Altar for Apollo Kendrisos by Bithys, priest of the Syrian Goddess

Monument III.918
Editor
Georgi Mihailov
Type of monument
altar
Material
limestone
Find place
Plovdiv. Inscription found at the northern slope of Sahattepe hill.
Origin
Philippopolis
Dimensions
height 32 cm, width 18 cm, depth 18 cm
Institution and inventory
Letter size
height 1-2 cm
Layout description
Altar, moulded above and below; inscription on the front.
Decoration description
Text
Category of inscription
private dedicatory inscription - prose
Date
II c. AD
Dating criteria
lettering
Images
Text

Ἀπόλλωνι
Κενδρισῳ Βειθυς
Κοτυος ἱερεὺς
Συρίας θεᾶς
5δῶρον ἀνέ-
(vac.2)θηκεν(vac.2).

AΠOΛΛΩNΙ
ΚΕNΔΡΙΣΩΒΕΙΘΥΣ
ΚΟΤΥΟΣIΕΡΕYΣ
ΣΥΡIΑΣΘΕAΣ
5ΔΩΡΟNANE
vacat ΘΗΚΕN vacat
Text
Bithys, son of Cotys, priest of the Syrian goddess, dedicated this gift to Apollo Cendrisus.
⤦ n: 1

tag: lb
Ἀπόλλωνι Κενδρισῳ

type: divine
ref: Apollo
tag: persName
Ἀπόλλωνι

tag: #text
⤦ n: 2

tag: lb
Κενδρισῳ

type: divine
ref: Cendrissenus
tag: persName
Βειθυς Κοτυος

ref: AT015
type: official
nymRef: Βειθυς Κοτυος
tag: persName
Βειθυς

ref: Beithus
nymRef: Βειθυς
tag: name
⤦ n: 3

tag: lb
Κοτυος

ref: Cotys
nymRef: Κοτυς
tag: name
ἱερεὺς

lemma: ἱερεύς
tag: w
⤦ n: 4

tag: lb
Συρίας θεᾶς

type: divine
ref: Syria
tag: persName
⤦ n: 5

tag: lb
δῶρον

lemma: δῶρον
tag: w
ἀνέ θηκεν

lemma: ἀνατίθημι
tag: w
ἀνέ

tag: #text
⤦ n: 6

break: no
tag: lb

unit: character
quantity: 2
tag: space
θηκεν

tag: #text

unit: character
quantity: 2
tag: space
.

tag: #text
Apparatus
Letters in ligature:
2 κε, βε.
Apparatus:
The text of the inscription is given according to the edition of Mihailov after a comparison through personal observation by N. Sharankov.
Commentary

Apollo Cendrisus (or Cendrissenus) was the main deity of Philippopolis. The name and the patronymic of the dedicant – Bithys and Cotys – are among the most frequent Thracian names.

Georgi Mihailov suggests that the original location of the monument was on Dzhendemtepe hill where the sanctuary of Apollo Cendrisus was situated.

This little altar is the only known monument of the cult of the Syrian Goddess in the province of Thrace. The Syrian Goddess, or Atargatis, was a cult worshipped in Northern Syria; however, her priest in Philippopolis bears Thracian names and is not a migrant from the East. From the lands of today’s Bulgaria, there is only one more uncertain dedication to the Syrian Goddess by settlers from Asia Minor in the province of Moesia Inferior (IGBulg 8 bis from Bizone/Kavarna).

Bibliography
Mihailov, Georgius. Inscriptiones Graecae in Bulgaria repertae. Vol. III.1, 1961.

Dobruský, Václav. Материали по археологията на България. – Сборник за народни умотворения, наука и книжнина. Vol. XVIII, 1901, p. 704-812.

Tacheva-Hitova, Margarita. Eastern Cults in Moesia Inferior and Thracia (5th Century BC – 4th Century AD). In: Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’Empire romain Vol. 95, 1983, Vol.. стр. 264-265, № VII.2, .