Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

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

Decree of the Knidians Concerning a Temple Used by Bacchos-devotees (350-300 BCE) Knidos - Caria

Knidos (Caria, Asia Minor — Pleiades map), 350-300 BCE
IKnidos 160 = GIBM IV 786 = LSAM 55 = PHI 258526 = AGRW ID# 9731
Copenhagen Inventory info: 838


Slab of grey limestone found by Newton near the main fountain, now in the British Museum, inv. 1859,1226.780 (44 x 21 x 12 cm). This group devoted to Bacchos (bacchoi), or Dionysos, is either an official board of a temple or a less formal association of devotees. If the latter, then this is among the earliest attested associations in Asia Minor. The concern of the resolution is to keep the temple pure by preventing people from lodging in the temple. It is the bacchic devotees or functionaries that brought the problem to the attention of the civic authorities, who then brought the request to the Knidian People. The concern to prevent people from lodging or camping in a sanctuary or temple area is attested elsewhere in connection with a sanctuary of Leto at Xanthos (SEG 36 [1986], no. 1221, lines 11-14) and the temple of Hera on Amorgos island (LSCG 101), with the latter focused on preventing foreigners from doing so.

It was resolved by the Knidians on the proposal of the civic leaders (prostatai) concerning what the bacchic devotees (bacchoi) came forward to ask: In order that the temple of Bacchic Dionysos may be kept pure, it is not permissible for anyone at all—whether male or female—to stay overnight in the temple of the bacchic devotees.  Now if someone stays overnight… (fines or punishments likely followed)

Translation by: Harland

ἔ̣δοξε Κνιδίοι[ς, γν]ǀώμα προστατᾶ̣[ν]· ǀ περὶ ὧν τοὶ Βάκ[χοι] ǀ ἐπῆλθον· ὅπω̣[ς] ǀǀ ἁγνεύηται τὸ̣ [ἱαρὸ]ǀν τοῦ Διονύσ[ου το]ǀῦ̣ Βάκχου, μὴ ἐ[ξῆ]ǀ[μ]εν καταλύε[ν ἐν] ǀ [τῶ]ι ἱαρῶι τῶν̣ [Βάκ]ǀǀ[χων μ]ηδένα, μή[τε] ǀ [ἄρσ]ενα μή[τε θή]ǀ[λεια]ν̣· εἰ δέ κ̣[ά τις] ǀ [καταλ]ύηι̣ [— — —]

GIBM IV 786.
Used under a Creative Commons license. © The Trustees of the British Museum

IKnidos 160: Facsimile by C.T. Newton, A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus and Branchidæ (London: Day, 1862), vol. 1, plate 92 (no. 36).


Item added: January 19, 2013
Item modified: November 6, 2020
ID number: 9731
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