Dedication to Helios and Augeas (?)


Trismegistos ID: 738326

Source Description


Rock-cut (?) altar with two compartments (dimensions unknown).


Inscribed plausibly on the front (0.89 wide), below the compartments.


Height unknown; uspilon without hasta, flattened omega.

Place of Origin



Fourth or third century B.C. (lettering)


Found by S. Ferri between 1919 and 1923 West of Cyrene : along the road leading to the West Necropolis , at El-Baggara.

Present Location

Not yet found in 2003 by O. Menozzi, who explored the area.

Present Location

Not seen by IGCyr team.

Text constituted from

Transcription from previous editor (CDL).


Ferri, 1923 , p. 11, n. 10 and fig. 10, whence SEG , 9.355. Cf. Callot, 1999 , p. 171; Menozzi, 2006 , pp. 65-66, 79; Marini, 2013 , p. 313.


Ἁλίω Αὐγ[έα?]


1 Αὐγ[έα?] : SEG  αὔγ[αι?] : Ferri, 1923  αὐγ[ᾶς?]

French translation

(Autel) d'Halios. (Autel) d'Aug[eas?].

English translation

(Altar) of Halios. (Altar) of Aug[eas?].

Italian translation

(Altare) di Halios. (Altare) di Aug[eas?].


This inscription offers some unclear points. The only information is a drawing by Ferri, who described the support as 'une doppia eschara fornita inferiormente di bothros, in rozzi caratteri non più recenti certo del IV secolo'. As to the date, C. Dobias-Lalou, from the drawing, suspects a later date.

Ferri also described the whereabouts: at Baggara, a natural hole providing light to a cave. From this, Menozzi was able to identify the spot as a rocky sanctuary, but could not find the inscription.

As to the meaning, Ferri was very clear: he took the first word as the name of the god of the sun, Helios, and the second one as the name of another celestial deity, with an accent that should relate to the feminine Auge, daughter of the Arcadian king Aleos and mother of Telephos by Heracles. She later fled to Mysia and received protection from king Teuthras, being thus worshipped as a heroine both in Arcadia and in Asia minor. There is no reason for a link between her and Helios nor with Cyrenaica.

On the other hand the idea of two divine names would fit an altar with two compartments. Helios' cult, hitherto unknown in Cyrenaica was typically Rhodian before its development in the Lagids' Egypt later than Ferri's dating of the inscription (see Helios as warrant of the will of Ptolemy VIII IGCyr011200). C. Dobias-Lalou suggests that Augeas would be a better candidate. One son of Helios is mentioned by Nonnos (14.44-45) with a name usually printed as Αὔγης. One might rather write Αὐγῆς, a contracted form usual in Ionian for names ending with -έας. Apollonius Rhodius (1.172), who has for metrical reasons the variant Αὐγείης is more explicit, as he mentions him amongst the Argonauts both as king of Elis (who obliged Heracles to clean his stables) and as a son of Helios. That both father and son were worshipped together seems to be reasonable. What is not quite clear is the exact suffix that could end this name in Cyrenaica.

On the other hand Hondius for SEG implicitely interpreted the two words as a metrical segment when he compared it with a formula mentioned twice in one of Balbilla's poems cut on the Memnonion at Abydos ( Bernand-Bernand, 1960 , p. 81) after Hadrian's visit in 130 A.D. Even if the lettering in Ferri's drawing might be slightly younger than he supposed, the poems of Balbilla cannot be taken as models. In fact the association of ἥλιος and αὐγή may be found at some places in Homer, but does not offer a traditional formula. There is no sound reason for inserting this text into the collection of verse-inscriptions.

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