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Le Péloponnèse d’Épaminondas à Hadrien

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Catherine Grandjean

La Messénie

Meeting Messenians in Pausanias’ Greece1

Nino Luraghi

Texte intégral

  • 1 The present contribution seeks to develop some observations put forward in Luraghi 2005. I am espe (...)
  • 2 Habicht [1985] 1998, 58-59, Themelis 2000, 112-113.
  • 3 Puech 1983, 27-28 on Saethida’s titles and 21-25 on the meaning of those titles.
  • 4 Halfmann 1979, n. 93, 93a, 126 e 127, with references to the relevant inscriptions. For the possib (...)
  • 5 SEG, 51, 458 B, l. 25. On this honorific title, attested in inscriptions of the Antonine age, espe (...)

1During the Antonine age, only very few men in the province of Achaia could match the prestige and wealth of the Messenian Tiberius Claudius Saethida Caelianus2. As we know from various inscriptions in his honor, he was Helladarch of the Achaean koinon and Grand Priest of the Imperial cult for the province, both honors he held for life3, besides of course being a lavish benefactor of his hometown. His son, Tiberius Claudius Frontinus, reached the consulate, as suffectus to be sure, and his two grandsons, Tiberius Claudius Saethida Caelianus the Younger and Tiberius Claudius Frontinus Niceratus, also had very respectable senatorial careers: they were patroni coloniae of Abellinum in Campania and candidati Augusti under Marcus Aurelius4. A recently published inscription from the theater of Messene informs us that his mother, Claudia Frontina, received the honorific title of hestia tês poleôs5.

  • 6 IG, V.1, 1455. On the family tree of the Claudii Saethidae, see Habicht 1998, 493, Baldassarra 199 (...)
  • 7 See Bodnar 2003, 306. The steps of the stadium and the theater were visible in 1828, at the time o (...)
  • 8 The inscription on the statue base is SEG, 41, 353; for its date, see Habicht 1998, 493 n. 35. On (...)
  • 9 SEG, 39, 139. For a discussion of this document and its chronology, see Baldassarra 1999, 39-41.

2The family tree of the Saethidae can be reconstructed fairly precisely, especially thanks to an inscription copied by Cyriac of Ancona in the fall of 1447 in Messene and now lost6. Cyriac’s description of the site, mentioning three theaters that are to be identified with the theater proper, the stadium, and probably the small ôdeion in the Asklepieion complex, gives us a sense of the general area where he found the inscription7. The text, which lacks the opening and ending portions, reads like the base of a statue. It mentions, in the nominative, Caelianus the Elder with his titles of Grand Priest and Helladarch of the Achaean koinon, his son Frontinus and his two grandsons, then his father Tiberius Claudius Hostilius and his mother, Claudia Frontina, whose name was not preserved on the stone transcribed by Cyriac. At least one earlier member of the family was already a prominent citizen of Messene, a Tiberius Claudius Saithidas who dedicated a statue of Nero, probably in 55 CE, and may have financed the renovation of the monumental Arsinoe fountain on the northern side of the agora of Messene8. Given the rarity of the name, it can scarcely be doubted that he was an ancestor of Caelianus the Elder, possibly but not necessarily his grandfather. A base from the baths on the southern side of the Asklepieion carries the name of an agônothetês Saithidas, and seems to date to the first century BCE9. Again, the rarity of the name suggests that we have to do with one more ancestor of Caelianus the Elder. Clearly, this had been a very prominent family in the city well before his times.

  • 10 IG, V.1, 1451. According to the nomenclature used in this inscription, Marcus Aurelius has already (...)
  • 11 The inscription is published by Themelis 2002, 44-45, with an excellent photograph, pl. 38b. The t (...)
  • 12 On his career, see Puech 1983, 17-21.
  • 13 See again Puech 1983, 26-27.
  • 14 While both the statue of Marcus Aurelius and the statue of Antoninus Pius could in theory have bee (...)

3Caelianus’ life and career seem to have spanned the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius. The latest document that can be associated with him is the dedication of a statue of Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar, that is, of Marcus Aurelius after he had been elevated to Caesar by Pius in 139 CE. The dedication had been vowed, probably in 139, by ‘the Greeks’ according to Caelianus’ proposal, and then realized at his expenses10. Another base, found recently in the agora of Messene and carrying an almost identical inscription, referred to a statue of Antoninus Pius, dedicated and financed in the same way11. It is reasonable, though perhaps not necessary, to assume that this dedication was close in time to Antoninus Pius’ rise to the imperial throne in July 138. Considering that Cornelius Pulcher of Epidaurus, who also was Helladarch of the Achaean koinon and Grand Priest for life12, seems to have been still alive in 137, while since February 138 the position of Helladarch for the Achaean koinon was held, probably pro tempore, by the stratêgos of the koinon Lucius Gellius Areton13, Caelianus may well have become Helladarch and Grand Priest in Antoninus’ accession year: what better occasion to initiate the dedication of statues of the emperor and his designated successor14.

