CGRN 140

Decree (?) concerning the cult of the Nymphs at the Asklepieion of Kos

Date :

ca. 300 BC or shortly before

Justification: letterforms (Hallof - Bosnakis) and the same proposer as LSCG 151B / IG XII.4 284 (contra Sherwin-White, who suggests a date of ca. 250 BC).

Provenance

Kos . Once in the Asklepieion. Found in 1933 in the baths of the town. Now in the new storage house in Kos town.

Support

White marble block. The sides have been worn and there are traces of anathyrosis as well as of two support holes.

  • Height: 53 cm
  • Width: 60 cm
  • Depth: 30 cm

Layout

The letters are carefully and elegantly inscribed and the ends of the hastae resemble dots.

2.2-2.6 cm high; round letters as well as zeta and xi: 1.6 cm high. The interlinear space is 1.2 cm high.

Bibliography

Edition here based on Hallof - Bosnakis IG XII.4 285. None of the readings are doubtful.

Other edition: Segre 1938: 191-193 no. 57, with ph.

Cf. also: Sokolowski LSCG 152; Le Guen-Pollet CDE 15, with French translation; IG-online , with the Greek text and translation in German.

Further bibliography: Sherwin-White 1978: 178 n. 18 and 335 n. 397; Cole 1988; Ginouvès 1994: 240-241; Larson 2001; Kearns 2010: 222-223; Kah 2012; Paul 2013a: 185.

Text


Φίλιστος Αἰσχίνα εἶπε· ὅσσοι
κα θύωντι ἐν τῶι ἱερῶι τοῦ Ἀσ-
κλαπιοῦ
ταῖς Νύμφαις, θυόν-
τω
ἐπὶ τῶν βωμῶν· εἰς δὲ τὰς
5κράνας τὰς ἐν τῶι ἱερῶι μὴ ἐξέ-
στω
μηθενὶ πέμμα μηθὲν ἐνβάλ-
λειν
μηδὲ ἄλλο μηθέν· εἰ δέ τίς
κα ἐνβάληι, καθαράτω τὸ ἱερὸν
τᾶν Νυμφᾶν ὡς νομίζεται. vacat

Translation

Philistos son of Aischinas proposed (the following): whoever sacrifices to the Nymphs in the sanctuary of Asclepius, let him sacrifice on the altars. And no one is allowed to throw any (sort of) cake, nor anything else, into the (5) fountains that are in the sanctuary. But if anyone does so, let him purify the sanctuary of the Nymphs as is customary.

Traduction

Proposition de Philistas, fils d’Aischinas. Que tous ceux qui sacrifient aux Nymphes dans le sanctuaire d’Asclépios le fassent sur les autels, qu’il ne soit permis à personne de jeter dans les (5) fontaines du sanctuaire, ni gâteau ni rien d'autre. Si quelqu’un jette quoi que ce soit, qu’il purifie le sanctuaire des Nymphes comme c’est l’usage.

(traduction S. Paul)

Commentary

The precise character of the worship of the Nymphs in the Asklepieion of Cos is unknown: the cult-site within the sanctuary has not been precisely identified, but it must have been related to a nearby spring. It is not entirely certain whether the "altars" mentioned in line 4 are those of Asclepius and his associated divinities, or a separate structure destined for the Nymphs. On the Asklepieion of Kos, see also here CGRN 139, with discussion of the other deities associated with Asclepius (Apollo Kyparissios, Epione, and Hygieia). In general, the recurrent worship of Nymphs within Asklepieia is probably due to their close connection with (healing) springs and water. For example, one of the oldest cult sites of the Nymphs in Athens is attested at the Asklepieion, on the south slope of the Acropolis (Larson, p. 129). In the case of Kos, this need not have been a "private" cult, as Segre argues. Rather, the abbreviated (probouleutic?) decree and the identity of the proposer with the one who moved a second, almost contemporaneous decree concerning the protection of the grove of Asclepius (cf. LSCG 150B), suggests that we are dealing with the regulation of a public cult. On the cult of the Nymphs in Kos, see further IG XII.4 282 and cf. Larson (p. 205-206, also on the connection of these goddesses with the Koan Charites). For further evidence of the cult of the Nymphs in the present Collection, cf. e.g. CGRN 17 (Thasos) and CGRN 59 (Thera).

