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Παρασκευή, 13 Δεκεμβρίου 2019

The Cult of Isis at Ancient Messene


The location of a sanctuary dedicated to the cult of Isis and Sarapis close to the theatre of ancient Messene is reported by Pausanias (4.32.6), who wrote: “Not far from the Theatre, there is a sanctuary of Sarapis and Isis” (τοῦ θεάτρου δὲ οὐ πόρρω Σαράπιδός έστι καὶ Ἴσιδος ἱερόν). 
Several artefacts connected with the Sarapis and Isis sanctuary found in various parts of the archaeological site of Messene but mainly in the area between the theatre and the stadium are presented as follows:



a) Two almost identical mantle- clad herms made of marble, found by villagers to the north of the stadium and delivered to the Museum before the systematic excavations began in 1986 1:
1. Inv. no. 54, herm of a young male made of fine crystalline marble, preserved height 1.20m. Below the thighs, the figure takes the form of a stele (fig.1a), but the lower part of the shaft and the left arm are missing. The head is broken above the forehead and the face is badly weathered (fig.1b). Despite this damage and the fact that lips, nose and eyes are missing, the young male’s fleshy, rounded cheeks and childish features are still apparent. Wrapped tightly around the torso and both arms is a mantle that also covers the head. Names of Messenian ephebes who had trained in the Gymnasium of the city for three years and were called trietirenes are inscribed on the shaft and right shoulder of the figure2. In their free time, the ephebes would sit on the steps of the propylon, the main entrance to the west stoa of the Gymnasium, and play at dice; they scratched their names everywhere they could, especially on the statue bases erected in the west stoa3. The main body of the ephebic inscriptions found in the west stoa date to the Augustan period. The ephebic names on this herm stele from Messene date to the Augustan period as well, thus providing a terminus ante quem for dating this mantle-clad figure.
2. Inv. no. 260, mantle-clad herm of a young male made of fine crystalline marble, preserved height 1.11m. Below the thighs, the lower part of the figure takes the form of a stele (fig.1c); the lower part of the stele and the figure’s arms and head are missing. The torso and both arms are tightly wrapped in the mantle. The entire surface is badly worn because the statue lay in a stream bed for many years. Traces of letters, probably belonging to ephebes’ names, are visible on the front of the torso below the chest. On the evidence of similar herms from Delos dated to the 1st century AD, the two examples from Messene could be identified as Hellenized figures of Harpocrates, the child Horos of the Egyptian pantheon, who played an important role in popular religion as a benevolent god and protector of the home4. The Harpocrates herms5 from Delos hold the horn of plenty (cornucopia) in the left hand. Harpocrates is notably considered to be the Egyptian equivalent of the Greek Eros, and some statues6 showing maybe Eros-Harpocrates have been found at Thespiae in Boeotia associated with a sanctuary of Eros mentioned by Pausanias (9.27.1). The type of Eros-Harpocrates is known by some bronze statuettes, in the Florence Museum for example7.


3. Inv. no. 13477, a marble statuette of Eros (height 0.45m, width 0.18m), brought to light in the area between the theatre and the stadium of Messene (fig.2a-b)8. It shows the god in a rather unusual type, with a mantle covering his right side and legs, but because the head is missing we cannot identify him with certainty as Eros-Harpocrates.



b) Inv. no. 250, torso of a male reclining figure made of Egyptian basalt (fig.3a-b), preserved height 0.39m. The legs are broken below the thighs; the right hand and the left forearm are missing. The preserved lower part of the body and thighs is covered by a himation that leaves the genitals free. The torso is depicted frontally while the legs are turned to the figure’s right. The right forearm rests on the slightly elevated right thigh; the figure would have been leaning on a missing object with his left arm slightly bent and left leg extended9.The reclining figure is probably a representation of the river god Nilus, as indicated by its imported material (basalt from Egypt) and particularly by the posture of the body, which is comparable to other reclining figures of the river god10. The stylistic traits of this basalt torso from Messene, in particular the dry modelling of the body and the himation’s heavy folds, find parallels in works of the Antonine period11. In view of the absence of drill marks, however, the iconographic type of the young river god supports a date in the 1st century AD.


