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Ritual and Communication in the Graeco-Roman World

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Eftychia Stavrianopoulou

The Magistrate and the Ocean: Acclamations and Ritualised Communication in Town Gatherings in Roman Egypt

Thomas Kruse

Texte intégral

  • 1 H.-U. Wiemer, “Akklamationen im spätrömischen Reich. Zur Typologie und Funktion eines Kommunikatio (...)
  • 2 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 56.
  • 3 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 59 sq.

1Recently attention has been drawn once again to the role of acclamations as forms of ritualised communication by Hans-Ulrich Wiemer.1 Central to his contribution to the theme is the increasing importance of such “loud and rhythmic exclamations of praise, censure and demand”2 in the late Roman Empire as a result of the changed character of the standing of the emperor and his desire to ensure as wide as possible an involvement of the empire’s population in ceremonies, which gave expression to loyalty to the ruler. Since for this purpose the traditional medium of rhetoric had no great range and was on any given occasion only able to reach an audience, which happened to be present and was more or less numerically limited, “versuchten die römischen Kaiser der Spätantike… das gesamte Reich mit einem Netz symbolischer Kommunikation zu umspannen”, the most prominent element of which were acclamations, which enabled a direct form of the symbolic, ritualised communication between ruler and subjects and gave him at the same time a way in the face of an ever more extended and differentiated administration to assess the degree of approval and criticism of the administrative practice of the high officials, because the latter were also included in the acclamations.3

  • 4 CTh 1, 16, 6 (on this see also Wiemer, l.c. [n. 1), p. 58 sq ).
  • 5 P.Oxy. X, 1305; XII, 1413, 3.21.24; XXIV, 2407, 11-12; 2417, 12 (Oxrhynchos, 3rd cent.); SPP V p. (...)
  • 6 On this see also the following.
  • 7 P.Oxy. XVII, 2110, 1-3: Ὑ[πα]τίας τῶν δεσπότων ἡμῶν Οὐαλεντινιανοὐ ϰαὶ Οὐαλέντος αἰωνίων Αὐγούστων (...)

2It is against this backdrop that we should view the practice of protocolling the acclamations, which were effected on the orders of the emperor and probably goes back to a law of Constantine of the year 331, which expressly entitled everyone to praise or to reprehend the provincial governors in public acclamations, so that he himself might decide after careful examination (it was for this purpose that the acclamations were to be communicated to him) upon their possible dismissal.4 The protocolling of acclamations was, however, already standard practice before the time of Constantine. This is illustrated by protocols of the meetings of the city councils of Egyptian nome metropoleis from the 3rd century, which list such acclamations.5 In the later 4th century acclamations had apparently become so commonplace, that the protocols could at least dispense with the list of those acclamations, which were made at the beginning of a meeting and did not have the function of documenting a decision of the city council.6 Thus for example at the beginning of the protocol of a meeting of the βουλή of the middle Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchos from the year 370 AD after the lapidary note “after the acclamations” (μετὰ τὰς εὐϕημίας) one proceeds to the order of the day.7

  • 8 On this see Roueché, l.c. (n. 1), p. 190 sq.
  • 9 SEG 34, 1306, on this see esp. P. Weiß, “Auxe Perge. Beobachtungen zu einem bemerkens-werten städt (...)
  • 10 On this see M. Zimmermann, “Probus, Cams und die Räuber im Gebiet des pisidischen Termessos”, ZPE (...)

3The high dignity, which from the time of Constantine was bestowed upon the acclamations through imperial authority, was certainly partly responsible for the usual practice of inscriptional recording of acclamations, an honour accorded to a benefactor of the Carian city of Aphrodisias named Albinus. The acclamations accorded to this notable were saved for posterity on the columns of a public building, which was restored or founded by him in the 5th or 6th century.8 Particularly impressive records from the 3rd century are the acclamations preserved by an inscription from the year 275/6 AD, which were accorded to the city of Perge9 on the occasion of an imperial festival, as well as those with which a local preserver of law and order who was titled “pursuer of robbers” (λῃστοδιώϰτης) was honoured by the inscription from Termessos in Pisidia from the year 282/3 AD.10 The last three examples just mentioned demonstrate, that in late antiquity the emperor was by far the most important recipient of acclamations, but that small provincial cities and their notables were also regular recipients of such honours.

  • 11 In the latter sense U. Wilcken, APF 1 (1906), p. 124; eid., W.Chr. 45 introd. A. Bowman, The Town (...)

4The papyrus P.Oxy I 41 (= W.Chr. 45) from Oxyrhynchos, which is to be discussed below, is concerned with such a notable. The papyrus contains the protocol of a public meeting in the city with an extensive description of the acclamations, which were made in honour of one of their magistrates. The character of this meeting is not made clear by the text. The fact, however, that it apparently took place in the context of a religious festival, as is discernable from the fragmentary first line, where we read ]αρίας πανηγύρεως οὔσης, points with some degree of certainty to a meeting on the occasion of a religious festival rather than to a regular meeting of the city council or indeed a meeting of the Demos of the city.11 It is also not possible to date the text exactly. The circumstance that two of the official titles (σύνδιϰος and ϰαθολιϰός), which occur in the text, are not attested before the 3rd century and that the plural Αὔγουστοι ϰύριοι, with which more than simply one emperor is addressed, suggests a joint rule of several rulers, points to a date around 300 AD, which is compatible with palaeographical considerations.

5Prominent guests were present at the meeting. They are not named but appear under their official titles and were also celebrated in the acclamations, first and foremost the provincial governor (ἡγεμών), the highest financial official of the province (ϰαθολιϰός, lat. rationalis), the defensor civitatis of the city (σύνδιϰος) and the strategos of the nome (στρατηγός).

6The central point of the proceedings, which are described in the text, is the honouring or rather the intended honouring of a high city notable, that is the πρύτανις Dioskoros, the president of the city council. The gathering requests this honour from the high officials present at the meeting, in particular from the Katholikos.

7So that this may be understood more clearly I present the Greek text of the original and add my own translation of it.

  • 12 In the case of [[ισ]]ἄρχο[ντ]α we are probably dealing with a mistake made by the scribe, who poss (...)

