, and, when the Nile made a great rise in the eighth year and, as it was wont to inundate the plains, he held it back by damming up in many places the outlets of the streams, spending no small amount of money on these and placing cavalry and foot-soldiers to guard them, (and) in a short time he took the city by storm and destroyed all the impious men in it, just as [Herm]es and Horus, son of Isis and Osiris, subdued the former rebels in the same regions; and all those who led the rebels in his father's reign and troubled the country and did wrong to the temples, arriving in Memphis and avenging his father and his own throne he punished fittingly at the time when he came for the performance of the proper rites for the assumption of the throne. And he remitted what was owing in the temples to the royal treasury up until the eighth year, no small amount of grain and silver; and likewise (he remitted) the prices of the byssus-cloth not delivered to the royal treasury, and of that delivered (he remitted) up until the same time the cost of having it inspected; and he freed the temples from the artaba assessed on (each) aroura of sacred land, and from the jar (of wine assessed on each) aroura of vine-land; and he gave many gifts to Apis and Mnevis and the other sacred beasts in Egypt,"" in every respect taking much more thought than previous reigns for what belongs to them, giving for their burials what was proper lavishly and splendidly, and (giving) what was regularly paid to their individual temples with sacrifices and festivals and the other customary observances; and he has maintained the honors of the temples of Egypt in the country according to the laws, and he fitted out the temple of Apis with rich works, providing for it no small amount of gold and [silver] and precious stones; and he established temples and shrines and altars and also restored those requiring repair, having the mind of a beneficent god in matters pertaining [to the] divine; and inquiring as to the most honored of the temples he renewed them in his reign, as is fitting; in return for which the gods have given him health, victory, power and [all] other good things, his kingdom remaining to him and his children for all time; with good fortune, resolved by the priests of all the temples in the country: greatly to increase [all] the existing honors of the Ever-Living King Ptolemy, Beloved of Ptah, God Manifest (and) Gracious, and likewise those of his parents, the Father-Loving Gods, and those of his grandparents the Benefactor Gods, [and those] of the Br other-and- Sister Gods, and those of the Savior Gods; and to set up in each temple in the most conspicuous [place] an image of the Ever-Living King Ptolemy God Manifest (and) Gracious, which shall be called (that) of "Ptolemy the Avenger of Egypt," beside which shall stand the principal god of the temple, giving him the armor of victory, which shall be fashioned in the manner [of the Egyptians]; and for the priests to pay homage to the images thrice daily and to put on them the sacred adornment and to perform the other rites just as for the other gods at [the] festivals [in the country]; and to establish for King Ptolemy, God Manifest (and) Gracious (born) of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe, the Father-Loving Gods, a statue and a golden shrine [in each of the] temples and to set them up in the inner sanctuaries with other shrines, and for the [shrine] of the God Manifest (and) Gracious to join in the procession at the great festivals, at which occur the processions of the shrines; and, in order that it may be easily distinguished now and for all time to come, for there to be set upon the shrine the ten golden royal crowns of the king to which shall be affixed as asp, [just as with all] the asp-shaped royal crowns that are upon the other shrines; but in the midst of them shall be the royal crown called Pschent, wearing which he entered the [temple] in Memphis in order to perform [in it] the rites for the assumption of the throne; and to place upon the square area around the crowns, by the aforementioned crown [two] golden amulets [on which it shall be inscribed) that it is (the shrine) of the king who made manifest the upper country and the lower; and whereas they have reckoned the 30th of Mesore, on which is held the birthday celebration of the king, and likewise [the 17th of Phaophi], on which he received the throne from his father, as his name-days in the temples, which (days) are the beginnings of many good things for all, (resolved) to hold on these days feasts [and festivals in the] temples of Egypt each month, and to perform in (the temples) sacrifices and libations and the other rites, just also as at the other festivals, and the offerings that occur - - - (to or by) those in service in the temples; and to hold a feast and festival in honor of the Ever-Living and Beloved of Ptah King Ptolemy, God Manifest (and) Gracious, each year [in the temples in the] country for five days from the first of Thoth, in which they shall wear garlands as they perform sacrifices and libations and the other things that are proper; and for [the priests of the other gods] to be designated also priests of the God Manifest (and) Gracious in addition to the other names of the gods of whom they are the priests, and (for them) to enter in all their documents and (for there to be engraved in addition) on the rings they wear his priesthood; and for it to be permitted to the rest, private individuals, to celebrate the feast and to build the aforementioned shrine and to have it with them as they perform [the rites at the monthly feasts and at the] yearly (ones), in order that it may be well known that those in Egypt magnify and honor the God Manifest (and) Gracious, (the) king, just as is [their] law; [and to inscribe this decree on stelae] of hard stone in sacred and native"" and Greek characters, and to set (them) up in each of the first- and second- [and third-rank temples by the image of the Ever-Living king].