  • 15 SEG, 51, 458; Trajan appears in B l. 6, but his name is the only word that can be read in that lin (...)
  • 16 That is, five statues, since there were five tribes in Messene (see Jones 1987, 146-148). For anot (...)
  • 17 See Themelis 2000, 112 and pl. 97-98, and IG, V.1, 1455a.

4Another document, still imperfectly known, coming from the theater of Messene, may associate Caelianus to Trajan15. The text, inscribed on two large bases of marble, originally located in a niche in the left side of the proscaenium of the theater, reports a long decree emanating from the city of Messene and including, after an expansive praise of Caelianus’ virtues and benefactions, the most detailed statement of the honors granted to him by his fellow citizens. Apparently, Caelianus had shown his generosity to the city in various ways, and especially by financing a lavish renovation of the theater, whose scaenae frons and proscaenium were now rebuilt on a monumental scale, with precious materials and a profusion of statues, in the best Roman style. Among other things, the decree refers to the dedication of statues of Caelianus kata phylên, to be displayed in the proscenium16, of a consecrated statue (agalma kathierôthen) of his mother as hestia tês poleôs, and of statues of his son and his whole genos. The text does not say explicitly where the statues of Caelianus’ family were to be set up; if they were destined to the theater, then this building became a sort of family monument of the Saethidae. Moreover, Caelianus was also proclaimed the winner of the agôn aristopoliteias for the year, and one further statue of him was to be dedicated for that reason. Yet another, equestrian, statue of Caelianus the Elder stood on a large base at the bottom of the steps that lead from the eastern side into the cavea of the ôdeion in the northeastern corner of the Asklepieion17. In theory, the text copied by Cyriac might have been inscribed on the base of the statue of Caelianus as winner of the agôn aristopoliteias; otherwise, we have to assume one more statue of his.

5In conclusion, statues and inscriptions celebrating Caelianus and his family were to be seen all over Messene. Pausanias could hardly fail to notice him. However, his mention of Caelianus is puzzling in a number of ways. After mentioning statues of the gods and of Epaminondas kept in the hierothysion, and the statues of Hermes, Heracles, and Theseus located in the gymnasium, Pausanias writes (4.32.2):

As for Aithidas, I learnt that he was a man older than myself, who gained influence through his wealth and is honored by the Messenians as a hero. There are certain Messenians, who, while admitting that Aithidas was a man of great wealth, maintain that it is not he who is represented on the stele but an ancestor and namesake of his. The elder Aithidas was their leader, when Demetrius the son of Philip and his force surprised them in the night and succeeded in penetrating into the town by surprise.

  • 18 Habicht [1985] 1998, 38 n. 35.
  • 19 See Grandjean 2003, 80 and n. 123.

6The problem of Pausanias’ spelling of the name should not detain us here. In the following, it will simply be assumed that, however this situation is to be explained, our passage does indeed refer to Saethida18. More precisely, given his prominence attested by the monuments we have just considered, and given Pausanias’ chronological indication, the wealthy (S) aithidas he refers to must be Caelianus the Elder. The way his monument is introduced, abruptly starting from the dedicatee before having even mentioned it, is characteristic of Pausanias’ style. In this case though, his brevity makes for some obscurity. The heroic cult for (S)aithidas should presuppose some sort of building, which Pausanias does not bother to mention. The stele he refers to may have been part of such a building, although it does not have to. No reason is given for the controversy regarding the identification of the person represented on the stele. The alternate version of ‘some Messenians’ is not explicitly rejected. It should be noticed, however, that in Pausanias’ detailed narrative of the Macedonian attack on Messene (4.29.1-5), which took place in 214 BCE and was led by Demetrius of Pharos, not by Demetrius the son of Philip19, (S) aithidas ‘the Elder’ is not mentioned at all, which suggests that Pausanias may have intended implicitly to deny his role. All that Pausanias seems to be ready to concede to the honor of this family is the wealth of the (S)aithidas worshipped by the Messenians – not a very impressive record.