[± 30 ltr.]αρίας πανηγύρεως οὔσης | […………….τοῖς Ῥωμαίοις] εἰς [ἐ]ῶνα τὸ ϰράτος | τ[ῶ]ν [Ῥ]ωμαίων, Ἄγουστοι ϰύριοι, εὐτύχη [ἡγεμ]ών, εὐτυχῶ[ς] τῷ ϰαθολιϰῷ, | Ὠϰαιαναὶ πρύτανι, Ὠϰαιαναὶ δόξα πόλεω[ς], Ὠϰαιαναὶ Διό[σϰ]ορε πρωτοπολῖτα· |5 ἐπὶ σοῦ τὰ ἀγαθὰ ϰαὶ πλέον γίνεται, ἀρχηγαὶ τῶν ἀγαθῶν, Ισιῆν ϕιλῖ σε ϰαὶ ἀναβαίνι, | εὐτυχῶς τῷ ϕιλοπολίτῃ, εὐτυχῶς τῷ ϕιλομετρίῳ, ἀρχηγὲ τῶν ἀγαθῶν, ϰτίστα τῆς | π[όλεως . . . . ]……Ὠϰαιαναὶ . . .ου[. . .], ψηϕισθήτω ὁ πρύ(τανις) ἐν τυαύτῃ [ἡμέρ]ᾳ. | Πολλῶν ψηϕισμάτων ἄξιος, πολλῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀπολαύομεν διὰ σαί, πρύτανι. | Δέησιν τῷ ϰαθολιϰῷ περὶ τοῦ πρυτάνεως, εῦτυχῶς τῷ ϰαθολιϰῷ δεόμεθα, |10 ϰαθολιϰέ, τὸν πρύτανιν τῇ πόλι, εὐερ[γέτ]α ϰα[θολι]ϰαί, τὸν ϰτίστην τῇ πόλι, | Ἀγουστοι ϰύριοι εἰς τὸν ἐῶνα δέησ[ιν] τῷ [ϰαθολι]ϰῷ περὶ τοῦ πρυτάνεως | τὸν ἄρχοντα τοῖς μετρίοις, [[ισ]]ἄρχο[ντ]α12 [τοῖς…..]ς, τὸν ἄρχοντα τῇ πόλι, τὸν | ϰηδεμόνα τῇ πόλι, τόν ϕιλομέτριον [τῇ π]όλ[ι], τὸ[ν] ϰτίστην τῇ πόλι, εὐτύχη | ἡγεμών, εὐτύχη ϰαθολιϰαί, εὐεργ[έ]τα ἠγεμών, εὐεργέτα ϰαθολιϰαί, δεόμεθα | ϰαθολιϰοί, περὶ τοῦ πρυτάνεως ψ[ηϕισ]θήτω ὁ πρύτανις, ψηϕισθήτω ἐν τυαύ | τῃ ἡμέρᾳ. τοῦτο πρῶτον ϰαὶ ἀναγϰαῖον. Ὁ πρύ(τανις) εἶπ(εν) “τὴν μὲν παρ’ ὑμῶν | τιμὴν ἀσπάζομαι ϰαί γε ἐπὶ τούτῳ σϕόδρα χαίρω· τὰς δὲ τοιαύτα[ς] | μαρτυρίας ἀξιῶ εἰς ϰαιρὸν ἔννομον ὑπερτεθῆναι, ἐν [τούτῳ] ᾧ ϰαὶ ὑμῖς | βεβαίως παρέχ[ον]ετ[ες]αι ϰαὶ ἐγὼ ἀ[σϕ]αλῶς λαμβάνω.” Ὁ δῆμος ἐβόησεν |20 “πολλῶν ψηϕισμάτων ἄξιος, τὸ νοϰ[. . .]αν εἰς τὸ μέσον, Ἄγουστοι ϰύριοι, | πᾶσει νῖϰαι, τοῖς ‘Ρωμαίοις εἰς ἐῶνα τὸ ϰράτος τῶν Ῥωμαίων, εύτύχη ἡγεμώ[ν], | σωτὴρ μετρίων, ϰαθολιϰαί, δεόμεθα, ϰαθολιϰ[αί], τὸν πρύτανιν τῇ πόλι, τὸν ϕ[ιλο] | μέτριον, τὸν ϰτίστην τῇ πόλι δεόμ[ε]θα, ϰαθολιϰαί, σῶσον πόλιν | τοῖς ϰυρίοις, εὐεργέτα ϰαθολιϰαί, τὸν […..]να τῇ πόλι, τὸν ϕιλοπολίν τῇ πό[λ]ι.” | 25 Ἀριστίων σύνδιϰος εἶπ(εν), “τὴν αρ . . . […….] παραθησόμεθα τῇ ϰρατίσ[τ]ῃ β[ο]υλῇ.” | Ὁ δῆμος, “δεόμεθα, ϰαθολιϰαί, τὸ[ν ϰ]ηδε[μό]να τ[ῇ πό]λι, τὸν ϰτίστην | τῇ πόλι. στρατηγὲ πισταί, εἰρήνη πόλεως. [Ὠ]ϰαναὶ Διοσϰουρίδη, πρωτοπολῖτα, | Ὠϰαναὶ Σεύθη, πρωτοπολῖτα, ἰσάρχων, ἰσ[ο]πολῖτ<α>, | ἁγνοὶ πιστοὶ σύνδιϰοι, ἀγνοὶ πιστοὶ συ[ν]ή[γορο]ι, ἰς ὥρας πᾶσι τοῖς | 30 τὴν πόλιν ϕιλοῦσιν, Ἄγουστοι ϰύριοι εἰς τὸ[ν α]ἰῶνα.
2 1. αἰῶνα (cf. 11,21) 3 1. Αὔγουστοι (cf. 11, 30); 1. εὐτύχει (cf. 13,14) 4 1. Ὠϰεανέ (cf. 7) 5 1. ἀρχηγέ 7 1. τοιαύτῃ (cf. 15) 8 1. διὰ σε 10 1. ϰαθολιϰέ (cf. 14, 15, 22, 24, 26) 14 ϰαὶ δεόμεθα ed. pr. (cf. BL 1 312) 17 ᾧ above the line 21 1. πᾶσαι; πασεινι, ϰαὶ τοῖς Ῥωμαίοις ed. pr. (cf. BL I 312) 24 τὸν [εὔϕρο]να ed. pr. 25 τὴν ἀπ’[αίτησιν υμῶν] BL I 312 27 1. πιστέ; 1. Ὠϰεανέ (cf. 28)
… as the … festival gathering took place [the people exclaimed: to the Romans] for all eternity the rule of the Romans! The lords Augusti! Long live the prefect, long live the Katholikos! Long live the Prytanis, bravo, glory of the city, Hurrah, Dioskoros, you foremost of citizens! Everything that is good will be increased under your administration, you initiator of good things! The Nile loves you as the blessed (Hesies) and rises! Long live he, who loves his fellow citzens, long live he, who loves moderation, initiator of good things, founder of the city! … Bravo … A conferment (of honour) should be passed for the Prytanis on this day! He is worthy of many conferments! Many are the blessings we enjoy through you, Prytanis! On behalf of the Prytanis we make our plea to the Katholikos, long live the Katholikos! We ask, Katholikos, for the Prytanis for the city! Beneficent Katholikos, for the founder for the city! May the lords Augusti live forever! The plea to the Katholikos on behalf of the Prytanis: the archon for the less well-off, the isarchon for the the archon for the city, the guardian for the city, the lover of justice for the city the founder for the city! Long live the prefect, long live the Katholikos! Beneficent prefect, beneficent Katholikos! We beseech you, Katholikos, concerning the Prytanis: a conferment (of honour) should be ratified for the Prytanis, the conferment should be ratified today, this is is the first and foremost duty, the most important duty!” The Prytanis said: “I welcome your honours and am most gratified by them. I beseech you that these tokens (of your honour) be postponed to a meeting to a legitimate meeting, at which you may make them with authoritative force and I can accept them with assurance.” The Demos cried: “You are worth of many conferments, …! The lords Augusti, all victorious! For the Romans the power of the Romans forever! Long live the prefect, saviour of the less well-off! O Katholikos, we beseech you, Katholikos: the Prytanis for the city, the lover of justice for the city, the founder for the city! We beseech you, Katholikos, preserve the city for the emperors! Beneficent Katholikos! The … for the city, he who loves his fellow citizens for the city.” Aristion, the Syndikos, said: “We shall present [your petition] to the trusty council.” The Demos: “We ask, Katholikos, for the guardian for the city, the founder for the city! Trusty strategos, peace of the city! Hurrah, Dioskurides, foremost of citizens! Hurrah Seuthes, foremost of citizens, Isarchon, Isopolit! True, trusty Syndikoi! Long life to all who love the city! May the lords Augusti live forever!”

8The text is divided into clearly distinguishable sections. At the beginning with a reference to the Panegyris, which was taking place there is a description of the circumstances, under which what follows happened. Directly after this description of the situation there is a hole in the text. The demonstration of approval must, however, have started at this point – perhaps, as later, it began with an acclamation of the emperors, because immediately following this in second position the Romans are already cheered with acclamations, which express the wish that their rule should be forever. Thereafter come the emperors, followed by good wishes for the provincial governor and the Katholikos.

9The acclamations offered to the rulers and the high officials of the province constitute to a certain extent simply the preliminaries for the following series of acclamations for the Prytanis Dioskoros, the aim of which is to bring about a conferment of honour. These acclamations for the Prytanis are interrupted on a number of occasions by ones for the emperors, the governor and the Katholikos. It is the Katholikos who receives by far the most acclamations, as it is from his activity and assent that the planned honouring of the Prytanis seems to depend heavily. The rationalis appears here quite clearly as the addressee of the downright vehement pleas of the crowd, to preserve the guardian of the city, the magistrate for the less well off and all the other epitheta, which are used to glorify the Prytanis.

10The intervention of the Prytanis in lines 16-19 marks the end of the first section of the text. The Prytanis, who had so far listened to the effusive utterances of affection of the gathered crowd in silence, now replays to the crowd and assures them, how much he appreciates and is pleased by the honour bestowed by them upon him. He does not, however, wish that the decision should be made here and now, but that, as he expresses it, this should be postponed to a legal point of time, on which this honour may be bestowed upon him in a rightful manner and he also may accept it without any hindrance.

  • 13 See also Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 289. On the practice of protocolling acclamations in late antiqui (...)

