CGRN 17

Small sacrificial regulation for the Nymphs, Apollo and the Charites on Thasos

Date :

ca. 475-450 BC

Justification: letterforms (Jeffery). The reliefs date to a decade or two prior to this period, suggesting that the inscriptions were added a posteriori.

Provenance

Thasos , in the so-called "Passage des théores". Now on display in Room 3 of the Louvre (inv. no. Ma 696A).

Support

Two inscriptions written on a large relief, perhaps originally part of an altar, and situated in a gateway (see below on provenance). The relief depicts Apollo, Hermes, the Nymphs and the Graces, as a well as a niche in a naiskos between the figures.

  • Height: 92 cm
  • Width: 209 cm
  • Depth: 44 cm

Layout

A is inscribed on the epistyle of the monument depicted on the relief. B below the figure of Hermes, and parallel to A. The letters are 1.2-1.5 cm high.

Bibliography

Edition here based on: Friedrich IG XII.8 358. There are no textual problems.

Cf. also: Sokolowski LSCG 114; Jeffery LSAG, p. 302 and 308 no. 70 (with pl. 58).

Further bibliography: Pouilloux 1954: 59-61; Casabona 1966: 64.

Online records: Louvre , with keyword "Theores" (photographs); Poinikastas  website, with ref. no. 308.70 (drawings).

Text


Part A


Νύμφηισιν κἀπόλλωνι Νυμφηγέτηι θῆλυ καὶ ἄρσ-
εν
ἅμ βόληι προσέρδεν· ὄϊν οὐ θέμις οὐδὲ χοῖρον·
οὐ παιωνίζεται vacat

Part B


Χάρισιν αἶγα οὐ θέμις οὐδὲ χοῖρον vacat

Translation

Part A

To the Nymphs and Apollo Nymphegetes bring to sacrifice a female and a male animal, whichever one wishes. A sheep or swine (literally: a piglet) are not religiously permitted. No paeans are sung.

Part B

To the Charites it is not religiously permitted (to sacrifice) a goat or swine (literally: a piglet).

Traduction

Partie A

Aux Nymphes et à Apollon Nymphagète amener pour le sacrifice une femelle et un mâle, ceux que l'on souhaite. Ni ovin ni porcin (littéralement: un porcelet) ne sont religieusement permis. Aucun péan n'est chanté.

Partie B

Aux Charites, il n'est pas religieusement permis (de sacrifier) un caprin ou un porcin (littéralement: un porcelet).

Commentary

The archaeological context of these reliefs, found within one of the gateways of a major artery of the city of Thasos, leading from the agora toward the Herakleion and the southwest of the city, is clear. This gateway was called the "Passage des théores", due to a number of lists of theoroi inscribed on this structure later in the Hellenistic period. However, the cult-sites mentioned in the inscribed reliefs remain to some degree unclear: are they to be situated in the passage itself, or at altars within close proximity of the gateway? Was anything to be placed in the niche depicted between the reliefs?

The grouping of Apollo in his capacity as leader of the Nymphs with the Nymphs themselves is a natural pairing and occurs elsewhere: CGRN 52 (Erchia), col. Ε, line 40 (8th of Gamelion; both receive a goat); cp. also CGRN 56 (Marathonian Tetrapolis), col. I, line 45, for another possible attestation of Apollo Nymphagetes, also receiving a goat (in the month Mounychion). The connection of the Charites with Apollo is not unexpected, but the precise configuration of Apollo, the Nymphs and the Charites remains to be more fully explained in this specific context.

The first inscription (A) makes precisions concerning the sacrifice to the Nymphs and Apollo, and it can be reasonably presumed that any form of sacrificial animal is permitted, with the requisite female one being offered to the Nymphs and the requisite male animal to Apollo. An additional and surprising requirement is not to sacrifice sheep: this is almost unique in the extant epigraphical evidence. Piglets are also excluded, or swine more generally, but these are often prohibited in the regulations from Thasos (see below on B). Given that this leaves only goats and oxen in terms of major sacrificial animals, it is perhaps possible, at least as far as oxen are concerned, that the regulation was motivated at increasing the value and quality of the sacrifices. Conversely, however, the regulation does not appear to have prohibited goats which are often sacrificed to Apollo and Nymphs, nor smaller offerings (such as birds) or even vegetal ones, so the reason for the prohibitions remains difficult to explain.

