Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

Grave of Aristeas and a Neighbourhood Association (215-295 CE) Akmoneia - Phrygia

Akmoneia (Phrygia, Asia Minor — Pleiades map), 215-295 CE
IJO II 171 = IPhrygR 455-57 = PHI 272602 = AGRW ID# 5471
Copenhagen Inventory info: 493


This grave assigns the role of decorating the grave with roses (most likely at the time of the Roman Rosalia festival) to a neighborhood association. The neighborhood apparently receives digging "implements with prongs" in return and something else that involves "leading" and "digging", perhaps an excavated aqueduct. The meaning of these lines is not entirely clear. The final warning regarding the "justice of the god" may point to the Christian identity (Ramsay) or, more likely, Judean identity (Robert, Hellenica 11-12 [1960] 410-412) of the family and, perhaps, of the neighborhood association. Mathios (the name of the seller of the burial ground) is, most likely, a semitic name.

(A) … Aurelius (?) … Aristeas son of … Apollonios (?)… purchased the unused burial ground from Marcus Mathios, measuring ten cubits by ten cubits in the year … (see A, lines 6–10, below for later addition inserted here).  (B) Promising two pitchforks, a spade, and a hoe to the neighbourhood (geitosynē) of those in area of the first gateway (protopyleitai), he gave them on condition that they decorate the grave with roses yearly for my wife, Aurelia.  (C) … But if they are not willing (?) … to decorate it with roses each year, it will be in the hands of the justice of the God.

(A, lines 6–10, added later in smaller letters in a second hand): His (i.e. Aristeas’) children, Alexandros and Kallistratos prepared this as a memorial for their mother and father.

Translation by: Harland and Kloppenborg

(A) [Αὐρ. Ἀ]ριστέας [Ἀπολ]ǀλωνίου ἠγόραǀσεν ἀργὸν τόπον ǀ παρὰ Μάρκου Μαθ[ί]ǀǀου {πή(χεων)} ιʹ ἐπὶ ιʹ. ἔτει̣ [․]ʹ. ǀ {Later addition in small letters:} κατεσκεύασαν τὰ τέǀκνα αὐτοῦ Ἀλέξανǀδρος καὶ Καλλίστραǀ[τ]ος μητρὶ καὶ πατρὶ ǀǀ [μνήμ]ης χάριν.

(B) ὑποσχόμενος τῇ ǀ [γ]ειτοσύνῃ τῶν πρ[ω]ǀτ̣οπυλειτῶν ἄρμ[ε]ǀνα δικέ[λ]λα[ς] ǀǀ δύο κα̣[ὶ] ἄμην ǀ καὶ λ[ίστρο]ν ὀρυ[κ]ǀτὸν ἔδωκεν ǀ ἐφ’ ᾧ κατὰ ἔτος ῥ[ο]ǀδίσωσιν την σύμβ[ι]ǀǀόν μου Αὐρηλίαν.

(C) [ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἐθέλωσιν] ῥοδίσαι κατὰ ἔτος, ǀ [ἔσ]ται αὐτοῖς πρὸ[ς] ǀ [τὴ]ν δικαιοσύ[ν]ǀ[ην] τοῦ θεοῦ.

Item added: November 9, 2012
Item modified: October 18, 2020
ID number: 5471
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