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Lucian's Hippias or The Bath, traditionally considered to be a straight-faced encomium of a historical architect and real-life bath-house of the Antonine period, is now often judged to be a work of satire, though what exactly is being satirized has remained elusive. This article argues that the architect ‘Hippias’ is closely modelled on Plato's caricature of the sophist Hippias of Elis in the Hippias Minor, and that his bath-house is a comic extrapolation from the sophist's home-made oil-flask and strigil. Lucian's Hippias should be read as a parody of contemporary prose encomia of public buildings.
This book is concerned with a region, and a regional culture, which in antiquity neither formed a distinct political unit nor served as a focus of local identity; the region is therefore designated with an invented name, ‘Hieradoumia’. The boundaries of Hieradoumia in time and space are defined on the basis of a distinctive shared set of commemorative practices. The institutional history of the region in the pre-Roman period is described in detail, with emphasis on the unusual political organization of the region in the later Hellenistic period into two large federal associations of villages (the koinon of the Maionians in the Katakekaumene and the dēmos of the Mysoi Abbaitai). The polis was a late and marginal development in Hieradoumia, and the village continued to be the primary focus of local identity and loyalty down to the end of antiquity. The difficulty of disentangling ethnically Lydian, Mysian, Macedonian, Phrygian, and Greek elements in the region’s population and cultural practices is emphasized.
This chapter uses the familial epitaphs of Roman Hieradoumia to reconstruct typical household forms in the region. The methodological problems of inferring family structure from patterns of funerary commemoration are discussed in detail. Typical ages of men and women at first marriage can – with caution – be extrapolated from changes in commemorative practices over the human life cycle; the relative prevalence of close-kin marriage is difficult to judge. Quantitative analysis of patterns of commemorative groups (presence or absence of pre-marital kin; prominence of the father’s brother among commemorators of unmarried persons) very strongly indicates that patrilocal residence after marriage was standard in Roman Hieradoumia. As a result, the typical household forms in the region seem to have been ‘patriarchal’ family households (several married sons co-residing with their father) and frérèche households (several married brothers residing together), a pattern which may also be reflected in the region’s typical inheritance practices.
Several small towns in Hieradoumia received polis-status between the Augustan and Flavian periods. None of these communities seem to have had an especially dense or elaborate urban fabric, and all had a relatively limited roster of civic magistrates. There is little sign that the local civic elite was strongly distinct either in wealth or cultural horizons from the ordinary rural population, and Roman citizenship was not widespread before the constitutio Antoniniana; the largest private landholdings in the region seem to have been in the hands of wealthy non-resident landowners from Sardis, Philadelphia, or further afield. The polis remained a marginal phenomenon in Roman Hieradoumia, where the chief focus of communal life was instead the self-governing village. Villages overlapped strongly with cult-associations, and in a few cases, we have good evidence for segmentary organization of villages by kin-groups. The chapter concludes with a defence of the conception of Roman Hieradoumia as a fundamentally kin-ordered society.
Throughout Hieradoumia, we find many hundreds of instances of people commemorating and being commemorated by their foster-children (threptoi), foster-parents (threpsantes), and foster-siblings (syntrophoi). The ‘rearing’ of non-natal children was so ubiquitous in Roman Hieradoumia that fosterage appears to have been a standard familial strategy for circulating children temporarily or permanently between households, rather than necessarily a response to orphanhood or extreme familial dysfunction. Foster-children could be of either higher or lower social status than their foster-parents; in a few cases, there is reason to think that children were reared by close relatives (particularly the natal parents’ siblings). It is argued that one of the social functions of fosterage was to cement ties or alliances between family groups; the word synteknos may be a technical term for the relationship between natal parent and foster-parent. Sentimental relations between foster-kin were often very close, and we often find foster-kin assimilated to natal kin.
This chapter is concerned with divine mediation and resolution of interpersonal disputes in Roman Hieradoumia. Secular disputes could be submitted to divine jurisdiction by the performance of one or other of two rituals, the setting up of a sceptre and/or the deposition of a pittakion in the sanctuary. Several different categories of low-level dispute are discussed: disagreements over the ownership of livestock; theft of other people’s money or belongings; the non-repayment of loans of money or goods; and disputes between family members, which could be extraordinarily acrimonious. Familial disputes fall into various predictable patterns, reflecting the underlying fault lines within the Hieradoumian kinship system which arise from the ambiguous status of older women within the Hieradoumian village household.