400. Ptolemy V was twelve years old at the time.

401. The 30-years feast is the Egyptian Heb-Sed festival celebrated by Pharaohs (from at least the Old Kingdom) after 30 years of rule, more frequently thereafter.

402. Le., Re.

403. Le., Amun.

404. Ptolemy V Epiphanes Eucharistos.

405. For the canephore of Arsinoe, cf. n. 386.

406. 27 March 196.

407. Cf. n. 388.

408. Cf. n. 389.

409. The Egyptian machimoi. Having seen little military service under the first three Ptolemies, many of them fought in Ptolemy IV's war against Antiochus III and distinguished themselves in Ptolemy's victory at Raphia in 217. Thereafter rebelliousness among them was not uncommon; cf. Polybius 5.107.

410. The reference is to the attacks of Antiochus III and Philip V on Ptolemaic possessions in 202 (?)- 197.

411. On the siege of Lykonpolis, cf. Polybius 22.17.

412. Cf. n. 390.

413. A portable shrine.

414. Cf. notes 398, 399.


P. Tebt. I 6                                                                                                      139

This letter of the sovereigns (Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and his queens) to the royal administration orders the latter to secure to the temples of the royal cult their proper revenues, which the priests had (in a letter of which the contents are summarized in the royal decree) complained were being infringed in various ways.

[King Ptolemy and] Queen Cleopatra the sister and Queen [Cleopatra the wife to the] strategoi and the garrison commanders and the [superintendents of police] and chiefs of police and epimeletai [and oikonomoi and basilikoi] grammateis and the other [royal functionaries], greeting. [The priests of... ] and of the Brother-and-Sister Gods and [the Benefactor Gods and the] Father-Loving [Gods] and the Manifest Gods [and the God Eupator and the] Mother-Loving [Gods] and the Benefactor Gods have written to us [concerning the sacred land ... ] with that [which has been dedicated] by the cleruchs, and the [profits from the] honorable offices and posts as prophet or [scribe and all the religious duties] purchased for the temple [and ... ] from properties and [the sums paid] in accordance with the decrees [for ... ] and the several associations and the sacred slaves from trades and manufactures and salaries, and the sums collected by men and women at Alexandria and in the country for treasuries and bowls and cups, and the proceeds of the so-called aphrodisia and their revenues in general for ... are registered, (stating that) certain persons who lease lands and other properties for a long period, and some who even take forcible possession without any contracts, fail to pay the rents due, and do not contribute the full amount of the profits of the [honorable offices] or posts as prophet or scribe, while others steal the sums paid and collected, and setting up aphrodisia without the authorization of the priests receive. . . for the sake of collecting the dues to the goddess, and other try to mix themselves up with the revenues and lay hands upon them and manage the temple contrary to custom. In accordance therefore with our previous ordinances concerning the dues which belong to the temples, so long as the aforesaid revenues of the goddess remain [let them be (?)] undisturbed, and permit no one under any circumstances to exact payment of any of the above-mentioned revenues or to drive away by force the agents of the priests engaged in collecting them; and compel those who disobey to pay all the sums regularly, in order that the priests may obtain all their receipts in full, and may be able without hindrance to pay the customary offerings to the gods on behalf of us and our children. Farewell. [Year] 31, Panemos 10 (?).


