IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

C.445. Dedication for Aretaphila

Description: Base of medium-grained greyish-white marble assembled (by James Thorn) from three fragments: a: w: 0.337 x h: 0.463 x d: 0.199; b: w: 0.15 x h: 0.21 x d: 0.105 c: h: 0.09 x d: 0.035. The moulding of the upper edge is visible on b.
Text: Inscribed on the face. Lines 1-2 are cut on a lightly erased area and more widely spaced than the rest, while lines 3-4 are rather closer together.
Letters: Probably first century BCE: 0.018

Date: Probably first century BCE

Findspot: Cyrene: Found between 1971 and 1978. Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, in excavations; a at D14/E14; b at D12, c unrecorded.
Original location: Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.
Last recorded location: Cyrene Museum, Storeroom of the American excavations: (Inv. no. 71-116, 73-1026, 78-736)


Δά[ματ]ρ̣ι̣ καὶ Κό[ρ]α[ι]
τ[ὰν] Ἀρεταφ[ίλαν]
[ ( vac. 1) ἀ]νέθηκε ( vac. 3)



English translation

Translation source: Reynolds, 2012

To Demeter and Kore, Antonia dedicated the (scil. statue of) Aretaphila.


The dedicator names herself only by a Roman nomen, apparently without filiation or a cognomen. It is probable that she belonged to a family of Antonii who are attested among Cyrene’s leading citizens in the first century CE (see index)

Aretaphila, whose statue was dedicated, apparently lived in the first half of the first century BCE and played a decisive part in securing the overthrow of a tyrant of Cyrene: Plutarch Mulierum virtutes, no.19, (at Perseus); Polyaenus, Strat. VIII.38 (at Attalus), after which she is said to have withdrawn into private life, which would be compatible with engagement in a women’s cult, so that it may be that she was honoured here as a significant figure in the cult of Demeter and Kore. On the other hand, such evidence as we have seems to suggest that the city was erecting public honours in the Sanctuary in the first century BCE (C.446, C.447, C.448), perhaps always of women (although this is not certain given the condition of some texts, e.g.C.447, C.448); and Aretaphila may be honoured by Antonia for her public services which, no doubt, did not need to be stated.

Bibliography: Reynolds, 2012, A.18, whence SEG 62.1795.9.
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Central face (Donald White)

   Fig. 2. Face (Donald White)