11This presumably means that the Prytanis wants to point out that the „spontaneous” upsurge of emotion of the crowd in his honour during a festival gathering can and should not be turned into a regular decision to bestow honour, because the gathering of the Panegyris does not have the status of a decision making body, such as a regular meeting of the city council, and a decision made by the crowd would consequently lack legality. It is also interesting that the Prytanis characterises the acclamations as ,,witnesses” (μαρτυρίας), the handling of which is to be put off until a later point of time. The acclamations consequently are a witness to how much the crowd desires honour for the Prytanis, they are thus at the same time also witnesses of the legitimacy of the honouring. It is for this reason that one understands why they are evidently so painstakingly protocolled in the present text. They are granted the status of legally valid evidence for the legitimacy of the honouring of the Prytanis, because they manifest the collective approval of the community. For this reason it is intended that they should be used in the formal procedure, which leads to the bestowing of honour.13

  • 14 On this ὁ δῆμος ἐβόησεν cf. IG XII 9, 906 (= Syll3 898), a decree from Chalkis from AD 212 concern (...)

12The gathering of the people, which apparently does not want to be held back by the legal objections of Dioskoros and is characterised as δῆμος for the first time, answers the Prytanis directly by breaking out loud (ἐβόησεν) in a new series of acclamations.14

13This second series of acclamations (lines 19-24), which constitutes the third section of the text, is shorter than the first, but is structured in a quite similar fashion, i.e. once again the rulers, the Romans and the high officials of the province have acclamations bestowed upon them and then once again the Katholikos is assailed upon, to present the city with its desired benefactor in the person of the Prytanis Dioskoros, in as much as he should authorise his honouring. What is missing in the second series are the acclamations made directly to the Prytanis himself.

14There follows a new intervention, which makes up the fourth section. This time it is the Syndikos Aristion, who assures the crowd, that its desire will be submitted to the city council. Thereupon the crowd turns to the Katholikos for the last time with their plea concerning the “Guardian of the city” etc. and breaks out in a series of acclamations, with which this time the local notables of the city and the nome are celebrated, before general cries of approval for “all those who love the city” and the rulers closes this fifth and final section of the protocol.

  • 15 Bowman, o.c. (n. 11), p. 84.

15It is not clear why the decision to honour the Prytanis demanded by the gathering needed to be authorised by the ϰαθολιϰός, who was at that period the highest financial officer of the whole province. The ϰαθολιϰός who was present throughout the gathering was, as we have seen above, the most important addressee of vehement pleas, one ought to say, demands of the crowd that the Prytanis should be honoured. On the basis of what competence was the Katholikos in a position to authorise such a procedure, and should one not think, that it was the business of the city or the city council alone, to undertake the honouring of a deserving fellow notable? What role were the officials of the provincial administration to play in this context? Especially as on the other hand towards the end of the text the σύνδιϰος Aristion says explicitly, that the βουλή should concern itself with the matter: on this point A. Bowman remarks: “It is thus clear that it was within the competence of the Boule to discuss the presentation of a ψήϕισμα, but unclear whether this competence included the power of ultimate decision.”15

  • 16 See e.g. P.Oxy. XXXVIII, 2854, 7-9 (AD 248): παρὰ τὰ γενόμενά μοι ὑπὸ τῆς ϰρατίστης βουλῆς ψηϕίσμα (...)

16If however the ultimate decision upon such a conferment of honour – in the papyri ψήϕισμα normally means a resolution carried by the majority of a voting body rather than a solitary decision of a single official16 – does not fall within the competence of the city council alone, but needed the approval of a high official of the province, why was it that of the Katholikos and not, for example, of the governor (who was also present) or of any other official of the provincial administration? This could perhaps suggest that in this case a special competence of the Katholikos is involved, because, if it were only a case of a symbolic ratification, such that one sought the approval of the provincial administration whenever one or more of their number happened to be present, one might ask why the prefect was not the first to be entreated. The reason for this is not, however, that he may have had a higher rank than the Katholikos, although he is always named before him in the acclamations of the crowd. It is the case that in the course of the administrative reforms of Diocletian after the division of the earlier province Aegyptus into two at first and later six provinces the competences of the praefectus Aegypti were diminished and extended territorially for a time only to Alexandria and the Delta. In contrast the rationalis was responsible for the whole of Egypt as before. If we find ourselves in the epoch of the tetrachy in the case of P.Oxy. I, 41, and there are some arguments for this, then the fact that of the high officials who were present it was the Katholikos who was the most important addressee of the demands of the crowd, could be an expression of a widespread sense amongst the population, that this official possessed more prerogatives than the prefect.

  • 17 See also P.Oxy. IX, 1204 (AD 299): proceedings in front of the Katholikos on account of a disputed (...)

17On the other hand the Katholikos was from the time of Diocletian basically responsible for the entire administration of the finances of the province. Is the background to the conferment of the honour for the Prytanis to be sought in his services in the context of the nomination of liturgists or the collection of taxes and tributes, an area in which he was active on the direct orders of the Katholikos? After all he is celebrated as ϕιλομέτριος and as ἄρχων τοῖς μετρίοις. Both of these epitheta allude to his exertions on behalf of the less well off classes of the citizenship in the context of the mitigation of the fiscal burdens, for the imposition of which the Katholikos was to a large extent responsible. Thus for example according to P.Mert. II, 90 (AD 310) the Katholikos ordered the nomination of liturgists through the city council, and on the authority of such an order the Boule through office of the Prytanis informed the Strategos of such a nomination.17

18With their acclamations the crowd possibly intended, that the actions of the Prytanis concerning the easing the fiscal burden imposed upon the city should be well regarded not only for the past but also in the future by the Katholikos, whose sphere of competence was thus very much affected.

  • 18 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 289 apparently also has in mind a connection between the acclamations and (...)

19The circumstance, that the Katholikos was above all confronted with the demand to present the city once again with Dioskoros in all the diverse functions, in which he had already demonstrated his suitability, suggests to me, that it was the intention of the acclamations to ensure the future beneficial activity of the Prytanis for the city. It is expressly stated: δέησ[ιν] τῷ ϰα[θολι]ϰῷ περὶ τοῦ πρυτανέως, τὸν ἄρχοντα τοῖς μέτριοις, … τὸν ἄρχοντα τῇ πόλι, τὸν ϰηδεμόνα τῇ πόλι, τόν ϕιλομέτριον [τῇ π]όλ[ι], τὸ[ν] ϰτίστην τῇ πόλι (lines 11-13 and similarly in the previous lines 9-11). These acclamations seem to me to imply that the Demos demanded more here, than simply that the Prytanis should be honoured for services to the city in the past. It desires a continuation in the future of the so beneficial activities of Dioskoros.18

20The demands are perhaps to be understood in a very concrete manner and take account of the fact that it was in the competence of the Katholikos, to nominate Dioskoros for any function, in which he could be active in a positive manner for the city and that it is for this reason that the crowd assail the Katholikos above all with their demands. This is certainly not imperative. If the services of Dioskoros in the past consisted to a large degree of a mitigation of the fiscal burdens imposed upon the city and one hoped for this in the future, then it might be for precisely this aspect of his activities that one might have felt the need for the approval of the Katholikos, who was present, because it was he who had to attend to the fact that the interests of the fiscus were looked after.

21In view of such speculations account must be taken of the fact that the acclamations do not at any stage mention the reason for the honouring.

  • 19 That the spelling Ὠϰαιαναί in P.Oxy. I 41 should be understood as Ὠϰεανέ and consequently stands f (...)
  • 20 1, 12, 6: Οἱ γὰρ Αἰγύπτιοι νομίζουσιν Ὠϰεανὸν εἶναι τὸν παρὰ αὐτοῖς ποταμὸν Νεῖλον.
  • 21 See 1, 96: τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους ϰατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν διάλεϰτον Ὠϰεανὸν λέγειν τὸν Νεῖλον and 1, 19, 4: τὸν δὲ (...)
  • 22 See G. Méautis, “Ὠϰεανέ”, RPh 40 (1916), p. 52-54, ibid., p. 54.
  • 23 “Eine Acclamation als Hesies-Osiris”, ZPE12 (1988), p. 65-66; ibid., p. 65.

22Each of the first three of these acclamations is introduced with the puzzling exclamation Ὠϰαιαναί (= Ὠϰεανέ).19 There follow the official title (Ὠϰεανὲ πρύτανι), the acclamation as „the city’s boast” (Ὠϰεανὲ δόξα πόλεως) and as “chief of citizens” (Ὠϰεανὲ Διόσϰορε πρωτοπολῖτα). There have been attempts to explain these Ὠϰεανέ acclamations in terms of an interpretatio Aegyptiaca, according to which the Egyptians identify Okeanos with the Nile.20 As we glean from a passage of Diodoros, “the Egyptians believe that for them the ocean is the Nile”, which they also call such in their own language, as the same author tells us in another passage.21 Consequently the Prytanis would be “bienfaisant comme le Nil”, according to G. Méautis22 or “ein Mann, der wie der Ozean Gutes im Überfluß fur die Stadt bringt”23, as R. Merkelbach expressed.

