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Sarapis, Isis, and the Ptolemies in Private Dedications

The Hyper-style and the Double Dedications
Eleni Fassa
p. 133-153

Résumés

Cet article porte principalement sur deux types d’inscriptions dédicatoires, particulièrement liés au culte de Sarapis et d’Isis: les dédicaces doubles et celles en hyper. Les deux types associent dans un seul rituel le couple divin (Sarapis et Isis) et le couple royal (le roi régnant et la reine), invoquant des parallélismes et d’éventuelles identifications entre les deux. Textes simples, rapidement devenus communs et standardisés, ils constituent une source précieuse pour l’histoire ptolémaïque politique et religieuse (en particulier pour le développement du culte royal et dynastique), tout en révélant la mentalité des fidèles entre le iiie siècle av. J.-C. et la fin de l’époque ptolémaïque.

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An extended version of this paper forms part of my PhD dissertation, cited here as Fassa (2011). My warmest thanks to Sophia Aneziri for her always insightful comments. This paper has benefited much from the constructive criticism of the anonymous referees of Kernos.

  • 1 They have been briefly discussed by Mitteis, Wilcken (1912), p. 25, n. 4, Taeger (1957), p. 299, 30 (...)
  • 2 As we shall see below, ‘for’ is only one of the possible translations of the Greek ὑπέρ. I believe, (...)
  • 3 The sole exception is I.Alex.Ptol. 18, where both the names of the gods and the names of the kings (...)

1In Ptolemaic Egypt, two types of private dedications evolved, relating rulers, subjects and gods, most frequently, Sarapis and Isis.1 They were formed in two ways: the offering was made either to Sarapis and Isis (dative) for the Ptolemaic kings (ὑπέρ+genitive) — hereafter, these will be called the hyper-formula dedications2 — or to Sarapis, Isis (dative) and the Ptolemaic kings (dative), the so-called ‘double dedications’.3 These are not equivalent expressions or simple linguistic variants. Each type reflects different theories and corresponds to a particular stage in the development of dynastic ideology. Both forms parallel gods and kings, both point to a close relationship between gods and kings in the eyes of the dedicant and both forms invite the reader to recognize the affinity between the royal and the divine couple.

  • 4 I.Alex.Ptol. 1, 5; RICIS 304 / 0601, 305 / 1702; OGIS 64; I.Delta 1.234.4; RICIS 401 / 0101; I.Alex (...)
  • 5 Anoubis: RICIS 202 / 1204*, 202 / 1205; Nile: I.Delta 1.235.5, 1.235.6; Harpocrates: I.Philai 3; Ap (...)
  • 6 At Koptos, Sarapis, Isis and Harpocrates were combined with Pan Euodos, Kronos, Dionysos, the Diosk (...)
  • 7 I.Delta 232.2 (the sole dedication dating from the 3rd century BCE; IThSy 314; OGIS 94, 92; IThSy 2 (...)

2In contrast with the occasional appearance of other gods, the surviving dedications to Sarapis and Isis are overwhelmingly more numerous, systematic and diachronic.4 Sometimes Sarapis and Isis are combined with other divinities in these dedications: the divinities either belong to the same mythological cycle,5 or they are powerful local deities.6 From the 2nd century BCE onwards, many dedications are offered solely to Isis.7

  • 8 E.g. SEG 31.1321; I.Louvre 13; SEG 20.498.
  • 9 Artemis: OGIS 18, 91; Adonis, Dioskouroi (together with Ptolemy I): SEG 24.1174; Zeus in his manifo (...)

3The inhabitants of, or visitors to, the Ptolemaic kingdom tended to avoid these types of dedications for traditional Greek deities. In the cases where such dedications were made, there was a preference for some of Zeus’ manifestations and for the gods of the Hellenistic gymnasion, Hermes and Heracles.8 When offered, however, dedications to well-known Greek gods and the Ptolemaic rulers were common until the reign of Ptolemy V Epiphanes, while for most of the 2nd and throughout the 1st century BCE they were sporadic.9

  • 10 Dedications for / to the Ptolemies and the gods of the Cataract: IThSy 242; OGIS 130; IThSy 243; de (...)

4Some traditional gods of Egypt were associated more easily with the Ptolemaic kings; geographical factors played an important role in the formation of this association. At Philai, for example, the Ptolemaic royal couple appeared in double dedications along with major deities of the First Cataract, such as Khnum, while similar cases can be observed at the Fayum. The double dedications there include the Ptolemies and prominent local gods: the rider-god Heron and the multiple manifestations of the crocodile god Sobek.10

5It seems, therefore, that the dedicants in Ptolemaic Egypt were familiar with a cultural pattern which associated the Ptolemaic kings with Sarapis and Isis and praised the special bond between the Ptolemaic royal household and the Egyptian deities. Dedications to traditional Greek gods might have been largely avoided due to connotations related to the Ptolemaic kingship. The Ptolemies, regardless of the links that they tried to maintain with the Greek cities of the Aegean and the Black Sea, especially during the 3rd century BCE, were above all associated with Egypt and its deities. It is likely that these elective affinities were also reflected at the dedications, one of the primary means of expressing the connection between rulers and gods.

  • 11 The evidence is gathered by Iossif (2005), Tables I–II; see also Fraser (1972), I, p. 226; II, p. 3 (...)

6Hyper-style and double dedications were almost exclusively made within the Ptolemaic kingdom. Only rarely did the inhabitants of the Seleucid or the Attalid kingdom combine their personal dedications to the rulers with those to the prominent deities of their respective kingdom. It is indicative that from a total of 124 double dedications from the late 4th century BCE to 30 BCE, 116 refer to the Ptolemies, four to the Seleucids, and another four to the Attalids11.

  • 12 Cf. Ffeiffer (2008a), p. 19.
  • 13 Winter (1978), p. 155.

7The numerical superiority of dedications for or to the rulers in the Ptolemaic kingdom inevitably raises the question of how local factors contributed to the formulation of these types of offerings. It is evident that both the hyper-style and the double dedications highlight a correlation between kings and deities. Although most Hellenistic kings were fascinated by the projection of the divine nature of kingship, this idea had a particularly strong historical foundation in Egypt. The parallelisms, correspondences and identifications between pharaohs and gods had a very long history, which the Ptolemaic kings adapted to their needs and goals. As is evidenced by decrees, reliefs, and dedicatory inscriptions, the Ptolemaic rulers embraced the role, epithets and qualities of the pharaohs who preceded them.12 Thus, the dead Ptolemies were worshipped as gods, unlike the living Ptolemaic monarch, who was normally not represented as a god.13 His conventional Ptolemaic iconography points to his role as a mediator between humans and gods, and it is based on the Egyptian notion that the Pharaoh guarantees cosmic balance and prosperity on earth.

  • 14 Koenen (1993), passim.

8The Egyptian background and its creative exploitation by the Ptolemies probably contributed significantly to the shaping of the mentality behind the dedications under discussion. The cultural environment of Egypt undoubtedly favoured the idea of the divine nature and origin of the Pharaoh, while the Ptolemaic monarchs gradually cultivated the correlations between divine and human authority.14 Dedications for or to the Ptolemies may be viewed as ‘translations’ of these diverse and complex interconnections, in accordance with the Greek inscriptional customs and attitudes.

  • 15 According to Iossif (2005), Tables I–II, from a total of 124 dedications linking the Ptolemies with (...)

9The chronologically extensive use of private dedications relating Sarapis, Isis, and the Ptolemies is indicative of their wide acceptance and popularity: with almost uniform style and expressions, they were made for centuries, from the time of Ptolemy down to the reign of Cleopatra VII. Most dedicants, however, chose this particular epigraphic style during the 3rd century BCE. The more popular of the two was the prepositional formula, which will be examined below.15

The dedications with ὑπέρ + genitive

  • 16 Isis is placed first in only two surviving dedications: I.Delta 2.749.13; I.Alex.Ptol. 34.

