Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity 2004
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[Republished elsewhere: 218 republished as PPA 11]
XI.1 The texts assembled here are in many cases fragmentary and hard to interpret; they may include unrecognized fragments of texts treated above — in particular, some may well be funerary, or belong to Christian prayers and invocations.Place inscriptions: introduction
XI.2 The first section (187—211) presents a series of texts which are characteristically enigmatic — those which reserve a person's 'place', either with the word τόπος followed by a name in the genitive, or simply by a name in the genitive. A name in the genitive is sometimes used to indicate a place of burial (so 175, 176, 177 and 178) or to reserve a seat in an auditorium;1 it is probable that it sometimes indicates a donor (so 29, 30). Similarly, τόπος is a standard term both for a place of burial — as, frequently, in the funerary inscriptions of the Roman period at Aphrodisias2 — and for a reserved seat.3 It is therefore often difficult to determine the function of an inscription using this formula, and both the appearance, and the architectural context become of great importance.
XI.3 These 'place' inscriptions (187—211) all appear to have been located in public areas of the city other than auditoria. Since they are therefore unlikely to be funerary (although see XI.5) and cannot be reserving seats (for the exceptions see IX.18), they probably mark the place where a particular individual or the practitioners of a particular craft are to be found. It is clear that from an early date places were reserved in public spaces both by tradesmen and, less often, by public officials. Examples of the latter from the Roman period are found at Miletus and presumably indicate where that official could be met.4 For tradesmen, on the other hand, many inscribed examples are known and many more probably existed in a more fragile medium.5 Where only an individual's name is given, it is reasonable to assume on the basis of the more explicit texts, that he was available for business or trade which he does not need to describe (192, 193, 195, 198, 199, 200, 202, 203, 204, 234). Although the script of such texts is often informal and cursive, they are probably not merely private graffiti if they are found in a prominent position. The use of public buildings, in the Roman period at least, seems to have been quite carefully supervised; a τόπος inscription at Iasos specifies that the place has been allocated by a civic official (I.Iasos 261).
XI.4 At Aphrodisias the majority of the place inscriptions are either clearly Christian, or can be assigned to the later Roman period because of their location. I have also included place inscriptions whose dates are uncertain, but which from their script could be after 250. This evidence is confirmed by the archaeological evidence: from the fourth century, private retail and trade activity is occupying more and more of what was previously public open space. We know that shops were built into the Sebasteion portico and the portico east of the Theatre Baths from the fourth century.6 Such developments are widely paralleled throughout the cities of the Greek east at this period and indicate an acceleration of economic activity.7 The traders who used the newly constructed shops or occupied other public spaces, could provide a useful rental income to the civic authorities.8 The greater prominence of trading activity seems to be accompanied by a new and more assured status for retailers and craftsmen. Their increasing tendency to name their occupations on tombstones (see IX.41) perhaps reflects this, and it may also underlie a similar tendency to mark places of trade with an inscription, however brief. All this may mean little more than that the class that once overshadowed such people was now less powerful, or no longer exercised its power in the provincial cities; but at least the status of traders and craftsmen within their own community, if not more widely, seems to have increased noticeably in the late Roman period.Temple-Church: place inscriptions
XI.5 187, 188 and 189, all from the eastern colonnade of the precinct of the Temple-Church, might be funerary. All three men mentioned in the inscriptions might have been accorded the privilege of burial in the precinct, in recognition of their pious services,9 and excavation of the area may yet show this to be so. I am inclined to think, however, that funerary inscriptions in such a location would have been more explicit, and that a nearby column is not the most obvious place for them (admittedly 164 is on a column, but it may have formed part of a funerary chapel). Moreover the presence of two texts — one worn away — in 188 might perhaps be expected with 'place' inscriptions, all these texts are far more likely to mark the 'places' where the men were to be found, They probably date from the fifth or sixth centuries.