C. Ord. Ptol. 47, with bibliography. Only lines 12 ff. are given here, the cover letter to this circular letter being too badly damaged to be restored.  Lenger, p. 112, hesitates to accept the necessity of assuming the first system of assimilation of the Greek and Egyptian calendars, to equate Panemos in this text with Tybi and hence date the papyrus in February, 139. But Samuel, Ptolemaic Chronology, 129-38, shows clearly that only this method of equation was in use at the time, and the February date is thus necessary.

Priests of [. . .]: The country-wide distribution and application of this order seem to suggest that the notion of the editors and of Lenger that a place name (location of a particular cult) is lost in some part of this lacuna is incorrect, but no satisfactory restoration has been proposed.

Aphrodisia: These are apparently brothels run by the temples, and to the operation of which they claimed to have monopolistic rights of some sort (they protest below against unauthorized establishments of this kind).


BGU XIV 2375                                                                                              ca. 62-50

In this papyrus we have an unusual glimpse of the details of the endowment of land attached to a small sanctuary—described as an altar rather than as a temple—of the principal cult of the Herakleopolitan nome, Herakles (Egyptian Harsaphes) and the Nemeses (also an Egyptian cult described with a Greek name). It was subject to a low tax rate equivalent to what the privileged military settlers paid, one artaba per aroura, probably only a tenth or less of the produce. The financial administrator of the altar complains that the tax burdens have risen, partly for reasons he seems to accept; but the papyrus breaks off at just the point when the burden of his complaint begins.

To Paniskos, kinsman (of the king) and strategos and director of revenues, from Harthotes son of ---, administrator of the altar of Herakles and the Nemeses, the very great gods, [in ---?], which has stood from ancient times. Ten arouras of sacred land have been consecrated to the altar, from which in former times one artaba was collected by the royal treasury for each aroura of sown land. But in place of this, after some time an additional half-artaba per aroura has been collected in addition, and although I have been very diligent in my payments up to the present and have measured out to the treasury the appropriate amount for the area sown in the present year, which was determined on the basis of inspection to be 7 arouras, namely 10 ½ artabas of wheat and the additional expenses allocated on top of them, for the erection of a processional way, by those locally in charge of the collection of taxes, Sotas son of Pechauros and Sotas son of Polykrates, I am having demanded of me per aroura yet another artaba of wheat…



PSI IV 328                                                                                                             257

The priests of Hathor at Aphroditopolis (named after the goddess, who was identified with Aphrodite) write to Apollonios asking that myrrh be provided for the burial -of the new Hesis cow (who was an assimilation of Hathor and Isis), who could not be installed until preparations for her burial were complete.

The priests of Aphrodite to Apollonios [the dioiketes] greeting. In accordance with what the king has written to you, to give one hundred talents of myrrh for the burial of [the Hesis], please order this [to be given]. For you know that the Hesis is not brought up to the nome unless we have in readiness everything required for the burial, because [the embalming is done (?)] on the day (of her death). Know that the Hesis is Isis, and may she give you favor in the eyes of the king. Farewell. Year 28, Hathyr 15.


Various corrections are incorporated into the edition as Sel.Pap. II 411, from which this translation is adapted.


PSI IX 1022                                                                                                               106

This document belongs to an archive found in a house near the Ptolemaic temple of Deir el-Medina, on the west bank at Thebes. The owner of a temple of Hathor ("Aphrodite") sells the rights to the priestly emoluments (notably shares in sacrifices) in this temple on three days of purification at a rate of two copper talents a day, a significant sum which shows the cash value of priesthoods quite clearly.

(Summary) Year I I which is also year 8, Pharmouthi 21. Pikos son of Psemminis sold three days of the Aphrodisieion belonging to him for 6 copper talents.

