back

OGIS: 332


PERGAMON GRANTS DIVINE HONOURS TO ATTALOS III

Greek text:   IvP_1.246
Date:   138-133 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription, which was found near Elaea, provides vivid evidence of the god-like honours given to some Hellenistic kings during their lifetime; but the circumstances that caused Attalos III to be greeted as a conquering hero are unknown. Ancient writers mention very little about his short reign, except that he was a keen gardener; and when Attalos died in 133 B.C., his kingdom was bequeathed to the Romans.

The translation is in part adapted from Hans-Josef Klauck, "The Religious Context of Early Christianity" (English edition - Google Books ); see also the comments by Graham Shipley, in "The Greek World after Alexander" ( Google Books ). There is a useful chapter on the cult of Hellenistic rulers in "A Companion to the Hellenistic World", written by Angelos Chaniotis ( PDF ). For two other decrees granting divine honours to kings, see SEG_41.75 and SEG_59.1406A.


. . . hostile country, which he was the first to . . . [since no-one] exceeds the king in benevolence . . . to resolve that fitting honours be paid to him, so that the citizens may show the king their recognition of all the good things that they have received from his hands, by giving him due thanks for his successes and for the benefits that he has bestowed on them.

With good fortune, it is resolved by the council and the assembled peope: the king shall be crowned with a golden garland of victory; a cultic image of him shall also be consecrated, five cubits high, showing him in his armour as he tramples upon the booty of war; this shall be set up in the temple of Asklepios Soter, so that he may be a temple-companion of the god. A golden statue of the king on horseback shall also be erected on a marble plinth beside the altar of Zeus Soter, 10 so that the statue may stand in the most prominent place in the agora. Each day, the stephanephoros and the priest of the king and the agonothete shall offer incense in sacrifice to the king upon the altar of Zeus Soter. The eighth day of the month, on which he entered Pergamon, is to be sacred for all time, and each year the priest of Asklepios shall organise a splendid procession on this day, from the prytaneion to the temple precinct of Asklepios and of the king, with the customary persons taking part; and when the sacrifice has been offered and has produced good omens, the archons shall gather in the temple. To pay for the sacrifice and their assembly, the treasurer of the inalienable revenues shall give fifty silver drachmas from the fund of the Asklepieion; 20 and the temple wardens shall take care of the sacrifice [(?) and] the hospitality. Inscriptions are also to be made. On the cultic image, the inscription shall read: "The assembled people [honours] king Attalos Philometor Euergetes, son of the divine king Eumenes Soter, on account of his skill and bravery in war, because he overcame our enemies." On the statue, the inscription shall read: "The assembled people [honours] king Attalos Philometor Euergetes, son of the divine king Eumenes Soter, on account of his skill and prudence, so advantageous in matters of state, and because of his generosity to the people."

When he enters the city, each single stephanephoros of the twelve gods and of the divine king Eumenes shall wear a garland, and the priests and priestesses shall open the temples of the gods, and pray while they offer incense that the gods may now and for all time 30 bestow on king Attalos Philometor Euergetes health, safety and victory, [both on land and on sea,] when he attacks and when he repulses those who attack him, and that his kingdom may endure unimpaired [for] ever in complete security. The priests and priestesses mentioned above shall go out and meet him, together with the generals, the archons, the victors in the sacred athletic games [with their wreaths of victory], the gymnasiarch with the ephebes and the youths, the instructors of boys with the children, the citizens, [and all the women and girls]. The inhabitants of the city shall wear white garments and garlands. The day on which he entered the city shall be sacred, [and] the whole body of citizens shall offer sacrifices in their tribes; 40 the phylarchs shall prepare the sacrificial victims, and twenty drachmas shall be given to each tribe for [this purpose from the sacred] and civic revenues. When as fine a sacrifice as possible has been offered by the people to the king on the altar of Zeus Soter, the sacred herald shall make this proclamation: "The people honoured king Attalos Philometor Euergetes, the son of the divine king [Eumenes] Soter, with a golden garland of victory and a [five-cubit] image [and a (?) golden statue] on account of his virtue and his generosity towards the people" . . . [(?) the priests] shall perform other [costly] sacrifices to him [on the] altar of Hestia Boulaia and Zeus Boulaios {"of the council"}; [and the generals], inviting him [to the public hearth] in the prytaneion, 50 [shall distribute portions of honour to him from the] thanksgiving [victims that have been sacrificed by us for] the king.

[So that] the king may know [what has been decreed by the people, the (?) archons shall present] the decree [to him] and urge him to [remain] well-disposed and a benefactor of the people, maintaining the [kindness] towards the city which he inherited from his ancestors, and ever to be the cause of some benefit, (?) enhancing the city so that the public affairs of the state my attain an even better and more flourishing condition. But in order that the success that the king has won in his struggles against his foe may remain evident [to all] for eternity, and that all may be able (?) to see the generosity [that he has shown], this resolution shall be inscribed on a marble stele, which shall be set up in the sanctuary of Asklepios in front of the temple; 60 the generals shall see that this is done. This resolution shall remain valid for all time, and shall be included among the sacred laws.

inscription 334


Attalus' home page   |   15.12.16   |   Any comments?