XI.6 For the signum ΧΜΓ in 187, see the discussion at VIII.20; its appearance here suggests that the text is no later than the seventh century. Φιλόπονος has the general sense industrious, but is used with a more specific meaning in a Christian context. The term, and its apparent equivalent, σπουδαῖος, are found from the early fourth century onwards describing groups of laypeople attached to the church who carried out a variety of charitable and ancillary services; these might include caring for the sick, or taking notes of an important sermon.10 It may therefore denote a lay church worker similar to the ἀρχεδέκανος of 188. The term may, however, have a more specific sense at Aphrodisias, since it is also found in the Life of the monophysite Severus of Antioch by Zacharias of Mitylene, an important source for the history of Aphrodisias in the 480s (see V.3). Zacharias describes a fellow-student of his at Alexandria, Menas, who was noted for his care for the poor and his chastity, as one of those who attend the holy church assiduously, whom the Alexandrians call Philoponoi.11 Menas and the τάγμα φιλόπονων played a leading part in the sack of the pagan shrine at Menouthis, in which Paralius of Aphrodisias was involved (Zacharias 26, 32-3, and see V.15). Zacharias stresses that this is an Alexandrian term for a kind of association known elsewhere, and called variously enthusiasts (σπουδαῖοι) or companions, and feared by the pagans (Zacharias 24). When Zacharias went on to study in Beirut, he joined one such holy association; one of their activities was to pray all night in church (Zacharias 54-6). It seems clear from Zacharias' account that the members were largely, if not exclusively, students, and this may well also have been the case in Alexandria; the term φιλόπονος had for centuries been associated with education and with ephebic virtues.12 It also turns out that at Beirut there was a similar group of pagan students called companions (Zacharias 68). The two groups came to blows, and Zacharias and his friends managed to attack pagans and destroy their property (Zacharias 66ff.)
XI.7 This kind of student group seems to be slightly different from the more formal organizations of philoponoi attested elsewhere; these groups seem to have been made up of young men, and concerned chiefly with frequent attendance at church and with direct action against pagans, rather than with performing charitable services for the community (although Menas at Alexandria was noted for his charity). It is perhaps membership in a student group of this first kind which is indicated by the soubriquet of the Christian philosopher at Alexandria in the sixth century, John Philoponus. The groups described by Zacharias were made up of monophysites; and it may be relevant to recall that in the sixth century Caria was the focus of a major campaign against paganism conducted by the monophysite John of Ephesus (see VI.38). It also seems clear that Aphrodisias was an educational centre at least until the late fifth century(see V.5); and what we know of higher education at more famous centres, such as Athens and Alexandria, makes it unlikely that the students would have been exclusively pagan. The fact that Lucas, in this inscription, has his 'place' near the Temple-Church suggests that he was a member of a recognized and formally-organized group of philoponoi; but whether these were engaged only in charitable duties, or undertook some of the more energetic and aggressive operations which we learn of from Zacharias, must remain open to question.
XI.8 Tryphon, the archedecanus of 188, must be the leader of another association attached to the church. Decani are attested as sextons, lay people who undertook responsibility for burials, following in the tradition of pagan burial societies but under church patronage.13 The underlying term, decania, is less specific, meaning simply association; and it may be unwise to assume what duties such an association might perform.14 The name Tryphon is fairly widespread in late antiquity.15
XI.9 The apparent implication of 189 is that Cyriacus, the trouser-maker, plied his trade near the Temple-Church. Since, however, we do not have an exact find-spot for this door-jamb, we cannot be sure whether he was to be found within the precinct or just outside it, as seems more likely; for a 'place' inscription from the Tetrapylon a little way to the east, see 207. Other makers of bracae, breeches, in Asia Minor in the later Roman period, are attested at Sardis and Corycus.16Baths: place inscriptions
XI.10 Of the place inscriptions from the two bath complexes excavated at Aphrodisias, the two which describe professions, 190 and 191, are both appropriately placed. 190, from the Hadrianic Baths, is the inscription of Epictetus, a capsarius, the Latin term for the attendant who, for a fee, looked after clothes and other possessions deposited with him by those using the baths (thus defined in the Digest; capsarii qui mercede servanda in balineis vestimenta suscipiunt, I.15.5); the appropriate rate for this service is set in Diocletian's Price Edict (7. 5). These texts were cited by Reinach in commenting on another inscription from the Hadrianic Baths, which warns clients that they are responsible for any losses of money not deposited in the cloakroom.17 The occupation was, therefore, necessary at all periods of the baths' use. The striking script of Epictetus' inscription suggests that it is semi-official; it is to be assumed that the erased lines above had given the name of his predecessor. The text is probably to be dated to the fourth or fifth centuries. Other late Roman capsarii are mentioned in inscriptions at Rome and Tyre.18 The other topos inscription from the Hadrianic Baths, 234, simply gives a name, Synodius.