The regulation prevented the worshippers from throwing cakes or any other kind of offering into the springs of the Asklepieion, a procedure which was actually quite standard in the case of cults of Nymphs, particularly in rural shrines (Larson, p. 205). This measure would have been aimed at preserving the purity of the water, which could have been used for ritual or healing purposes in the Asklepieion (Cole; Ginouvès). For similar prescriptions outside Kos, see e.g. LSS 50 (Delos) and IG I³ 257 (Athens); cf. also the extensive collection material found in Kah's study.

Lines 2-4: The verb θύω here seemingly refers to simple bringing or deposition of offerings on the altars; it might, but does not necessarily point to combustion of the cakes on these altars.

Line 6: On the offering of πέμματα, cp. here CGRN 186 (Ilion), line 21.

Lines 7-9: If someone failed to comply with these rules, he or she had to proceed with a purification of the whole precinct consecrated to the Nymphs. Such prescriptions to purify the sanctuary in case of infractions of the rules occur also e.g. in CGRN 127 (Dyme), lines 8-11, where the transgressions relate to wearing the wrong type of clothes or accessories, and in CGRN 90 (Ialysos), lines 27-30, where the transgression was the introduction of certain animals, shoes and anything else made from a pig. Here, as probably in CGRN 90 (Ialysos), but unlike CGRN 127 (Dyme), the purification had a purpose which was not only ritual, but also practical in that it may have involved an actual cleaning of the spring (so also Kearns; cf. Paul).

Publication

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike International License 4.0 .

All citation, reuse or distribution of this work must contain somewhere a link back to the URL http://cgrn.ulg.ac.be/ and the filename, as well as the year of consultation (see “Home” for details of how to cite).

Authors

  • Jan-Mathieu Carbon
  • Stéphanie Paul
  • Saskia Peels

Project Director

Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge

How To Cite

CGRN 140, l. x-x.

Alternatively, a more detailed version of this citation, with the relevant URL, can be:
CGRN 140, l. x-x (http://cgrn.philo.ulg.ac.be/file/140/).

The full citation of the CGRN in a list of abbreviations or a bibliography is the following:
J.-M. Carbon, S. Peels and V. Pirenne-Delforge, Collection of Greek Ritual Norms (CGRN), Liège 2015- (http://cgrn.ulg.ac.be, consulted in [2019]).

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	    				<author>Jan-Mathieu Carbon</author>
	    				<author>Stéphanie Paul</author>
	    			<author>Saskia Peels</author>	
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			<p><desc>Justification: letterforms (Hallof - Bosnakis) and the same proposer as <bibl type="abbr" n="LSCG">LSCG</bibl> 151B / <bibl type="abbr" n="IG XII.4">IG XII.4</bibl> 284 (contra Sherwin-White, who suggests a date of ca. 250 BC).</desc></p>
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					<head>Bibliography</head>
					
					<p>Edition here based on Hallof - Bosnakis <bibl type="abbr" n="IG XII.4">IG XII.4</bibl> 285. None of the readings are doubtful.</p>
					<p>Other edition: <bibl type="author_date" n="Segre 1938">Segre 1938</bibl>: 191-193 no. 57, with ph.</p>
					<p>Cf. also: Sokolowski <bibl type="abbr" n="LSCG">LSCG</bibl> 152; Le Guen-Pollet <bibl type="abbr" n="CDE">CDE</bibl> 15, with French translation; <ref target="http://telota.bbaw.de/ig/IG%20XII%204,%201,%20285" type="external">IG-online</ref>, with the Greek text and translation in German.</p>
					<p>Further bibliography: 
<bibl type="author_date" n="Sherwin-White 1978">Sherwin-White 1978</bibl>: 178 n. 18 and 335 n. 397; 
						<bibl type="author_date" n="Cole 1988">Cole 1988</bibl>; 
						<bibl type="author_date" n="Ginouvès 1994">Ginouvès 1994</bibl>: 240-241;
						<bibl type="author_date" n="Larson 2001">Larson 2001</bibl>;
						<bibl type="author_date" n="Kearns 2010">Kearns 2010</bibl>: 222-223;
						<bibl type="author_date" n="Kah 2012">Kah 2012</bibl>;
						<bibl type="author_date" n="Paul 2013a">Paul 2013a</bibl>: 185.
		
