Description of an image of laurel/Daphne


Trismegistos ID: 738921

Source Description


Local limestone capital of a pilaster (0.38; 0.63;0.70).


Inscribed on the capital, at the internal side of the door (0.38; 0.40;), restored in its original position. Although it might look like a graffito, this seems impossible in view of the position of the stone.


0.025; poor and irregular lettering, deeply cut only at ll. 1-2 and 11; lunate epsilon and sigma, diamond-shaped phi, cursive omega. Parallels for the quality of the lettering are to be seen on some of the columns of the Temple of Apollo, see IRCyr C.254, IRCyr C.255, IRCyr C.256 and IRCyr C.257.

Place of Origin



Second to third centuries A.D. (context, lettering)


Found in 1928 at Cyrene : Roman Propylaeum and restored on top of the Southern pilaster flanking the door, with the inscription on its Northern side.

Present Location

It is now inaccessible to close examination.

Text constituted from

Transcription from the photograph with help of the previous editors and J.M. Reynolds' notes (CDL).


Oliverio, 1930 , pp. 193-196 and fig. 54; Cazzaniga, 1938-1939 , whence SEG , 9.190 with addenda p. 121; Peek, 1972 , n. 9. Cf. Oliverio, 1931 , p. 49; Applebaum, 1962 , p. 39.


| [τοῖσδε] παρὰ προθύροισι καὶ | [ἕρκεσιν] Ἀπόλλωνος ❧ λεπτα|[λέαισι κ]όμ[α]ις δάφνα ἐπ᾿ ἀ|[γρεσία?]ι ❧

ζαλῶ Κυράναν· | (5) [τὸ πρὶν γὰρ Δ]ελφίδος εὖχος | [καὶ Λιβύαν]δε φυγὰς νῦν | [ἱερὸν κατ]έχω·

5 ἀλλά τ̣ις | [ἐνθάδε? π]αῖδας Ἀριστίππου | [ἐδίδασκ?]ε ❧ αὐτοῦ μ' ἀν|(10)[εῖλαι Λ]ητοΐδην γαμέτιν | (vac. 6?) ❧ (vac. 13?)


1 Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  [τοῖσδε] : Oliverio, 1930  [τοῖσδε](Wilamowitz's reading)

2 Oliverio, 1930  [ἕρκεσιν] (Wilamowitz's reading)

2-3 λεπτα|[λέαισι κ]όμ[α]ις : Oliverio, 1930  λεπτα|[c. 5] ο[...] ς : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  λεπτα|[λέοις] ὅ[ζο]ι̣ς : Peek, 1972  λεπτα|[κιναῖσι κ]όμ[α]ις

3 εὖχος : Oliverio, 1930  ε̣ὖχ̣ος̣ : Oliverio, 1930  ε̣ὔρ̣ως̣

3-4 ἐπ᾿ἀ|[γρεσία?]ι : Oliverio, 1930 , SEG  ἐπ᾿ἀ|[ἀκροπόλει]ι· (Hiller von Gaertringen's reading) : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  ἐπαυ|[ξάνομα]ι : Peek, 1972  ἐπ᾿ἀ|[κρεμό]σι

5 [τὸ πρὶν γὰρ] : Oliverio, 1930  [χρησμῳδοῦ] (Hiller von Gaertringen's reading) : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  [χαίτας τᾶς] : Peek, 1972  [τὸ πρὶν γᾶς]

6 [καὶ Λιβύαν]δε φυγὰς : Oliverio, 1930 , SEG  [αὐτὰ τᾶι]δε (Hiller von Gaertringen's reading) : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  [Πυθῶθεν] δὲ : Peek, 1972  [ἐκ Πυθοῦ]ς̣ δὲ

7 Oliverio, 1930 , SEG  [ἱερὸν κατ]έχω : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939 , Peek, 1972  [Λιβύαν κατ]έχω

7-8 ἀλλά τ̣ις | [ἐνθάδε?] : Oliverio, 1930  ΑΔΔ̣Α̣Ι̣ δὲ | [c. 5]  : Oliverio, 1930  ἀλλ' ἄγε [σῶσον] (Hiller von Gaertringen's reading) : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  ἃ δ᾿{δ} αἰδεσ|[τοὺς] : Peek, 1972  ἀλλά τ̣ις | [ἐσθλοὺς]

9 [ἐδίδασκ?]ε : Oliverio, 1930  [---]  : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  [στεφανίζω] : Peek, 1972  [μαθέτω γ]ε̣