XI.11 191, 192 and 193 were all found in the 'Kaisersaal' of the Theatre Baths, excavated in 1983; this area, originally a large hall, appears to have been opened to connect with the Tetrastoon to the north of it, probably at the time of the restoration of the Tetrastoon in the early 360s. Subsequently, shops were built into the colonnades which flanked it on east and west, and the inscriptions here should presumably be associated with that development. Theodore (192) and Aelianus (193) do not mention their trade, but Alexander the barber (191) would have been well placed near the baths. He appears to have begun by cutting his name in the nominative, but then switched to the genitive of his profession when he decided to add τόπος. 194 was cut on the side of a statue base erected in front of the Baths and excavated in this area; it therefore probably stood somewhere near the Theatre baths. The text was not easy to read in its former position and in ALA I suggested, very tentatively, θρηνῳδοῦ. The block is now fully visible, and the new readings make my earlier suggestion appear even less likely. Denis Feissel suggests that this is for θερμοπολ— a seller of hot food — a term attested at Corycus;19 the preceding letters remain difficult.
XI.12 The portico east of the Theatre Baths, where 191, 192, and 193 were cut, was opened in the late Roman period to join the Tetrastoon, where 195, 196 and 197 were found. It is certain that many of the columns of the Tetrastoon were re-used (some can be identified as coming from the Hadrianic Baths), and it is possible that these inscriptions belong to an earlier phase of their use. This is perhaps also suggested by the fact that 196 and 197 are cut on the inner side of the column — that is, facing into the colonnade rather than out into the centre of the Tetrastoon, although this may be the consequence of their modern restoration. But their presence here would be consistent with a development of the Tetrastoon for commercial purposes similar to that of the Theatre Baths portico in the late Roman period.
XI.13 On the other hand, there is nothing clearly commercial about any of these texts. Heortasius (195) has a name which, although not exclusively Jewish, appears several times in the major Jewish text at Aphrodisias.20 His epithet dirty rogue is apparently derogatory, but is perhaps no more than a nickname, as in a place inscription in the gymnasium at Priene.21 I have found no published parallel for place inscriptions reserving a place for people from another city, as in 194, 195 — in this case from Phrygian Hierapolis. It is possible that they were either traders from Hierapolis, who regularly did business at Aphrodisias, or representatives of the city, who had this place reserved for them at a public meeting. The provincial assembly will have met at Aphrodisias (see II.37), and the presence of painted acclamations in the Tetrastoon (75) suggests that public meetings may have been held there. In that case, the position of these texts on the inner side of the columns presents less of a problem: their purpose would be not as an advertisement, but simply to reserve a place, as in the auditoria — thus in the Stadium seats were reserved for the people of Mastaura (PPA 45.4.O).Agoras: place inscriptions
XI.14 Texts 198—206 are inscribed on columns of the North and South Agoras (see plan), which are smooth to half their height and fluted above. These inscriptions are, with the exceptions of 200 and 206, all cut on the smooth part of the columns, as are the acclamations in the South Agora in honour of Albinus (83 and 84) and two inscriptions in the North Agora which are probably building inscriptions rather than place inscriptions (29 and 30). The texts for Albinus were cut on the inner face of the columns, to be read by someone standing inside the portico; all the others were inscribed on the outer face of the columns, to be read from the central area of the Agoras, with the exception of 30 and 198, cut on the sides of the columns. The North Agora has only been very partially excavated; the majority of these inscriptions are found in the South Agora.