10In their extended form, inscriptions of this type are constructed as follows: first, the prepositional phrase (ὑπέρ + genitive), which refers to the royal household, and more specifically to the king and queen along with their titles, and sometimes to their direct ancestors (also with their titles); then, their descendants, if any, are added, followed by the divine couple, with Sarapis usually placed first.16 The text is completed by the self-presentation of the dedicant, which is formulated in a variety of ways.

  • 17 I.Alex.Ptol.1, 5; RICIS 305 / 1702; OGIS 64; I.Alex.Ptol. 19, 20; RICIS 402 / 0601; I.Philae 5; I.A (...)
  • 18 Cf. Tacitus, Hist. 4.83–84; Plutarch, De Iside 361f–362a; De soll. anim. 984a8–b9.
  • 19 For an Athenian intellectual circle in the court of Ptolemy I see Fassa (2011), p. 131–141.

11A substantial number of the total surviving private dedications that relate Ptolemies and divinities are dedicated to the Isiac deities for the Ptolemaic kings.17 These appear first in Alexandria and they are dated already in the first years of the establishment of the Ptolemaic kingdom. The earliest extant dedication dates to the reign of Ptolemy I (306–285 BCE) and was offered to Sarapis and Isis for King Ptolemy and his children, by two brothers who were members of the Alexandrian deme Polydeuces (I.Alex.Ptol. 1). The omission of the queen is, perhaps, due to the fact that at this early stage the formula had not yet developed into its full form. Although this dedication is a simple and succinct text, it is of great interest as far as political, social and religious life is concerned. It constitutes the earliest surviving hyper-formula dedication, the earliest extant inscription from Alexandria, the earliest reference to the cult of Sarapis as such (and not, for example, as Oserapis) that can be securely dated, and it is one of the first texts referring to Ptolemy I as king of Egypt. The coexistence of all these elements is probably not coincidental. Rather, it may be indicative of the mentality and the religious and social atmosphere of the dedications during this period. The dedicants are permanent residents of Alexandria, they belong to a deme of the new city, and they are subjects not of the feeble Philip III or of the underage son of Alexander, but of Ptolemy. The latter, by taking the title of King, transformed himself from satrap into monarch and at the same time converted his administrative district into a hereditary kingdom (cf. l. 1 καὶ τῶν τέκνων). Moreover, the dedicants associate the members of the royal household with Sarapis and Isis. The correlation between the royal and the divine couple in the inscriptional language suggests that the social experience of Nikanor and Nikon in Alexandria rendered this correspondence meaningful. The components of the cultural context in which such a dedication could be made are largely unknown. It seems, however, that from an early stage the emerging Ptolemaic royal household had chosen to create and nurture the connection with these two specific deities. It is possible that the introduction myth which attributed the foundation of the cult of Sarapis to Soter was already in circulation.18 Also, it is probable that, by that time, Sarapis’ cult was being promoted by Demetrios Phalereus and other Athenians who were active in the Museum and the Library.19

12The use of the same dedicatory formula during the reign of Ptolemy II demonstrates its popularity and confirms the alignment of Philadelphos with the paternal ideology, which is reflected in the social and cultural fields, among others, through the correlations between the royal household and Sarapis and Isis. The following dedication is not as humble as the previous one. This time, a temenos is dedicated to Sarapis and Isis for Ptolemy II (I.Alex.Ptol. 5). It probably dates to the first four years of Philadelphos’ reign, between 282 and 279 BCE, before his marriage to Arsinoe II. It is the very first hyper-formula dedication where the ancestors of the ruler are mentioned and they are denoted ‘Saviours’ (soteres). The use of the epithet “Soter”, which according to Pausanias (1.8.6.1–6) had been given to Ptolemy I two and a half decades before at Rhodes, is highly interesting. This time, the epithet is used in Ptolemaic Egypt and is even extended to Berenice. The attribution of the title to Berenice raises questions. Although such an address could be valid for Ptolemy — being a monarch and benefactor of Egypt, and given his range of activities (as was the case in Rhodes) — the reference to Berenice is not justified by our sources. In this dedication we can discern an important development concerning the perception and representation of the Ptolemaic ruler: qualities that raised the royal couple on a more-than-human level were gradually offered to them, and both Sarapis and Isis were included in this process.

  • 20 P.Cair.Zen. I.59034, l. 7–8: ἐπιστατεῖν καὶ ἐπιβωμίζειν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν; it is a well-known text, see Bor (...)
  • 21 P.Cair.Zen. II.59168; cf. in this respect the phrasing of the prostagma of Ptolemy Auletes concerni (...)

13Although the inscription in question is the only surviving hyper-formula dedication from Egypt that dates to the reign of Philadelphos, it probably points to a dominant religious and social trend. Parallel sources suggest that the followers of the two deities at the time of Philadelphos were trying to combine their religious activities for the two gods with giving honours to the Ptolemaic royal household: in 257 BCE, a certain Zoilos asked Apollonios, Ptolemy II’s minister of finance, to assist in the foundation of a Sarapieion, a temple, where, as he points out, the priest in charge would make sacrifices for the royal house.20 Zoilos emphasizes the fact that he will pray to Sarapis for Apollonios’ successful career at the service of the king. In 256/5 BCE Apollonios himself built a temple of Sarapis, where royal cult would most likely have taken place, especially since the founder of the temple was a high-ranking official of the Ptolemaic state.21 This evidence from private correspondence illustrates a more complex picture of the cult activity, which is in contrast with that portrayed in the brief dedications under discussion. At Alexandria private dedications in favour of the Ptolemaic king were made in parallel with cultic activities for him at the temples of Sarapis and / or Isis. The extant sources suggest that the dedications with the preposition ὑπέρ constituted an alternative expression of the honours offered to the royal household and related deities, like sacrifices and libations.

  • 22 At least from the reign of Ptolemy II, cf. SEG 28.60, l. 71–72 (270–69 BCE); SEG 28.837 (281–66 BCE (...)

14A contemporary dedication that reflects the aforementioned trends during the reign of Philadelphos comes from Halicarnassos (RICIS 305 / 1702); it is the offering of a temple by an individual, a phenomenon which was common especially for the cult of Sarapis during the 3rd century BCE, both inside and outside the Ptolemaic kingdom. Halicarnassos was one of the first cities where the two gods were introduced, since the early 3rd century BCE, for most of which the city was under Ptolemaic control.22 The dedication was made for Ptolemy II, and the phrasing follows customary epigraphic practices, mentioning the ancestors of the king in the genitive. In this case, however, the king’s father, Ptolemy I, is not only addressed as saviour (σωτήρ), but also as god (θεός). It is obvious that although this inscription, as well as I.Alex.Ptol. 5, date to the same period, use the same phrasing, were offered by individuals, and involve the erection of temples, they exhibit significant ideological differences. The Halicarnassos dedication leaves us with no doubt that divine qualities were attributed to Ptolemy I; this was a key development in dynastic ideology. Ptolemy is not just godlike or a hero, but a god himself (an evolvement alluded to in double dedications). Moreover, the inscription under discussion indicates that the cult had evolved, and now included not only the ancestors, but also the queen. The temple is dedicated to Sarapis, Isis, and Arsinoe Philadelphos. The latter is now presented as equal to the two deities, which suggests that the temple priests would sacrifice to Sarapis, Isis and Arsinoe and that private dedications would be addressed to all of them. We may therefore observe that the use of dedications with the preposition ὑπέρ concurs with important changes in the image of the Ptolemaic ruler. These changes are not only related to cult, but also to politics. During the same period that this dedication was made, the inhabitants appealed to Ptolemy for the construction of a new gymnasion, while at the same time they erected a stoa in honour of the king (possibly Ptolemy II) and of the great god of the city, Apollon (OGIS 46).

