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Religion and Society in Ancient Thessaly$

Maria Mili

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718017

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718017.001.0001

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(p.346) (p.347) Appendix 3 Catalogue of Social/Religious Groups Attested in the Epigraphic Record

(p.346) (p.347) Appendix 3 Catalogue of Social/Religious Groups Attested in the Epigraphic Record

Religion and Society in Ancient Thessaly
Oxford University Press

Atrax (Northern Thessaly)

A large dedicatory marble stele (103 x 84 x 14) dated to the end of the fourth century BC bears on its upper part the following inscription: Oἱ Ἱπποτά[δαι].‎ The group could be identified either as a phratry, a genos, or even as a private religious association, possibly connected with a cult of Poseidon.1 The restoration, however, can be doubted. For a list of names called ἱππόται‎ from various Thessalian cities, found at Scotoussa see Tziafalias (2000a) 87 and section 2.1.

Another group, the κοινόν τῶν Ἡρακλειστάων‎, is attested in a late third-century dedicatory inscription to Heracles.2 The inscription lists ten names after the name of the priest. The nature of the group is uncertain.3

For the κοινόν τῶv Βουκόλων‎ recorded on a stele of the first half of the third century BC, see section

A puzzling third- or fourth-century dedicatory inscription runs as follows: Ἄρχοντες ΟΡΑΟΙ Στασίδαμος/Ἀγάσιππος Βάττας/ἐστάσαεν‎.5 No satisfactory explanation for the name has been given.6 It has been suggested that the peculiar word ΟΡΑΟΙ‎ was the name of a kinship group, perhaps a syngeneia, whose officials, each coming from a genos, made the dedication.

An unpublished inscription from the same city also refers to the ΟΡΑΟΙ‎. According to preliminary information, the group of ΟΡΑΟΙ‎ were involved in some kind of treaty.7 According to Garcia Ramon, Helly, and Tzifalias in order to be part of this group one had to be free, take part in certain activities, and be isotimos.8

The phylai of Atrax (Βουλεπαρίδαι, Εὐμενίδαι, Ὁδαίδαι, [Φυλ(ι)ού]νδαι, Αὐρογιούνδαι, Δαμούνδαι, Κονθίδαι, Ἀθαναίδαι, Ἁγειμούνδαι, Ῥινυούνδαι, Θαμιεῖοι‎ and Ὀροβίδαι‎) and the genos of Κελαίνδαι‎ are known from an unpublished inscription dated to the end of the third or the beginning of the second century BC, for which see (p.348) also the discussion in section 2.2. The Αὐρογιούνδαι‎ were known also from a couple of honorary decrees.

The existence of a group called Ἁρπάδαι‎ has been inferred from an inscription dated in the first half of the second century BC and found at the area where the agora of Atrax is located.9 According to the publisher, it records a boundary dispute between Aggeiai, a city in Dolopia, and another city not mentioned in the inscription. But this is not clear from the inscription, and Aggeiai could still be the name of a place around Atrax. In the description of the disputed terrain the plural genitive Ἁρπάδων‎ is mentioned. The Ἁρπάδαι‎ were according to Tziafalias the name of a phratry, but is could as well be the name of a village community, or refer to the property of a gentilician or a family group with that name.

A group called Σιμμίδαι‎ counting twenty members and perhaps headed by two tagoi is known from a fourth-century dedication to Zeus Thaulios.10

Gonnoi (Perrhaibia)

A late fourth-century stele with the following fragmentary inscription might have been dedicated by a gentilician group: …ΙΔΑΙ Ἀθηνᾶι Πατρωίαι‎.11

Kontogiannis published a fourth-century fragmentary dedication to Apollo Aisonios, which runs as follows: Οἱ ΣΥΝ‎ [………]/σίδαι Ἀπόλλ[ωνι]/Αἱσωνίωι‎.12 He suggested that the ending in idai at the beginning of the second line indicates that this was possibly the dedication of a gentilician group.

Krannon (Central Thessaly)

An inscription from Krannon preserves a list of names which are divided under the following rubrics: Μενανδρίδαι‎ (eighty-eight members), Βοιούνιδαι‎ (possibly forty-three), Ὀλυμπιάδαι‎ (possibly forty), and Σιμαιθίδαι‎ (eight).13 The publishers of the inscription believe that it was a list of members of a civic group. They concluded that the document is a list of phratry or syngeneia members, since the Simaithidai is too small a group to be a phyle and the Olympiadai include several members who carry the personal name Scopas and, therefore, should be considered as the wider group to which the genos of Scopadai belonged.14 Two objections exist: first, the purpose of the document is not clear and it is not necessary to interpret it as a complete list of all the members of the groups in question, so the possibility that the groups are phylai should not be excluded.15 Secondly, the argument against seeing it as a list of gene relies on the identification of Scopads with a genos; and this is not proven.16