  • 24 See above n. 1.
  • 25 See the contribution cited in n. 22.
  • 26 E. Peterson, “Zur Bedeutung der ὠϰεανέ -Akklamation”, RhM 78 (1929), p. 221-223.

23Erik Peterson, whose pioneering research work on ancient acclamations appeared in his book Εἷς θεός24 published in 1926, took issue with the explanation of the Ὠϰεανέ acclamation25 already put forward by G. Meautis in a small contribution from the year 1929.26

  • 27 Ed. B.K. Exarchos, ΠΕΡΙ ΚΕΝΟΔΟΞΙΑΣ· ΚΑΙ ΟΠΩΣ ΔΕΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΓΟΝΕΑΣ ΑΝΑΤΡΕΦΕΙΝ ΤΑ ΤΕΚΝΑ. Über Hoffart und (...)

24Peterson pointed to the little noticed volume Περὶ ϰενοδοξίας ϰαὶ ὅπως δεῖ τοὺς γονέας ἀνατρέϕειν τὰ τέϰνα of Johannes Chrysostomos, where in chap. 4 the scene of an acclamation is described, in which a certain Philotimos is compared by the crowd, which is celebrating him, to the Nile and then to the ocean27:

Διαναστάντες εὐθέως ὥσπερ ἐξ ἑνὸς στόματος μίαν ἀϕιᾶσι ϕωνὴν, συμϕώνως ἅπαντες ϰηδεμόνα ϰαλοῦντες ϰαὶ προστάτην τῆς ϰοινῆς πόλεως ϰαὶ τὰς χεῖρας ἐϰτείνοντες. εἶτα μεταξὺ τῶν πάντων μείζονι παραβάλλουσιν αὐτὸν ποταμῷ τὸ τῆς ϕιλοτιμίας ἁδρὸν ϰαὶ ἐϰϰεχυμένον, τῇ τῶν Νειλῴων ὑδάτων ἀϕθονία συγϰρίνοντες. Καὶ Νεῖλον αὐτὸν εἶναί ϕασι τῶν δωρεῶν. Οἱ δὲ μᾶλλον αὐτὸν ϰολαϰεύοντες μιϰρὸν νομίσαντες εἶναι τοῦτο τὸ ὑπόδειγμα, τὸ τοῦ Νείλου, ποταμοὺς μὲν αϕιᾶσι ϰαὶ θαλάσσας, τὸν Ὠϰεανὸν εἰς μέσον ἀγαγόντες τοῦτο αὐτόν εἶναί ϕασι, ὅπερ εϰεῖνον ἐν ὕδασι, τοῦτον ἐν ταῖς ϕιλοτιμίαις ϰαὶ οὐδὲν ὅλως εἶδος εὐϕημίας ἀπολιμπάνουσιν.

  • 28 Peterson, l.c. (n. 26), p. 222.
  • 29 Peterson, l.c. (n. 26), p. 223.

25Peterson views this as “the literary instance of the use of the Ὠϰεανέ acclamation, which is otherwise only known to us through the papyri”.28 He prefers to regard the passages from Diodoros, upon which bases his arguments as “Hellenistic theology”, which “only signifies: primeval water is the theological principle of the Egyptians and the Greeks”.29

  • 30 This opinion is espoused by for example Klauser, l.c. (n. 1), p. 223.

26In my opinion the passage in Joh. Chrysostomos provides an instance simply of a comparison of the honoured person with the Nile and the ocean. It does not, however, say anything about what rhetorical means are used to make the comparison. It seems to me that all we can take from the passage in Joh. Chrysostomos (and it is, indeed, only to be understood as a fictive example of ϰενοδοξία) is that Philotimos had in some manner been entitled “so large as the ocean”. This is what the phrase τὸν Ὠϰεανὸν εἰς μέσον ἀγαγόντες τοῦτο αὐτὸν εἶναί ϕασι, ὅπερ ἐϰεῖνον ἐν ὕδασι, τοῦτον ἐν ταῖς ϕιλοτιμίαις means. There is, however, in my opinion no necessity to conclude that the author here had the sort of acclamations in mind, which are attested in the papyri in the rhythmical Ὠϰεανέ exclamations.30 Furthermore one may well regard this as unlikely, because the latter, as the papyrological attestations, which are to be discussed, clearly show, as far as I can see, in fact do not characterise the acclaimed person as Okeanos and as a result are not intended to say “you are like Okeanos”, but rather are used in the same way as present day cries of “Bravo!” or “long live!”

  • 31 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 273.
  • 32 πρυτάνι instead of πρυτάνει with an Iota instead of the diphthong, which is quite usual in the Koi (...)

27A closer look at the Ὠϰεανέ exclamations in P.Oxy. I, 41 already gives rise to doubts, that it really is the intention here to characterise the Prytanis as Okeanos, because this exclamation precedes the actual acclamation δόξα πόλεως und πρωτοπολίτης. On its first appearance it precedes the official title: Ὠϰεανέ πρύτανι. The translation of this acclamation by Marianne Blume translates this acclamation as “pour le prytane, ocean”31, where she takes πρύτανι as a dative32, which is, however, in my opinion incorrect.

28It must rather be a case of the use of the vocative in analogy with the other acclamations composed with Ὠϰεανέ. This seems to me to make it most likely that on each occasion the exclamation is functionally joined to the following acclamations δόξα πόλεως, πρωτοπολίτης etc. or rather that it is intended to intensify these acclamations and not that the person referred to is to be characterised “as” Okeanos or “as large as the ocean”.

  • 33 In the solitary literary instance in a scholion on Aeschylus’ Prometheus Ὠϰεανέ is used with refer (...)
  • 34 P.Oxy. X, 1305. Whether this Dioskoros may be identical with the man of the same name in P.Oxy. I, (...)
  • 35 P.Oxy. XII, 1413, 2.
  • 36 P.Oxy. XII, 1413, 21.
  • 37 On this in detail see Bowmann, o.c. (n. 11), p. 50 sq., cf. N. Lewis, APF 21 (1971), p. 83-85. The (...)
  • 38 P.Oxy. XXIV, 2407, 11-12.
  • 39 P.Oxy. XXIV, 2417, 11-12; cf. ibid. 1. 7.
  • 40 SPP XX, 58 Col. I 8.

29The exclamation Ὠϰεανέ also appears in a number of other texts from Roman Egypt.33 One of these is a very good parallel for P.Oxy. I, 41, because it (likewise unfortunately very fragmentary) also belongs to the protocol of a gathering of an unknown nature, in which a chain of acclamations were made. The exclamation Ὠϰεανέ with which a man by the name of Dionysios and a certain Dioskoros are greeted: [Ὠϰεανὲ] Διονύσιε, Ωϰεανὲ Διόσϰορε34, is striking. The other instances of the exclamations are to be found in some protocols of meetings of the city councils of Oxyrhynchos and Hermopolis. In the fragment of a protocol of a meeting of the Boule of Oxyrhynchos from the reign of the emperor Aurelian (AD 270-275) after an utterance of the exegetes the following reaction of the plenum is recorded: of οἱ Βουλευταὶ εἶπ(ον)· Ὠϰεανὲ έξηγητά.35 The Bouleutai react to a report from the gymnasiarch concerning the supply of oil in the same manner: Ὠϰεανὲ Πτολεμαῖε, Ὡϰεανὲ γυμνασιαρχέ.36 A further text from the late 3rd century from Oxyrhynchos contains the protocol of a gathering, which is described as a σύλλογος, which was possibly not a council gathering, but a gathering of one or more tribes.37 This gathering apparently negotiated with the σύνδιϰος (defensor civitatis) concerning questions of the appointment of municipal officers. The protocol of the meeting records as reaction to a contribution from the Syndikos Menelaos: ὁ σύλλογος ἐϕώνησεν· εὐγενῆ σύνδιϰε, ϰαλ[ῶς [ἐδιῴϰησα]ς Ὠϰεα[ναὶ ϕιλο] | πόλει, Ὠϰεαναὶ ἰδιοπ[ο]ιέ, [ἄ]ξιε τοῦ ἡγεμόνος μιᾷ ἀπ’ αἰῶνο[ς] συνδιϰίᾳ, τοιούτους δ εῖ γίγν[εσ]θα[ι.38 A very poorly preserved fragment of a protocol of a council gathering in Oxyrhynchos from the year AD 286, which contains the beginnings of 20 lines, records at one stage an approving acclamation of the plenum: οἱ Βουλευταὶ] ἐϕώνησαν· Ὠϰεαν[έ.39 Finally we have a fragment of a council protocol from the 3rd century from the nome capital Hermopolis. An approving acclamation of Ὠϰεανέ from the plenum is also to be found here as a reaction to an utterance of the Prytanis.40

  • 41 APF 3 (1908), p. 541.