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	    				<head>Text</head>
	    				<ab>
<lb xml:id="line_1" n="1"/>Φίλιστος Αἰσχίνα <w lemma="εἶπον">εἶπε</w>· <w lemma="ὅσος">ὅσσοι</w>
	    					
<lb xml:id="line_2" n="2"/>κα <name type="sacrifice"><name type="genericOffering"><w lemma="θύω">θύωντι</w></name></name> <w lemma="ἐν">ἐν</w> τῶι <name type="structure"><w lemma="ἱερός">ἱερῶι</w></name> τοῦ <name type="deity" key="Asclepius"><w lemma="Ἀσκληπιός">Ἀσ
	
<lb xml:id="line_3" n="3" break="no"/>κλαπιοῦ</w></name> ταῖς <name type="deity" key="Nymph"><w lemma="νύμφη">Νύμφαις</w></name>, <name type="sacrifice"><name type="genericOffering"><w lemma="θύω">θυόν
	
<lb xml:id="line_4" n="4" break="no"/>τω</w></name></name> <w lemma="ἐπί">ἐπὶ</w> τῶν <name type="structure"><w lemma="βωμός">βωμῶν</w></name>· <w lemma="εἰς">εἰς</w> δὲ τὰς
	    					
<lb xml:id="line_5" n="5"/><name type="locality"><w lemma="κρήνη">κράνας</w></name> τὰς <w lemma="ἐν">ἐν</w> τῶι <name type="structure"><w lemma="ἱερός">ἱερῶι</w></name> <w lemma="μή">μὴ</w> <w lemma="ἔξειμι">ἐξέ
	
<lb xml:id="line_6" n="6" break="no"/>στω</w> <w lemma="μηθείς">μηθενὶ</w> <name type="bakery"><w lemma="πέμμα">πέμμα</w></name> <w lemma="μηθείς">μηθὲν</w> <name type="genericOffering"><w lemma="ἐνβάλλω">ἐνβάλ
	    					
<lb xml:id="line_7" n="7" break="no"/>λειν</w></name> <w lemma="μηδέ">μηδὲ</w> <w lemma="ἄλλος">ἄλλο</w> <w lemma="μηθείς">μηθέν</w>· <w lemma="εἰ">εἰ</w> δέ <w lemma="τις">τίς</w>
	    					
<lb xml:id="line_8" n="8"/>κα <name type="genericOffering"><w lemma="ἐνβάλλω">ἐνβάληι</w></name>, <name type="purification"><w lemma="καθαίρω">καθαράτω</w></name> τὸ <name type="structure"><w lemma="ἱερός">ἱερὸν</w></name>
	    					
<lb xml:id="line_9" n="9"/>τᾶν <name type="deity" key="Nymph"><w lemma="νύμφη">Νυμφᾶν</w></name> <w lemma="ὡς">ὡς</w> <name type="authority"><w lemma="νομίζω">νομίζεται</w></name>. <space extent="unknown" unit="line"/>
	    					
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	    			<div type="translation" xml:lang="eng">
					<head>Translation</head>
<p>Philistos son of Aischinas proposed (the following): whoever sacrifices to the Nymphs in the sanctuary of Asclepius, let him sacrifice on the altars. And no one is allowed to throw any (sort of) cake, nor anything else, into the (5) fountains that are in the sanctuary. But if anyone does so, let him purify the sanctuary of the Nymphs as is customary.</p> </div>
	    	