XI.15 It is clear from the number of these texts that, as might be expected, the Agora was a preferred area for people to establish a 'place'. These inscriptions probably form only a small proportion of the place texts which may have been put up in a more fragile medium. 198, 201, 203 and 204 might be earlier than our period, but the majority are clearly Christian. Some are extremely uninformative, and can only be assumed to be 'place' inscriptions. In 199, 203 and 204 the abbreviations are not obvious; 204 is resolved only by the adjacent 202, and I have therefore included 203 and 204 as place inscriptions. Presumably such signs were adequate for their purpose. Eugraphius (201.i) is a phylarch, the presiding official of a phyle or tribe.22 This text could easily be earlier than our period. John (205) has the epithet ἐλλογιμώτατος, which is commonly used of scholastici in the fifth and sixth centuries (see IV.22). Zoticus in 206 is probably a trader in a variety of retail goods — just the kind of small-scale, perhaps itinerant, trader that we might expect to locate his stall in the centre of the city.Tetrapylon: place inscriptions
XI.16 Reinach and Grégoire. with no clear idea of where 207 had been found, assumed that it was a funerary text. In fact, it is inscribed on a column base of the Tetrapylon, only a little way below eye-level in a public area, and seems far more likely to be a place inscription. The name Heptamenius is also found on a seat in the Theatre.23 Although the resolution of the line end is not certain, and ΓΑΜ might be the first letters of another man's name, it is quite possible that this place of business was manned either by Heptamenius or, in his absence, his wife. In its present position the text faces inwards, towards a closely adjacent column; it seems likely that this was not its original position, and that it therefore pre-dates the re-ordering of the Tetrapylon in the late fourth century. The word μυδροστασία in 208 is not otherwise attested, but the sense seems to be place of the anvil? μύδρος) and so forge. This stone was found re-used, so it is unfortunately impossible to determine what area was so demarcated.City Walls: place inscriptions
XI.17 Texts 209, 210 and 211 are all on blocks re-used in the city walls; it is therefore very difficult to draw reliable conclusions about their function. Although they may have been cut on the wall itself (which might indicate that at some period a market had been held there), it is perhaps more likely that they were cut when the stones were in another position, in which case nothing can safely be deduced; 209 might even be funerary. In this text it seems easier to take Φιλοθε as from Φιλοθέου with the majority of editors, rather than from Φιλοθέων, as suggested by Waddington. The name Philotheus suggests that this text is probably, though by no means certainly, Christian.Miscellaneous texts
XI.18 Texts 212.i-vi were published in ALA; text 212.vii is clearly another from the same group. All these texts are cut, carefully and prominently, in the centre of the seat on seven stone 'benches'. Although the original position of the benches is uncertain, it is likely that they stood in the Tetrastoon behind the Theatre. They are perhaps the same as the sedilia?mentioned as an ornament of their forum by the people of Orcistus.24 Their date is also uncertain; they must have been in use before the early seventh century, when the Theatre defence wall was built, but it is difficult to say how much earlier; the script, and above all the abbreviation marks suggest to me a date in the fourth or fifth centuries, or later. The inscriptions themselves appear to be abbreviations, either of names — Theodore (vel sim), Eutyches and Heraclius, or similar forms — or of terms formed from those names. The fact that Herac(—) appears four times and Theod(—) twice suggests to me that these are probably not individuals, but groups named after individuals, such as the Pytheanitae of 59. If so, these are perhaps seats set aside for an association to sit together in a public place; this would provide an interesting extension of the arrangements (noted above, in Section X, and discussed at length in PPA) for associations of various kinds to sit together in theatres and other auditoria. But this must remain largely speculation.
XI.19 Text 213 is also from the area of the Tetrastoon; it was scratched on the plaster cover in a recess in the east wall of the Theatre. The recess seems likely to have been plastered at the time of the remodelling of this side of the Theatre, when the Tetrastoon was built in the mid fourth century; it was subsequently sealed off when the defence wall was built across the east side of the Theatre in (?) the early seventh century. This is apparently a list of commodities; against each entry is a figure expressed in myriads. In the late Roman period, large sums were often so expressed, a usage apparently most common in the fourth century.25 It is clear, however, that a myriad was calculated on differing currency bases at different times and places; some prices cited in myriads are only possible if we assume a very debased base unit, and are, therefore, not necessarily enormous. The problem here is that the quantities of the commodities are not given against the sums listed; since it was apparently unnecessary to do so, this seems to be a listing of money either available for purchase of various substances, or which had been spent. The items listed all seem to be common foodstuffs, except for the second, if it has been correctly restored as storax, the Latin spelling of the Greek styrax, a fragrant gum.26 As this is only a rough, private graffito, it was perhaps someone's brief calculation of money spent on a range of commodities. It is of course tempting to associate this with the evidence (XI.4) for the increasing use of public spaces by traders, and to see this as the jotting of a stall-holder.