30Confronted with this Ὠϰεανέ acclamation Ulrich Wilcken remarked at a loss: “what such an address to the god Oceanus means here and in phrases such as Ὠϰεανὲ πρύτανι, Ὠϰεανὲ δόξα πόλεω[ς], Ὠϰεανὲ Διόσϰορε πρωτοπολῖτα etc, is something others will have to explain.”41

31In my opinion the use of the exclamation Ὠϰεανέ in P.Oxy. I, 41 is to be regarded as analogous to that in the protocols of meetings mentioned above, because they are a telling argument against the fact that the person, whose utterance is greeted with this exclamation, is compared to Okeanos. It seems to be much more like a stereotypically used acclamation, with which one expresses approval, so that it is probably best translated as simply “Bravo”, “Long live”, “Hurrah” etc., in our text thus as “Long live the Prytanis! Bravo, glory of the city! Hurrah, Dioskoros, first of citizens!”

  • 42 P.Oxy. I, 41, 4 note: “The meaning of this title or form of address, which only occurs here before (...)
  • 43 See also U. Wilcken, APF 3 (1906), p. 541.

32It remains a puzzle, however, how the god Okeanos or the ocean stream or the ocean itself, which he represented, came to have this rhetorical function. It must be certain, that it is the ocean that is addressed with the exclamation Ὠϰεανέ. Grenfell and Hunt, the editors of P.Oxy. I, 41, apparently had doubts about this, because they did not correct the spelling ωϰαιαναι into Ὠϰεανέ, and regarded this possibility as “very doubtful”.42 The correct spelling, which is attested in the parallels, has removed the doubts, that we are in fact dealing with Okeanos and not for example with an Egyptian word in the guise of a Greek spelling43, especially as one cannot really imagine, how such a puzzling Egyptian word should have found a place in acclamations, which were otherwise purely Greek, and furthermore in a social milieu, such as the city elites of the nome capitals, which had always been proud of their “Hellenism”.

  • 44 On this see P. Weizsäcker, ML III 1 (1897-1902), col. 809-820, s.v. “Okeanos”; H. Herter, RE XVII (...)
  • 45 For an overview of the depictions see LIMC VIII 1 (1997), p. 907-915, s.v. “Oceanus”.
  • 46 The remarks on the Ὠϰεανέ acclamation in D. Bonneau, La crue du Nil divinité égyptienne à travers (...)

33The sound of an Ὠϰεανέ exclamation was perhaps accompanied by a perception of the boundless and unrestrained nature of the ocean stream, which only had a bank in this world, the boundary of the earth and the heavens. In the netherworld Okeanos did not have a bank. In the outwards direction it has no boundary and is the father of all rivers and thus the epitome of water as a life giving and life saving element as well as the source of all godly and human being.44 It is possible that it was the perceptions concerning Okeanos and a boundless and inexhaustible richness, which led to the Ὠϰεανέ exclamation lending expression to the highest possible note of approval for a person. One may also observe, that it was precisely in the Roman imperial period that depictions of Okeanos in private houses, above all in mosaics increased significantly in comparison to the Greek period.45 That the Ὠϰεανέ acclamation is so far only attested in Egypt, could be taken to indicate that there is a connection with the interpretation of the Nile in terms of Okeanos and the ever present Nile as the giver of life in everyday life and in the religious beliefs of the population, which one more or less called upon to lend weight to a decision or to display a very high degree of approval.46 For the time being one will not be able to move beyond the realm of speculations, and it will scarcely be possible the explain the history of the idea and mentality underlying the Ὠϰεανέ acclamation because of the paucity of the attestations we have so far and the fact that they offer relatively little of significance.

  • 47 On this see Merkelbach, l.c. (n. 23).
  • 48 As has already been demonstrated by Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 278 sq. Thus only few Suppléments need (...)
  • 49 See Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 278 sq. and cf. the inscriptional acclamations for a benefactor of the (...)
  • 50 On this see esp. Bowman, o.c. (n. 11); A.K. Bowman, D. Rathbone, “Cities and Administration on Rom (...)
  • 51 See Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 283 sq.

34Apart from the the meaning of the puzzling Ὠϰεανέ acclamation, understanding the other acclamations used to honour the Prytanis Dioskoros does not cause any undue problems. Except for the acclamation as Hesies (i.e. the drowned deified Osiris), “The Nile loves you as the blessed (Hesies) and rises” (line 5), which is the only one to give expression to specifically Egyptian beliefs47, the acclamations are all without fail of the type, which, as Marianne Blume was able to show, are widespread in the Hellenistic world as honorary epithets for city notables in inscriptions and fit into the context of the diverse rhetorical methods, with which civil euergetism was honoured and for which parallels may be found in the Greek East of the Empire.48 Thus the acclamations used for the Prytanis Dioskoros in P.Oxy. I, 41 accentuate above all his beneficial activities for the city. In them we see the use of both non specific phrases such as in the acclamation of Dioskoros as “the initiator of good things” (ἀρχηγὸς τῶν ἀγαθῶν) or as the one “under whose administration the good even increases” (ἐπὶ σοῦ τὰ ἀγαθὰ ϰαὶ πλέον γίνεται) as well as more concrete epithets such as in the five fold use of the acclamation “founder” (ϰτίστης), which in honorary inscriptions usually points to the activity of the honorand as the builder or founder of public buildings for the purpose of improving the beauty of the city.49 Indeed the associations brought to mind by the term ϰτίστης with the founder (whether mythical or historical) of the specific community in question may well have been intended, because by this means the activity of the honorand towards the improvement of the city’s beauty was moved into the realm of a new foundation of the community. Until P.Oxy. I, 41 became known the honorary epithet ϰτίστης for civil notables was not attested in Egypt, but for notables in the cities of imperial Asia Minor, which shows how much the civil elites in Egypt had in their use of the terminology of such honorary epithets caught up with the niveau which was to be found generally in the East. This was surely a result of the process of municipalisation of the Egyptian nome capitals in the course of the Roman imperial period, which had gathered pace especially after the granting by Septimius Severus AD 199/200 of the privilege of civil self government through the permission to form city councils (βουλαί).50 The epithets ϕιλοπολίτης, δόξα πόλεως and ϰηδεμών are also attested elsewhere as honorary epithets for civil worthies.51

  • 52 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 279 sq.

35In contrast the acclamation of the Prytanis with the adjective ϕιλομέτριος or as ἄρχων τοῖς μετρίοις is only attested in P.Oxy. I, 41. M. Blume has shown convincingly, that the editors’ translation of μέτριοι with “honest men” is not correct, but that here reference is made to the “humble” in the sense of “less well off” amongst the fellow citizens, whom the Prytanis Dioskoros had championed. The adjective ϕιλομέτριος, which as far as I can see is still without parallel, also belongs in this category. The “moderation” (moderatio) of Dioskoros, which is referred to here, is the “moderating”, “compensatory” stance of the magistrate when he intervenes between the interests of the fiscus and those of the civil population at the time of the distribution of the fiscal burdens with regard to the liturgies.52

36What makes the acclamations in P.Oxy. I, 41 special, is that they are not examples of brief spontaneous applause (as for example in the council protocols mentioned above) expressed in formulaic phrases as a reaction to individual utterances, but rather a dramatic production of the ritualised speech of the crowd, which develops in a crescendo like manner. It lasts quite some time before the frenetically celebrated Prytanis takes his own turn to speak. Until then it is only really the crowd that speaks. The various series of acclamations for the Prytanis are, however, interrupted by those for the high officials, who are present, and the emperor as well as by direct demands for the (if possible immediate) decision to confer honour.

  • 53 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 271-290, esp. p. 273 n. 17.