In the reign of Cleopatra and King Ptolemy her son, surnamed Alexander, the Mother-Loving Savior Gods, year 11 which is also 8, Pharmouthi 21, the priest of Alexander and the Savior Gods and the Brother-and-Sister Gods and the Benefactor Gods and the Mother-Loving Gods and the Manifest Gods and the Mother-Loving Gods and the God Eupator and the Benefactor Gods, the athlophore of Berenike Euergetis and the canephore of Arsinoe Philadelphos and the goddess Arsinoe Eupator being those in office in Alexandria, and in Ptolemais of the Thebaid the priest and priestess of Ptolemy Soter being those in office, before Apollonios who is in charge of the office of agoranomos for the Memnoneia of the Pathyrite (nome) of the Thebaid:

Pikos son of Psemminis, about 25 years old, middle height, with honey-colored broken skin, long-headed, straight-nosed, with a scar on his left brow, has sold the perquisites from three days of purification and their emoluments and services and everything pertaining to them and falling due to them in each year and the portion coming to their credit from the epagomenal days and everything that pertains to these in the temple, the sanctuary of Aphrodite belonging to him, called Hathyr, among the graves in the area of the Memnoneia;

And Totoes son of Zmanres, one of the shrine-bearers from the Memnoneia, about 35 years old, honey-colored, smooth-skinned, round-faced, straight-nosed, has bought them for 6 talents of copper money.

The broker and guarantor of the contents of this sale is Pikos the seller, whom Totoes the buyer accepted.


Year 11 which is also year 8: Cleopatra III reckoned her regnal years from an earlier date than did Alexander.

Mother-Loving Gods (1st time): A mistake for "the Father-Loving Gods".

Arsinoe Eupator: A mistake for "priestess of Arsinoe Philopator".


UPZ II 187                                                                                                               127/6

Funerary cults, from early times an important part of Egyptian life, occupied a considerable part of the west bank at Thebes. The choachytai, a family corporation of libation-pourers and generally priests of the dead, managed the cult at many tombs (cf. 110); here one of them complains about the damage to one tomb's occupants when robbers opened it and left it open.

To Di [. . ., one of the friends) and hipparch over men and chief of police of the Theban Nome, from Osoroeris son of Horos, choachytes from the Memnoneia. I report that in the 48th year when Lochos the kinsman came to Diospolis Magna some men went to one of the tombs belonging to me in the [Theban] Nome and opened it and unwrapped one of the bodies placed in it and likewise carried off the furnishings which I had deposited there, worth 10 talents of copper. And because the door was left open, it has happened that the unburied bodies were ruined by being devoured by wolves. Since I suspect Poeris also called Pkales, son of Sonathyr (?) and Phagion his brother, I ask that you bring them before you and that you administer the suitable punishment on the basis of your investigation. Farewell.


Lochos: The governor of the Thebaid under Euergetes II.



The largest archive (104 documents) of Ptolemaic papyri found before 1880 came from the great sanctuary of Sarapis at Memphis and centers around the persons of certain men and women called katochoi, of whom Ptolemaios son of Glaukias, the eldest of four sons of a Macedonian military settler who died in an Egyptian rebellion in 164, is the central figure. Ptolemaios, born perhaps around 200, began in 172/1, a period of some twenty years spent entirely within the precinct of the sanctuary in a state called in katoche. Various other persons in this state figure in the archive as well, staying in the Serapeum for various lengths of time ranging from a few months upward. The meaning of katoche has been argued at length by many scholars. It certainly imposed on the person affected an obligation to remain physically within the Serapeum (it is in fact a distinctive characteristic of the Hellenistic cult of Sarapis). It appears that the obligation was laid on the person by the god (in a dream, typically) and could be removed only by another such divine command. It is not to be confused with asylum, an escape from whatever external problems faced the person. Ptolemaios certainly continued to take an active hand in problems of persons not in the Serapeum, particularly his family. (For another document from this archive see also 115.) The most comprehensive study of the question is L. Delekat, Katoche, Hierodulie und Adoptionsfreilassung (München 1964).


UPZ I 10                                                                                                                    160

This petition makes graphically clear the strength of the divine command that held Ptolemaios in the Serapeum, unable to go to his home - no great distance away - and prevent his patrimony from being dissipated, or to protect in person his younger brother, Apollonios.