c) Inv. no. 14170, a fragment of a large circular base of local limestone (fig.4) preserved height 0.23m, width 0.51m. When complete, the base is estimated to have been about 1.50m in diameter; two eight-pointed stars with a crescent between them are incised on its torus moulding.This large low base could have been used to support a large cylindrical altar in the form of a cista mystica or an ex-voto such as a large column. The crescent is a symbol of Isis-Selene, while the star is an allusion to Sirius (Sothis in Egypt) the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Major, which rises on 19 July during the period when the Nile flooded and fertilized the thirsty valley of Egypt12. The star-crescent motif occurs mainly as a decoration on cistae mysticae, the cylindrical boxes used to carry and store cult objects13.


d) Inv. no. 14613, a possible bronze statuette of Isis standing on a low base (fig.5), height 0.06m. Found in the fill of the cella of the Doric temple recently uncovered in the agora of Messene, it was dedicated to the cult of the goddess Messana, the deified first mythical queen of the land. The figurine’s surface is worn, so that the details of her facial traits are indistinct. The right arm, which reached downwards, is broken below the elbow. Her head crowned by a high kalathos, she is clad in a long chiton covered by a himation and holds the cornucopia in the crook of her left arm, becoming maybe assimilated to Isis-Fortuna.

The sculptural decoration of the Theatre
A considerable number of mutilated marble statues were brought to light during excavations of the proscenium of the theatre at Messene. They belong to the sculptural decoration of the Roman imperial period three-storey stage building (scaenae frons). The theatre and its stage building were abandoned in the early 4th century AD and soon after used as a quarry by the city’s now-Christian inhabitants, who carried of most of the blocks from the stage building’s superstructure as well as the stone steps and seats from the cavea to build houses and a basilica nearby (fig.6).

 
Two colossal marble torsos were found where they had fallen, in front of the apsidal niche on the ground floor of the stage building: a cuirassed statue of the emperor Trajan and a male figure clad in a himation that probably represented the emperor Hadrian. Valuable information about the identity of the figures portrayed comes from a long inscription written on a marble base. This inscription is a decree honouring a well-known elite family from Messene, and in particular Tiberius Claudius Saethidas Caelianus, who covered the expenses for the reconstruction of the proscenium and the sculptural decoration of the scaenae frons. The family of the Saethidae maintained close links with the Roman imperial house from the reign of Nero to that of Marcus Aurelius14. The same Athenian workshops would appear to have produced the statues both for the Nymphaeum at Olympia, a benefaction by Herodes Atticus and his wife Regilla, and for the theatre of Messene15.
Fragments of a male statue and of a headless female statue of marble of the Large Herculaneum Woman type were found near the left (eastern) rectangular niche. The latter is thought to represent Claudia Frontina, wife of the Saethidas mentioned above, who was active in the second half of the 2nd century AD. Marble fragments of two more statues, including a colossal portrait head of Lucius Verus, were found in the rectangular niche at the west end of the ground floor of the scene building16.
Another group of marble statues comes from the sculptural decoration of the niches on the second and third storeys of the scene building (fig.7).


e) Inv. no. 12000, a statue of Isis holding the sail made of coarse-grained marble (fig.8a-d), height 1.70m. The goddess’ forearms and a small part of the tiara (diadem) above her forehead are broken. Parts of the locks of her hair and the edges of her garment are missing. As well, most of the marble sail has broken off; only a small fragment survives. The goddess stands on a plinth, rounded at the back, that is integral with the statue. Isis strides toward the right while the upper part of her body, especially the head, is turned to her right, towards the beholder. The head and neck were carved separately and inserted into a deep cutting between the shoulders. The wavy, wet-looking locks of hair that curl around the goddess’s round, youthful face flow back loosely to fall over her neck and shoulders (fig.8b). There are no incisions around the pupils of the eyes. Her left leg, extended and slightly bent, rests on the beak of a ship’s prow; the ship itself is not depicted, but is symbolized by the special form and the fine workmanship of the rounded plinth with the beak projecting from its front.