37Marianne Blume imagined the whole situation as a sort of dramatic dialogue between different actors.53 She supposes an exchange between the words of the person, who (the crowd’s spokesman) puts forward the desire for a conferment of honour, and the acclamations of the crowd, which as a “claque organisee” celebrates the honorand with acclamations and honorary epithets, which ought perhaps literally to be part of conferment of honour itself. It remains unclear, however, who utters the accompanying acclamations for the Katholikos, to whom the demand for the honouring of the Prytanis is addressed, because these could have been uttered by the spokesman or by the crowd. It is in my opinion more likely that one should suppose that the whole text was uttered by the crowd, as otherwise one would have to assume that the change of the speaker would have been indicated in the text, which is what happens in the cases of the utterances of the Prytanis and the Syndikos Aristion.

  • 54 Suet., Nero 20, 3; see also Potter, o.c. (n. 13), p. 129-159, esp. p. 133 sq., where a series of e (...)
  • 55 The text is corrupt at this point, see also n. 12.

38One wonders whether one should think of the entire spoken situation in terms of a spontaneous emotional outburst of the crowd or rather as a well produced dramatic performance of a “claque organisée” according to Blume’s interpretation, for which the acclaiming crowd has been well prepared by the responsible “conductors” for their entries and from whom it is quasi conducted (in a musical sense) during the scene. Thus in the case of Nero’s performances as a poet and singer an organised claque was responsible for the applause in the form of acclamations with a technique developed in Alexandria.54 In P.Oxy. I, 41 the acclamations could indeed, as Marianne Blume thinks, anticipate formulations, which were to be part of the decision (ψήϕισμα) to honour the Prytanis, which was to be taken. As for example: “The Prytanis for the city! (τὸν πρύτανιν τῇ πόλι); O beneficent Katholikos! The founder for the city! (τὸν ϰτίστην τῇ πόλι) Our lords, the emperors, may they live forever”! and further “We submit a petition (δέησις) to the Katholikos on behalf of the Prytanis. The magistrate for the less well off! The magistrate for …!55 The magistrate of the city! The guardian for the city! He, who loves moderation, for the city! The founder for the city!” The passages set in italics, based on the Blume’s suggestion, could indeed be understood in the following manner: the content of the petition of the crowd to the Katholikos is such that the decision, which is to be made on the authority of the Katholikos, should quasi give the crowd in the person of the Prytanis “The magistrate for the μέτριοι, the founder for the city etc.” as a present. In contrast to Blume I do not regard it as certain that the acclamations predetermine the text of the conferment of honour (which has still to be made).

  • 56 APF 1 (1901), p. 124.

39In P.Oxy. I, 41 the acclaiming crowd appears without doubt as an active player, which takes the initiative, and does not simply react passively and exclusively with acclamations as in the council protocols. It takes the stage as the one who urgently demands the honouring of the Prytanis and raises, as Ulrich Wilcken states in his own so typically prosaic manner, “ein Geschrei, als wenn sie das Imperium zu vergeben hätten.”56

  • 57 Aug. 57, 2: Revertentem (sc. Augustum), ex provincia non solum faustis ominibus, sed et modulatis (...)
  • 58 Suet., Nero, 20, 3: Captus (sc. Nero), autem modulatis Alexandrinorum laudationibus, qui de novo c (...)

40The notables of the city seem on the other hand to be somewhat taken by surprise, they have the part in the scene of those who react unlike the acclaiming crowd which takes the initiative in acting and take some trouble, as the intervention of the Prytanis, the honorand, as well as that of the Syndikos Aristion makes clear, to steer the whole affair into well ordered and legal channels, i.e. to preserve the prerogatives of the βουλή. In contrast the crowd made use of the opportunity afforded by the presence of the high officials of the province on the occasion of the great festival (the panegyris mentioned in line 1), not only to give emphasis to the acclamations, which were all the more impressive owing to the witnesses from high official positions, with all sorts of honorary epithets, but above all by means of the petition (which one ought to characterise rather more as a demand), which was made directly to the Katholikos, with the plea for a decision and that is an immediate decision to confer honours on the Prytanis. This plea is uttered three time in all and reaches a high note the third time round to become an impressive staccato like crescendo: “We are making a petition for the Prytanis, Katholikos!” (δεόμεθα, ϰαθολιϰέ, περὶ τοῦ πρυτάνεως) “The conferment of honour for the Prytanis should be decided upon!” (ψηϕισθήτω ὁ πρύτανις). “It should be passed on this very day!” (ψηϕισθήτω ἐν τοιαύτῃ ἡμέρᾳ). “It is necessary and essential!” (τοῦτο πρῶτον ϰαὶ ἀναγϰαῖον). One could almost believe one were hearing modulata carmina similar to those with which according to Suetonius Augustus was received as he returned to Rome57, and which as a technique of acclamation developed primarily in Alexandria to an apparently very high degree, the emperor Nero organised and established permanently for the acclamations which were made for him on the occasions of his performances as poet and singer.58

41One has the impression that the crowd, which was gathered for the festival, seized the opportune moment to increase the chances of success for its desire that its beloved Prytanis should be honoured through the acclamations made for him in front of the very eyes and ears of the high officials of the province, who were present, and through the demand, which was made directly of them, to legitimate this desire through their assent. Thus in the case of success the demand would be provided with such great authority, that the βουλή, as the instance, which was really responsible for the decision about the conferment of honour on the Prytanis, could in fact scarcely fail to decide upon such a conferment of honour.

42One might wonder whether this action of the crowd on the occasion of the Panegyris, which took place in Oxyrhynchos could not be explained by opposition in the circle of the city notables towards the honouring of the Prytanis demanded by the δῆμος. It seems that he is so loved by the people, because he has been successful in taking pains to lessen the fiscal burden upon the less well off citizens. The Prytanis ought to be honoured amongst other reasons because in the eyes of the crowd he is ϕιλομέτριος and ἄρχων τοῖς μετρίοις. As a result of his sympathies for the μέτριοι the Prytanis Dioskoros could have placed a higher burden upon his fellow notables, as the Bouleutai were reponsible together for ensuring the interests of the fiscus. To honour him on to of all this could have been felt to be simply too much by some of them.

  • 59 See also Bowman, o.c. (n. 11), p. 84.

43This is surely nothing other than speculation, which cannot be proved by anything. If one thought it plausible, it would however offer the advantage, that the above mentioned considerations concerning, which aspects of his official duties could have moved the Katholikos, who was so beset by the crowd with demands, to occupy his time with the honouring of a local city notable, would be more or less superfluous. The question for example concerning the administrative competences of the Katholikos on the authorisation of civil conferments of honour59 would in the eyes of the crowd not be a relevant point at all. In fact it had simply made use of his presence, to make its demands to a higher authority than to the notables of their own city and thus to predetermine their decision. That the crowd was successful, is suggested it seems to me by the fact, that the acclamations were so carefully protocolled, although they had not been made use of in a regular gathering, which was authorised to pass a resolution. These acclamations were the most important argument, upon which the Boule had to base her decision to honour the Prytanis, which had to be made.

44That the protocol did not report any utterance of approval from the Katholikos, ought not to be a strong argument against this supposition. A gracious nod or smile, which indicated the pleasure of the high official in the love and honour felt by the ordinary people for a local notable, ought to have sufficed. The Katholikos need not really have to have been well informed about the details of the case. If this scene visualised and affirmed his notions of order in a manifest way, the Katholikos may have been content to establish the fact, that in a city, in which the people loves its representative to such an extent, everything is very much as well as it can be.

45The question concerning the nature of the gathering, which, as detailed above, some scholars have explained as a public meeting or the question concerning any regular possibilities of participation of the city δῆμος in the self government of a city in the high imperial period, would not be of any particular relevance in the light of the considerations mentioned above. Apart from the fact that, as one knows better nowadays, regular public meetings of the Demos in the sense of an institution which participated in the self government of the city and was authorised to pass resolutions, which encompassed the whole community, on the whole no longer had a role to play in the cities of the high and late imperial period, P.Oxy. I, 41 also demonstrates, what effective and informal possibilities to exert influence the people had, in as much as they used a festive gathering to make very concrete demands by means of the ritualised communication of acclamation.

46If one considers the acclamations in P.Oxy. I, 41, three types can be made out quite clearly. First of all there are the acclamations, with which the emperors, the Romans and the high provincial officials are greeted and which usually celebrate in a stereotype manner the emperors in their victories or in the eternal nature of their rule or bestow upon the high officials the title benefactor (εὐεργέτης). In the case of these acclamations we are dealing with the utterances of praise, which were standard on all sorts of occasions, and with which it was customary to open the regularly occurring council meetings and which on such occasions one, as we have seen above, no longer found it necessary to include in the protocol. Acclamations of a further type are those, which were uttered to honour the Prytanis Dioskoros and praise his civic virtues and his meritous deeds on behalf of the city. The formulation of these is at times quite original, however these acclamations may be seen cum grano salis within the framework of what one knows from the tradition of the inscriptions from various cities of the East of the imperial period.