(p.349) A phyle called Ἀγελάοι‎ is mentioned in a third-century honorary decree, while the phyle of Ὀνθυρεῖς‎ is mentioned in a second-century decree, but has been traditionally associated with the city of Metropolis.17

Larisa (North-eastern Thessaly)

A stele found on the acropolis of ancient Larisa and dated in the fourth or third century BC lists the names of thirty groups with a patronymic ending in idai/adai18: Πε…‎., Βολιουνίδαι, Κατου[ί]δαι, Παλλιονίδαι, Ἰλάδαι, Ἀκαστίδαι, Φολλίδαι, Κραννίδαι, Ἐπειγάδαι, Ὀξιοῦ[ν]δαι, Θρουιᾶται, Αὐματιάδαι, Κανάδαι, Κουκκίδαι, Ἀσυλιοῦνδαι, Κανδάδαι, Ποιδίδαι, Ἀψιάδαι, Ὀρφίδαι, Ἰκκίδαι, Γλαυκίδαι, Λισσίδαι, Σιρβύδαι, Ἀχυργίδαι, Μελαντάδ[αι], Χαλαιμάδ[αι], Εὐρόνδαι, Γυλιάδαι Αἰγινυμίδαι, Φρυγαννίδαι‎. The groups are certainly not phylai, since they are too many and in the list none of the known phylai of Larisa is mentioned. Scholars are divided in seeing them either as names of gene, or as phratries.19 For the interpretation of these names as gene much depends on whether one considers the Aleuads as a genos (in which case one has to explain their absence; of course, the list might not be a complete one; we do not know the nature of the document), or as an oikos.

A phyle called Βοᾶτες‎ is mentioned in a third-century honorary decree;20 and another one called Θαμιεῖοι‎ in an unpublished inscription.21

A Hellenistic inscription, which was possibly set up in the area of the agora, records the dedication to Zeus Homoloios by a group called the Ἀνδραγαθίδαι οἱ ἐν Κυλιάδαις‎.22 Kyliadai could be identified as a toponym; it could have been the name of a Larisean village (or deme?). In this case the Andragathidai could be the name of a phyle, a phratry, or a genos.23 The fact that they are further defined as those living in Kyliadai would indicate that, whatever type of group they were, this cut across any territorial divisions.

A fourth-century Larisean inscription records the dedication of the Κοινόν τῶν Σουιδάουν‎, which counted twelve members, to Heracles. It is unknown what kind of Koinon they were.24

IG IX2 589, a second-century inscription, has been restored as follows: [Σαράπιδι Ἴσιδι] Ὥρωι, Ἀνούβιδι/[τὸ κοινὸν τῶν‎..] ωριαστῶν/…..Ἀριστοκλέους/[τὸν κτίστην κ (p.350) αὶ] εὐεργέτην‎. De Sanctis has suggested the reading τὸ κοινὸν τῶν Ἀζωριαστῶν‎, and Darmezin and Tziafalias see it as a dedication by an association of citizens who were originally from Azoros.25

Metropolis (Western Thessaly)

For the group of the Basaidai see section 2.2. A phyle called Ὀνθύρεις‎ known from a second-century inscription found at Krannon is traditionally associated with Metropolis.26

Mopsion (North-eastern Thessaly)

From honorary decrees we know the names of two phylai, the Λυκίδαι‎ and the]ΧΟΥ‎[….27

Nevestiki (Magnesia)

A mid-sixth-century inscription found at Nevestiki in Magnesia concerning the construction of a building has the following text: Ἀνδροqύδης ἔqρουσε/Qόλουρος δικαστορεύFων/ἔτευξε ὁ Παισιάδας τὸ τέγος‎. The first publisher of the inscription has suggested that Androkydes, Qolouros, and Paisiadas were three different people, but it has convincingly been suggested that the inscription refers only to two people, Androkydes and Qolouros. Paisiadas, on the other hand, must refer to Qolouros, the person who provided the roof while he was a judge.28 Jeffery and Guarducci argued that Paisiadas was a patronymic, but their suggestion has been refuted by Masson and Morpurgo-Davies, who pointed out that this form of patronymic is not attested in Thessaly and that Paisiadas must, therefore, be the nominative of an adjective denoting membership of a social group, such as a phratry or a genos.29

Phalanna (Perrhaibia)

An unpublished inscription refers to the dedication by a group called ἄγχιστοι‎ to the Patrooi Theoi.30

(p.351) Pharsalos (Central Thessaly)

