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Section: I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X | XI | XII

Section X: Public entertainments

Inscriptions in this section

184 | 185 | 186

[Republished elsewhere: 179 republished as PPA 45.3.K, 4.A , 180.2 republished as PPA 47 , 181.i republished as PPA 46.B.1 , 181.ii republished as PPA46.C.18 , 181.iii republished as PPA46.G.12.i , 181.iv republished as PPA46.G.12.ii , 181.v republished as PPA46.H.6.ii , republished as PPA46.H.9.ii, iii , 181.vii republished as PPA46.J.13 , 181.viii republished as PPA46.L.4 , 181.ix republished as PPA46.X.4 , 182 republished as PPA 1.1.iii , 183 10]

X.1 Three places of public entertainment and spectacle are known to us at Aphrodisias. The largest, the Stadium, has never been covered; the Bouleuterion/Odeon and the Theatre have been excavated by the current expedition. In all three auditoria a considerable number of inscriptions were found on the seats, and in the Odeon and the Theatre some performers' inscriptions have been found on the stage.

X.2 In ALA I published a selection of texts from the auditoria which appeared to belong to the Late Antique period. It was already clear to me that that was not a very useful division; and I have since republished them with all the other texts inscribed by users of the auditoria. 1 

179 45.3.K, 4.A
180.2 47
181.i 46.B.1
181.ii 46.C.18
181.iii 46.G.12.i
181.iv 46.G.12.ii
181.v 46.H.6.ii 46.H.9.ii, iii
181.vii 46.J.13
181.viii 46.L.4
181.ix 46.X4
182 1.1.iii
183 10

I do not therefore propose to republish them here.

X.3 The evidence from Aphrodisias has made an important contribution to our understanding of the nature and development of the factions or colours. Blue, Green, White and Red were the colours under which chariot-teams competed at Rome in Republican times; and the colours came to supply the names for professional organizations which provided those teams. These organizations or factions (factiones) continued to organize chariot-racing at Rome throughout the imperial world; and when, in the early fourth century, chariot-racing on Roman lines spread to Constantinople and the other major cities of the east, it was arranged in the same way. While four colours continued in use, the Blue and Green factions were, as they had traditionally been, the dominant organizations. 2  Meanwhile, in the many cities of the eastern empire, such as Aphrodisias, which did not have hippodromes, other forms of public entertainment based on the auditoria continued to flourish and even increase. In particular, we have evidence for the continuation of venationes at Aphrodisias; an arena was constructed, with considerable care, at the east end of the Stadium at some time between 393/5 and 408. 3  Such activity is reflected in the occupation of Epiphanius, who is described in his epitaph, 237, as a rearer of bulls — presumably for venationes.

X.4 Alan Cameron first identified the important development which seems to have taken place during the fifth century. and pointed out the particular relevance of the new material from Aphrodisias. At some time during the fifth century the two circus factions, the Blues and the Greens, appear to have taken over the organization of theatrical and other entertainments, as well as chariot-racing. Among the principal evidence are references to theatrical and other performers belonging to one of the factions — as in PPA 1.1.iii, referring to the mimes of the Greens. 4  There is, of course, no clear evidence for dating these inscriptions closely, but they were probably cut after the mid-fifth century, which is when the factions appear to have undertaken their new functions; and those in the Theatre must have been inscribed before the Theatre fell out of use in the late sixth or early seventh century. That public entertainments were still being presented, and, on occasion at least, in the traditional form of contests, is also indicated by the description of two governors of this period as agonothete (Dulcitius, 40, and Vitianus, 65). Such gatherings in the Theatre, attuned to acclaiming the performers of their faction, will have been well prepared to undertake the acclamations recorded in and around the Theatre, such as 75 and 76.

X.5 From the material collected from the auditoria and presented in PPA it is clear both that the late antique inscriptions were part of a long tradition, but also that in the Late Antique period the factions — the Blues and the Green — played an important part in the life of the city. The majority of their inscriptions were found, as might be expected, within the auditoria; but others were found in the streets, reflecting the role of the factions in public ceremonies. Such activity by the factions can be documented even more fully at Ephesus, where the factional acclamations can be traced along the Marmorstrasse. 5 

X.6 Those presented here are all carefully cut in prominent positions, and are probably not casual, private graffiti, as some of the texts in the Theatre, for example, might be. Instead, they seem to have no less official a status than the other acclamations recorded in public places (see discussion at V.54). The representation of the names of the factions, and of whole slogans, in the form of monograms, in both 185 and 186. i and iii, is paralleled by examples at Ephesus. 6  The choice of box monograms means that these texts are not likely to be later than the sixth century (see discussion at Introduction.11).They therefore seem to provide yet more evidence for energetic civic activities at Aphrodisias in the later fifth or sixth centuries, to add to that in Sections V and VI.

X.7 The extended text in 184 enable the resolution of 185, which stood nearby. The recognizable letters permit the reading νικᾷ ἡ τύχη τῶν Πρασίνων and the discovery in 1985 of the preceding text in the same area persuaded me that this is the correct solution. Two small versions of what appears to be the same monogram have been found on seats in the Theatre (PPA.46.E 9 and 11), although in those the Κ and Α appear to be missing, so that they should perhaps read ἡ τύχη τῶν Πρασίνων.

X.8 The acclamation of the city (see 83. v and 84) is also combined with that of a faction in PPA 10. The association in these texts, however, of the city with both factions indicates that this is more than a partisan statement, and instead, that at an early date the factions took up a non-competitive and ceremonial function, as Alan Cameron has argued they did during the sixth century. 7  The acclamations here suggest that the city might be formally acclaimed (as at 83. v) with each of the factions; for such a juxtaposition, compare the acclamations recorded in the Book of Ceremonies as used at certain chariot races, where the faith, (πίστις) of the emperors, the city and then of the two factions is acclaimed νικᾷ ἡ πίστις τῆς πόλεως καὶ τῶν Βενέτων (οἱ Πράσινοι/Πρασίνων) (De Cer. 349). I am tempted to see these acclamations, as well as other inscribed acclamations on the site, as recording an actual ceremony, perhaps in the Agora.

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1. layout text PPA.
2. layout text Cameron, Porphyrius; Cameron, CF; Roueché, PPA 1.
3. layout text Ratté (2001), 127; K. Welch, 'The Stadium at Aphrodisias', AJA 102 (1998), 546-98.
4. layout text Cameron, Porphyrius, 276; id. CF, Chapter VIII; Roueché, PPA Chapter 1.
5. layout text See C. Roueché, 'Looking for Late Antique Ceremonial: Ephesos and Aphrodisias', H. Friesinger — F. Krinzinger edd., 100 Jahre Österreichische Forschungen in Ephesos. Akten des Symposions Wien 1995, Archäologische Forschungen 1, DenkschrWien 260 (Vienna, 1999), 161-8.
6. layout text Roueché, op. cit., 167, nos. 12 and 13. I am grateful to Dr W. Seibt for advice on their resolution.
7. layout text CF, 244 ff.

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