  • 20 IG, V.1, 1427. On the funerary monuments intra muros at Messene, see P. Fröhlich’s contribution in (...)
  • 21 Themelis 2002, 42-46.
  • 22 SEG, 48, 491; see Themelis 2000, 109.

7It is difficult to figure out exactly what sort of monument or monuments Pausanias is alluding to. As mentioned above, if (S)aithidas received heroic honors, it seems resonable to assume that some sort of building must have been dedicated to his cult. It may be relevant to notice in this connection that monumental graves are exceptionally frequent in the center of Messene, and that heroic honors and burial in the center of the city are actually mentioned in a late Hellenistic inscription from the city20. Some sort of monumental grave or hêrôon seems to be what we should be looking for. If we assume that Pausanias is mentioning monuments more or less in the order in which he saw them, as he often does, this may help to identify at least the general area where (S)aithidas’ monumental grave may have been located. It is mentioned at the end of a sequence that touches the Asklepieion (4.31.10), the temple of Messene (4.31.11-12), which may correspond to the temple recently uncovered by Themelis in the center of the agora and initially identified as the temple of Zeus Sôtêr21, then the hierothysion, of uncertain location, and finally the gymnasium (4.32.1). It is roughly a north-south itinerary, if slightly circuitous, which may suggest that Pausanias should have met the hêrôon of (S)aithidas in the area of the stadium. None of the various documents on the Saethidae family found at Messene, with the possible exception of the inscription with Saethida’s genealogy copied by Cyriac, can be connected in any way with this monument. However, a fragment from the top of a large base, found among the debris that covered the track of the stadium and carrying the inscription Saithidan22, could well belong to whatever monument Pausanias is alluding to, and somewhat reinforces the conclusion that it might have been located in this area.

  • 23 The most detailed publication of this monument is Cooper 1999; see also Themelis 2000, 102-113, an (...)
  • 24 On the stadium of Messene, see now Müth-Herda 2005, 180-182 and 217-219.
  • 25 See Müth-Herda 2005, 55-57 and 209.

8In this area, there is one natural candidate. Right at the end of the track of the stadium, abundant remains of a small temple-like building have been found. It was a prostyle building with four columns on the front, and it seems almost obvious to interpret it as an hêrôon23. Its location was as prominent as it could possibly be, in the focal point of the whole stadium-gymnasia complex, and this offers a first indication of its chronology. The stadium of Messene was built during the third century BCE, on a large landfill that occupied a glen to the south of the Asklepieion complex. Waters coming down from the southwestern side of Mount Ithome tend to find here their natural outlet, and even in modern times channeling has been necessary to prevent the fill from being washed away. The city walls, cutting across the glen, ended up functioning as a sort of analemma for the stadium24. The hêrôon stood on a podium more than seven meter high, built against the outer face of the walls in order to fill the difference in elevation between the ground outside the walls and the level of the stadium track. The outer faces of the podium were covered by layers of slabs, alternating reddish limestone and thinner slabs of light grey limestone. In order to build it, it was necessary to demolish a portion of the city walls25.

  • 26 Themelis 2000, 107.
  • 27 Broucke forthcoming. I am extremely grateful to Pieter Broucke for sharing with me the text of his (...)
  • 28 See Camp 2000, 50.
  • 29 See Torelli 1998, 477 (where the recumbent on the sarcophagus is still wrongly identified as a wom (...)

9The hêrôon was built with extraordinary care for details, ranging from the decorative elements to the use of optic refinements. Frederick Cooper, who has studied in detail the remains in order to prepare a reconstruction, favors a mid-Hellenistic chronology, close in date to the Asklepieion complex, currently dated to the third or early second century BCE. However, two elements seem to contradict directly this chronology. First of all, according to Themelis some of the grey limestone slabs of the podium are actually re-employed grave stelae, and some of them seem to carry inscriptions coming down in date to the first century CE26. Secondly, recent stratigraphic investigations conducted by Pieter Broucke around the base of the podium have resulted in a terminus post of 68-69 CE for the construction of the little temple27. Moreover, in more general terms it seems rather difficult to believe that the podium might have been built in an age in which the city wall still retained its defensive function28. A date in the early Empire for the hêrôon seems inevitable. The question is rather how much later than the terminus post offered by the stratigraphy we should go. Fragments of marble sculpture found among the ruins of the hêrôon all seem to date around the mid-second century CE, and include a headless imago clipeata with a gorgoneion on the cuirass, which may have adorned the pediment of the building, and a number of fragments that can be put together to form the figure of a man reclining on the lid of a sarcophagus29. At the present, the second century seems the most likely date for the building.