Two inscriptions refer to a group called Ἀγυιᾶται‎.31 Both were found reused in modern private houses. The first, dated in the first half of the fourth century BC, records a dedication by the Agyiatai, when archons were Sosandros and Asandros: τοί Ἀγυιᾶται ἀνέ[θη]/καν ἀρχόντων Σοσ[άν]/δρο, Ἀσάνδρο‎.32 The second inscription is dated to the second half of the fourth century and records the dedication of a certain Trochilos, archon of the Agyiatai, after his victory at the Pythia: Τροχίλος ἀνέθηκεν/ἄρχων τοῖς Ἀγυιάταις/εὐξάμενος Πυθιάδα/αἴκε νικάσε‎.33 There is little we can say about the nature of the group of Agyiatai. It has been suggested that they were a local cultic organization, possibly the inhabitants of a street or a kome, as is indicated by their name which derives from the word agyia (road), the ending in atai, and an entry in Hesychius which glosses the ἀγυιῆται‎ as κωμῆται, γείτονες‎.34 But the group could just as well have been a phyle, a phratry, a genos, or a private religious organization, which took its name from the cult of the god around which it was centred: the cult of Apollo Agyieus—once called Agyiatas in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (1081 and 1086)—is known in Athens and other places of the Greek world and Agyieus is also attested as a cult epithet for Zeus and Dionysus.35 The archon of the group Trochilos, victor at the Pythian games, possibly belonged to the upper classes of society, but this tell us little about the group over which he was officiating.36

For a group called ἄγχιστοι‎ see section 2.5.

(p.352) Pherai (South-eastern Thessaly)

For the groups of Sorsikidai and Kotilidai that may or may not have come from Pherai see section 2.1. The full text on the inscription is the following: Εὐύεργέται Χαλκιδεῖ/Πετθαλοὶ ἐέδώκαιεν προ/ξενίαν καὶ ἀάσυλίαν καὶ ἀά/[τέ]λειαν καὶ/αὐτῶι καὶ γενε/ᾶι προστατευόντων Σορ/σικιδάων καὶ Κωτιλιδάων.


A late fourth-/early third-century honorary decree mentions the phyle Οἰλυκίδαι‎.37


(1) Tziafalias (1984b) 200 no. 37 identifies them as a phratry/family and suggests that it was a dedication to Poseidon.

(2) Tziafalias (1984a) 201 no. 69 originally read Ἠρακλει(ο)δάων‎, but in AD 34 (1979) Chron. 226 n. 20, gives the reading Ἠρακλειστάων‎.

(3) Tziafalias (1984a) originally suggested they were a phratry. But see Decourt and Tziafalias (2001) 147, where they are simply described as a college.

(4) Tziafalias (1984b) 198 no. 28.

(5) Tziafalias (1984b) 198 no. 26: third century; Helly, BE (1988) no. 706: fourth century.

(6) Tziafalias (1984b) 231 no. 26, suggested that the word ΟΡΑΟΙ‎ might be a miswritten genitive of ὄρος‎ (mountain) and identifies them as a phratry of shepherds. B. Helly, BE (1988) 706 and (1995) 33, who suggests it is a dedication to the Horai (seasons). Darmezin and Tziafalias (2007) 26 air the idea that the word came from ὅρος‎ (border, frontier).

(7) Darmezin and Tziafalias (2007) 26.

(8) García Ramón, Helly, and Tziafalias (2007) 84.

(9) Tziafalias (1984a) 178 no. 1.

(10) P. Chrysostomou (1998) 236 n. 918; Decourt and Tziafalias (2001) 147.

(11) Tziafalias (1984b) no. 78.

(12) Kontogiannis (2000) 136.

(13) Decourt and Tziafalias (2001) 148.

(14) Decourt and Tziafalias (2001) 146–7. There is some confusion in the argument: while the authors reject the idea that the groups are gene, later on they imply that the groups are subdivisions of a phratry, or syngeneia, similar to the four geneai of the Basaidai.

(15) Decourt and Tziafalias (2001) 144, 148 entertain among other possibilities the idea that the document records the enrolment of new citizens in the civic corps of Krannon.

(16) Note also the possibility that not everybody called Scopas need necessarily to have belonged to the Scopads. A gymnasiarchon called Aleuas is known from Pherai: Helly, Riele, and van Rossum (1998).

(17) IG IX 2 458; Habicht (1970) 139–47.

(18) IG IX 2 524. Helly (1995) 322 n. 132 saw the stele in the Museum of Volos and prefers a dating in the third century.