A, line 2: Casabona interprets προσέρδω as "sacrifice in addition", but the verb is rare (unique in epigraphy as far as we can tell) and this sense is not ideal for the context. Instead, if we think of the "Passage of the theoroi", we might suppose that the sense "bring to sacrifice" is more suitable (cp. φέρω or πέμπω in such a context).

B: The restriction concerning the sacrifice of goats and piglets is widespread on Thasos, see here e.g. CGRN 23 (no goats for Hera); CGRN 27, line 2 (no goats and piglets for Heracles). Rather than restricting the sacrifice only of piglets--the young of the swine--, a probable alternative is that these interdictions had a more general scope, aiming to forbid the sacrifice of any animals from this species.

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
  • Saskia Peels

Project Director

Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge

How To Cite

CGRN 17, l. x-x.

Alternatively, a more detailed version of this citation, with the relevant URL, can be:
CGRN 17, l. x-x (http://cgrn.philo.ulg.ac.be/file/17/).

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>Saskia Peels</author>
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					<head>Bibliography</head>
			
			<p>Edition here based on: Friedrich <bibl type="abbr" n="IG XII.8">IG XII.8</bibl> 358. There are no textual problems.</p>
				
			<p>Cf. also: 
				Sokolowski <bibl type="abbr" n="LSCG">LSCG</bibl> 114; 
				Jeffery <bibl type="abbr" n="LSAG">LSAG</bibl>, p. 302 and 308 no. 70 (with pl. 58).</p>
					
			<p>Further bibliography: 
				<bibl type="author_date">Pouilloux 1954</bibl>: 59-61; 
				<bibl type="author_date">Casabona 1966</bibl>: 64.</p>
					
			<p>Online records: <ref target="http://cartelfr.louvre.fr/" type="external">Louvre</ref>, with keyword "Theores" (photographs); <ref target="http://poinikastas.csad.ox.ac.uk/" type="external">Poinikastas</ref> website, with ref. no. 308.70 (drawings).</p>	
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	    				<head>Text</head>
	    				<ab subtype="part" n="A">Part A
				
<lb xml:id="line_A1" n="A1"/><name type="deity" key="Nymphs"><w lemma="νύμφη">Νύμφηισιν</w></name> <name type="deity" key="Apollo"><w lemma="Ἀπόλλων">κἀπόλλωνι</w></name> <name type="epithet" key="Nymphegetes"><w lemma="νυμφαγέτης">Νυμφηγέτηι</w></name> <name type="gender"><w lemma="θῆλυς">θῆλυ</w></name> καὶ <name type="gender"><w lemma="ἄρσην">ἄρσ

<lb xml:id="line_A2" n="A2" break="no"/>εν</w></name> <w lemma="ἄν">ἅμ</w> <w lemma="βούλομαι">βόληι</w> <name type="sacrifice"><w lemma="προσέρδω">προσέρδεν</w></name>· <name type="animal" key="sheep"><w lemma="ὄϊς">ὄϊν</w></name> <w lemma="οὐ">οὐ</w> <name type="authority"><w lemma="θέμις">θέμις</w></name> <w lemma="οὐδέ">οὐδὲ</w> <name type="animal" key="swine"><name type="age"><w lemma="χοῖρος">χοῖρον</w></name></name>·
	    					
<lb xml:id="line_A3" n="A3"/><w lemma="οὐ">οὐ</w> <name type="invocation"><w lemma="παιωνίζω">παιωνίζεται</w></name> <space quantity="1" unit="line"/>
	    					</ab>
	    				<ab subtype="part" n="B">Part B
	    					
<lb xml:id="line_B1" n="B1"/><name type="deity" key="Charites"><w lemma="χάρις">Χάρισιν</w></name> <name type="animal" key="goat"><w lemma="αἴξ">αἶγα</w></name> <w lemma="οὐ">οὐ</w> <w lemma="θέμις">θέμις</w> <w lemma="οὐδέ">οὐδὲ</w> <name type="animal" key="swine"><name type="age"><w lemma="χοῖρος">χοῖρον</w></name></name> <space quantity="1" unit="line"/>
	    				</ab>
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					<head>Translation</head>
					