XI.20 214 and 215 are both inscribed on storage jars. Several large marble storage jars have been found during the excavations, chiefly in late Roman contexts; some are without inscriptions, two have crosses on them, and two, presented here, are inscribed. Both are difficult to interpret. 215 simply gives what is apparently a number, 430 (probably the quantity of the contents) as a unit of either weight or volume. 214, although longer, is more obscure. Πολυχρονίου must be the genitive of the name of the owner, Polychronius, who apparently describes himself as a boxer, πύκτης. It seems probable that such jars were regularly used to store some particular commodity — perhaps flour, or a dried pulse — which it was not necessary to describe. 215 gives the quantity of the jar's contents; 214 gives the price, two and a third nomismata.
XI.21 In 214 Polychronius is apparently described as a boxer, although that presumably has nothing to do with his ownership of the jar; it is used as an identifier, in the manner of the professions on the tombstones at Corycus, and as in the Jewish inscription at Aphrodisias two members of the community are perhaps described as πύκτης and ἀθλητής.27 Athletic performances continued to be offered as an entertainment in the late Roman period; for example athletes, designated as ξύστος, are attested as appearing between chariot-races at Oxyrhynchus (P.Oxy. 2707). Choricius, writing in the sixth century, and perhaps with some deliberate archaizing, refers to boxers, athletes, runners, and pancratiasts.28 On a visit to Constantinople in the reign of Maurice St Theodore of Syceon healed a wrestler (λουκτάτωρ), presumably a professional; this is apparently the only attested use of the term λουκτάτωρ.29 All this is evidence not for the continuation of athletic contests in their earlier form, attracting members of the civic elite, but for demonstrations of athletic skills as a form of entertainment, with at least sufficient frequency for Polychronius to consider boxing as his characteristic occupation.
XI.22 Although very little can be made of text 216, the shape of the stone, together with what appears to be a reference to λάπη, filth in 1. 2 suggests that the fragments are from the cover of a drain. I know of no parallel, but, given the obscurity of this text, it is entirely likely that similar texts may have survived without being recognized.
XI.24 The completed gameboard in 217 and the outline of the incomplete one, are both for the 'mill game', played on a board of three concentric squares; such boards are found fairly frequently at Aphrodisias and elsewhere — see discussion at V.44. The game here was clearly to be played by people sitting on the steps of the Temple-Church precinct. It is not clear whether the names are those of one person or several.30 ALA 218 was a series of graffiti from the stage building of the Bouleuterion/Odeon; it has since been republished, more fully, as PPA 11, and is not repeated here.
XI.25 The two columns bearing texts 219.i and ii seem both to have come from the same structure, and text i is certainly Christian; the cross monogram cannot be earlier than the sixth century (see Introduction.11). Text ii is reminiscent of many Christian texts: inscriptions at the entrance to churches frequently take the form this is the entrance, αὕτη ἡ εἴσοδος.31 But while there are various standard formulae for such texts, which are frequently based on Psalm 118.20, I have been unable to recognize any of them here. It is possible that the text in fact comes, not from the entrance to a church, but from a secular building, and conveyed a completely secular message — This is the way into the . . ..
XI.26 Text 220 is of interest as being one of the very few fragments in Latin from the site (see II.16). While it is difficult to assess any of the Latin texts from Aphrodisias, because there are so few, the script of this fragment does resemble that of the Latin texts of our period, above all, the Diocletianic edicts, and also 8 and 79. It seems likely to be a fragment from a regulation of some kind.
