Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

Honorary Statue Erected for Zebida the Leader of the Society (117 CE) Palmyra - Syria and Phoenicia


Palmyra (Syria and Phoenicia, Asia Minor — Pleiades map), 117 CE
PAT 265 = Moritz Sobernheim, "Palmyrenische Inschriften II," Mitteilungen der vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft 10 (1905) 17–73, at 14 (no. 7 and Taf. IV)  = ID# 9452


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Monument on the console of a column with an Aramaic inscription, found west of the southern stoa. Several inscriptions attest to a marzeah, which is here translated "banqueting-society" but was sometimes used in reference to the "banquet" or "festival" itself. The membership of this particular group consisted of priests of Bel. See IPalmyra 6 (193 CE), 9 (140 CE), 14 (II CE), 15, and 434 (after 162 CE), where the accompanying Greek inscriptions designate the leader of this society a συμποσιάρχης. Nine of the 1200 or so small clay or bronze tokens found in the temple of Bel at Palmyra also make reference to a marzeah or to a leader of a marzeah. There were also such banqueting-societies held by the priests of Belastor and Baal Shamim at Palmyra (PAT 991 [I CE]). However, priests were not the only ones who formed or participated in such banqueting-societies: on this site, see PAT 326 from Palmyra, two inscriptions from Nabatea (at Petra and Oboda), and the Phoenician text that accompanies IG II² 2946 from the Piraeus (cf. PAT 2743 [243 CE], 1358 and 2812 [272-273 CE]). For the notion of the god Yarhibol testifying or witnessing on behalf of a person, see also IPalmyra 223 (ὑπὸ Ἰαριβ[ώ]λου | [τοῦ π]ατρ[ῴ]ου θ[ε]οῦ μαρτ[υ]|ρηθῆναι) and IPalmyra 224. For further discussion of the marzeah and for bibliography, see, most recently, McLaughlin 2001, 35-64 and Kaizer 2002, 213-260.

This is the statue of Zebida, son of Shoadu and grandson of Taimoshamash, which the Council made for him to honor him – the god Yarhibol has testified about him – during his leadership of the banqueting-society (marzēaḥ) of the priests of Bel in the month of Nisan, year 428.

Translation by: John L. McLaughlin



צלמא דנה די זבידא בר שעדו

תימשמש די עבדת לה בולא

לי]קרה וסהד לה ירחבול אלהא]

ברבנות מרזחותה די כמרי בל

(428) בירח ניסן שנת

Item added: January 14, 2013
Item modified: July 2, 2013
ID number: 9452
Short link address:
http://www.philipharland.com/greco-roman-associations/?p=9452

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