To King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra his sister, the Mother-Loving Gods, greeting from Ptolemaios son of Glaukias, Macedonian, one of those in katoche in the great Serapeum at Memphis, now in the thirteenth year there. A house that belonged to my father in the village of Psichis of the Herakleopolite (nome) and now belongs to me was demolished and the goods in it (valued at 20 copper talents) carried off by my neighbors Hesperos and Ataios, his son, and his brother Polemon. The aforesaid, not yet satisfied with what they had done, have built around the court that belonged to it and the open space around the house, using it as their own, scorning me because I cannot come out of the sanctuary and go to the place to bring them to account. Since, O great king and queen, I cannot for the present bring them to account for the goods carried off by them, nor about their building on what was left to me by my father, nor about their using it in any way they wish, I beg -you to send my petition to Kydias the strategos of the nome so that he may summon the aforementioned men and order the aforesaid to refrain from their forcible encroachment on the aforesaid land, and to hand it over to my representatives  and to treat them harshly for the violence they have done, so that I may have shared in your protection for my life. Farewell.


Another draft of the same petition, UPZ I 11, gives the date of September 161 for this activity.

My representatives: In UPZ I 11 it is specified: to Apollonios my younger brother, who is also to receive the value of the goods seized.

Protection for my life: A less dramatic version of the farewell than in the other draft ("so that I may not perish of hunger").


UPZ  I 14                                                                                                                  158-157

Since Ptolemaios was unable to earn a living for himself while he was in the sanctuary, he asked the king to have his younger brother Apollonios enrolled in the Memphite garrison, in the expectation that his pay could support both of them. The petition translated here is followed by a series of official communications implementing the king's order (to grant the request but report to him what the cost would be). The papyrus seems to have been Apollonios' own record of the documents and actions relevant to his petition; they are copied with his usual slovenliness. The chronology of the events is set out in detail by Wilcken, running from early October 158 to the end of February 157, when the long circuits of official correspondence finally completed their handling of the matter.

To King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra the sister, Mother-Loving Gods, greeting from Ptolemaios son of Glaukias, Macedonian of the Epigone, of the Herakleopolite (nome). As my aforesaid father Glaukias, who belonged to the cleruchs called kinsmen in the Herakleopolite (nome), departed this life at the time of the disturbances and has left behind him both me and my younger brother Apollonios, and as it has happened that I have been in katoche in the great Serapeum by Memphis for 15 years and I require, seeing that I am childless, to procure for my said brother a military post, which will enable me too, who am in katoche, to live here decently and receive succor, I beseech you, the most great Mother-Loving Gods, to take note of the above-mentioned years and, inasmuch as I have no means of gaining the necessities of life except by seeking refuge with you, the most great gods and protectors, and obtaining the said military post for my brother, to let me too partake, if it seems good to you, of the pious protection which you afford to all men in such cases and to let an order be written to the proper authorities to enroll my above-named brother in the company of Dexilaos which is garrisoned in Memphis and assign him the same pay as his fellows receive in grain and money, so that being thus decently circumstanced I may be able to perform sacrifices on behalf of you and your children, to the end that you may be lords of every land on which the sun looks down for all time. If this is done, I shall have my livelihood secured by your help in perpetuity. Farewell. (Subscription) Let it be done, but report how much it will cost.


Lines 5-35 only, as in Sel.Pap. 272.

Cleruchs called kinsmen:  A particular group of settlers, so designated by the king. The significance is not clear.

Disturbance:  The Egyptian revolt of 164 (Dionysios), probably, or else the dynastic strife of the time.


UPZ I 59                                                                                                                168

Persons claiming a divine command to do something that inconveniences themselves or others have in all eras been looked upon with suspicion by many close to them, and the Hellenistic period was no exception. Hephaistion, a soldier recently returned from the wars, was commanded by Sarapis to remain in the sanctuary at Memphis, like Ptolemaios, and his wife, who had looked to his return and support, is angry. A closely similar letter to this one, from Hephaistion's brother, was written the same day and expresses the same irritation. Isias' opinion of the divine command is well summarized in her implicit remark at the end that such things are not very pressing business.