9-10 αὐτοῦ μ᾿ ἀν|[εῖλαι] : Oliverio, 1930  αὐτοῦ[......]  | [....]  : Cazzaniga, 1938-1939  ΑΥΤΟΥ[........]  : Peek, 1972  αὐτοῦ μ' ἀν|[θέντας]

11 Peek, 1972  (vac. 6?) ❧ (vac.) : Oliverio, 1930  [τε] ❧ (vac. 13?)

French translation

Auprès de ce portail et de ces [clôtures] appartenant à Apollon,

de ma chevelure délicate, moi, Laurier (i.e. Daphnè), j'admire

Cyrène pour son [art de chasser]; [jadis] objet de fierté au pays de Delphes

et réfugiée en [ Libye], j'occupe maintenant [le sanctuaire];

mais quelqu'un [ici a informé] les fils d'Aristippos

qu'en ce lieu le fils de Lètô m'a [enlevée] comme épouse.

English translation

Near this portal and these [fences] belonging to Apollo,

with my delicate hair, I, Laurel (i.e. Daphne), am admiring

Cyrene for her [art of hunting]; [once] object of pride in the Delphian country

and having fled to [Libya], I now occupy [the sanctuary];

but one [here informed] Aristippos' sons

that at this place Leto's son [carried me off] as a spouse.

Italian translation

Presso questo portale e questi [recinti] di Apollo,

con la mia chioma delicata, io, Pianta di alloro (i.e. Dafne), ammiro

Cirene per la sua [arte della caccia]; [un tempo] vanto della terra di Delfi

e rifugiata in [Libia], occupo ora [il santuario];

ma qualcuno [qui ha informato] i figli di Aristippos

che in questo luogo il figlio di Latona [mi ha rapito] in sposa.


Surprisingly enough, this could not be read easily at the place where it was clumsily inscribed. It was perhaps the caption of a painting, now disappeared, that would have stood on the wall below and besides. Alternatively, it describes a real laurel, planted near the Propylaea.

The epigram clearly mentions a laurel and at the same time the heroine Daphne. As the myth goes, she was a nymph with whom Apollo fell in love and escaped him as her hair was transformed into the branches and leaves of the homonymous tree (see verse-line 2). Relying on the useful restorations suggested by Cazzaniga and Peek, Dobias-Lalou proposes here some new ones where it seems necessary. Her main aim was to reconcile the three couplets into one and the same statement, allowing Daphne/laurel herself to be the speaker all along. Cyrene at verse-line 3 has also the double meaning of the city surrounding the sanctuary and the nymph with whom Apollo fell in love. She too was a virgin fond of hunting, but according to the myth she did become his spouse, the hierogamy taking place on the cliff just above the sanctuary of Apollo. If that is right, the epigram would say that Daphne, having fled Delphi to Libya, became a kind of duplicate of Cyrene and was also married to Apollo.

The mention of Aristippos' sons is not very clear. The preceding commentators thought that they were the dedicants of the monument and J.M. Reynolds comments: «it may be relevant that (the name Aristippos) occurs as a cognomen of the priest of Apollo for 223 AD, M. Antonius Aristippοs (IRCyr C.153, ll. 6-8)». Another possibility would be that they were followers of the Cyrenaican philosopher Aristippos. In fact, this name is not very common in Cyrenaica. Those philosophers would have approved that the nymph did not avoid the divine union.

Applebaum, on the basis of verse-line 4, which he picked up without any consideration of the rest, attributed the sentence to Apollo, who would have fled Cyrene because of the Jewish revolt and come back again. This idea does not need to be commented further on.

At l. 6, we restore Λιβύανδε, which occurs in the well-known 'stele of the Founders' (IGCyr011000, l. 19). At l. 10, as Cazzaniga already stressed, the two accusatives (a masculine and a feminine) cannot be taken together. We offer a construction that gives to each a different syntactic function. Differently, Peek had to assume that the speaker, changing in the last couplet, was here Cyrene.

An ancient print of the photograph made before the restoration of the Propylaeum was sent by J.M. Reynolds to W. Peek and is kept in the archive of Peek Nachlass at Berlin. We thank Kl. Hallof for providing an excellent digitized copy.

Metrical analysis: three regular elegiac couplets. L. 1: the initial α of Ἀπόλλωνος has the usual metrical lenghtening and the hexameter is spondaic. L. 3, with the restoration, has four spondees, which makes it very slow.

Creative Commons Attributions-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

All citation, reuse or distribution of this work must contain a link back to DOI: and the filename (IGCyr000000 or GVCyr000), as well as the year of consultation.