This chapter addresses those social ties beyond the kin-group which seem – to judge from commemorative practices – to have been of most importance for the inhabitants of Roman Hieradoumia. Fellow members of small-scale local cult-associations (phratrai, symbiōseis, speirai, doumoi) are very prominent in funerary commemoration, as are religious officials, neighbours, friends, and (for unfree persons) groups of fellow slaves. At Saittai, men are often commemorated by trade guilds and professional associations, probably reflecting the existence of guild-based burial-clubs; there is some reason to think that these trade guilds were unusually prominent in the civic organization of the polis of Saittai. Finally, civic communities fairly often participate in the commemoration of deceased members of the civic elite; such men and women’s tombstones can include lengthy extracts from post mortem honorific decrees which systematically conflate the deceased’s public and private virtues.
Hieradoumian tombstones – very unusually for Greek-language epitaphs – typically give the precise date of death in the format year, month, and day, and age at death is also very often specified. As a result, we have a large body of data for analyzing demographic patterns in the region. This chapter analyzes Hieradoumian patterns of seasonal mortality, broken down by sex and age. The results show both similarities and differences with other comparable datasets from other parts of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean. Infants and young children are heavily under-represented in the funerary record, as are (to a lesser extent) women. Since votive inscriptions are also often precisely dated, it is likewise possible to gain some sense of dominant seasonal patterns of religious activity in Roman Hieradoumia. The large number of dated epitaphs from the second-century AD allows us to trace the impact of the Antonine Plague in western Asia Minor; the chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the pathogens which may have shaped ‘normal’ seasonal mortality patterns in the region.
This chapter introduces the two inscribed monument types which were characteristic of Roman Hieradoumia: the familial epitaph and the propitiation-stēlē. Both categories of monument tend to be dated by year, month, and day, which allows us to map the development of the epigraphic habit in the region with unusual precision. Hieradoumian tombstones generally take the form of pedimental marble stēlai, often bearing a depiction of a wreath, either incised or in relief. The associated funerary inscriptions have a highly stereotyped structure, in which the deceased is ‘honoured’ by a smaller or larger group of family members, whose relation to the deceased is very precisely defined. These funerary monuments have several formal similarities to the propitiation-stēlai erected in many Hieradoumian rural sanctuaries, which narrate individual transgressions, divine punishments, and acts of propitiation. Taken together, these two categories of ‘commemorative’ monument provide a vivid picture of the moral universe of rural Hieradoumia in the first three centuries AD.
Hieradoumian epitaphs very often include lengthy lists of family members as co-commemorators of the deceased. As a result, the kinship terminology of Roman Hieradoumia is known to us in extraordinary detail. This chapter offers a full analysis of the region’s kinship terminological system, which turns out to have been richer and more complex than any other known from the Greco-Roman world. Matrilineal and patrilineal kin were clearly distinguished, as were different categories of affines. Although Hieradoumian kinship terminology shows close analogies with that employed in the Homeric epics, this was certainly not a matter of artificial archaizing, as is shown by the distinctive morphology and semantic range of certain Hieradoumian kinship terms (hykeros, ianatēr, kambdios). This terminological complexity is fundamental for our understanding of Hieradoumian social structure, which – or so it is argued here – was essentially kin-ordered.
This chapter reconstructs the typical physical form of the rural sanctuaries of Roman Hieradoumia, as well as their landholdings and distinctive labour regimes. The exiguous evidence from excavations and surveys is set alongside a lengthy inscription from a sanctuary of Apollo Kisauloddenos that describes the sacred buildings and their associated furniture. The mechanisms by which these sanctuaries accumulated their large landholdings are discussed, with a focus on the evidence for semi-compulsory ‘tithes’ on secular land-transactions. Sacred woodlands and groves were a standard feature of sanctuaries’ landholdings, and poaching from these woodlands was very widespread. Although these sanctuaries had a small permanent staff of sacred officials, much of the rural labour on their estates was provided through the Hieradoumian institution of ‘sacred slavery’, under which villagers were expected to offer their labour as hierodouloi for a fixed term of service. Low-level resistance to this compulsory labour service was endemic, illustrating the structural tensions that existed between Hieradoumian villagers and the powerful sanctuaries of the region.