 
The goddess would have been grasping the billowing sail in front of her (now broken off) with both outstreched hands; remains of three fringed, wavy edges of the missing sail and two of its large rectangular supports are preserved on her left thigh, knee, and sandaled foot. On her feet are plain, thin-soled thong sandals that divide low on the foot, right where the first two toes meet (fig.9a-b)17. The goddess is clad in a long, high-girt, V-necked chiton with sleeves fastened by a round fibula on the right shoulder. The fringed mantle worn on top of the chiton covers the left arm and shoulder as well as the back, forming a thick curved mass of folds that runs diagonally from the right thigh to the bent left arm. The rich folds of the garments are pressed against the front of the goddess’ body, while the mantle, its folds dense and sharp at the edges (fig.8a-b), flutters out behind her back. The long garland of laurel leaves and flowers –roses, to be precise– bound with a fillet (fig.8a and 10) is a typical attribute of Isis, and especially of the initiates in her cult; here, it is draped over her left shoulder and reaches just below her right thigh, where it disappears under the folds of her himation18.In her role as a marine goddess, Isis was addressed with the titles Pelagia, Pharia, and Euploia19. 


Several reliefs depict the goddess of the open sea and navigation in the type found at Messene, of which the most complete, appealing, and best-known is the one from Delos dated to the 1st century BC; another, from Thasos, is dated to the 2nd century AD, and a third example, from Pylaia near Thessaloniki, to the 2nd or 3rd century 20. The same Isis type is also depicted on a marble matrix from the Athenian Agora dated to the 2nd century AD21. It recurs down to the late Roman period on lamps, gems, reliefs, and especially coinage from difierent sites22. The most eloquent representations of Pelagia appear on Alexandrian coins issued from Domitian until Aurelian23. Isis Pelagia also appears on coins of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD issued at Amastris, Anchialos, Aspendos, Byblos, Byzantium, Callatis, Corinth, Cyme, Ephesos, Iasos, Nicaia, Nicomedia, Perinthos, Phocaia, Philippopolis and Cleonai24. The type is again used at Rome in the 4th century AD on the Vota Publica coins25.The workmanship of this completely Hellenized Isis Pelagia from Messene is of high quality. The statue seems to be a copy of late Trajanic or early Hadrianic date from a 2nd century BC Hellenistic original26. The earliest known example of Isis holding the sail with both hands, but without a mantle blowing out behind her,appears on a coin of Byblos issued under Antiochos IV (175-163 BC)27. Ellen Reeder Williams thought that an image of a Nike of the 2nd century BC served as a prototype for the Isis Pelagia on the marble matrix from the Athenian Agora: according to her, this lost prototype was “inspired eitherby the Nike of Samothrace or by a type of late Hellenistic Nike derived from a work that may be reflected in a coin struck at Salamis around 295 BC by Demetrios Poliorketes”28. This date coincides with the date of the earliest surviving example of the type, the above-mentioned coin of Antiochos IV from Byblos, and the prototype of Isis Pelagia from Messene.
In 1939, Laurenzi expressed the view that the majestic figure with outstretched arms like a Hellenistic ruler may have originated on Rhodes, the major sea power in Hellenistic times, and would be an appropriate stancefor Isis in her role as mistress of the sea 29. Dunand suggested in 1973 that Isis as mistress of the sea may have been the harbour goddess of Alexandria in Egypt, but Fraser identified the goddess of that port with Isis Pharia, who was known in the Roman period and represented with a sail like Isis Pelagia30. Recently, Bricault demonstrated that Isis became a goddess of the sea in the wake of Arsinoe Euploia and that Isis was been called Pharia as protectress of the Annona 31.Philippe Bruneau has consistently upheld the view, though without concrete arguments, that the prototype of the Isis Pelagia represented on various objects of the Roman period was not a sculptural work in the round32. He has also argued against the identification of the headless marble female statuette of Mariemont (height 0.55m.)33 and others from Benevento and Ostiaas Isis Pelagia 34. In addition, he disputed Szilágyi’s identification of a headless, mutilated marble female statue from Naples, now in the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts at Budapest, with Isis Pelagia, asserting the complexity of the composition was best suited to a two-dimensional medium35. Bruneau’s theory was adopted by Williams, who accepted the possibility that the prototype may have been a lost painting which she wanted to place in an Isis temple at Alexandria either at the Serapeion or preferably on the island of Pharos36. A statue found at Pozzuoli and identified as Isis Pelagia leaded Adamo Muscettola to reject Bruneau’s theory37. It is also the opinion of Bricault who saw at Messene the first certain statue of Isis sailing38. On the other hand, Cristilli argued that the marble statue from Naples in Budapest dated to the 2nd century AD actually reproduces an Isis Pelagia statue who did not hold the sail with her (now-missing) outstretched hands, but rather was inserted in another ship-shaped base that had a sail attached to the bow without the help of the goddess’ foot emerging from the plinth39.