XI.27 Texts 221, 222, 223, 224 and 225 are all on fragments which apparently come from large dishes or tables; 221 was inscribed in a central area, 222—5 on rims. These fragments are probably from the liturgical furniture of churches at Aphrodisias. but I have not been able to make enough sense of any of them to allow a certain conclusion. Two —221 and 223 mention numbers. 221 could come from any kind of text — even verse. 223 appears to contain numerals, making, 790 or 79-. The simplest explanation is probably that this is an isopsephistic number: that is a number which represents the total reached by adding up the letters (taken as numbers) in a particular word.32 If we could unravel the number, we would presumably get a function, which is preceded here by ἀρχι—, chief x. 222 and perhaps 224 include genitives — perhaps donors' names in the genitive; 225 is too small to be interpreted.
XI.28 The scale of texts 228, 229, 232 suggests public inscriptions; but I cannot determine any phrases. I have omitted other fragments in which no words can be determined.
|1||See the examples at PPA 45, 46 and 47.|
|2||L. Robert, Hellenica 13, 193.|
|3||See PPA 45, 46 and 47.|
|4||Milet VI.1, 208 ff. with p. 202.|
|5||L. Robert, JSav (1971), and the examples cited there.|
|6||Ratté (2001), 133.|
|7||See Claude, Byz. Stadt, 52 ff., and E. Patlagean, Pauvreté économique et pauvreté sociale à Byzance (Paris, 1977), 59-61, 233 ff. for summaries of the evidence.|
|8||Patlagean, op. cit., 59-60|
|9||For such privileges in the fifth and sixth centuries, see G. Dagron, DOP 31 (1977), 11-19.|
|10||H.-G. Beck, Kirche und Theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich, 1959), 138-9; Lampe. s.v. φιλόπονος. 2)|
|11||Zacharias 12; cf. the Life of Severus by John of Beit-Aphthonia, PO 2. 3, 214.|
|12||L. Robert, OMS I, 636, for a group of ephebes described as philoponoi.|
|13||See L. Robert, REG 1966, 764-5, and RPh 1974, 378; for archidecanus/archedecanus see MAMA 8, 46 (Lystra). SEG 16.813-14 (Arabia, 274/5)|
|14||So D. Feissel, on I.Macéd. 19. 2, no. 93.|
|15||see N. Bees, Inscriptiones Graecae Christianae Veteres et Byzantinae I (Athens, 1941), and commentary and for the name in Caria, BE 1964.464.|
|16||Sardis: Sardis VI.1.167; Corycus: MAMA 3, 406, 597.|
|17||Reinach 17, of the second or third century; another copy of this text in a simpler hand has since been found.|
|18||Rome: CIL vi, 9232; IGUR iii. 8480; Tyre: J.-P. Rey-Coquais, Nécropole de Tyr, no. 151 bis.|
|19||MAMA 3, 165, 719.|
|20||J&G, p. 99.|
|21||I.Priene 313.72l, with L. Robert, Noms indigènes, 301.|
|22||For tribes see IX.10; for the name, not otherwise attested at Aphrodisias, see MAMA 6, 188, and references there.|
|24||MAMA 7, 305.i.28, with the analysis by A. Chastagnol, MelRom 93 (1981), 381-416, collecting the few other known examples of such seating, 404-6.|
|25||For Egypt see L.West and A. Johnson, Currency in Roman and Byzantine Egypt (Princeton, 1944), 159, 166, and for Palestine, D. Sperber, Roman Palestine, 200-400. Money and Prices (Ramat-Gan, 1991). 164-8, 172; I am grateful to Professor Michael Crawford for advice on these points|
|26||S. Lauffer, Diokletians Preisedikt (Berlin, 1971) 285; P.Oxy. LIV, 3766. 87-8 note.|
|27||J&G, document 1.|
|28||Syn.Mim. 150, 152, 154|
|29||Vie de Théodore de Sykéon, ed. A.-J. Festugière (Brussels, 1970), ch. 88|
|30||see H. J. R. Murray, A History of Board-Games (London, 1952), 37 ff. and, for a fuller discussion of this and other such texts, Roueché (forthcoming).|
|31||For a good selection of examples, see IGLS index s.v. εἴσοδος.|
|32||See Avi-Yonah, Abbreviations, 42, and references there.|
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