  • 23 RICIS 202 / 1202; cf. also from Thera, a contemporary dedication, probably of an altar, to Arsinoe (...)

15During the same period, and in a similar fashion, homage was paid to the Egyptian gods and the Ptolemaic kings in other parts of the Ptolemaic sphere of influence. On the island of Thera, the basilistai, an association which probably included officials and soldiers of the Ptolemaic garrison, made a dedication to Sarapis, Isis and Anubis.23 The dedication does not use the ὑπέρ formula, but nonetheless indicates that the close relationship between ruler and Isiac cult was also present outside Egypt.

16When Ptolemy III came to power, hyper-formula dedications were already widespread, both inside and outside the Ptolemaic kingdom. The correlations between the Ptolemaic dynasty and Sarapis and Isis were made preeminent in Alexandria, since the time that Euergetes built the Great Sarapieion of the city on the Rhakotis hill (I.Alex.Ptol. 13). Moreover, by this period, the order of the royal titles had been standardised, as is evident in the framework of the royal oaths (see infra section 3), while during the same period the first double dedications appear (see section 2).

  • 24 See Bricault (1999), p. 334–343; Fassa (2011), p. 253–265.

17In the reign of Philopator hyper-dedications to Sarapis, Isis and the royal couple multiplied, a phenomenon consistent with the increased interest of the reigning Ptolemy in the worship of the two deities.24 Specifically, it was during his reign that the majority of dedications with the formula ὑπέρ were offered in the Ptolemaic kingdom. The inscriptions dating to his reign are formed in the manner outlined above and, geographically, they extend from Alexandria to Philai. The dedicants, as far as we can tell, are members of the upper class and have financial or other ties with the royal household, while the dedications are made to Sarapis and Isis, often highlighting their saviour qualities.

  • 25 Fraser (1972) II, p. 410, n. 557; for the discussion on the dedicant see I.Alex.Ptol. 18, p. 56.
  • 26 For the dynastic cult of the Theoi Philopatores see Lanciers (1988), p. 27–32; Huss (2001), p. 452– (...)

18It is in the reign of Philopator that a new temple at a central location of Alexandria was dedicated to Sarapis and Isis, the Saviour Gods and to Ptolemy and Arsinoe, the Father-Loving Gods (Ι.Alex.Ptol. 18). The connection with καί, the parallelism and the correlations are all reminiscent of the dedications with the formula ὑπέρ. The present inscription is of paramount importance, as it concerns the very first temple which is dedicated to Sarapis, Isis, and the living Ptolemaic royal couple, and not a deified, deceased ancestor. Moreover, if the dedicant is Ptolemy IV himself, as some scholars argue,25 then we are dealing with the expression of an organised religious policy. Whether attributed to Philopator himself or to a wealthy citizen, this dedication elevates the royal couple to the same status as that of Sarapis and Isis. This practice, even if it was not enforced by the fourth Ptolemaic ruler, was undoubtedly enhanced by him. Consistent with this socio-religious atmosphere is a dedication made during the same period in the area of the Nile Delta to Isis, Sarapis, and Apollon in favour of Ptolemy IV, who is addressed here as ‘great, father-loving, saviour and victorious god’ (I.Delta 2.749.13).26

  • 27 The sole exception is a dedication from Amathous, Cyprus (RICIS 401 / 0401).

19Dedications with the formula ὑπέρ continued in the following centuries, without important variations in their formulation occurring. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE, however, they decrease, while there are virtually no dedications with the prepositional phrasing outside Egypt.27 This is consistent with the overall reduction of dedications to Sarapis and Isis which can be observed in Ptolemaic Egypt during the same period. At the same time, it could be related to the Ptolemaic kingdom’s introspective tendencies (mainly due to succession conflicts and financial problems) and to the abandonment of the expansive foreign policy of the first Ptolemies.

20Modern research has expressed doubt about the meaning of the preposition ὑπέρ in this particular linguistic and cultural context. The term appears in the epigraphic vocabulary as early as the Archaic period, especially in private dedications. It usually refers to a relative or friend of the dedicant (sometimes even to the dedicants themselves), for whom the offering is made. Its usage continues into the Hellenistic period and it constitutes one of the most popular inscriptional expressions, thus manifesting the perpetual human need to highlight and clarify in the epigraphic text the person in whose favour a dedication is made.

21Two points, however, illustrate the difference between the Archaic-Classical and the Hellenistic usage. First, in Hellenistic times the expression extends to people outside the dedicant’s immediate or extended family or circle of friends; in particular, the preposition ὑπέρ is now also used for the ruler and his household. Secondly, the role of the dedicant has altered, since, in this framework, he / she does not portray himself / herself as a relative or friend, but primarily as a subject. In this way, an element of hierarchy was introduced into private dedications, which until then was unprecedented. Furthermore, as already mentioned, these dedications have a specific geographical distribution: they mostly appear in Ptolemaic Egypt. The increased distribution within Egypt is not coincidental; it is indicative of an epigraphic habit, which reflects contemporary social and cultural trends.

22Multiple suggestions have been introduced as to the meaning of ὑπέρ in relation to the Ptolemies. P.M. Fraser (1972, 226–227) concludes that it constitutes a loyalty formula; in this framework ὑπέρ mainly means ‘on behalf of’. According to this reading, prepositional dedications are a confession of faith to the Ptolemaic ruler and the royal household; the dedicants officially and publicly proclaim their support, obedience, and loyalty towards the kings. P. Iossif believes that, apart from support to the royal household, the preposition ὑπέρ may express the dedicant’s deeper sentiments of devotion towards the Ptolemaic king (2005, 237). He asserts that these dedications have a religious character and cannot be simply equated with a public confession of faith. Finally D. Gladić (2007, 110–117) concurs with the interpretation of hyper + genitive as a loyalty formula and stresses its use, not only in dedications but also in other contexts, such as in decrees, as a so-called ‘Beneficiary-formula’, a means of expanding the positive impact of a cultic act to persons (beneficiaries) beyond its recipient(s).

23An interpretation of the offerings with the formula ὑπέρ in the social and cultural context of Ptolemaic Egypt should take into account, on the one hand, the contemporary cultic reality, and on the other, the diachronic linguistic usage. Starting from the latter, the preposition ὑπέρ as part of the inscriptional language continued to be used in the Ptolemaic period in similar ways and with the polysemy that characterised earlier centuries. It expresses grace, defence, inclusion, and paying homage; it implies salvation, usually from sickness or danger, and generally indicates the positive intention of the dedicant, who (if not referred to himself / herself) introduces a third person in his / her personal transaction with the divine. Despite the multiple nuances that can be attributed to the preposition ὑπέρ, in some cases a qualitative differentiation on behalf of the dedicant can be detected, although the precise meaning of ὑπέρ is unclear. Polycrates and Hermione, for example, in a dedication to the Mother of the Gods, ὑπὲρ αὑτῶν καὶ τῶν τέκνων (for themselves and their children, I.Delta 1.246.18), apparently attach different connotations to ὑπέρ, when compared with the use of the same term by Paso, the feeder of the sacred jackals (κυνοβοσκός), who makes an offering to Anubis for / ὑπέρ the dioicetes Apollonios and his estate manager, Zenon (I.Fayum 1.98). Consequently, the prepositional phrase as part of the inscriptional terminology implies heterogeneous ideas and feelings, since it could be used to describe a variety of bonds between family members, friends or professional relationships.