f) Inv. no. 15194, left forearm of a female statue, covered to the wrist by a mantle (fig.11); preserved length 0.24m, height 0.20m, width 0.12m; found in the fill of the proscenium of the theatre. In the figure’s hand (and lap) were a variety of fruits symbolizing abundance:
grapes, figs, ears of grain, and a pine cone pointing upward. This hand should be attributed to a statue of Isis which certainly stood in her sanctuary, which as noted above was located by the theatre. Goddess “of the ten thousand names” (μυριώνυμος), Isis was identified with numerous deities of the Greek pantheon including Demeter, according to Herodotus, and was believed to have been the inventor of grain and of all the fruits of the earth40. She is often represented holding a cornucopia in her left hand41.
g) Inv. no. 12412, a peculiar kalathos capital of limestone (fig.12a-b), height 0.427m, found in the proscenium of the theatre. Covered with acanthus leaves and pendant palm leaves, it is crowned by a large squat, melon -or gourd-like fruit marked with 16 vertical incisions. It resembles a gigantic opium poppy seed-head and may have been connected with the cult of Isis42.
h) Inv. no. 11996, marble trapezoid capital with inscription, height 0.665m., width 0.225m, found among the architectural members associated with the Middle Byzantine phase of the Basilica (7th-10th centuries AD).
This capital is of particular interest for the cult of Isis at Messene because the inscription it carries on its upper side runs as follows (fig.13):
[- - - ]ργον Ἴσιδος
The inscription dates from the late 4th century AD, with carelessly incised letters 0.07m in height. It must originally have been on a marble door-jamb of the theatre’s scaenae frons adorned with an incurved fascia. These jambs were later used by the Christians to construct the capitals of the basilica; they left untouched the inwards-curving band of the fascia on the upper surface of the capitals with its carved foliage and lotus flowers.



The water crypt
Suficient evidence is now available to confirm that the sanctuary of Sarapis and Isis is located directly to the south of the theatre, where Pausanias in fact saw it. Excavations still in progress have uncovered a vaulted subterranean construction, 3.25m wide and 3.50m deep, that looks like a huge underground corridor in the form of the Greek letter Π. A road approximately 6m wide separates the scaenae frons from this construction, which is 46.50 m long on its north side and 35.50m on the west (fig.14). An arched niche has been uncovered at approximately the middle of the west side (fig.15a) and a second one in the east side. Several narrow loophole-like openings survive in walls of the better-preserved north wing of this vaulted structure; traces of similar openings are visible along the eastern wing of the same structure. This huge Π-shaped construction most probably functioned as a reservoir (water crypt), as indicated by the terracotta pipes located on the upper part of the walls. The basin was filled mainly with rainwater, as it lies deeper than the other buildings in the vicinity.



Almost all known Isis sanctuaries of the Hellenistic and Roman periods feature a water basin of some sort43. A characteristic feature of some Isis sanctuaries (in Gortyn, Alexandria and Pompey) was the underground water crypt, which was usually reached by a staircase44. Salditt-Trappmann argued that the initiates (μύσται) had to sink beneath the waters of the crypt, performing a ritual act that symbolized Osiris’ death by drowning in the waters of the Nile45. Plutarch reports that during the ritual of the “Mysteries” of Osiris, the priest would walk to the water holding a vessel in which he symbolically collected the floating limbs of Osiris (De Is.,39). After the vaulting of the roof collapsed in the late 4th century of our era, the water crypt of Messene was used as a rubbish pit. When excavated, it was found to be full of debris -stones, bricks, roof tiles, pottery fragments, and architectural members of limestone, sandstone, and marble. The lower part of a circular lime slaking pit was uncovered at the south end of the eastern wing of this vaulted reservoir (fig. 15b)46. A considerable number of glass tesserae were found scattered inside the western wing that had probably come from the mosaic decoration on the floors or walls of rooms above the crypt. Up to now, the pottery found in the fill of the crypt (cooking pots, vessels for transporting and consuming liquids, lamps, and so on) dates mainly to the 4th century AD (fig.16a-c).