  • 60 This protocol is to be found at the beginning of the edition of the Codex Theodosianus by Theodor (...)
  • 61 See above n. 1.
  • 62 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 29 sq.

47The third type of acclamations in P.Oxy. I, 41 is in my opinion the most interesting, that is the concrete demands, which in most cases are made directly to the Katholikos for the immediate honouring of the Prytanis Dioskoros. These demands, which are repeated and build up in a staccato like fashion, are not to be conceived of as simple utterances of praise or fausta vota, but as a form of ritualised communication, with which one may give expression to a concrete desire, that is one in favour of a decision to honour Dioskoros. This function of acclamations may be studied most illustratively on the basis of the acclamations, with which the Roman senate celebrated the completion of the Codex Theodosianus on 25 December 438. The protocol of this senate meeting60, which has been treated in much detail recently by U. Wiemer61, apart from the usual utterances of praise also reports acclamations, which contain quite concrete desires on the part of the senate for the dissemination, safe-keeping and composition of the codification of the law.62

  • 63 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 35 sq.

48Wiemer has moreover been able to make clear, that this formal structure of the acclamations is not only limited to the Roman senate, but is to be found in a distinctly less privileged environment in terms of closeness to the emperor than the Roman senate,63 as can be seen by considering the acclamations, with which a crowd of people demanded the dismissal of the bishop Iba, who in their eyes was a heretic, in April 449 in Edessa, the capital of the province Osrhoene. Here the crowd makes use of the arrival of the newly appointed governor to make their demands on two consecutive days. As in P.Oxy. I, 41 each of the concretely formulated demands and complaints, which pertain to factual issues, are prefaced by the formulaic utterances of praise for the emperor and the high officials.

49The phenomenology of the late Roman acclamations, which confronts us in the examples of the 5th century, which were studied by Wiemer and represent them at the height of their development, basically consists of a dual typology of the diverse elements of this communication ritual into stereotype, formulaic utterances of praise on the one hand and acclamations formulated individually with respect to each issue on the other, with which the acclaiming crowd gave expression to their concrete wishes and complaints. P.Oxy. I, 41 attests for us an example, in which at a very early point in time the functionality of these two central elements are very much apparent.

Notes

1 H.-U. Wiemer, “Akklamationen im spätrömischen Reich. Zur Typologie und Funktion eines Kommunikationsrituals”, Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 86 (2004), p. 55-73 Fundamental to the problem of acclamations are: G.S. Aldrette, Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome, Baltimore, 1999; A. Alföldi, “Die Ausgestaltung des monarchischen Zeremoniells am römischen Kaiserhof”, MDAI(R) 49 (1934), p. 3-118, esp. 79 sq.; B. Baldwin, “Acclamations in the Historia Augusta”, Athenaeum n.s. 69 (1981), p. 138-149; j. Burian, “Die kaiserliche Akklamation in der Spätantike (Ein Beitrag zur Untersuchung der Historia Augusta)”, Eirene 17 (1980), p. 17-43; J. Coun, Les villes libres de l’Orient gréco-romain et l’envoi au supplice par acclamations populaires, Bruxelles, 1965 (Collection Latomus, 82); Th. Klauser, RAC 1 (1950), p. 216-233, s.v. “Akklamation”; E. Peterson, Εἷς θεός. Epigraphische, formgeschichtliche und religionsgeschichtli-che Untersuchungen, Göttingen 1926 (Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alien und Neuen Testaments, NF 24); Ch. Roueché, “Acclamations in the Later Roman Empire: New Evidence from Aphrodisias”, JRS 74 (1984), p. 181-199; J. Schmidt, RE I (1894), col. 147-150, s.v. “Acclamatio”.

2 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 56.

3 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 59 sq.

4 CTh 1, 16, 6 (on this see also Wiemer, l.c. [n. 1), p. 58 sq ).

5 P.Oxy. X, 1305; XII, 1413, 3.21.24; XXIV, 2407, 11-12; 2417, 12 (Oxrhynchos, 3rd cent.); SPP V p. 4 (= SPP XX, 58, Hermupolis, 3rd cent.).

6 On this see also the following.

7 P.Oxy. XVII, 2110, 1-3: Ὑ[πα]τίας τῶν δεσπότων ἡμῶν Οὐαλεντινιανοὐ ϰαὶ Οὐαλέντος αἰωνίων Αὐγούστων τὸ γ, Φαῶϕι θ, | βουλῆς οὔσης, πρυτανίας Κλαυδίου Ἑρμείου Γελασίου γυμ(νασιαρχήσαντος), βουλευτοῦ, μετὰ τὰς εὐϕημίας | ϰαὶ παρελθόντος εἰς μέσον Θέωνος Ἀμμωνίου βουλευτοῦ διὰ Μαϰροβίου υἱοῦ ϰαὶ ϰαθεμένου οὕτως οἴδατε ϰαὶ ὑμῖς, συνβουλευταί ϰ.τ.λ.

8 On this see Roueché, l.c. (n. 1), p. 190 sq.

9 SEG 34, 1306, on this see esp. P. Weiß, “Auxe Perge. Beobachtungen zu einem bemerkens-werten städtischen Dokument des späten 3. Jahrhunderts n.Chr.”, Chiron 21 (1991), p. 353-392.

10 On this see M. Zimmermann, “Probus, Cams und die Räuber im Gebiet des pisidischen Termessos”, ZPE 110 (1996), p. 265-277.

11 In the latter sense U. Wilcken, APF 1 (1906), p. 124; eid., W.Chr. 45 introd. A. Bowman, The Town Councils of Roman Egypt, Toronto, 1971 (ASP, 11), p. 34 n. 45, has on the basis of good arguments rejected an assembly of the people.

12 In the case of [[ισ]]ἄρχο[ντ]α we are probably dealing with a mistake made by the scribe, who possibly repeated the use of the previous word. The rhythm of the text makes one expect a further phrase of the type τὸν ἄρχοντα τοῖς ϰ.τ.λ. Perhaps the scribe simply repeated the whole previous phrase τὸν ἄρχοντα τοῖς μετρίοις, see also M. Blume, “à propos de P.Oxy. I 41. Des acclamations en l’honneur d’un prytane confrontées aux témoignages épigraphiques du reste de l’Empire”, in L. Criscuolo, G. Geraci (eds), Egitto e storia antica dall’ellenismo all’età araba. Bilancio di un confronto. Atti del Colloquio Internazionale Bologna, 31 agosto – 2 settembre 1981, Bologna, 1989, p. 271-290, ibid., p. 273 sq. n. 18.

13 See also Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 289. On the practice of protocolling acclamations in late antiquity see Burian, l.c. (n. 1), esp. p. 23 sq.; Roueché, l.c. (n. 1), 181-199, esp. p. 184 sq.; D. Potter, “Performance, Power, and Justice in the High Empire”, in W.J. Slater (ed.), Roman Theater and Society, Ann Arbor, 1996 (E. Togo Salmon Papers, 1), p. 129-159; ibid., p. 144 sq.

14 On this ὁ δῆμος ἐβόησεν cf. IG XII 9, 906 (= Syll3 898), a decree from Chalkis from AD 212 concerning the conferment of a νεωϰορία, where in line 28 one reads: ἐβ(όησεν) ὁ δ(ῆμος). The characterisation of the crowd as “the people” in the present text is not an indication that we are really dealing with a regular gathering of the people (ekklesid), as older research supposed. (on this see also above), because in late antiquity this characterisation could simply refer to the acclaiming gathering as a collective entity, see Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), 54.

15 Bowman, o.c. (n. 11), p. 84.

16 See e.g. P.Oxy. XXXVIII, 2854, 7-9 (AD 248): παρὰ τὰ γενόμενά μοι ὑπὸ τῆς ϰρατίστης βουλῆς ψηϕίσματα.

17 See also P.Oxy. IX, 1204 (AD 299): proceedings in front of the Katholikos on account of a disputed nomination to the office of Dekaprotos; P.Oxy. XII, 1410 (AD 286),: the Katholikos enacts a ban on the renewed nomination to the office of Dekaprotos; P.Oxy. XII, 1509 (4th cent.): nomination of a Hyperetes on the order of the Katholikos; P.Oxy. XLIII, 3127 (AD 332): handing over of debtors to the state to the Katholikos; PSI Congr. XI, 13 (3rd-4th cent.): nomination of a liturgist instead of a wrongly nominated one on the order of the catholicus; see in general on the competences of the Katholikos also P.Panop. Beatty 1-2 (AD 300).

