Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

[155] Grave of Diodoros with Bequest to Purple-Dyers (ca. 190-250 CE) Hierapolis - Phrygia

Hierapolis (Phrygia, Asia Minor — Pleiades map), ca. 190-250 CE
AGRW 155 = IHierapJ 227 = Charles Picard and Charles Avezou, "Le testament de la prêtresse thessalonicienne," BCH 38 (1914) 51-53 = IPhrygR 28 + 412 = PHI 271841 = AGRW ID# 1194
Copenhagen Inventory info: 143


Grave on the west side before the fork in the road in the northern necropolis. The “foundling guild” (tēs ergasias tēs thrematikēs) mentioned near the end of this bequest may be a reference to a group of cattle-breeders or some other occupation dealing with foundlings. William Ramsay's suggestion that this inscription is Christian is based primarily on his perception that the language is "unusual" "on many points" (see IPhrygR 28), which is not a sufficient basis for identifying an inscription as Christian, and his own highly speculative interpretation of the "foundling guild" as a reference to an orphanage (see IPhrygR 412; i.e. human foundlings rather than animals as in my interpretation in the translation here).

(A) This grave and the area around it, together with the underlying base, belong to Marcus Aurelius Diodoros Koreskos, also known as Asbolos. In it, he, his wife and his children will be buried. I will bury whomever I want around it. It is not lawful for anyone else to be buried here. But if someone does so, that one must pay a fine of 500 denarii to the most holy treasury and 500 denarii to the most sacred elders’ council (gerousia). However much you give life, oh friend passing by, know that this is the fulfilment of your life!

(B) He has also left behind 3000 denarii for the sanhedrin (synedrion) of the presidency of the purple-dyers (porphyrobapheis) for burning the incence on the customary day using the interest from the funds. But if anyone is neglectful of his role in burning the incense, the funds that are left behind are to be used by the cattle (?) breeders’ guild (ergasia). And my wife will also be buried here.

Translation by: Harland


ἡ σορὸς καὶ ὁ περὶ αὐτὴν τόπος σὺν τῷ ὑποκιμένῳ βαθρικῷ | Μάρ(κου) Αὐ(ρηλίου) Διοδώρου Κορήσκου ἐπίκλην Ἀσβόλου, ἐν ᾗ κηδευθήσεται | αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ κὲ τὰ τέκνα αὐτοῦ· περιών τε κηδεύσω | ὃν ἂν βουληθῶ· ἑτέρῳ δὲ οὐδενὶ ἔξεστει κηδευθῆναι· εἰ δὲ μή, ἀποτείσι || προστείμου τῷ ἱερωτάτῳ ταμείῳ ⚹ (δην.) φ' καὶ τῇ σεμνοτάτῃ γερουσίᾳ ⚹ (δην.) φ'. | ὅσον ἂν πορίσῃς βίον, ὦ φίλε παροδεῖτα, εἰδὼς ὅτι τὸ τέλος ὑμῶ[ν] | τοῦ βίου ταῦτα.


κατέλειψα δὲ καὶ τῷ συνεδρίῳ | τῆς προεδρίας τῶν πορφυρα|βάφων ⚹ (δην.) γ' ἰς ἀποκαυσμὸν | τῶν παπων τῇ ἐθίμῳ ἡμέρᾳ | ἐκ τοῦ τόκου αὐτῶν· εἰ δέ τις ἀμελήσει || αὐτῶν τὸ μὴ ἀποκαῦσαι, γενέσθαι τὸ | καταλελειμένον τῆς ἐργασίας τῆς θρεμ|ματικῆς. κηδευθήσεται δὲ καὶ ἡ γυνή.

Item added: December 4, 2011
Item modified: October 18, 2020
ID number: 1194
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