24As far as the Ptolemies are concerned, the ὑπὲρ-formula indicates a relationship which develops between the dedicant and the ruler, since, as the epigraphic experience by the Hellenistic period had demonstrated, an ὑπέρ-clause constituted the most effective way, for a third person to be integrated into a dedication. This relationship might have been of a friendly, financial or professional nature, but most importantly it was a hierarchical relationship. Its aspects were formed gradually, while the status of the king (was he human, hero, godlike or god?) was evolving and being negotiated. I believe that the ὑπέρ-formula was used in private dedications in order to express this ambivalence regarding the position of the king. The Ptolemaic ruler is included as a third member in the relationship between god and dedicant, as is the case with all the hyper-style dedications. The difference is that, on the one hand, the ruler is considered superior to the dedicant, while on the other, his relationship to the divine is under negotiation. This formula, which is used to convert a binary relationship to a ternary relationship, started to spread among the Greek-speaking population of Egypt and was standardised not immediately, but gradually, as was the ideology of the Ptolemaic kingship.

25The widespread use of ὑπέρ also points to a variety of meanings, which depend on the specific circumstances of each dedication. As previously mentioned, private dedications are not to be separated from the cultic reality. They are part of a broader set of ritual offerings, which are directed to the Ptolemaic kings in correlation with the divine couple and are undertaken by individuals, subjects or supporters of the royal household. In this framework, not only dedications, but also sacrifices offered for the Ptolemies, were formulated with the same prepositional phrase (cf. e.g. UPZ 1.19 l. 2–4).

  • 28 Especially during the reigns of Ptolemy II and III, all surviving dedications with ὑπέρ offer luxur (...)
  • 29 Bingen (2007), p. 276.

26By including the king in a private dedication, the dedicant obviously wishes to honour the royal household. In this sense, the dedication constitutes a statement of faith, devotion and loyalty. Moreover, since the majority of the dedicants who used this formula, especially during its earlier stages, were affluent citizens of Alexandria,28 it is probable that dedications with the formula ὑπέρ became the main means for people of this social standing to address the Ptolemies in public. In other words, it could have been a politically-correct expression for the Greek-speaking, upper class-citizens of Alexandria.29

  • 30 Ambiguity as a feature of the use of hyper + genitive in Ptolemaic contexts is also noted by Gladić(...)

27This mentality, which seems to have originated in Alexandria, covered the preposition ὑπέρ with ambiguity, since the ὑπέρ-clause complied with its traditional use, while it was also used to express the particular social, political and cultic reality of Ptolemaic Egypt. Did the word simply mean ‘in honour of’ or ‘in the name of’ the king? Did it also have more complex connotations including salvation, good health, and prosperity? Did it imply a prayer that also included the Ptolemies? The preposition ὑπέρ was able to express all of the above, thus retaining its semantic multiplicity and ambivalence in these otherwise simple texts.30

Double dedications

28The dative case constituted the most popular inscriptional formula in the Greek-speaking world from the Archaic period; it was the obvious choice for those adherents to Greek civilisation who wanted to record a dedication to a deity.

29In the framework of the multifarious bonds and associations of the Ptolemies with Sarapis and Isis, double dedications are a later phenomenon, since, with only one exception, they appear some decades later than the hyper-style dedications. Regarding their phrasing, just as in the case of the prepositional dedications, those with the dative cite the name of the royal couple (with or without further titles) and their offspring first, followed by the name(s) of the god(s) and finally the name of the dedicant.

  • 31 See Iossif (2005), p. 248.

30The status of the king and the relationship between him and the dedicant in double dedications is ambivalent.31 Particularly puzzling is the reference to the rulers in the dative, since it might imply a direct equation with the gods. The core of this issue could be summarised as follows: is the dative referring to the kings the object of an implied verb or is it simply a dative expressing advantage and / or grace?

31I think that it is not possible to definitely answer this question, since the verb form will always elude us. The linguistic and the cultural contexts, however, may be crucial. Indeed, the dative on its own does not undoubtedly denote worship. The fact, however, that in the same textual framework gods and rulers are mentioned and addressed using an identical case leads the reader in a specific direction, to an ideological place where the distance between gods and kings is at least reduced, if not eliminated. In dozens of inscriptions, gods and Ptolemaic rulers appear in close proximity and people refer to them with similar means of expression. Even if it is a dative denoting grace, its subtle syntactic distinction in relation to the indirect object is probably easily circumvented, since the sentence’s structure actually parallels the deities and the Ptolemies rather than differentiating between them. Furthermore, double dedications were offered in a political and cultural environment which favoured the correspondences between the gods worshipped in Egypt and the rulers who governed it. As with the prepositional dedications, those in the dative express the parallelism between the Ptolemies and Sarapis and Isis, but, due to the syntactical and grammatical proximity between deities and rulers, in a more intense way.

  • 32 The double dedications that I know of are the following: RICIS 304 / 0601; I.Delta 1.234.4; RICIS 4 (...)
  • 33 RICIS 304 / 0601, with Calapà (2010), p. 200, who republished the inscription (for the most part co (...)
  • 34 Only two of the surviving double dedications are located outside Egypt, from Cyprus (RICIS 401 / 01 (...)

32In contrast to hyper-style dedications the majority of double dedications are limited both chronologically and geographically. They are concentrated at the Nile Delta during the reign of Euergetes I and at Philai during the reign of Euergetes II.32 Their birthplace, however, is probably the traditional Greek-speaking world — as is also evidenced from dedications in the dative to other deities. Moreover, the oldest surviving dedication of this type comes not from Egypt, but from Ephesos.33 Leaving aside its possible origin, the correlation between Isiac deities and the Ptolemies in dedications with the dative developed almost exclusively in Ptolemaic Egypt.34

  • 35 See Wild (1981); Siard (2007), p. 432–435.

33From the reign of Ptolemy III, five double dedications to the Isiac deities and the Ptolemaic royal household survive, three of which come from the Delta region. In two of the dedications from the Delta (I.Delta 1.235.5; Ι.Delta 1.235.6), Sarapis and Isis are accompanied by Nile, the deified river which, like the Isiac deities, is associated with notions of prosperity, wealth and abundance, whilst its water is used in Isiac rites and is considered, especially during the Imperial period, as a particularly important element of the ritual.35

34It is not a coincidence that an increased number of double dedications are dated to the reign of Euergetes I. It was Euergetes himself who had highlighted his affiliation with the Isiac deities by building the Alexandrian Sarapieion (see above), a sanctuary which dominated the city, thus proving to residents and visitors the ruler’s devotion to these particular gods.

  • 36 See Pfeiffer (2008a), p. 51–76.
  • 37 Hölbl (2001), p. 95; Pfeiffer (2008b), p. 403.
  • 38 For the cult of the Ptolemies in the Egyptian temples see Gorre (2009), p. 606–614; Pfeiffer (2008a (...)

35Furthermore, the increase in double dedications could be associated with contemporary developments in dynastic and ruler cult.36 Although innovative developments like those which occurred under Philadelphos did not take place in this sector during the reign of Euergetes,37 the cult of the Ptolemies both inside and outside Egypt was normalised, whilst its Egyptian version is expanded.38 Now, the attribution of divine or godlike honours is not the result of a specific benefaction of the ruler towards a city, but the cities themselves tend to believe that this is the appropriate way to honour the Ptolemaic kings. A typical example is the Itanos decree (Ι.Cret. 3.4) with which the city honours Ptolemy III and Berenice II with the construction of a temenos, with sacrifices and athletic games, not because of specific benefactions offered by the king, but because the ruler continues to maintain the city’s freedom, without further benefactions, as noted by Walbank (1984, 94). In addition, in relation to Berenice, there is no attempt to justify the honours given.