 
A mould for making lamps was also found, indicating that the objects thrown into this cavernous subterranean structure came not only from private houses but also from workshops. As well, many fragments of sculpture were found: a) Inv. no. 13545, a statue of Isis Lactans, height 1.135m, width 0.52m, made of a single piece of fine-grained marble with an oblong plinth. The goddess is seated on a plain cylindrical box (cista mystica)47 and nurses her child Horus-Harpocrates (Har-pe-khered) (fig.17a-e)48. Her head, right arm, and tiny parts of her feet are missing, together with the head of Horus. Two fragments have been joined to the upper body of Harpocrates. The seated goddess wears a long chiton with short sleeves, high-girt with a Heracles knot below the breasts, of which the left is uncovered. Her sandaled feet rest on an obliquely represented low footstool; only her toes are allowed to protrude from under the folds of her long garment. She wears a Hellenistic type of thonged sandal, with a thin sole indented between the first two toes (fig.17a).49


Above her chiton, she is draped in a richly folded himation that covers the right part of her torso and both thighs and upper legs. Four thick, curling tresses fall back over her shoulders, while two long S-shaped locks fall forward, to the right and left of her (now-missing) neck. With her left hand bent forward, she tenderly touches the naked body of the baby Horus.
The child sits on his mother’s lap, his upraised right hand softly touching her exposed left breast, his left resting on his left thigh.This unique statue of Isis nursing her child, completely Hellenized and original in conception, is a masterpiece of late Hellenistic-early Roman sculpture.
It seems to have been inspired by a Hellenistic original of the 3rd century BC that might have been located in Ptolemaic Alexandria, in view of the fact that two competent sculptors from Alexandria, Apollonius son of Hermodorus and his son Demetrius, worked at Messene during the Augustan period, when they carved at least three statues: a colossal marble figure of the Weary Heracles (Farnese/Caserta type), the marble figure of a young female initiate in the cult of Artemis Orthia at Messene, and a third work, hitherto unidentified, that might be the statue of Isis Lactans50. The relatively large dimensions of our seated Isis, the statue, the quality of the workmanship and material (fine-grained marble), and the statue’s iconographic type speak in favour of its having been made at Messene in the atelier of Apollonios of Alexandria and his son Demetrios during the reign of Augustus. The Messenian Isis Lactans could have been used as a cult statue, but she does not seem to belong to a cultic group that included Sarapis, as her plinth would have been inserted in a separate base51.
The famous cult image of Sarapis at Alexandria portrayed maybe the god as a bearded, fatherly seated figure with a kalathos on his head52. Sarapis soon became associated with Isis, to whom Alexander the Great had already dedicated a temple in Alexandria, according to Arrian53. Prior to 333 BC, an Isis temple already existed in Piraeus (and about 300 BC probably also at Eretria), founded by Egyptians54. It has been suggested that the statue of Sarapis may have been accompanied by an image of a seated Isis breastfeeding her child Horus.
The discovery of an Isis Lactans at Messene gives greater force to this suggestion, though whenever these Egyptian deities appear together, Isis is represented standing, not seated55.
b) Inv. no. 16696, the upper part of a marble male head (fig.18), preserved height 0.26m, width 0.227m, thickness 0.14m. Curled locks surround the temples and forehead, while a band (diadem) encircles the head. Above the forehead, a deep circular dowel hole was once used to attach some attribute of marble or bronze that would certainly have served to identify the figure represented and its relation to the Isis cult.If the missing attribute attached to this head was an Egyptian double crown or a lotus flower, which is quite probable, than we would have the head of a statue of Harpocrates similar to the Harpocrates statuette from Herculaneum in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Naples (formerly the Reale Museo Borbonico) or to the Harpocrates depicted on a relief altar in the Museo Capitolino at Rome56. All the same, our marble head cannot be connected with the representation of a priest, because priests of Isis display difierent iconographic attributes. The various sculptural monuments depicting Isiac priests, dated mostly to the Roman period, reproduce the same basic attire and shaved skull57. The basic costume is either a fringed himation of white linen that leaves the chest bare or a combination of short-sleeved chiton and long himation, while sculptural representations of priests of Isis and Sarapis with unshaved heads also occur 58.
c) Inv. no. 12915, right hand of a colossal marble statue of Perseus grasping the head of Medusa (fig.19a-b), height 0.261m, that numbers among the most spectacular finds from the water crypt. The face of the Medusa is broken off and the inside was left hollow for technical reasons, specifically to reduce the weight of the head carried by Perseus’ outstretched hand. Based on stylistic evidence, the statue may date to the Antonine period.The relationship of Perseus to Egypt, and consequently to the cult of Isis, is signalled by Herodotus, who noted that contests in Perseus’ honour took place in the city of Chemmis59. During the Roman imperial period, games in honour of “the heavenly Perseus” (Περσεὺς Οὐράνιος) were very popular60. The myth of Perseus was also depicted in a wall painting inthe Serapeum at Alexandria 61.


