Dedication of a hecatomb by Hermesandros


Trismegistos ID: 738916

Source Description


Small rectangular block of marble, broken into two adjacent fragments, also broken off at left (dimensions unknown).


Inscribed on the face in four lines (one line of script for one line of verse), all aligned along the lost left edge.


Height unknown, carefully cut with very slight serifs; smaller round letters, slanting mu and sigma, slightly curved upper part of upsilon.

Place of Origin



End of fourth or beginning of third century B.C. (lettering)


Found in 1930 at Cyrene : on the Fountain Terrace , area of the Spring of Kyra (see commentary).

Present Location

Already lost when G. Pugliese Carratelli prepared the publication in 1960. Known only from a photograph.

Present Location

Not seen by GVCyr team.

Text constituted from

Transcription from previous editors and photograph (CDL).


SECir , 161; Chamoux, 1975 , pp. 272-273, whence SEG , 38.1898. Cf. Gallavotti, 1963 , pp. 454-455; Gasperini, 1985 , p. 351; Laronde, 1987 , pp. 188-189, 331 (ph.); Chamoux, 1991 , esp. pp. 26-29, whence SEG , 41.1695; Gasperini, 1996 , pp. 143-148, whence SEG , 46.2209; Gentile, 1999 , p. 340, whence SEG , 49.2357. Also L. Gasperini in Bonacasa-Ensoli, 2000 , p. 34 (translation); Ensoli Vittozzi, 1996 , pp. 92-94 (archaeological context); Luni, 2014 , p. 133 (report of 1930 excavations).


| [Μνᾶ]μα τόδ’ Ἑρμήσανδρος ὑπὲρ κράνας ὁ Φίλωνος | [θῆ]κ̣ε θεᾶι ⸢θ⸣ ύσας Ἀρτέμιτος τελετᾶι,
| [βοῦς] ἑκατὸν κατάγων κ̣αὶ ἴκατι· τῶν τάδε κεῖται | [κόσ]μ̣ος καὶ μνάμα καὶ κλέος εὐδόκιμον


The restorations are secured by the duplicate GVCyr054

4 Chamoux, 1975  μνάμα : SECir , Gallavotti, 1963  μνᾶμα

French translation

Ce monument, Hermésandros fils de Philon l'a consacré au-dessus de la fontaine (ou source?), après avoir sacrifié à la déesse en faisant descendre (au sanctuaire) pour la fête d'Artémis cent vingt boeufs. D'eux restent ces (mots), qui sont à la fois un ornement, un souvenir et un noble titre de gloire.

(trad. Fr. Chamoux modifiée)

English translation

This monument Hermesandros son of Philon dedicated above the fountain (or spring?), once he had sacrificed to the goddess, after leading down (into the sanctuary) for Artemis' festival hundred and twenty oxes. Of them these (words) remain as ornament and keepsake and glorious fame.

Italian translation

Questo monumento Hermesandros figlio di Philon al di sopra della fonte (o sorgente?) pose dopo che, spinti giù (nel santuario) cento e venti buoi, li ebbe sacrificati alla dea in occasione della festa di Artemis. Dei quali queste (parole) rimangono per ornamento e per ricordo e per fama gloriosa.

(trad. L. Gasperini at Bonacasa-Ensoli, 2000 , con modifiche)


Gasperini has shown that GVCyr054, which has the same text but a later lettering, should correspond to some repairing of Hermesandros' dedication. Chamoux, 1975 , pp. 272-273, who did not take the chronological span into account, thought that there were several monuments dedicated at the same time. Furthermore in 1991 he compared the two epigrams with some bronze images of oxes or cows known elsewhere and related them with τάδε at line 3 (translated 'ces offrandes'). On this point he was followed by Gasperini, who translated 'images'. Both related τῶν with τάδε. However this plural neuter more probably refers to the very word inscribed on the stone, like the common γράμματα of so many epigrams. τῶν should be related to the three nouns at the end of the sentence.

Laronde argued that ὑπὲρ κράνας, in accordance with the findspot, refers to places in the rock-wall along the rock-cut way leading down (κατάγων) from the upper city to the sanctuary and taken by the sacred processions.

One hundred and twenty oxen is even more than a hecatomb, thus a very prestigious sacrifice. S. Ensoli related this dedication to the series of drinking-troughs with a frieze in relief of drinking oxen formerly named 'Fountain of Eurypylos' oxen' by Stucchi, in relation with one episode of Cyrene's myth. Since then, the name 'Fountain of Hermesandros' has been used. This is an interesting theory, since both belong to the same area. However, one should remain cautious because no device has been found 'above' the drinking-troughs for fixing the inscribed block(s). The Greek word κράνα is in fact ambiguous, meaning both '(natural) spring' and '(built) fountain', but it is not clear whether this may extend on to animals' use. Yet all preceding commentators of the inscription thought of the spring and its basin known as 'Spring of Apollo'.

No sure prosopographical link can be established for this Hermesandros son of Philon. A priest of that name is mentioned at IGCyr081200, but without his father's name and the inscription seems earlier than the present dedication.

The poem interestingly keeps the typical features of the dialect, although line 4 has a purely traditional poetical clausura. As for the name of the goddess, this unique form is a mixture of dialectal Ἀρτάμιτος and common Ἀρτέμιδος.

Metrical analysis: all preceding commentators mentioned two elegiac couplets. However, line 3 cannot be a hexameter: in καὶ ἴκατι Gallavotti mentions a shortening in hiatus of καί, but the rhythm of ἴκατι is –⏑⏑ and this leads to a dead end in this verse. We take this phrase with a crasis , producing the first dactyl of the second hemistich in a pentameter.

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