Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

Foundation of Memorial Rites During the Mithra Festival for Cyrilla by Initiates (I CE) Amorion - Phrygia

Amorion (Phrygia, Asia Minor — Pleiades map), I CE
William Ramsay, "Inscriptions de Asie Mineure," REG 2 (1889) 17-22 (no. 1) = IMithras 22 = PHI 268960 = AGRW ID# 7022
Copenhagen Inventory info: 491


Large slab of limestone with an inscription on three sides. The Persian festival for Mithra or Mithras (Mithrakana = "belonging to Mithra") is also mentioned by Strabo in his discussion of Armenia (Geograpny 11.14.9). Strabo reports that the satrap of Armenia sent 20,000 horses to the Persian court at the time of the Mithrakana, presumably for sacrifice. This may be the same festival for Mithra referred to by Athenaeus in the third century CE, who quotes Ctesias (V BCE) and Duris (IV BCE) regarding the practice of the Persian king getting drunk and dancing during the festival (Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists 10.434e). So far, Strabo and the present inscription from Amorion are among the earliest clear references to the Mithrakana, which is better attested in the later Zoroastrian sources (and continues as autumn festival Mehrigan in modern Zoroastrianism). For more on Zoroastrian customs and Mithra in Phrygia, see Geoffrey Khan, "In Central and Eastern Asia Minor: Greater Phrygia with Galatia, Cappadocia and Pontus, Cilicia," The Neo-Aramaic dialect of Barwar. Volume 3: Texts (Leiden: Brill, 2008), esp. pp. 257-261.

(Side A)

Initiates of the Zeus tribe (phylē) honored Cyrilla daughter of Antipatros Gaius, who died an untimely death, by dedicating the altar and by buying from Valerius Callistratus a vineyard measuring 150 square feet (literally: one and a half plethra) in Lalandos at the location of Kraonistra for her memorial rites, in order that they may use the income from it each year for the sacrifices before (or: feasts during) the customary Mithrakanian days (i.e. a festival for the Persian god Mithras).  The vineyard continues to bring about the gathering of the initiates from now on and the rest of their responsibilities for themselves, for their descendants, and for their heirs perpetually.  Now if after (?) seven times (i.e. seven years) the initiates no longer perform the rites . . . (three lines largely illegible) . . . to divert . . . (two lines largely illegible) . .  Gaius . . . them as . . . for himself . . .

(Side B)

Antipatros II Gaius has granted the initiates of the Zeus tribe a vineyard measuring 450 square feet (literally: four and a half plethra) which is in Lalandos at the location of Kraonistra, neighboring on the properties of Philotas son of Asklepiades and of the heirs of Sakkalos the Roman, in order that those who were wanting to come together and perform the rites at the grave (herōon) of his daughter Cyrilla may use the profits from it each year during the customary Mithrakanian days.   Now if any of them does not come together, or he does not perform the rites, or his heirs do not take part . . . (final line missing).

(Side C)

(likely continued from side B) . . . the entire vineyard because the initiates have honored his daughter with a marble statue.

Translation by: Harland

(side A)

[φ]υλῆς Διὸς μύσται ἐτίμησαν | [Κ]ύριλλαν Ἀντιπάτρου τοῦ κα[ὶ] | [Γ]αίου θυγατέρα πρόμοιρον, τὸν | βωμὸν καθοσιώσαντες καὶ εἰς || τὴν θρησκείαν τοῦ μνημείου αὐ|τῆς ἀγοράσαντες παρὰ Οὐαλε[ρ]ίου Κ[α]λ|λίστ<ου> ἀμπέλων ἐν Λαλά[νδ]ῳ, τό|πῳ Κρα[ο]νίστρᾳ, πλέθρον ἓν κ[ὲ ἥ]μισ[υ] | ἐχαρίσαντο, ὅπως τὴν ἐξ αὐτῶν πρόσ||[ο]δον καταχρῶνται ταῖς κατὰ ἔτος | [ἐ]θίμοις ἡμέραις το[ῖς] Μιθρακά|[ν]οις προστα[φ]ιάζ[οντες {προσφ̣α[γ]ιάζ[οντες? Robert} δ]ιαμενο[υ]|[σ]ῶν τῶν ἀμπέλων τ[οῖ]ς συνεστῶ|[σιν] ἀπὸ ἄρτι [μ]ύσταις καὶ τὴν λο[ι]||πὴν ἐπιμέλε[ιαν π]οι[ο]υμένοις καὶ ἑ|[αυτ]οῖς καὶ ἐγ[γόν]οι[ς κα]ὶ κλ[ηρον]|[όμοι]ς αὐτῶν εἰς δι[η]νέκειαν [τοῖς] | [ἐθελ]ήσασι [μ]ηδὲν ἐπιβ[αίζεσθαι(?)] | [ἐὰν δ’ ἑπ]τάκις οἱ μύσται μηκέτ[ι] || [θρησκεύ]ωσι εἶν[α]ι τ [— — —] | [— — —] | [— — —] ἐ[ξ]αλ]λοτριῶσαι] | [— — —]ιδια— — —] | [— — —]αντι ον[— — —] || σοιμ[— — — αὐ]τοὺς ὀ Γάϊος | ὡς ἰσ[— — —εν εἰς ἑαυτὸ[ν] | ․․πε[— — —] | ος σ[— — —] | δω[— — —] || ενε[— — —]

(side B)

[Ἀν]τίπατρος βʹ Γαΐο[ς] | [ἔδω]κεν ἐχαρίσατο φυ|λῆς Διὸς μύσταις ἀμ[πέ]|λων τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν Λα||λάνδῳ, τόπῳ Κραονί[σ]|τρᾳ, πλέθρα τέσσαρα ἥμι|συ, γείτοσι Φιλώτᾳ Ἀσκλη|πιάδου καὶ Σακκάλο[υ Ῥω]|μαίου κληρονόμοι[ς], || ὅπως τὴν ἐξ αὐτῶν [καρ]|πείαν καταχρᾶσθαι {ν} ἐ[θέ]|λοῦσιν οἱ συνερχόμε|νοι καὶ θρησκεύοντες [ἡ]|ρῷον Κυρίλλης τῆς θυ[γα]||τρὸς αὐτοῦ κατὰ ἔτος | ταῖς ἐθίμοις ἡμέραις | τοῖς Μιθρακάνοις· [ἐὰν] | δέ τις αὐτῶν μὴ σ[υνέλθῃ] | ἢ μὴ συν[θ]ρησκ[εύῃ αὐτὸς] || ἢ κληρονόμ[οι αὐτοῦ οἱ] | συν[μ]ετ[έχοντες — —] | [— — —]

(side C)

[ἀμπ]έλων τὸ καθόλου διὰ τὸ τ|[ε]τιμῆσθαι τὴν θυγατέρα αὐτ[οῦ] | [ὑ]πὸ τῶν μυστῶν καὶ ἀγάλματ[ι] | μαρμαρέῳ.

Item added: December 3, 2012
Item modified: October 18, 2020
ID number: 7022
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