  • 39 OGIS 56, l. 22 ff.; Huss (2001), p. 379; for the honours paid to the Theoi Euergetai in the framewo (...)
  • 40 Pfeiffer (2008a), p. 62–64.
  • 41 Hazzard (2000), p. 112; Hölbl (2001), p. 85.

36Moving to Egypt, the Egyptian priests attributed to Ptolemy III a characterisation, which was unprecedented in recent pharaonic history: he was called ‘he who is like Ra’. Moreover, in the priestly synod of 238 BCE, it was decided that all the priests of the land would also be called ‘priests of the Benefactor gods’, while a fifth tribe was added to the four priestly tribes, the tribe of the Benefactor gods.39 At the same time, the worship of Berenice II was promoted; according to Theocritus (Id. 15.106–108) she had been deified by Aphrodite herself.40 Although her cult was not as important as that of Arsinoe II, in her case something new occurred; Berenice was worshipped while still alive. Ιn temple iconography, she appeared as equal to the king, a position that by then had only rarely been attributed to the Pharaohs’ spouses.41

  • 42 IThSy 315, 316, 318; SEG 28.1484.

37The next Ptolemy to be systematically equated with Sarapis in private double dedications is the controversial Ptolemy VIII, who also took the title of Euergetes. During his reign both the double and the hyper-style dedications were customary; those in the dative survive solely from Philai. Only one of those in the dative is a simple dedication to the royal couple and to Sarapis and Isis (I.Philai 16). In the remaining cases, the two gods are mentioned first, but the dedicants wish to make their dedications not only to the immediate members of the Isiac circle (Anubis and Harpocrates), but also to the other deities of the land, Amun, Khnum, and Arensnuphis42.

  • 43 E.g. Hölbl (2001), p. 259.
  • 44 See Hölbl (2001), p. 257–260.

38The concentration of dedications at Philai should be associated with the building projects undertaken there by Ptolemy VIII. During a particularly disorderly period, with Egyptian rebellions and severe dynastic conflicts, Philometor and Euergetes II emerged as major sponsors of the Egyptian temples, so that some scholars characterise their reign as a period when sacred architecture flourished.43 On the island of Philai, the building programme at the Isis temple, which was inaugurated by Philadelphos and completed by Philometor, was expanded by Euergetes II. He decorated the hypostyle hall of the temple of Isis; he expanded the house of birth, thus giving this architectural model its final form; and he also configured the platform before the first pylon. Consequently, the priests of Philai expressed their gratitude for the generous provisions made by Ptolemy VIII by assigning him two granite obelisks.44

39The building activity at Philai, as well as the benefactions of the reigning Ptolemy, must have contributed to the creation of an atmosphere which encouraged the offering of dedications to the royal and the divine couples. Besides, the ruler had proved his devotion and piety to Sarapis and Isis by undertaking construction work in their honour. By that period, for the adherents of the Isiac deities and subjects of the Ptolemies, double dedications constituted a widely accepted mode of following their ruler’s example, while at the same time incorporating the latter into their cultic behaviour. Moreover, as in Alexandria, the double dedications constituted a common expression of honouring the members and important deities of the royal oikos for high ranking officials stationed at Philai, who articulated in this way their solidarity, agreement and compliance to the policy, religious or otherwise, applied by their ruler (e.g. SEG 28.1484).

The cultic praxis and mentality of the hyper-style and double dedications

40The private dedications examined above attest to the diverse and complex relations between gods, kings and men during the Ptolemaic period. The subjects of the Ptolemies felt that they had to include the supreme political, military, and administrative authorities of the country in their acts of worship. The rulers, for their part, must have encouraged such initiatives. This elaborate relationship was manifested in cult, among others, by the dedications of individuals for / to the royal couple and, in most cases, also to Sarapis and Isis. The nuances of this bond were articulated in two ways: with the hyper-style and with double dedications. Although both refer to the aforementioned triptych, each type illuminates a different aspect of the dedicant’s perception of Ptolemaic kingship.

41The prepositional dedications are the earliest, dating already from the reign of Ptolemy I. Furthermore, they are one of the most enduring types of private dedications in the Ptolemaic kingdom. Clearly the dedicants considered them suitable for expressing diachronically the relationship between the Ptolemaic monarch, his subjects and two of the most important gods of the kingdom. Although they were occasionally used by supporters of the royal household outside the borders of the Ptolemaic state, these dedications exhibit a strong regional character. It is not usual for an individual to make a prepositional dedication outside Egypt. According to my interpretation, geographic distribution indicates that these dedications articulated in the context of personal religiosity a hierarchical relationship between ruler and subject.

42This relation was a gradual formation. Sometimes modern research tends to examine the dynastic and ruler cult in its ultimate evolutionary stage, as a complete and fully developed phenomenon. Several decades passed, however, before it attained a definite form. The dedications with the preposition ὑπέρ express one of the earliest moments in the development of the relationship between subjects and rulers in the Ptolemaic kingdom. Since the age of Soter, and not without his approval, the inhabitants of the Ptolemaic kingdom chose to present their relationship with their rulers in public, using, among other means, the hyper-style dedications. Within this framework, it is perhaps not coincidental that the first extant dedication of this type was made by a citizen of Alexandria. The interpretation of these dedications depends primarily on the meaning of ὑπέρ. It has been suggested that it should not be disconnected from its past and contemporary uses in other contexts, but based on these it should be given a new meaning in order to express the reality of the Ptolemaic kingship.

43Undoubtedly, the hyper-style dedications constitute an important form of paying homage to the Ptolemies — all scholars agree on this. The content and concept, however, of paying homage has been analysed in various ways. The dedicants might express their support or solidarity and occasionally their loyalty to the regime. Their offerings could accompany wishes or prayers for the state’s prosperity. Moreover, those dedications which state the ruler’s ancestors and include the royal couple’s offspring declare that the dedicant has accepted the legitimacy of the ruling king and they thus promote dynastic continuity. Given that the dynastic and ruler cults in Ptolemaic Egypt were formulated successively, that is, they were supplemented, modified, and transformed in order to meet the changing historical circumstances, the ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings of ὑπέρ, combined with its commonly accepted and familiar use as an epigraphic formula, constituted the appropriate vehicle for articulating the various evolutionary stages of the dynastic and ruler cults. Moreover, due to its brief, general, and familiar character, the prepositional dedicatory formula could be used to express various aspects of this relationship. In a case of internal or external crisis, for example, a hyper-style dedication, placed in a central location of Alexandria, carried more significations in comparison to a similar dedication during peacetime.

  • 45 Cf. SEG 24.1174.

44Over the years and as the cult forms addressing Ptolemaic rulers became more complex — thus expressing a contemporary consolidation of the relations between rulers and subjects — more methods were developed to articulate such relationships. Hence, while the formula with ὑπέρ indirectly alluded to a parallelism between the royal and the divine couple, double dedications confined the allusions, ambiguities or doubts, since the same case (and probably the same syntax) was used to refer to both gods and kings. Double dedications constitute a somewhat later evolutionary stage of the dynastic cult in Egypt, though they never become more popular than the prepositional dedications, which outnumber them by almost two-thirds. Double dedications developed a few decades after the hyper-style dedications and expressed a direct equation between gods and kings. This evolution of the private dedications was not, of course, something isolated, but was consistent with other changes relating to the image of the king and royal ideology. When the divine nature of a Ptolemy was claimed, propagated and supported by multiple means and methods on behalf of the Ptolemaic dynasty, it was unlikely that it would have no impact on private articulations of the ruler cult. Thus, in the same intellectual and political climate in which Philadelphos founded the Ptolemaia, dedications were made to Ptolemy Soter in favour of Ptolemy Philadelphos.45

  • 46 Cf. the rituals in honour of the king and queen at the great Sarapieion of Memphis: UPZ 1.14.27–30; (...)
  • 47 OGIS 725; Caneva (2013), p. 295–296.
  • 48 For the Ptolemies as synnaoi of Sarapis, Isis and other gods see Nock (1972), p. 205–208; Thompson (...)
  • 49 See e.g. PSI V.539 (Philadelphia, mid-3rd century BCE).
  • 50 The extant papyri which present the royal oath in its complete form are the following: P.Tebt. III (...)
  • 51 Huss (2001), p. 444–449.
  • 52 SNRIS 84; Fassa (2011), p. 188–195; Landvatter (2012) passim and esp. p. 85–88.

