Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

Honors by a Merchant Caravan for Shoadu, part 1 (132 CE) Palmyra - Syria and Phoenicia

Palmyra (Syria and Phoenicia, Greater Syria and the East — Pleiades map), 132 CE
IPalmyra 150 = IOriente 89 = IEuphrat 704 = SEG 15 (1960), no. 849 = PHI 314532 = AGRW ID# 9060


Large console of a column (broken in 15 pieces) discovered in the temple of Baal Shamim in 1954. Now in the museum at Palmyra (no. 134). The honoree, Shoadu (or Soadu), is known from several other inscriptions (including IOriente 92 on this site; see Gawlikowski 1994, 29 and nos. 14-16 of his inventory). At least 17 statues were set up for him between 132 and 147 CE. The Council and the People of Palmyra also honored him (IOriente 157), mentioning his support of the merchant caravans and the fact that Shoadu had established a temple for the Augusti (Sebastoi) at Vologesias (line 23). For more on the four temples mentioned here, see Teixidor 1979, 34-52. The so called "sacred garden" was dedicated to the moon god and the sun god, Aglibol and Malakbel. Also see the relief of Aglibol, Baal Shamin, and Malakbel further below. On the typical caravan routes used by Palmyrene merchants, see the description of IOriente 83.

This was set up in honor of Shoadu, son of Belyada, grandson of Shoadu, a pious man and friend of the homeland who, on many important occasions, helped the merchants (emporoi), the caravans (synodia), and the citizens of Vologesias in a genuine and honor-loving manner.  At no time did he hesitate to offer his self and his resources on behalf of the homeland.   Because of this, he was being honored with decisions, decrees, and statues erected by the People, as well as letters and edicts of the most illustrious Publius Marcellus, lord of consular rank.  Since he has recently saved the caravan coming from Vologesias from the great danger that surrounded the caravan, the same caravan set up four statues on account of his virtue, discernment, and piety.  One statue was set up here in the temple of Zeus (i.e. Baal Shamim [“Lord of the Heavens”] in Palmyrene), one in the sacred garden (which was dedicated to the gods Aglibol and Malakbel), one in the temple of Ares (i.e. Arsu in Palmyrene), and the fourth in the temple of Atargatis.  Hagegu, son of Yarhibola, and Taimarsu, son of Taimarsu, the chiefs of the caravan (synodiarchai) did this in the 443rd year (of the Seleucid era) in the month of Peritios.

(Palmyrene translation follows; see Teixidor 1979, 38 for an English translation of the Palmyrene).

Translation by: Harland

Σοαδον Βωλιαδους τοῦ Σοαδου [εὐσεβῆ καὶ] | φιλόπατριν καὶ ἐν πολλοῖς καὶ [μεγάλοις] | καιροῖς γνησίως κ[αὶ φιλοτείμως] | παραστάντα τοῖς ἐμπό[ροις καὶ ταῖς] || συνοδί[α]ις καὶ τοῖς ἐν Οὐολογασιά[δι] | πολείταις, καὶ π[ά]ντοτε ἀφειδήσαντα | [ψ]υχῆς καὶ οὐσίας ὑπὲρ τῶν τῇ πατρίδι | διαφ[ε]ρόν[τ]ων καὶ διὰ τοῦτο δόγμασι | καὶ ψ[ηφίσ]μασι καὶ ἀνδριᾶσι δημοσίοις || καὶ ἐ[πιστολ]αῖς καὶ διατάγματι Ποβλικίου | Μαρκ[έλλου τοῦ διασ]ημοτάτου κυρίου | ὑπατικ[οῦ τετειμη]μένον, διασώσαντα | δὲ καὶ τὴν [προσφ]άτως ἀπὸ Οὐολογαισιά[δος] | παραγενομέν[ην συν]οδίαν ἐκ τοῦ || περιστάντος αὐ[τ]ὴν μεγάλου κινδύνου, | ἡ αὐτὴ συνοδία, [ἀρετ]ῆς καὶ μεγαλο|φροσύνης [καὶ εὐσεβείας ἕνεκ]α, αὐτοῦ | ἀνδρ[ιάντας τέσσαρας ἀνέστησ]ε, ἕν[α] | μὲ[ν ἐ]νταῦθ[α ἐν ἱερῷ Διός], ἕνα δὲ || [ἐ]ν ἱερῷ ἄλσει, ἕνα δὲ [ἐ]ν ἱε[ρῷ] Ἄρεος | καὶ τὸν τέταρτον ἐν ἱερῷ Ἀταργάτειος | διὰ Αγεγου Ιαριβωλεους καὶ Θαιμαρσου | τοῦ Θαιμαρσου συνοδιάρχων· ἔτους | [γ]μυʹ μηνὸς Περιτίου.

Temple of Baal Shamim (“Lord of the Heavens”) at Palmyra.
Photo by Bernard Gagnon.
Creative Commons license.

Relief depicting Aglibol (lunar deity), Baal Shamin, and Malakbel (solar deity).
First century. Found near Bir Wereb, Wadi Miyah, Syria; now in the Louvre.
Reproduced under a creative commons license (no photographer identified).

Item added: January 3, 2013
Item modified: January 22, 2016
ID number: 9060
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