The introduction of the Isis cult to Messene
The Isis cult was probably brought to Messene by Messenian traders. Crete’s cultural and commercial ties with Messenia via Kythera and Antikythera are indisputable and go far back into antiquity 62. Transactions between Cretans and Messenians are also corroborated by a number of Cretan coins that have come to light at Messene during the recent excavations63. That the Messenians had direct commercial contacts with Alexandria becomes apparent from various sorts of evidence, including the continual journeys of the Messenian wholesaler Nikagoras in the second half of the 3rd century to the court of Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-203 BC) at Alexandria to deliver sturdy Messenian warhorses (ἵππους ἄγειν τῷ βασιλεῖ καλοὺς τῶν πολεμιστηρίων) and arms that the king had ordered fromhim64. It is likely no accident that one of the earliest official representations of the Hellenized Isis appears on coins of Ptolemy IV (221-204 BC)65. Based on the dating of the finds described above that are connected with the Sarapis and Isis sanctuary, the worship of the Egyptian gods seems to have been established at Messene in the 2nd century BC. Peter Fraser rightly suggested that the cult of Isis became popular throughout the Mediterranean as early as the 2nd century BC, with private initiative playing an important role66. The so-called wave of Egyptomania, probably propelled by the Egyptian interests of the emperor Hadrian, is likewise detectable at Messene, with some of the most important finds related to the Isis cult dated to his reign67. The Messene sanctuary nonetheless survived well into the 4th century AD, when it was destroyed by the tremendous earthquake of 365 AD68.

Petros Themelis
The Cult of Isis at Ancient Messene
Society of Messenian Archaeological Studies, Athens