(19) Gene: Meyer (1909) 236 followed by Axenidis (1947a) 73–4, argues that this is a list of those allowed access to the free agora; Sordi (1958a) 333, who suggested that the two letters ΠΕ‎ in the first line stood form Πεττθαλοὶ‎ and the twenty-nine names were the gene which could participate in the federal council; Helly (1995) 322 n. 132. Phratries: De Sanctis (1898) 56; Guarducci (1937) 328; Decourt and Tziaphalias (2001) 147.

(20) IG IX 2 513.

(21) It is mentioned in Darmezin and Tziafalias (2007) 25.

(22) The inscription was found reused at 8 Rousvelt Street together with other inscriptions: AD 34 (1979) Chron. 217 no. 3.

(23) Tziafalias (1984b) 216 no. 96, where he suggested that Andragathidai was the name of a phratry and Kyliadai that of a phyle; Decourt and Tziafalias (2001) 147 call them phratry or genos; Darmezin and Tziafalias (2007) 28 call them a genos.

(24) IG IX 2 580; SEG 35 (1985) no. 604. The personal name Souidas is attested at various Thessalian cities. Kontogiannis (1985) 119 calls them a phratry.

(25) De Sanctis (1898) 57 no. 68; Darmezin and Tziafalias (2007) 28. Dunand (1973) ii. 51 no. 4 had proposed that it was dedication by a professional association of charioteers, the κοινὸν τῶν Συνωριαστῶν‎. But Lucas (1992a) 263 no. 5 asserts that the letter Z can be read on the inscription and follows thus the reading of De Sanctis.

(26) Habicht (1970) 139–47.

(27) García Ramón, Helly, and Tziafalias (2007) 67 no. 4, 68 no. 5.

(28) Arvanitopoulos (1929b) 216–20. Contra: Jeffery (1990) 97, 99; Guarducci (1967) 358; Masson (1968) 98–9. See also Gallavotti (1975–6) and (1979) 50, who accepts as personal names only Androkydes and Paisiadas, and argues that the word Qolouros is formed by a crase between καὶ‎ and ὀλούρος‎, which he associates with Hesychius s.v. ὀλούροισιν. ἄνω τῆς θύρας στρόφιγγες‎.

(29) Masson (1965) 227–34 and (1968) 99–100; Morpurgo-Davies (1968) 91 n. 4.

(30) Tziafalias (2000b) 100; section 2.5.

(31) Mastrokostas (1964) 307–9 suggested that the Agyiatai were the gods to which the dedication was offered. But De Sanctis (1898) 66 no. 85; Helly (1995) 316; Decourt (1995) no. 75 argued convincingly against that.

(32) The form τοί Ἀγυιᾶται‎ follows a form of nominative plural attested in other Aiolian dialects, but for the first time encountered in the Thessalian one: Blümel (1982) 265.

(33) Decourt (1995) no. 74, argued that the dative τοῖς Ἀγυιάταις‎ depends on ἀνέθηκεν‎ and, thus, Trochilos offered the dedication to his group. Contra: B. Helly, BE (1996) no. 1.

(34) De Sanctis (1898) 66; Decourt (1995) 96; Kontogiannis (1992) 387 n.27; Helly (1995) 316. For the word agyia: Christol (1979).

(35) For the cult of the Apollo Agyieus in Athens: Cook (1914–40) v. 160–6; Farnell (1896–1909) iv. 148–9; Nilsson (1961) 65–83; in Arcadia: Jost (1985) 232, 483–5; in north-west Greece: Tzouvara-Souli (1984). For the cult in general see also Gaifman (2012) 271–89. For Zeus Agyieus at Chios: Graf (1985) 32 n. 101. Other possibilities exist: note that Pausanias 10.5.7 mentions that a hero called Agyieus built together with Pagasos the first temple of Apollo at Delphi. Pagasos might have a Thessalian connection and be related to the city Pagasai. Dr J. Coulton suggested to me that they might have been responsible for the maintenance of a particular street. See e.g. Pouilloux (1983) 217–19, who argues that agyia was the technical name of the road that led to the stadium of Delphi. Contra: Aupert (1979) 174.

(36) Fourth-century lavish dedications by Thessalian athletes, such as the statues of Agias from Pharsalos (IG IX 2 249), and Polydamas from Scotoussa (Paus. 6.5.1), both made by Lysippos, and the much-discussed Daochos monument at Delphi for which see most recently Jacquemin (1999) 436 no. 391; Jacquemin and Laroche (2001), which commemorates both athletic victories and political office, might indicate that participation in sports was still during that period in Thessaly a pastime of the upper classes. But see Decourt (1995) no. 96, who suggests that Trochilos competed at some local Pythia, because of the humble nature of the votive. But this might not have been the sole offering.

(37) AD 43 (1988) Chron. 282.