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 Synod and by Epicureans for a Philosopher and Priest (II CE) Rhodiapolis - Lycia

Rhodiapolis (Lycia, Asia Minor — Pleiades map), II CE
GRA 146 = TAM II 910 = IGR III 733 = PHI 284800 = AGRW ID# 6120


Square altar (112 x 65 cm). Here Herakleitos is honored by both a theatrical synod and a group of Epicureans. The notion that groups of philosophers might be considered an association is attested elsewhere. Although not stated, Herakleitos is likely a philosopher of the Epicurean school. Although many Epicureans emphasized that the gods distanced themselves from human affairs (and therefore practices such as divination were criticized), there are several other epigraphical instances of Epicurean philosophers serving as cultic functionaries including: Aurelius Belios Philippos, priest of Bel (Baal) and head of the Epicureans at Apamea in Syria (120-250 CE); Tiberius Claudius Lepidus, high-priest of the imperial cult at Amastris in Pontus (CIG III 4149; ca. 160 CE) and leader of the Epicureans (according to Lucian of Samosata in Alexander the False-Prophet); and, Philidas, "prophet" and "Epicurean philosopher" at Miletos (IDidyma 285; II-III CE). See Martin Ferguson Smith, "An Epicurean Priest from Apamea in Syria," ZPE 112 (1996) 120-130. The honoree, Herakleitos, is attested in another dedication to Asklepios (TAM II 906):

[θεῷ ἐπηκόῳ Ἀσκληπιῷ κ]αὶ Ὑγείᾳ καὶ Σεβαστοῖς καὶ τῇ πατρίδι ǀ [τὸν ναὸν κατεσκεύασεν] καὶ τὰ ἀγάλματα ἀνέθηκεν καὶ τὸν ǀ [βωμὸν ἵδρυσεν (?) ἐκ τῶν ἰδ]ίων Ἡράκλειτος Ἡρακλείτου Ὀρείου Ῥοδιαǀ[πολείτης φιλόπ]ατρις, ὁ διὰ βίου ἱερεύς.

… This was dedicated to Asklepios, who listens to prayer, (?) … to Hygeia, to the Augusti, and to the homeland. Herakleitos son of Herakleitos, son of Oreios, Rhodiapolitan, friend of the homeland, and priest for life, … built the temple (?)…, dedicated the statues, and … set up the altar from his own resources (?).

This was dedicated to Asklepios and Hygeia.  The Council and the People (dēmos) of Rhodiapolis and the elders’ council (gerousia) honoured with perpetual, yearly honours Herakleitos son of Herakleitos, son of Oreios, a citizen and Rhodian, friend of the homeland, priest of Asklepios and Hygeia.  They honoured him with a golden image and with a statue of Education personified.  He was likewise honoured by the Alexandrians, the Rhodians, the Athenians, the (10) most sacred council of Areopagos, the Epicurean philosophers at Athens, and the sacred theatrical synod as foremost physician of his era, writer and poet of medical and philosophical works, whom they consider to be the Homer of medical poetry.  He has been honoured with freedom from public service.  He has practiced medicine without reimbursement.  He has constructed a temple and erected statues for Asklepios and Hygeia.  He has dedicated his treatises and (20) poetic works to his homeland, to the Alexandrians, to the Rhodians, and to the Athenians.  He has freely given 15,000 silver denarii to his homeland for distributions and competitions of Asklepios.  His homeland also honoured him with the foremost seats at civic events.

Translation by: Harland

Ἀσκληπιῶι καὶ Ὑγίαι. | Ῥοδιαπολειτῶν ἡ βουλὴ καὶ ὁ δῆμος | καὶ ἡ γερουσία ἐτείμησαν ταῖς διηνε̣| κέσιν κατ’ ἔτος τειμαῖς Ἡράκλειτον̣ || Ἡρακλείτου Ὀρείου τὸν πολείτην καὶ | Ῥόδιον, φιλόπατριν, ἱερέα Ἀσκληπιοῦ | καὶ Ὑγίας ἰκόνι ἐπιχρύσῳ καὶ τῷ τῆς | παιδείας ἀνδριάντι· ὃν ἐτείμησαν ὁμοί|ως Ἀλεξανδρεῖς Ῥόδιοι Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ ἡ || ἱερωτάτη Ἀρεοπαγειτῶν βουλὴ καὶ οἱ | Ἀθήνησιν Ἐπικούρειοι φιλόσοφοι καὶ ἡ | ἱερὰ θυμελικὴ σύνοδος, πρῶτον ἀπ’ αἰ|ῶνος ἰατρὸν καὶ συνγραφέα καὶ ποιη|τὴν ἔργων ἰατρικῆς καὶ φιλοσοφίας, || ὃν ἀνέγραψαν ἰατρικῶν ποιημάτων | Ὅμηρον εἶναι, ἀλιτουργησίᾳ τιμηθέντα, | ἰατρεύσαντα προῖκα, ναὸν κατασκευ|άσαντα καὶ ἀγάλματα ἀναθέντα Ἀσκλη|πιοῦ καὶ Ὑγείας καὶ τὰ συνγράμματα αὐ||τοῦ καὶ ποιήματα τῇ πατρίδι Ἀλεξαν|δρεῦσι Ῥοδίοις Ἀθηναίοις, χαρισά|μενον τῇ πατρίδι εἰς διανομὰς καὶ | ἀγῶνας Ἀσκληπίων καὶ ἀργυρίου | 𐆖 {denarius symbol} μύρια καὶ πεντάκις χίλια· ὃν ἐτεί||μησεν ἡ πατρὶς καὶ προεδρίᾳ.

Item added: November 14, 2012
Item modified: January 22, 2016
ID number: 6120
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