  • 30 The yearly sacrifice of a bull to Aristomenes is mentioned also in an inscription dating to the Au (...)

10In theory, and keeping in mind the possibility that he did not mention it at all, Pausanias’ text offers two possible candidates for the identification of this hêrôon. Right after mentioning (S)aithidas, he refers to Aristomenes’ tomb (4.32.3), suggesting that it was probably located roughly in the same area. Considering Aristomenes’ importance in Messenian tradition, it may seem natural to refer to him the prestigious little building, as Cooper and Broucke do. However, the fragments of sculpture found among the ruins of the building do not offer any support to this interpretation, and the shape of the building itself does not agree well with the sacrificial ritual performed in connection with it. According to Pausanias, the bull that was going to be sacrificed to the hero was first tied to a column that was above the grave, and if the animal was able to move the column, this was seen as a favorable omen (4.32.3)30. It is difficult to see how such a ritual may have been performed in connection with the hêrôon of the stadium. It seems more reasonable to admit that Aristomenes’ grave has not yet been found.

  • 31 See the observations of Torelli 1998, 477, who aptly compares this situation to the complex formed (...)
  • 32 See Paus. 4.31.5 and the detailed analysis of the fortifications by Müth-Herda 2005, 42-139.

11On the other hand, the hêrôon makes for a perfect candidate for the focus of the heroic honors paid to (S)aithidas by the Messenians. For one thing, its chronology agrees with this interpretaiton. But there may be more to it. Beside the fact that the location of the hêrôon oriented towards it the whole stadium complex31, its very position almost straddling the city walls, which still in Pausanias’ time were seen as the most imposing and most prestigious architectural feature of the city32, was bound to have a symbolic meaning, one that was tied closely to the family history of the Saithidai. According to the Messenian version, the one that Pausanias rejects, during the Macedonian attack in 214 BCE (S)aithidas the Elder had led his fellow citizens in fighting off the enemies, who had penetrated inside the city walls. How appropriate, then, that his descendant would be celebrated in a building located right on top of the city wall, as if to claim an ancestral function as defensor of the city. This, of course, would imply that the monument, even though erected for Caelianus the Elder, in some sense connected him to his ancestor. If we return to Pausanias’ text with this in mind, it becomes clear that the divergence in the interpretation of the identity of the man represented by the stele could point precisely to some sort of conflation between (S)aithidas the Elder and Caelianus.

  • 33 This man and his family were buried in the monumental tombs outside the Arcadian gate according to (...)
  • 34 See Habicht [1985] 1998, 50; the inscription is IG, V.2, 370.

12For indeed, at least as far as the stele is concerned, it seems reasonable to assume that something about it made possible the double reading that Pausanias refers to: for some reason, it must have been plausible to take its subject as either Saethida Caelianus the Elder, or as his ancestor, (S)aithidas the Elder. This puzzling situation may perhaps receive some illumination by two documents related to another illustrius Messenian of the late second century CE, Titus Flavius Polybius33. Two statue bases from Olympia carry dedications in his honor, one by the Messenians (IvO., 449) and one by the Achaean koinon (IvO., 450). The first one, co-sponsored by the Olympian boulê, mentions that he had been rewarded with the aristopoliteia, while the second refers to his being stratêgos of the Achaean koinon and agônothetês of the Antinoeia, one of the various festivals in memory of Antinoos instituted after 130 CE. Both texts are accompanied by an elegiac couplet that refers to the dedication of a statue of the historian Polybios, the very couplet that made it possible to identify the famous Hellenistic relief from Kleitor as representing Polybios34. Clearly, Titus Flavius Polybius thereby claimed his namesake as his ancestor.

  • 35 See Paus. 8.9.1 (stele with portrait from Mantinea; note that a fragmentary stele from Mantinea, I (...)

13The appearance of these two pairs of inscriptions on the bases has perhaps received less attention than it deserved. Formally, all the four texts are dedications of statues, which means that on each base we have two texts that in theory have the same function. Dittenberger, in his edition of the inscriptions from Olympia, assumed without discussion that the corresponding statues represented Titus Flavius Polybius, but one wonders what was the ancient viewer supposed to think: was he or she supposed to identify the man represented by the statues as the historian, clearly mentioned by the epigram, or as his putative descendant? And ultimately, how can we be sure that the statues represented Titus Flavius and the couplet was just meant allusively to evoke his ancestor? Is it not conceivable that Titus Flavius was being honored precisely by emphasizing his ancestral tie to the historian by way of a statue of the latter? Statues and reliefs representing the historian Polybios were to be seen in a number of places in Pausanias’ Greece35, one even in Olympia (IvO., 302), creating an iconographic context that should have made possible to recognize a representation of him, if such stood on the bases.