45Furthermore, it is important from a methodological and interpretative perspective to note that hyper-style and double dedications are just one expression of the acts of worship attributed to the Ptolemies. Sacrifices and libations were part of the ruler cult’s daily rituals.46 The subjects and inhabitants of, or visitors to Egypt, could see the temples shared by the Ptolemies and the Isiac deities or visit the sanctuaries which were dedicated exclusively to members of the royal household. In the Alexandrian Sarapieion, the Ptolemaic kings were worshipped alongside Sarapis, Isis, and Harpocrates; an altar of Ptolemy II and Arsinoe Philadelphos erected in the Sarapieion precinct indicates that in the most important temple of the city the dynastic cult was incorporated in the cultic acts honouring the Isiac divinities.47 In the following decades, the Ptolemies became temple-sharing gods (σύνναοι) with Sarapis, Isis and gods of their cycle; the colossal sculptural complexes of Sarapis and Ptolemy III and IV, also in the Sarapieion of Alexandria, are a typical example.48 In this cultic context, Ptolemaic rulers, Sarapis and Isis shared the same priests.49 It is likely then that many of the dedications presented in this article had been placed in sanctuaries shared by the Isiac deities and the Ptolemaic kings. Moreover, any formal or informal transaction which took place in the Ptolemaic kingdom would have been made in the name of and under the authority of not only the royal couple, but of Sarapis and Isis as well. The period in which double dedications developed coincides with the time that Sarapis and Isis were incorporated into the formula of the royal oaths.50 Finally, related to the previously mentioned developments is the representation of Sarapis and Isis on the silver tetradrachms of Ptolemy IV (or V), which was a popular issue with wide geographical distribution. On the obverse of this issue — and for the first time in Ptolemaic coinage — the jugate busts of Sarapis and Isis were depicted. This representation reaffirmed the bonds between the two gods and the Ptolemaic royal household, promoted royal ideology (for the construction of which, at least as far as Ptolemy IV is concerned, the interconnections with the Isis circle were crucial51) and validated royal authority and legitimacy during an unstable period of Ptolemaic history.52

  • 53 Such as the ambivalent Phalereus (Diogenes Laert. 5.76; Artemidoros 2.44.23–30), who must also have (...)

46Sarapis and Isis are the two deities which appear more frequently and systematically in double dedications. How is their predominance to be interpreted? The inscription I.Alex.Ptol. 1 is an indicative text. As was observed above, it demonstrates that Sarapis and Isis were associated with the Ptolemaic kingship since its early days. Moreover, it is an important indication of the cult’s primary tendencies: Sarapis is associated with Isis, but also with the king and the gradual shaping of the institution of Ptolemaic kingship and subsequently the dynastic cult. In approximately the same period, the cult of Sarapis was launched by intellectuals from Athens, who had been invited to Alexandria by Ptolemy I,53 while in Memphis important private and public monuments were being built. Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume that the aetiological myth, as cited by Plutarch (De Is. et Os. 361e9–362d7) and Tacitus (Hist. 4.81–4.84), or at least a similar version, was probably already circulating in Alexandria, attributing the cult’s foundation to Ptolemy I. An inscription from Maroneia is suggestive of the interaction between ruler and Isiac cults, the mutual integrations and the fundamental role of the foundation narrative (RICIS 114 / 0207). In this Thracian city, which was under Ptolemaic control until at least the late 3rd century BCE, and was the place where one of Isis’ famous aretalogies was found, an unknown dedicant received an order from the gods of Egypt in a dream. In this dream-epiphany, however, the gods did not require the introduction of the cult in a city, according to the model of the introduction myth, but the erection of statues of a Ptolemaic king and queen, who were reigning in the 3rd century BCE. The offering was made to Sarapis, Isis and Anubis, who would thus be temple-sharing gods with the Ptolemies. This trend, which correlated Sarapis, Isis and the kings of Egypt, seems to have been normalised by the reign of Philadelphos and was spread from Alexandria outside Egypt.

  • 54 The most characteristic example is of course Arsinoe II, who was worshipped under many cult titles, (...)
  • 55 Some of the evidence referring to the two gods as great (μεγάλοι) are gathered by Bricault (1996); (...)

47This relation gradually evoked assimilations and identifications. Although we can seek the identification of Sarapis and the Ptolemaic king only in indirect testimonies, in the case of the queen and Isis the situation is substantially different. The identification, which in double dedications does not directly occur, but is skillfully implied, was expressed in many ways, especially in poetry and art.54 Besides, they shared common cultic epithets; like the two gods, the rulers were characterised as θεοὶ μέγιστοι.55 Perhaps for this reason, and in analogy with the Ptolemaic royal couple, in most of the dedications, prepositional or in the dative, the name of Sarapis is placed first, followed by that of Isis.

  • 56 Iossif (2005), p. 237–240, however, evoking elements of the pharaonic kingship ideology, believes t (...)
  • 57 cf. UPZ 1.15.3.42–8 = 16.30–34; UPZ 1.20.3–4.

48The special bond cultivated between the Ptolemaic royal household and Sarapis and Isis was quickly accepted. The foundation myth of the cult itself fostered this impression and laid the foundations for this relationship. Sarapis and Isis were considered to be those gods who ‘will ensure the king’s sovereignty in all countries which the Sun sees’ (UPZ 1.15.42–8 = 1.16.30–4), and also peace and prosperity outside Egypt. Just as the subjects of the Ptolemaic kingdom express their support to the king through these dedications, and articulate their faith in his divine nature through parallels with the Isiac couple, so they direct their wishes and prayers for the prosperity and success of the Ptolemaic state to these specific gods.56 Sarapis and Isis are regarded as the patron gods of Ptolemaic kingship, as those who are responsible for ensuring dynastic continuity, the welfare of the Ptolemaic kings at home and abroad, and ultimately the felicity of the entire Ptolemaic state.57

  • 58 For the 3rd century BCE see P.Cair.Zen. I.59034; 59168; for the 2nd century BCE see UPZ 1.33.8–11 = (...)

49Connecting the two deities with the royal household led inevitably, because of the state structure, to their correlation with the administration. Thus, it is not a coincidence that outside Ptolemaic Egypt, those who systematically offered common dedications were Ptolemaic officials. The demonstration of piety towards the Isiac deities was a means of advancement within the administrative hierarchy in the Ptolemaic state. This tendency had already evolved in the middle of the 3rd century BCE, and it continued into the 2nd century BCE.58 Sarapis and Isis increased the status and guaranteed the professional success of those who honoured them, while at the same time testimonies of direct participation in their cult ensured royal, and accordingly, social acceptance.

50Hyper-style and double dedications constituted an expression of the honours attributed to the Ptolemies, as were other ritual actions. They demonstrated in public the relationship between gods, kings and dedicants — a triptych that was a familiar, everyday reality for the inhabitants of the Ptolemaic kingdom. Thus, on the one hand, dedicants undoubtedly expressed their support for the Ptolemaic dynasty, while they also contributed to the formulation of an epigraphic habit. The rulers, on the other hand, were inserted in the relationship between gods and dedicants, confirming in this way their ambiguous status.