Isias to her brother Hephaistion [greeting]. If you are well and other things are going right, it would accord with the prayer which I make continually to the gods. I myself and the child and all the household are in good health and think of you always. When I received your letter from Horos, in which you announce that you are in katoche in the Serapeum at Memphis, for the news that you are well I straightway thanked the gods, but about your not coming home, when all the others who had been secluded there have come, I am ill-pleased, because after having piloted myself and your child through such bad times and been driven to every extremity owing to the price of wheat, I thought that now at least, with you at home, I should enjoy some respite, whereas you have not even thought of coming home nor given any regard to our circumstances, remembering how I was in want of everything while you were still here, not to mention this long lapse of time and these critical days, during which you have sent us nothing. As, moreover, Horos who delivered the letter has brought news of your having been released from detention, I am thoroughly ill-pleased. Notwithstanding, as your mother also is annoyed, for her sake as well as for mine please return to the city, if nothing more pressing holds you back. You will do me a favor by taking care of your bodily health. Farewell. Year 2, Epeiph 30. (Address) To Hephaistion.


Translation adapted from Sel.Pap. 97.

Her brother: Wilcken considered that this is to be taken literally, and that Isias was both wife and sister of Hephaistion. For a contrary view (right, we believe) see J. Modrzejewski, Journal of Juristic Papyrology 9-10 (1955-56) 346-7.

Released from detention: Hephaistion had not left the Serapeum, or the papyrus would not have been found there. It is possible that Horos did not understand the katoche and gave misleading information to Isias. Then again, Hephaistion may have been avoiding a return home.


SB I 5216 (Sel. Pap. 104)                                                                               first century

The chief physician, evidently in Alexandria, writes to the priests of the vestment-keepers in a temple in the Fayum, ordering them to deliver up a body currently in their keeping and to accompany it on the first stage of its journey back to Alexandria.

Athenagoras the chief physician to the priests of the stolistai in the Labyrinth and to the stolistai, greeting. Since Herakleides, my subordinate over your district, has died and is in your cemetery, I have sent Nikias and Krokos for him. You will do well to release the body without having charged anything, and you will accompany them as far as Ptolemais. The vestment- keepers in Alexandria have also written to you about him. Take care of yourselves, that you may be well. Farewell. Year 14, Hathyr 25. (Address) to the priests of the stolistai and to the stolistai.


Stolistai: Vestment-keepers to a god's cult.

Labyrinth: A large construction in the Fayum near the metropolis of the nome and adjacent to the pyramid of its builder, Ammenemes III of the Twelfth Dynasty; it probably embodied a mortuary temple for its builder and various shrines of the gods. See recent articles by A.B. Lloyd, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 56 (1970) 81-100 and K. Michaelowski in the same journal 54 (1968) 219-22.


SB VI 9564                                                                                      early first century

This badly written and damaged letter is not without difficulties of interpretation, but Rémondon has adequately established the sense of it (Chronique d’Egypte 35 [19601 244-61). The writer, Herakles, informs his correspondent Ptolemaios the dioiketes, that he has asked a third person (Iap ... ) to inquire after the problems facing a (Jewish) priest of Tebtunis; Ptolemaios is asked to help this priest escape trouble and in particular to give him the same lodging that was given to a certain Artemidoros, in order to protect the priest from the antisemitism of the populace around him - at Memphis, it seems. This is the earliest testimony of antisemitism in the chora of Ptolemaic Egypt, and it is a vehement one.

Herakles to Ptolemaios the dioiketes, hearty greetings and good health. I asked Iap ... in Memphis on behalf of the priest in Tebtunis to write to him a letter so that I may know what his situation is. I ask you to see how he can escape traps and to lead him by the hand: when he has need of anything giving it to him as you do for Artemidoros and in particular do me the favor of furnishing the priest with the same lodging - for you know that they are nauseated by Jews. Embrace... ibas, Epimenes, Tryphonas,.. ., and take care [of yourself].


This text, based on the article by Rémondon cited in the introduction, is preferable to that in CPJud. 141.