14Even though such questions may not be answered with certainty, the very ambiguity they point to is interesting. Clearly, honoring Titus Flavius Polybius the Messenians and the Achaeans proceeded, in a way that we cannot precisely reconstruct, to conflate him with his famous putative ancestor the historian Polybios, thereby transferring on him in the most emphatic way the prestige of his glorius ancestor. It seems clear that some sort of similar monument could bring about precisely the contrast in interpretation that Pausanias refers to in connection to the stele of Saithidas in Messene: an implicit conflation between the wealthy Helladarch and his brave ancestor, who had saved the city from the Macedonians, potentially resulting in a visually ambiguous monument. The conflation would have been reinforced in light of the interpretation suggested above for the location of the hêrôon on the city walls.

  • 36 The herôon of Podares has been identified in the excavations of the agora of Mantinea, see Fougère (...)

15Another monument that should probably be added to our dossier is the hêrôon of Podares at Mantinea. According to Pausanias (8.9.9-10), Podares had died fighting against the Thebans, led by Epaminondas, at the battle of Mantinea in 362 BCE. His fellow-citizens had buried him in a hêrôon in the agora of their city. Three generations before Pausanias, however, the inscription on Podares’ tomb had been modified to refer to a much later Podares, who – says Pausanias – had lived recently enough to become a Roman citizen. In this case, Pausanias accepts the claim of the people of Mantinea that the heroic honors were paid to the earlier Podares. There is no way to know why Pausanias reacted differently to the local versions of Messenians and Mantineans, but it is difficult to resist the impression that the cases of Saethida and Podares may have been quite similar, if not identical, associating a prominent citizen of the Early Empire to a more or less putative ancestor, whose glory was enshrined in the very history of the city36.

  • 37 On this family, see Spawforth 1985, 215-224; Lysander is mentioned in IG, IV2, 86, l. 14, an inscr (...)
  • 38 On their family tree, see Spawforth 1985, 224-244; the Spartan Brasidas who lived in the age of Au (...)
  • 39 Plut., Life of Aratos, 1 and Puech 1983, 28-29.
  • 40 See Habicht [1985] 1998, 127, and cf. Jones 1971, 40-41, on the claims to illustrious ancestors, m (...)
  • 41 See in general Bowie 1974, and especially 171-172, and Habicht [1985] 1998, 129 on the famous soph (...)
  • 42 Ameling 1983, 3-4. On the crucial importance of ancestors for defining the status of the members o (...)

16Moreover, the monuments of Flavius Polybius and Claudius Saethida offer us a striking material counterpart to a phenomenon that is well attested among the upper classes of imperial Greece. The world Plutarch and Pausanias lived in was populated by putative descendants of the great men of classical and hellenistic Greece. To limit ourselves to the best known examples, Plutarch counted among his friends a Themistocles, descendant of the fifth-century Athenian (Them., 32.5); Herodes Atticus claimed to be a descendant of Miltiades and Cimon (Philostr., VS, 2.1.1 [546]); the Spartan family of the Voluseni counted among their ancestors, beside an impressive number of mythic characters, the Spartan Lysander37; the Claudii Brasidae were one of the most prominent families at Sparta in the Antonine age38; Polycrates, the dedicatee of Plutarch’s Life of Aratos, was supposedly a descendant of Aratos of Sikyon, and incidentally, Tiberius Claudius Polycrates, Grand Priest and Helladarch most probably after Caelianus39, was almost certainly his son. This appears to be a relatively new phenomenon in Greek social history40. Claiming descent from gods and heroes of Greek myth had been a traditional way for Greek aristocrats to articulate their social superiority, at least in the archaic and early classical ages, and the ruling elites of imperial Greece revived this practice in a grand style. However, tracing their ancestry back to famous characters of Greek history as an additional way to affirm their social status does not seem to have been a common practice of Greek aristocrats of the Hellenistic age. The emergence of this practice, starting in the Julio-Claudian age, may simply reflect the fact that the history of classical and to some extent also Hellenistic Greece had meanwhile been canonized to a point that some of its key episodes and characters came very close to the prestige of myth41. Quite possibly, descending from famous politicians of the past reinforced claims to a leading political role of the ruling elites of Roman Greece. One also wonders whether the fact that leading families of Greece started to care about their distant ancestors, a trait that is rather foreign to traditional Greek political mentality but very typical of the mentality of the Roman ruling elite, might not be seen as one result of the Romanization of Greece42: after all, most of the men who were staking such ancestral claims were Roman citizens pursuing equestrian or senatorial careers.