	    				<p>Part A</p> 
<p>To the Nymphs and Apollo Nymphegetes bring to sacrifice a female and a male animal, whichever one wishes. A sheep or swine (literally: a piglet) are not religiously permitted. No paeans are sung.</p>
	    				
	    				<p>Part B</p> 
<p>To the Charites it is not religiously permitted (to sacrifice) a goat or swine (literally: a piglet).</p>
					
				</div>
				<div type="translation" xml:lang="fre">
					<head>Traduction</head>
					<p>Partie A</p> 
<p>Aux Nymphes et à Apollon Nymphagète amener pour le sacrifice une femelle et un mâle, ceux que l'on souhaite. Ni ovin ni porcin (littéralement: un porcelet) ne sont religieusement permis. Aucun péan n'est chanté.</p>
						<p>Partie B</p> 
<p>Aux Charites, il n'est pas religieusement permis (de sacrifier) un caprin ou un porcin (littéralement: un porcelet).
					</p>
				</div>
					<div type="commentary">    
						<head>Commentary</head>    
<p>The archaeological context of these reliefs, found within one of the gateways of a major artery of the city of Thasos, leading from the agora toward the Herakleion and the southwest of the city, is clear. This gateway was called the "Passage des théores", due to a number of lists of <foreign>theoroi</foreign> inscribed on this structure later in the Hellenistic period. However, the cult-sites mentioned in the inscribed reliefs remain to some degree unclear: are they to be situated in the passage itself, or at altars within close proximity of the gateway? Was anything to be placed in the niche depicted between the reliefs?</p>
						
<p>The grouping of Apollo in his capacity as leader of the Nymphs with the Nymphs themselves is a natural pairing and occurs elsewhere: <ref target="http://cgrn.ulg.ac.be/CGRN_52/">CGRN 52</ref> (Erchia), col. Ε, line 40 (8th of Gamelion; both receive a goat); cp. also <ref target="http://cgrn.ulg.ac.be/CGRN_56/">CGRN 56</ref> (Marathonian Tetrapolis), col. I, line 45, for another possible attestation of Apollo Nymphagetes, also receiving a goat (in the month Mounychion). The connection of the Charites with Apollo is not unexpected, but the precise configuration of Apollo, the Nymphs and the Charites remains to be more fully explained in this specific context.</p>			

<p>The first inscription (A) makes precisions concerning the sacrifice to the Nymphs and Apollo, and it can be reasonably presumed that any form of sacrificial animal is permitted, with the requisite female one being offered to the Nymphs and the requisite male animal to Apollo. An additional and surprising requirement is not to sacrifice sheep: this is almost unique in the extant epigraphical evidence. Piglets are also excluded, or swine more generally, but these are often prohibited in the regulations from Thasos (see below on B). Given that this leaves only goats and oxen in terms of major sacrificial animals, it is perhaps possible, at least as far as oxen are concerned, that the regulation was motivated at increasing the value and quality of the sacrifices. Conversely, however, the regulation does not appear to have prohibited goats which are often sacrificed to Apollo and Nymphs, nor smaller offerings (such as birds) or even vegetal ones, so the reason for the prohibitions remains difficult to explain.</p>

<p>A, line 2: Casabona interprets προσέρδω as "sacrifice in addition", but the verb is rare (unique in epigraphy as far as we can tell) and this sense is not ideal for the context. Instead, if we think of the "Passage of the theoroi", we might suppose that the sense "bring to sacrifice" is more suitable (cp. φέρω or πέμπω in such a context).</p>

<p>B: The restriction concerning the sacrifice of goats and piglets is widespread on Thasos, see here e.g. <ref target="http://cgrn.ulg.ac.be/CGRN_23/">CGRN 23</ref> (no goats for Hera); <ref target="http://cgrn.ulg.ac.be/CGRN_27/">CGRN 27</ref>, line 2 (no goats and piglets for Heracles). Rather than restricting the sacrifice only of piglets--the young of the swine--, a probable alternative is that these interdictions had a more general scope, aiming to forbid the sacrifice of any animals from this species.</p>					
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