Perhaps honors


Trismegistos ID: 738853

Source Description


Cyrene Museum, 530 (fragm. a) and 558 (fragm. b).


Two adjacent fragments of a marlacious limestone block, fragment a broken off at left, right, back and above (0.27; 0.082;0.105); fragment b broken off at left and back (0.13; 0.17;0.185); due to the geological nature of the stone, the larger fractures at back and also at left of fragment a are curved so regularly that they might seem to have been cut in a workshop.


Inscribed on the face in five lines, each displayed symmetrically along the vertical axis.


0.02 very carefully cut, with slight serifs; dotted theta, very slightly slanting mu and sigma.

Place of Origin



Probably first half of third century B.C. (lettering)


Found before 1977 at Cyrene : exact findspot unrecorded.

Last recorded Location

Seen by C. Dobias-Lalou in 1977 in Shahat : Cyrene Museum .

Text constituted from

Transcription from stone (CDL).


Not previously published.


[---] Σ [------]   [---]  [---] νου Θεσ[σαλό]ς 5[ἡ]γεμὼν ἐπαρῶν


French translation

 [---]   [---] fils de  [---] nos, thessalien, chef des imprécations.

English translation

 [---]   [---] son of  [---] nos, Thessalian, leader of the imprecations.

Italian translation

 [---]   [---] figlio di  [---] nos, tessalo, capo per le maledizioni.


This inscription has no parallel and raises different questions. The use of the koine is a clue for an international context, perhaps in relation with the Ptolemaic domination. The layout confirms that Θεσσαλός is here used with its original value of an ethnic and not as a personal name. The latter would have stood at line 3. It is not clear whether line 2 was inscribed or left blank.

The word ἐπαρά 'imprecation' is known since Homer, where it describes a malediction spelled by a father against his son. This noun and the corresponding verb ἐπαράομαι are used in several contexts implying the respect of a sacred right: oath, asylum right, faithfulness towards allies and so on.

As for ἡγεμών 'leader, chief', it was already used in the Hellenistic kingdoms as an official title for the 'chief-commander' of military groups but also in non-military contexts for the chief of a chorus. Complemented with ἐπαρῶν the word should indicate a man who uttered the malediction on behalf of a group. Might we think either of some form of treaty where this Thessalian would act on behalf of a city or of the development of a new cult, such as the royal cult, if this Thessalian was commissioned by a Ptolemy? Those are but weak hypotheses.

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