  • 43 It is not completely clear who Pausanias was really writing for; see the discussion in Habicht [19 (...)
  • 44 Given Pausanias’rather mixed attitude to Roman domination over Greece (see Habicht [1985] 1998, 11 (...)
  • 45 Attested members of this family include: 1) Tiberius Claudius Aristomenes, son of Crispianus, agôn (...)

17If we reconsider Pausanias’ discussion of Saithidas in this light, it acquires a completely new meaning, and sheds light on an aspect of Pausanias’ work as a whole that tends to escape notice. In his description of monuments and in his narratives of the deeds of famous Greeks of the past, Pausanias was continuously intruding with his own authoritative voice in the policy of memory practiced by the elite families who must have constituted both a part of his intended audience43 and his acquaintances. We cannot tell why Pausanias decided to give such an unflattering assessment of Caelianus, but his descendants, who were certainly around when Pausanias visited Messene, can hardly have been pleased by the treatment reserved to their claims of ancestry44. Surely the Periegesis must include many more cases like this, some of which we may never be able to reconstruct. Far from being a text of purely antiquarian interest, it impacted very directly concerns that were quite important to the elite families of Antonine Achaea. The family of Tiberius Claudius Aristomenes, an older contemporary of Caelianus45, must have been rather happy with Pausanias’ book IV.

Notes

1 The present contribution seeks to develop some observations put forward in Luraghi 2005. I am especially grateful to Catherine Grandjean for inviting me to the Tours conference, and to herself and her collaborators for running such a pleasant and successful meeting. Thanks also to all the participants for a supremely collegial atmosphere.

2 Habicht [1985] 1998, 58-59, Themelis 2000, 112-113.

3 Puech 1983, 27-28 on Saethida’s titles and 21-25 on the meaning of those titles.

4 Halfmann 1979, n. 93, 93a, 126 e 127, with references to the relevant inscriptions. For the possible dates of Frontinus’ consulate, between 149 and 151 or between 155 and 160 CE, see Alföldy 1977, 193. Saethida Caelianus the Younger and Frontinus Niceratus are also noteworthy for dedicating statues of the imperial family accompanied by the two only Latin inscriptions found in Messene so far, CIL, III, 495, for a statue of Lucius Verus dedicated in 164 CE, and a newly-found base for Faustina the Younger, Themelis 2002, 45-46 and pl. 39a, to be dated between 161 and 176 CE and carrying the names of the dedicants in the same form as CIL, III, 495.

5 SEG, 51, 458 B, l. 25. On this honorific title, attested in inscriptions of the Antonine age, especially from the Peloponnese, see Kajava 2004, 8-17; the formula applied to Claudia Frontina seems indeed to suggest that it involved assimilation to the goddess Hestia.

6 IG, V.1, 1455. On the family tree of the Claudii Saethidae, see Habicht 1998, 493, Baldassarra 1999, 154-164, with full discussion of the relevant evidence (to which SEG, 51, 458 should now be added). I would like to thank warmly Damiana Baldassarra for allowing me to use her unpublished thesis.

7 See Bodnar 2003, 306. The steps of the stadium and the theater were visible in 1828, at the time of the Expédition scientifique de Morée, Blouet 1831, 27 and pl. 22 and 24-25; the ôdeion does not seem to have been recognizable as such, but at least its external retaining wall was well visible above the ground, see ibid. pl. 37 F. I. It is possible that in Cyriac’s times its cavea may have been partly exposed.

8 The inscription on the statue base is SEG, 41, 353; for its date, see Habicht 1998, 493 n. 35. On the fountain and its various phases, see Felten and Reinholdt 2001, 307-323. The inscription referring to the renovation of the fountain in the age of Nero is SEG, 46, 418, and it mentions also the dedication of statues of the imperial family; the funding may have come from more than one donor, see especially l. 6. The praenomen Tiberius is the only portion of the name of the dedicant(s) that is preserved. The identification with the Tiberius Claudius Saethida who dedicated the statue of Nero has been proposed independently by Baldassarra 1999, 148 and by Felten and Reinholdt 2001, 319. Themelis 1995, 56-57 thought of another prominent citizen of Messene, Tiberius Claudius Aristomenes the son of Dionysius, priest of the imperial cult in Messene and dedicant of another statue of Nero, IG, V.1, 1450.