	    		
				<div type="translation" xml:lang="fre">
					<head>Traduction </head>
<p>Proposition de Philistas, fils d’Aischinas. Que tous ceux qui sacrifient aux Nymphes dans le sanctuaire d’Asclépios le fassent sur les autels, qu’il ne soit permis à personne de jeter dans les (5) fontaines du sanctuaire, ni gâteau ni rien d'autre. Si quelqu’un jette quoi que ce soit, qu’il purifie le sanctuaire des Nymphes comme c’est l’usage.</p>
						<p>(traduction S. Paul)</p>
					
				</div>
					<div type="commentary">    
						<head>Commentary</head>    
									
	<p>The precise character of the worship of the Nymphs in the Asklepieion of Cos is unknown: the cult-site within the sanctuary has not been precisely identified, but it must have been related to a nearby spring. It is not entirely certain whether the "altars" mentioned in line 4 are those of Asclepius and his associated divinities, or a separate structure destined for the Nymphs. On the Asklepieion of Kos, see also here <ref target="CGRN_139">CGRN 139</ref>, with discussion of the other deities associated with Asclepius (Apollo Kyparissios, Epione, and Hygieia). In general, the recurrent worship of Nymphs within Asklepieia is probably due to their close connection with (healing) springs and water. For example, one of the oldest cult sites of the Nymphs in Athens is attested at the Asklepieion, on the south slope of the Acropolis (Larson, p. 129). In the case of Kos, this need not have been a "private" cult, as Segre argues. Rather, the abbreviated (probouleutic?) decree and the identity of the
proposer with the one who moved a second, almost contemporaneous decree concerning the protection of the grove of Asclepius (cf. <bibl type="abbr" n="LSCG">LSCG</bibl> 150B), suggests that we are dealing with the regulation of a public cult. On the cult of the Nymphs in Kos, see further <bibl type="abbr" n="IG XII.4">IG XII.4</bibl> 282 and cf. Larson (p. 205-206, also on the connection of these goddesses with the Koan Charites). For further evidence of the cult of the Nymphs in the present Collection, cf. e.g. <ref target="CGRN_17">CGRN 17</ref> (Thasos) and <ref target="CGRN_59">CGRN 59</ref> (Thera).</p>

<p>The regulation prevented the worshippers from throwing cakes or any other kind of offering into the springs of the Asklepieion, a procedure which was actually quite standard in the case of cults of Nymphs, particularly in rural shrines (Larson, p. 205). This measure would have been aimed at preserving the purity of the water, which could have been used for ritual or healing purposes in the Asklepieion (Cole; Ginouvès). For similar prescriptions outside Kos, see e.g. <bibl type="abbr" n="LSS">LSS</bibl> 50 (Delos) and <bibl type="abbr" n="IG I³">IG I³</bibl> 257 (Athens); cf. also the extensive collection material found in Kah's study.</p>
		
<p> Lines 2-4: The verb θύω here seemingly refers to simple bringing or deposition of offerings on the altars; it might, but does not necessarily point to combustion of the cakes on these altars.</p>
						
<p> Line 6: On the offering of πέμματα, cp. here <ref target="CGRN_186">CGRN 186</ref> (Ilion), line 21.</p>																		
<p> Lines 7-9: If someone failed to comply with these rules, he or she had to proceed with a purification of the whole precinct consecrated to the Nymphs. Such prescriptions to purify the sanctuary in case of infractions of the rules occur also e.g. in <ref target="CGRN_127">CGRN 127</ref> (Dyme), lines 8-11, where the transgressions relate to wearing the wrong type of clothes or accessories, and in <ref target="CGRN_90">CGRN 90</ref> (Ialysos), lines 27-30, where the transgression was the introduction of certain animals, shoes and anything else made from a pig. Here, as probably in <ref target="CGRN_90">CGRN 90</ref> (Ialysos), but unlike <ref target="CGRN_127">CGRN 127</ref> (Dyme), the purification had a purpose which was not only ritual, but also practical in that it may have involved an actual cleaning of the spring (so also Kearns; cf. Paul).</p>
				
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