Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

[90] Dedication of a Relief of a Figure Mounted on a Horse (104 CE) Tanais - Bosporan region

Tanais (Bosporan region, Danube and Black Sea areas — Pleiades map), 104 CE
AGRW 90 = IBosp 1259 = PHI 184000 = AGRW ID# 1839
Copenhagen Inventory info: 1322


Slab of white marble decorated with a relief of a mounted horseman (dressed in the Sarmatian / Iranian manner) as an altar blazes before him (74 x 22-29 x 13 cm; letter height 1.5-2 cm). Found at Tanais in 1913, now in Novocherkassk Museum of the History of Don Cossacks (inv. II-198). Yulia Ustinova (1999, 192-95) argues that this is likely a depiction of the Sarmatian (Iranian) deity Theos Hypsistos, but it may also be a royal figure (Sauromates I). Although the patron deity of the group is unnamed, two suggestions have been made. On the one hand, the patron deity may be Theos Hypsistos, since that is the god attested in most associations at Tanais, associations which also share the same leadership structure (e.g. father, synagogue-leader, and goodness-loving official). On the other hand, Knipovich, Vinogradov and Ivantchik (see Ivanchik 2008) restore line 3 differently, and argue that the god in question is the river god Tanais.

During the reign of king Tiberius Sauromates, friend of Caesar and friend of the Romans, pious one, in the year 401 (Bosporan era), celebrating the 9th (?). . . day of Tanais (or: celebrating the day of the god (?). . . Tanais) in the month of Apellaios, this was set up by those gathered around the priest, Xenon son of Eros; the synagogue-leader (synagōgos), Gaius son of Chariton; the goodness-loving official (philagathos), Neikostratos II; and, the assistant to the goodness-loving official (paraphilagathos), Euporos son of Makaros. Of the rest of the society-members (thiasitai): Metrophanes, son of Alexandros, Herakleides son of Pabas, Kalligenes son of Theneikos, Dadas son of Theneikos, Thorax son of Gastes, Eros son of Zenobios, Boidas son of Apollonios, Sousas son of Pabas, Attas son of Diophantos, Ariston son of Deios, Mastous son of Papias, Theagenes son of Metrophanes, and Eukrates (?) son of Psycharion.

Translation by: Harland

βασιλεύοντος βασιλ[έ]|ως Τιβερίου Σαυρομάτου | φιλοκαίσαρος καὶ φιλο|ρωμαίου, [[․ . c.4-5 ․ .]] εὐσε||βοῦς, ἔτους αυʹ ἄ[γ]οντες θ[․] {θε[ού] (Vinogradov, Ivantchik)} | ἡμέραν Τανάϊδος μηνὶ Ἀ̣|πελλαίου αιʹ περὶ {ἱε}ρέα Ξένων | Ἔρωτος καὶ συναγωγὸν Γάϊον̣ | Χαρίτωνος καὶ φιλάγαθο[ν] || Νεικόστρατον βʹ καὶ παρ[α]|φιλάγαθον Εὔπορον Μακά[ρ]|ου καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν θιεσειτῶν | Μητροφάνης Ἀλεξάνδρου̣, | Ἡρακλείδης Πάβα, || [Κ]α̣λ̣λ̣ι̣γένης Θεονείκου, | Δάδας Θεονείκου, | Θώραξ Γάστει, | Ἔρως Ζηνοβίου, | Βοΐδας Ἀπολλωνίου̣, || Σούσας Πάβα, | Ἄττας Διοφάντου, | Ἀρίστων Δείου, | Μαστοῦς Παπία, | [Θ]εαγένης Μητροφάνου, || [Εὐκ?]ρ̣άτης Ψυχαρίωνος.

Item added: June 15, 2012
Item modified: October 4, 2020
ID number: 1839
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