9 SEG, 39, 139. For a discussion of this document and its chronology, see Baldassarra 1999, 39-41.

10 IG, V.1, 1451. According to the nomenclature used in this inscription, Marcus Aurelius has already been nominated Caesar, but is not yet referred to with the corresponding name, which would be Aurelius Caesar Aug. Pii filius; this seems to suggest that the statue was dedicated immediately after he had become Caesar. For Marcus Aurelius’ nomenclature, see Kienast 1990, 137. It is not completely clear if ‘the Greeks’ who dedicated the statue are to be understood as the members of the Achaean koinon or the whole province of Achaia; see Puech 1983, 24 and Spawforth 1994, 222.

11 The inscription is published by Themelis 2002, 44-45, with an excellent photograph, pl. 38b. The text is essentially identical to that of IG, V.1, 1451, except of course for the name of the emperor.

12 On his career, see Puech 1983, 17-21.

13 See again Puech 1983, 26-27.

14 While both the statue of Marcus Aurelius and the statue of Antoninus Pius could in theory have been dedicated at a later date, the fact that Saethida the Elder’s grandchildren were dedicating statues of the imperial family as early as 164 CE does not encourage to put the date of Caelianus the Elder’s dedications too late into Pius’reign.

15 SEG, 51, 458; Trajan appears in B l. 6, but his name is the only word that can be read in that line, so it is not possible to know why he is mentioned. Two fragmentary inscriptions coming from the theater, one marble revetment slab and the upper left corner of another base, also seem to refer to Caelianus the Elder; see SEG, 51, 459-460 and the legible photographs published by Themelis 2000, pl. 46.

16 That is, five statues, since there were five tribes in Messene (see Jones 1987, 146-148). For another case of statues kata phylên, see the dossier of documents regarding another prominent Messenian of the Antonine age, Tiberius Claudius Dionysius Crispianus (see Puech 1983, 30), SEG, 48, 498 and 500, dedicated by the tribes Hyllis and Cresphontis respectively; the words kata phylên are mostly the result of an integration in the former, which should be based on the latter, itself essentially unpublished. Pace the editor, the second cognomen of this man can hardly be Hispanos, cf. IvO., 447. For more examples of statues dedicated by tribes, see IG, V.1, 1459, SEG, 45, 312-313, SEG, 48, 499.

17 See Themelis 2000, 112 and pl. 97-98, and IG, V.1, 1455a.

18 Habicht [1985] 1998, 38 n. 35.

19 See Grandjean 2003, 80 and n. 123.

20 IG, V.1, 1427. On the funerary monuments intra muros at Messene, see P. Fröhlich’s contribution in this volume.

21 Themelis 2002, 42-46.

22 SEG, 48, 491; see Themelis 2000, 109.

23 The most detailed publication of this monument is Cooper 1999; see also Themelis 2000, 102-113, and Müth-Herda 2005, 209-215. I would like to thank warmly Silke Müth-Herda for allowing me to make use of her as yet unpublished doctoral dissertation.

24 On the stadium of Messene, see now Müth-Herda 2005, 180-182 and 217-219.

25 See Müth-Herda 2005, 55-57 and 209.

26 Themelis 2000, 107.

27 Broucke forthcoming. I am extremely grateful to Pieter Broucke for sharing with me the text of his very important communication.

28 See Camp 2000, 50.

29 See Torelli 1998, 477 (where the recumbent on the sarcophagus is still wrongly identified as a woman), Themelis 2000, 160 and pl. 91-93, and Müth-Herda 2005, 210-211.

30 The yearly sacrifice of a bull to Aristomenes is mentioned also in an inscription dating to the Augustan age, SEG, 23, 207, l. 13-14, on which see Migeotte 1985.

31 See the observations of Torelli 1998, 477, who aptly compares this situation to the complex formed by the stadium of Athens and the funerary monument of Herodes Atticus.

32 See Paus. 4.31.5 and the detailed analysis of the fortifications by Müth-Herda 2005, 42-139.

33 This man and his family were buried in the monumental tombs outside the Arcadian gate according to Themelis 1997, 80-82.

