Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

[163] Letter by Initiates Concerning Mysteries of Demeter (88/89 CE) Ephesos - Ionia

Ephesos (Ionia, Asia Minor — Pleiades map), 88/89 CE
AGRW 163 = IEph 213 = NewDocs IV 22 = PHI 247918 = AGRW ID# 1281
Copenhagen Inventory info: 1611


Marble statue base (dimensions unknown). The reading by Riemann (which was largely followed by others) is based on the monument as seen by Cyriacus (Ciriaco) of Ancona in a Byzantine Castle in the 15th century.

To Lucius Mestrius Florus, proconsul, from Lucius Pompeius Apollonios of Ephesos.  Mysteries and sacrifices are performed each year in Ephesos, lord, to Demeter Karpophoros (“Fruit–Bringer”) and Thesmophoros (“Law–Bringer”) and to the Augustan (Sebastoi) gods by initiates (mystai) with great purity and lawful customs, together with the priestesses.  For many years these rites were protected by kings and emperors (Sebastoi), (10) as well as the proconsul of the period, as contained in their enclosed letters.  Accordingly, as the mysteries are pressing upon us during your time of office, through my agency the ones obligated to accomplish the mysteries necessarily petition you, lord, in order that, acknowledging their rights…

Translation by: Harland

Λουκίῳ Μεστρίῳ Φλώρῳ ἀνθυπάτῳ παρὰ | Λουκίου Πομπηίου Ἀπολλωνίου Ἐφεσίου· | μυστήρια καὶ θυσίαι, κύριε, καθ’ ἕκαστον | ἐνιαυτὸν ἐπιτελοῦνται ἐν Ἐφέσῳ Δήμητρι || Καρποφόρῳ καὶ Θεσμοφόρῳ καὶ θεοῖς | Σεβαστοῖς ὑπὸ μυστῶν μετὰ πολλῆς | ἁγνείας καὶ νομίμων ἐθῶν σὺν ταῖς | ἱερίαις, ἀπὸ πλείστων ἐτῶν συντετηρημένα | ἀπὸ βασιλέων καὶ Σεβαστῶν καὶ τῶν || κατ’ ἐνιαυτὸν ἀνθυπάτων, καθὼς αἱ | παρακείμεναι ἐπιστολαὶ αὐτῶν περιέχουσιν· | ὅθεν, ἐπειγόντων καὶ ἐπὶ σοῦ τῶν μυστηρίων, | ἀναγκαίως, κύριε, ἐντυγχάνουσί σοι δι’ | ἐμοῦ οἱ ὠφείλοντες τὰ μυστήρια ἐπιτελεῖν, || ἵνα ἐπιγνοὺς αὐτῶν τὰ δίκαια [— — —]

Item added: December 8, 2011
Item modified: November 6, 2020
ID number: 1281
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