Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation (run by Philip A. Harland)

Building [B7]: Sarapis Sanctuary A (ca. 200 BCE-88 BCE) Delos - Southwestern islands


Delos (Southwestern islands, Aegean Islands), ca. 200 BCE
Roussel 1916, 19-32 (pdf of archaeological report) = Kleibl 2009, 211-217 = Nielsen 2014, 127-128 = McLean 1996, 205-211 = White 1997, 1.33-40  = ID# 23621


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Relevant inscriptions on this site: RICIS 202/0101 (= IG XI,4 1299); RICIS 202/0114 = IG XI,4 1216; RICIS 202/0115 = IG XI,4 1217 (all ca. 200 BCE). For all inscriptions found in the building, see RICIS 202/0101, 0114-0131.

Description: Located in the area designated the “Terrace of the Foreign Gods” on the lower part of mount Kynthos (see plan), Sarapieion A was built around 200 BCE by a third-generation Egyptian immigrant who, like his father and grandfather, had previously served as priest of Sarapis within rented quarters, likely within a household setting (see RICIS 202/0101 = IG XI,4 1299 on this site).  That inscription claims that the god himself arranged to have this purpose-built sanctuary established.  The area was excavated by Roussel in 1911 and 1912.  The excavated sanctuary was an extension of an existing complex (insula) and measured 19.5 x 15.5 m (302 m squared).  The main entrance to the courtyard was from the street to the north.  Within the sanctuary, a small temple (A in the plan, measuring 4.1 x 3.2 m) was entered from the courtyard, and there was a water basin in the eastern part of the temple (supplied with water from the Inopos reservoir).  In the southern section was a separate portico (C) with three niches.  The dining room (E, measuring 4.4 x 7 m), which originally belonged to the adjacent house and was entered from a staircase at the main entrance to the north, was fitted with inscribed benches dedicated by the group of therapeutists (in this case therapeuontes; see RICIS 202/0114-0115 on this site).  As Michael White argues, it may be that this adjacent house was, in fact, the rented quarters previously used as the temple.  The building was destroyed in 88 BCE.  Among the finds within the sanctuary were a statuette of Anubis and an offering receptacle (see RICIS 202/0124 on this site).

Translation by: Harland



Plan of the so-called Terrace of the Foreign Gods.Adapted from Bruneau and Ducat 1983 (plate 5, plan 4).

Plan of the so-called Terrace of the Foreign Gods.
Adapted from Bruneau and Ducat 1983 (plate 5, plan 4).

Plan of Sarapieion A.Roussel 1916, 21 (plate 1). Public domain.

Plan of Sarapieion A.
Roussel 1916, 21 (plate 1). Public domain.

Item added: March 23, 2016
Item modified: April 10, 2016
ID number: 23621
Short link address:
http://www.philipharland.com/greco-roman-associations/?p=23621

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