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Notes

1 They have been briefly discussed by Mitteis, Wilcken (1912), p. 25, n. 4, Taeger (1957), p. 299, 302–303 and more extensively by Fraser (1972), p. 226–228, with notes. Iossif (2005) has provided the most complete survey of the evidence concerning their use in the framework of the Sarapis and Isis worship. Gladić (2007) provides a nuanced analysis of the usage of the hyper-formula and also offers parallels from hieroglyphic and demotic texts. For preliminary definitions and the difficulties of distinguishing between private and public cult see Aneziri (2005), p. 219–222.

2 As we shall see below, ‘for’ is only one of the possible translations of the Greek ὑπέρ. I believe, however, that it is the most suitable, since ‘for’ encompasses a wide spectrum of meanings, which cover the semantic field of ὑπέρ in this framework (see also infra, p. 136–142).

3 The sole exception is I.Alex.Ptol. 18, where both the names of the gods and the names of the kings are in the genitive case. The name ‘double dedications’ for this type of inscriptions was given by Fraser (1960), p. 5.

4 I.Alex.Ptol. 1, 5; RICIS 304 / 0601, 305 / 1702; OGIS 64; I.Delta 1.234.4; RICIS 401 / 0101; I.Alex.Ptol. 18, 19, 20; RICIS 402 / 0601; OGIS 82; I.Philae 5, 16; I.Alex.Ptol. 34.

5 Anoubis: RICIS 202 / 1204*, 202 / 1205; Nile: I.Delta 1.235.5, 1.235.6; Harpocrates: I.Philai 3; Apollon-Horus: I.Delta 2.749.13; Osiris and Anoubis: OGIS 97.

6 At Koptos, Sarapis, Isis and Harpocrates were combined with Pan Euodos, Kronos, Dionysos, the Dioskouroi and Heracles Kallinikos (SEG 49.2251); at Philai dedications were made to the divine couple together with Harpocrates and Anubis and to important local divinities such as Ammon, Κhnum and Aresnouphis (ΙThSy 315; ΙΤhSy 316), but also to Sarapis, Isis, Horus and the gods of Philai and of the Abaton (IThSy 318; SEG 28.1484).

7 I.Delta 232.2 (the sole dedication dating from the 3rd century BCE; IThSy 314; OGIS 94, 92; IThSy 246, 319; I.Philae 18; I.Fayum 69, 145, 11; OGIS 741; conversely, Sarapis only rarely appears without Isis (OGIS 63, Cyprus; SB 4963, Giza, here as Zeus Helios Sarapis).

8 E.g. SEG 31.1321; I.Louvre 13; SEG 20.498.

9 Artemis: OGIS 18, 91; Adonis, Dioskouroi (together with Ptolemy I): SEG 24.1174; Zeus in his manifold aspects: SEG 47.2144; OGIS 65, 733; Heracles: I.Fayum 203; Demeter, Kore, Dikaiosyne: OGIS 83; Aris: OGIS 86; Great Gods of Samothrace: OGIS 88; Poseidon: JEA 38, 1952, a-b; Pan: OGIS 132.

10 Dedications for / to the Ptolemies and the gods of the Cataract: IThSy 242; OGIS 130; IThSy 243; dedications at the Fayum region, honouring the Ptolemies and Heron: I.Fayum 105–106; the Ptolemies and the manifestations of the crocodile god: I.Fayum 107, 108, 209, 84 (Pneferos); OGIS 187 (Petesouchos); I.Fayum 201, 158, 72 (Soknopaios); I.Fayum 14 (Souchos).

11 The evidence is gathered by Iossif (2005), Tables I–II; see also Fraser (1972), I, p. 226; II, p. 376, n. 299.

12 Cf. Ffeiffer (2008a), p. 19.

13 Winter (1978), p. 155.

14 Koenen (1993), passim.

15 According to Iossif (2005), Tables I–II, from a total of 124 dedications linking the Ptolemies with divinities, 88 are prepositional.

16 Isis is placed first in only two surviving dedications: I.Delta 2.749.13; I.Alex.Ptol. 34.

17 I.Alex.Ptol.1, 5; RICIS 305 / 1702; OGIS 64; I.Alex.Ptol. 19, 20; RICIS 402 / 0601; I.Philae 5; I.Alex.Ptol. 34; RICIS 102 / 0501*, 202 / 1204*; I.Delta 2.749.13; RICIS 202 / 1205; OGIS 97; SEG 49.2251; RICIS 401 / 0401; OGIS 94, 92; I.Philae 18; I.Fayum 145, 11; OGIS 741; I.Delta 232.2; IThSy 319, 246; I.Fayum 69; SB 4963.

18 Cf. Tacitus, Hist. 4.83–84; Plutarch, De Iside 361f–362a; De soll. anim. 984a8–b9.

19 For an Athenian intellectual circle in the court of Ptolemy I see Fassa (2011), p. 131–141.

20 P.Cair.Zen. I.59034, l. 7–8: ἐπιστατεῖν καὶ ἐπιβωμίζειν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν; it is a well-known text, see Borgeaud, Volokhine (2000), p. 46f.; Pfeiffer (2008b), p. 396–400, with references to the previous bibliography.

21 P.Cair.Zen. II.59168; cf. in this respect the phrasing of the prostagma of Ptolemy Auletes concerning the temple of Isis at Ptolemais which was erected by the epistrategos, Callimachos: I.Prose 36 l. 11–15: τὸ κατεσκευασμένον ὑπὲρ τῆς ἡμετέρας σωτηρίας ὑπὸ Καλλιμάχου τοῦ ἐπιστρατήγου Ἰσιδεῖον ἀπὸ νότου Πτολεμαΐδος ἀτελὲς καὶ ἄσυλον εἶναι …

22 At least from the reign of Ptolemy II, cf. SEG 28.60, l. 71–72 (270–69 BCE); SEG 28.837 (281–66 BCE), see also Frost, 1971, 167–172; P.Cair.Zen. Ι.59036 (257 BCE); OGIS 46 (dated to Ptolemy II or III).

23 RICIS 202 / 1202; cf. also from Thera, a contemporary dedication, probably of an altar, to Arsinoe Philadelphos (RICIS 202 / 1201).

24 See Bricault (1999), p. 334–343; Fassa (2011), p. 253–265.

25 Fraser (1972) II, p. 410, n. 557; for the discussion on the dedicant see I.Alex.Ptol. 18, p. 56.

26 For the dynastic cult of the Theoi Philopatores see Lanciers (1988), p. 27–32; Huss (2001), p. 452–3.

27 The sole exception is a dedication from Amathous, Cyprus (RICIS 401 / 0401).

28 Especially during the reigns of Ptolemy II and III, all surviving dedications with ὑπέρ offer luxurious gifts to the gods.

29 Bingen (2007), p. 276.

30 Ambiguity as a feature of the use of hyper + genitive in Ptolemaic contexts is also noted by Gladić (2007), p. 117.

31 See Iossif (2005), p. 248.

32 The double dedications that I know of are the following: RICIS 304 / 0601; I.Delta 1.234.4; RICIS 401 / 0101; OGIS 82; I.Philae 16; I.Delta 1.235.5, 1.235.6; I.Philae 3; IThSy. 314–316, 318, 320. Recently Meadows (2013), p. 5 proposed a different reading for SEG 33.942 (published again by Calapà [2010], p. 201), which he restores as a double dedication to the Ptolemies and Sarapis and Isis.