34 See Habicht [1985] 1998, 50; the inscription is IG, V.2, 370.

35 See Paus. 8.9.1 (stele with portrait from Mantinea; note that a fragmentary stele from Mantinea, IG, V.2, 304, dated to the second century BCE, carries the beginning of the two first verses of the epigram for Polybios that appears, in complete form, in the statue bases for Titus Flavius Polybius), 8.37.2 (stele from Akakesion with inscription referring to Polybios’ rescuing the Greeks after 146 BCE), 8.30.8 (stele from Megalopolis with elegiac distichs including biographical details on Polybios and again references to his role as mediator between Romans and Greeks after the Achaean war), 8.44.5 (statue from Pallantion). Polybios himself mentions honors he received from the Greeks for placating the Romans, Pol. 39.5 and 8.1.

36 The herôon of Podares has been identified in the excavations of the agora of Mantinea, see Fougères 1898, 190-193 and Jost 1985, 131. Fougères, followed by Jost, takes for granted that the building had been erected for the fourth-century Podares, but it is not clear on what this dating is based; note that, of the three graves comprised in it, the one in the middle, that is, in the most prominent position, contained grave goods that Fougères dated to Roman times and was covered with a reused base of an equestrian statue, which also points to a rather late date, while the roof tiles with inscriptions referring to Podares, IG, V.2, 321a and b, are dated by the editor, Hiller von Gaertringen, to the first century CE.

37 On this family, see Spawforth 1985, 215-224; Lysander is mentioned in IG, IV2, 86, l. 14, an inscription for their relative, the Epidaurian Titus Statilius Lamprias, whose pedigree included the Kerykes of Athens, the Echinades of Epidaurus, Phoroneus, Perseus and Herakles.

38 On their family tree, see Spawforth 1985, 224-244; the Spartan Brasidas who lived in the age of Augustus and claimed descent from the famous Spartan general (Plut., Mor., 207f; see Bowersock 1965, 105 and n. 5) was presumably their ancestor, see Spawforth 1985, 226.

39 Plut., Life of Aratos, 1 and Puech 1983, 28-29.

40 See Habicht [1985] 1998, 127, and cf. Jones 1971, 40-41, on the claims to illustrious ancestors, mythic and historical, by the elites of Plutarch’s Greece. The phenomenon would deserve a comprehensive investigation.

41 See in general Bowie 1974, and especially 171-172, and Habicht [1985] 1998, 129 on the famous sophist Polemon, a contemporary and close acquaintance of the emperor Hadrian, who gave public speeches at Athens on Demosthenes and the Peloponnesian war, demanding the enormous honorarium of 25 talents.

42 Ameling 1983, 3-4. On the crucial importance of ancestors for defining the status of the members of the Roman ruling elite, see Flower 1996. Compare especially aristocrats of the late Republic claiming famous characters of early republican history as their ancestors, e.g. ibid., 88-89 and pl. 3d for the case of Marcus Brutus putting the faces of Lucius Brutus and Servilius Ahala on his coins.

43 It is not completely clear who Pausanias was really writing for; see the discussion in Habicht [1985] 1998, 24-26 with further references.

44 Given Pausanias’rather mixed attitude to Roman domination over Greece (see Habicht [1985] 1998, 119-125, Moggi 2002), one might speculate that the Saethidae hasd embraced Romanization too enthusiastically for his taste – note that Caelianus the Younger and Frontinus Niceratus accompanied their dedications of statues of the imperial family with inscriptions in Latin (see above, n. 3, a poignant statement in an epigraphic landscape that was still almost exclusively Greek, in Messene and in the Peloponnese in general). But this can be no more than speculation.

45 Attested members of this family include: 1) Tiberius Claudius Aristomenes, son of Crispianus, agônothetês in 126 CE (IG, V.1, 1469); 2) Tiberius Claudius Dionysius Crispianus, son of an Aristomenes probably to be identified with the preceding one, called ‘the new Epaminondas’, priest of the imperial cult at Messene, tribunus of the legion XII Fulminata and strategos of the Achaean koinon (IvO., 447 and 448, SEG, 11, 984, 48, 498 and 500, see above n. 15 and Puech 1983, 30); 3) Tiberius Claudius Aristomenes, son of Dionysius, who dedicated a statue of Nero possibly in 55 CE (IG, V.1, 1450), possibly the grandfather of 1); 4) Dionysios, son of Aristomenes, who financed repairs of public buildings in the age of Augustus (SEG, 23, 207, l. 28-29, see above n. 29), possibly the father of 3; 5) Aristomenes, priest of Zeus Ithomatas probably in 19 BCE (SEG, 41, 335, date according to Baldassarra 1999), possibly the father of 4). On the family tree of this family, see Baldassarra 1999, 143-153.

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