18 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 289 apparently also has in mind a connection between the acclamations and a candidature for office of Dioskoros, when she writes: “ici, il semble que les acclamations doivent appuyer la candidature de Dioscore et donc être faites au moment propice.” On the basis of this formulation (“la candidature”!), one has the impression, that Blume is thinking of the candidature for the office of Prytanis. At the very point of time, however, at which the Demos offers him its acclamations, Dioskoros is indeed Prytanis.

19 That the spelling Ὠϰαιαναί in P.Oxy. I 41 should be understood as Ὠϰεανέ and consequently stands for Oceanus (concerning which the editors had their doubts, see P.Oxy. I 41, 4 note), can be seen as a result of the spelling, which in contrast to P.Oxy. I, 41 is correct, in a council protocol from Hermopolis (SPP XX, 58), see U. Wilcken, APF 3 (1908), p. 541 and in what follows.

20 1, 12, 6: Οἱ γὰρ Αἰγύπτιοι νομίζουσιν Ὠϰεανὸν εἶναι τὸν παρὰ αὐτοῖς ποταμὸν Νεῖλον.

21 See 1, 96: τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους ϰατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν διάλεϰτον Ὠϰεανὸν λέγειν τὸν Νεῖλον and 1, 19, 4: τὸν δὲ ποταμὸν (sc. Νεῖλον), ἀρχαιότατον μὲν ὄνομα σχεῖν Ὠϰεάνην, ὅς ἑστιν Ἑλληνιστὶ Ὠϰεανός.

22 See G. Méautis, “Ὠϰεανέ”, RPh 40 (1916), p. 52-54, ibid., p. 54.

23 “Eine Acclamation als Hesies-Osiris”, ZPE12 (1988), p. 65-66; ibid., p. 65.

24 See above n. 1.

25 See the contribution cited in n. 22.

26 E. Peterson, “Zur Bedeutung der ὠϰεανέ -Akklamation”, RhM 78 (1929), p. 221-223.

27 Ed. B.K. Exarchos, ΠΕΡΙ ΚΕΝΟΔΟΞΙΑΣ· ΚΑΙ ΟΠΩΣ ΔΕΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΓΟΝΕΑΣ ΑΝΑΤΡΕΦΕΙΝ ΤΑ ΤΕΚΝΑ. Über Hoffart und Kindererziehung. Mit Einleitung und kritischem Apparat, Munich, 1952 (Das Wort der Antike, 4).

28 Peterson, l.c. (n. 26), p. 222.

29 Peterson, l.c. (n. 26), p. 223.

30 This opinion is espoused by for example Klauser, l.c. (n. 1), p. 223.

31 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 273.

32 πρυτάνι instead of πρυτάνει with an Iota instead of the diphthong, which is quite usual in the Koine.

33 In the solitary literary instance in a scholion on Aeschylus’ Prometheus Ὠϰεανέ is used with reference to the god Okeanos himself, see Scholia in Aischylum 330, 1 u. 330, 7.

34 P.Oxy. X, 1305. Whether this Dioskoros may be identical with the man of the same name in P.Oxy. I, 41, is otiose in view of the commonness of the name.

35 P.Oxy. XII, 1413, 2.

36 P.Oxy. XII, 1413, 21.

37 On this in detail see Bowmann, o.c. (n. 11), p. 50 sq., cf. N. Lewis, APF 21 (1971), p. 83-85. The editor raised doubts about whether the gathering had any connection with Oxyrhynchos, which is where the text certainly comes from (see also Lewis, l.c.),. Bowman objects quite rightly, that there are no indications, which in any way count against assigning the text to Oxyrhynchos, which is certainly where it was found.

38 P.Oxy. XXIV, 2407, 11-12.

39 P.Oxy. XXIV, 2417, 11-12; cf. ibid. 1. 7.

40 SPP XX, 58 Col. I 8.

41 APF 3 (1908), p. 541.

42 P.Oxy. I, 41, 4 note: “The meaning of this title or form of address, which only occurs here before proper names, is very doubtful. It seems impossible in this context to read ὦ Καιανέ and suppose a reference to the obscure sect of Cainites. It is not more satisfactory to read the letters as one word, Ὠϰεανέ.”

43 See also U. Wilcken, APF 3 (1906), p. 541.

44 On this see P. Weizsäcker, ML III 1 (1897-1902), col. 809-820, s.v. “Okeanos”; H. Herter, RE XVII 2 (1937), col. 2355, s.v. “Okeanos” (mythisch); R. Tölle-Kastenbein, “Okeanos als Inbegriff”, in O. Brehm, S. Klie (eds), Μουσιϰὸς ἀνήρ. Festschrift für Max Wegner zum 90. Geburtstag, Bonn, 1992 (Antiquitas Reihe 3, Abhandlungen zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte zur klassischen und provinzial-römischen Archäologie und zur Geschichte des Altertums Bd. 32), p. 445-454.

45 For an overview of the depictions see LIMC VIII 1 (1997), p. 907-915, s.v. “Oceanus”.

46 The remarks on the Ὠϰεανέ acclamation in D. Bonneau, La crue du Nil divinité égyptienne à travers mille ans d’histoire (332 av.-641 ap. J.-C), d’après les auteurs grecs et latins, et les documents des époques ptolémaique, romaine et byzantine, Paris, 1964, p. 238 sq. point in this direction as well.

47 On this see Merkelbach, l.c. (n. 23).

48 As has already been demonstrated by Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 278 sq. Thus only few Suppléments need to be mentioned.

49 See Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 278 sq. and cf. the inscriptional acclamations for a benefactor of the city of Aphrodisias in Caria named Albinus (on this see Roueché, l.c. [n. 1], esp. p. 190 sq.), which are apparently mounted on the columns of a building which was founded by him. In many of them express reference is made to his activity as founder of the buildings, see for example Roueché, p. 192, n° 8, where we read: Τὰ σὰ [ϰτ]ίσματα | αἰωνία ὑπόμνη | σις | Ἀλβῖνε ϕιλοϰτίστα.

50 On this see esp. Bowman, o.c. (n. 11); A.K. Bowman, D. Rathbone, “Cities and Administration on Roman Egypt”, JRS 82 (1992), p. 107-127; A. Jördens, “Das Verhältnis der römischen Amtsträger in Ägypten zu den Städten’, in der Provinz”, in W. Eck (ed.), Lokale Autonomie und römische Ordnungsmacht in den kaiserzeitlichen Provinzen vom 1. bis 3. Jahrhundert, Munich, 1999 (Schriften des Historischen Kollegs, Kolloquien 42), p. 142-180; and in recapitulatory form Th. Kruse, Der Königliche Schreiber und die Gauverwaltung. Untersuchungen zur Verwaltungsgeschichte Ägyptens in der Zeit von Augustus bis Philippus Arabs (30 v. Chr.-245 n. Chr.), Band II, Munich/Leipzig, 2002 (APF-Beih., 11), p. 888 sq. as well as p. 940 sq.

51 See Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 283 sq.

52 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 279 sq.

53 Blume, l.c. (n. 12), p. 271-290, esp. p. 273 n. 17.

54 Suet., Nero 20, 3; see also Potter, o.c. (n. 13), p. 129-159, esp. p. 133 sq., where a series of examples for organised acclamations are listed.

55 The text is corrupt at this point, see also n. 12.

56 APF 1 (1901), p. 124.

57 Aug. 57, 2: Revertentem (sc. Augustum), ex provincia non solum faustis ominibus, sed et modulatis carminibus prosequebantur.

58 Suet., Nero, 20, 3: Captus (sc. Nero), autem modulatis Alexandrinorum laudationibus, qui de novo commeatu Neapolim confluxerant, plures Alexandria evocavit.

59 See also Bowman, o.c. (n. 11), p. 84.

60 This protocol is to be found at the beginning of the edition of the Codex Theodosianus by Theodor Mommsen.

61 See above n. 1.

62 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 29 sq.

63 Wiemer, l.c. (n. 1), p. 35 sq.

Auteur

Institut für Papyrologie Grabengasse 3-5 D – 69117 Heidelberg E-mail: mailto:Thomas.Kruse@urz.uni-heidelberg.de

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