33 RICIS 304 / 0601, with Calapà (2010), p. 200, who republished the inscription (for the most part concurring with Knibbe, Engelmann, Iplikçioglu [1993], p. 150) and with Meadows (2013), p. 3, who suggests a different restoration; the dating of the inscription to the reign of Philadelphos (cf. RICIS 304 / 0601; Calapà [2010], p. 204–206) has recently been challenged by Meadows (2013), p. 7–9. Meadows suggests that the dedications should be dated to the reign of Philopator first on the basis of the proximity he discerns between the inscription under discussion and OGIS 82, which is dated to the reign of Philopator. According to Meadows’ restoration and interpretation, the dedicant in OGIS 82 is a Ptolemaic official, as are the dedicants of SEG 33.942, who were probably the same as those who erected RICIS 304 / 0601. Nevertheless, it should be noted that, in general during the Ptolemaic period, the profile of the persons who make dedications to both Sarapis and Isis is exactly this: high-ranking officials, members of the upper classes or the Ptolemaic infrastructure, who have or wish to have strong bonds with the Ptolemaic royal household (for a prosopography of the dedicants see Fassa [2011], p. 224–238). Secondly, he believes that RICIS 304 / 0601 is better situated in the reign of Philopator, due to the increased interest of this Ptolemy in the two deities. Finally, he maintains that the reign of Philadelphos would have been too early for such a dedication to be made outside Egypt. However, the attribution of exceptional honours to individuals (among which dedications in the dative should be included) had a tenacious tradition in Greek cities (cf. e.g. Buraselis [2004], p. 164–174; Chaniotis [2003], p. 434).

34 Only two of the surviving double dedications are located outside Egypt, from Cyprus (RICIS 401 / 0101) and Ephesos (RICIS 304 / 0601), that is, regions under Ptolemaic control-influence for most (Cyprus; cf. Bagnall [1976], p. 38–79; Will [1979], p. 153–208; Cohen [1995], p. 134–137) or part (Ephesos; cf. Bagnall [1976], p. 169–171; Hölbl [2001], p. 305) of the Hellenistic age.

35 See Wild (1981); Siard (2007), p. 432–435.

36 See Pfeiffer (2008a), p. 51–76.

37 Hölbl (2001), p. 95; Pfeiffer (2008b), p. 403.

38 For the cult of the Ptolemies in the Egyptian temples see Gorre (2009), p. 606–614; Pfeiffer (2008a), p. 77–108.

39 OGIS 56, l. 22 ff.; Huss (2001), p. 379; for the honours paid to the Theoi Euergetai in the framework of their cult in the Egyptian temples see also the recently published bilingual (hieroglyphic and demotic) stele from El-Khazindariya in El-Masry, Altenmüller, Thissen (2012).

40 Pfeiffer (2008a), p. 62–64.

41 Hazzard (2000), p. 112; Hölbl (2001), p. 85.

42 IThSy 315, 316, 318; SEG 28.1484.

43 E.g. Hölbl (2001), p. 259.

44 See Hölbl (2001), p. 257–260.

45 Cf. SEG 24.1174.

46 Cf. the rituals in honour of the king and queen at the great Sarapieion of Memphis: UPZ 1.14.27–30; cf. also at the same sanctuary the joint rituals in honour of both the Ptolemies and Sarapis: UPZ 1.19.2–4; UPZ 1.20.61–4; UPZ 1.41.22–25; UPZ 1.42.2.48–51; and the asylum decrees from Theadelphia, I.Fayum 112.29–33 and 113.32–36 with similar phrasing.

47 OGIS 725; Caneva (2013), p. 295–296.

48 For the Ptolemies as synnaoi of Sarapis, Isis and other gods see Nock (1972), p. 205–208; Thompson (1973), p. 59; Quaegebeur (1988), p. 45; (1989), p. 101, 111 (in Egyptian temples); Pfeiffer (2008a), p. 56–57; for the statues of Sarapis and the Ptolemies at the Alexandrian Sarapieion see Pfeiffer (2008b), p. 401.

49 See e.g. PSI V.539 (Philadelphia, mid-3rd century BCE).

50 The extant papyri which present the royal oath in its complete form are the following: P.Tebt. III 1.815 col. IV (228–221 BCE); P.Eleph. 23.12 (223 / 2 BCE); P.Enteux. 27 (222 BCE); P.Hamb. I.57 (160 BCE); P.Tebt. III 1.810 (134 BCE); P.Tebt. I.78 (110–8 BCE); BGU VIII.1735 (98 BCE); BGU VIII.1736 (78 BCE); BGU VIII.1740 (80–30 BCE); see also Minas (1999), p. 163–171; Fassa (2011), p. 181–187.

51 Huss (2001), p. 444–449.

52 SNRIS 84; Fassa (2011), p. 188–195; Landvatter (2012) passim and esp. p. 85–88.

53 Such as the ambivalent Phalereus (Diogenes Laert. 5.76; Artemidoros 2.44.23–30), who must also have promoted the cult overseas, cf. his close friend Menander, to whom the earliest surviving literary evidence on Sarapis is attributed (Fr. 139).

54 The most characteristic example is of course Arsinoe II, who was worshipped under many cult titles, among which was Isis Arsinoe Philadelphos (OGIS 31), while the last of her descendants, Cleopatra VII, was called, according to Plutarch (Ant. 54.9) New Isis; see also Thompson (1973), p. 131; for the associations in poetry see Koenen (1993), p. 92–94; for the links and correspondences between Ptolemaic queens and female divinities (primarily Isis and Aphrodite) see Fraser (1972), p. 237–244; the identifications are propagated especially through visual means, see Quaegebeur (1978); (1988), p. 45–47; van Nuffelen (1998–1999), p. 187–189; Ashton (2001), p. 45–53; Plantzos (2011).

55 Some of the evidence referring to the two gods as great (μεγάλοι) are gathered by Bricault (1996); see also the relevant indexes of RICIS; for the Ptolemies see e.g. UPZ 1.14.17–18: καθότι οὐθαμόθεν ἔχω τὰ ἐπιτήδεια / πλὴν τοῦ τὴν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς καταφυγὴν τοὺς θεοὺς μεγίστους / καὶ ἀντιλήμπτορας.

56 Iossif (2005), p. 237–240, however, evoking elements of the pharaonic kingship ideology, believes that in this context the king functions as an intermediary between men and gods. Being in proximity to the divine, the king will ensure divine protection for his subjects. Gladić (2007), p. 117–130, however, comparing Greek and Egyptian inscriptional evidence, compellingly shows that ideas such as the expression of loyalty evolved independently, to an extent, and were articulated with different syntactical schemata for the Greek- and the Egyptian-speaking populations.

57 cf. UPZ 1.15.3.42–8 = 16.30–34; UPZ 1.20.3–4.

58 For the 3rd century BCE see P.Cair.Zen. I.59034; 59168; for the 2nd century BCE see UPZ 1.33.8–11 = 1.34.5–7 = 1.35.12–15 = 1.36.10–13; UPZ 1.44.13–4=1.45.14–5; UPZ 1.52: οὐθένα ἔχομεν βοηθὸν / ἀλλ’ ἢ σὲ καὶ τὸν Σάραπιν [addressing Sarapion]; UPZ 1.53.29–30.

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Référence papier

Eleni Fassa, « Sarapis, Isis, and the Ptolemies in Private Dedications », Kernos, 28 | 2015, 133-153.

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Eleni Fassa, « Sarapis, Isis, and the Ptolemies in Private Dedications », Kernos [En ligne], 28 | 2015, mis en ligne le 01 octobre 2017, consulté le 25 novembre 2017. URL : http://kernos.revues.org/2333 ; DOI : 10.4000/kernos.2333

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Auteur

Eleni Fassa

Open University of Cyprus
PO Box 12794, 2252, Nicosia, Cyprus
eleni.fassa@ouc.ac.cy

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