1/ The new period of systematic excavations at ancient Messene started in 1986 under the direction of the author: Themelis 1986; Themelis 1987; Themelis 1988; Themelis 1989; Themelis 1990; Themelis 1991; Themelis 1992; Themelis 1993; Themelis 1994; Themelis 1995; Themelis 1996; Themelis 1997; Themelis 1998; Themelis 1999; Themelis 2000a; Themelis 2001a; Themelis 2002a; Themelis 2003; Themelis 2004a; Themelis 2005; Themelis 2006.
2/ Themelis 1998-1999; Themelis 2001b.
3/ Themelis 2001b, 122.
4/ Malaise 1991.
5/ Marcadé 1969, 434-436, pl. XVIII; Marcadé 1996, 174-175, no. 77.
6/ De Ridder 1922, 224-225, no. 12, fig. 4.
7/ Merkelbach 1995, 596, fig. 123; Malaise 2008b.
8/ Themelis 2003, pl. 28/b
9/ Xagorari-Gleissner 2002, 78-80, figs. 9-10.
10/ Klementa 1993, 194-225.
11/ Stemmer 1978, 175; Xagorari-Gleissner 2002, 80.
12/ In the hymn from Aeolian Cyme, Isis speaks in the rst person: Ἐγὼ εἰμι ἡ ἐν τῷ τοῦ Κυνὸς ἄστρῳ ἐπιτέλλουσα (l. 9). Ἐγὼ ἐχώρισα γῆν άπ’οὐρανοῦ. Ἐγὼ ἄστρων ὁδοὺς ἔδειξα. Ἐγὼ ἡλίου καὶ σελήνη[ς] πορέαν συνεταξάμην (l. 12-14). See Müller 1961, 33-35 and 38-41; Engelmann 1976, 97-108, no. 41; RICIS, 302/0204.
13/ Merkelbach 1995, 507, fig. 26, 612, fig. 142, 674, fig. 214. A gold seal ring with a depiction of a head surmounted by a star was found in grave monument K3 at the Gymnasium of Messene: Themelis 1997, 106, pl. 61b; Themelis 2000b, 117-118
14/ Themelis 2010.
15/ Graindor 1930; Cain & Drager 1994.
16/ Themelis 2000, 80-81; Themelis 2001, 65-70, pl. 36-47; Themelis 2005, 46-47, pl. 26-27.
17/ Morrow 1985, 91, fig. 11b (Pergamon figure 209, in Berlin).
18/ Eingartner 1991; Malaise 1994b; Walters 1988, 26-28 (garlands).
19/ About this aspect of the goddess, see recently Bricault 2006b.
20/ Bruneau 1961, 437-438, fig. 3; Bruneau 1963, 301-303, fig. 1; Blanchaud 1984; Tran tam Tinh 1990a, 782, nos. 269-271; Merkelbach 1995, 578, fig. 100.
21/ Williams 1985.
22/ About the monuments with this Isis type, see Bruneau 1961; Bruneau1963; Bruneau 1974 (catalogue at 343-346); Bruneau 1978; Blanchaud 1984; Williams 1985; Tran tam Tinh 1990a, 782-784 and 794, nos. 269-302; Bricault 2006b, 43-80.
23/ Bricault 2006b, 46-65; SNRIS, 31.
24/ SNRIS, 29-32.
25/ SNRIS, 31 and 200.
26/ The language of the drapery, the movement of the figure, and the type of plinth present certain similarities to the headless marble female statue from Naples now in Budapest that some scholars (Szilágyi 1969; Castiglione 1970b; Tran tam Tinh 1972, 68) have identified as Isis Pelagia despite the fact that it lacks the head, the arms with the sail, and the garland.
27/ Babelon 1890, 74, no. 575;SNRIS, Byblus 1.
28/ Williams 1985, 115.
29/ Laurenzi 1939, 64, pls. 28-35.
30/ Dunand 1973, II, 94-95 (Malaise 1975c); Fraser 1972, 20.
31/ Bricault 2000b; Bricault 2006b.
32/ Bruneau 1974.
33/ Furtwängler 1897, 38, no. 51: the legs and the hands of the statuette are broken off.
34/ Bruneau 1974, 359-361, fig. 12 (Mariemont), 365-370, figs. 16-18 (Benevento), 370-372 (Ostia).
35/ Bruneau 1974, 361-365, figs. 13-15: the statue from Naples has been interpreted by Arndt, Poulsen and Reinach as one of the Niobids.
36/ Williams 1985, 116.
37/ Adamo Muscettola 1998, 549-558.
38/ Bricault 2006b, 96. See also Bérard 2007, 264, n. 9.
39/ Cristilli 2007.
40/ Hdt. 2.59; Diod. 1.14.1. Cf. Bricault 1996a; Malaise 1999.
41/ Merkelbach 1995, 573-575, figs. 95-97 (Isis-Tyche).42/ Kritikos & Papadaki 1963, esp. figs. 24 and 35.
43/ Wild 1981 mistakenly upholds the view that water crypts were not constructed in the Roman period; cf. the observations of Genaille 1983.
44/ Kleibl 2003, 53-142; Kleibl 2009, 66 and 108-110.
45/ Salditt-Trappmann 1970, 74-80.
46/ For lime-burning, see Dix 1982
47/ For the significance and origin of cistae mysticae, see Heerma van Voss 1979; Malaise 1985, 135-143; Kleibl 2003, 26-38.
48/ About Isis Lactans, see Tran tam Tinh 1973; Malaise 1975b; Tran tam Tinh 1978; Tran tam Tinh 1990a, 777-779, nos. 211-248. Eloquent representations are the terracotta from Herculanum and the statuette from Carinola in Campania: Tran tam Tinh 1971, 68-69, no. 23 and fig. 16; Tran tam Tinh 1972, 42-43 and 78-80, no. IS. 31, pl. III-VI, figs. 4-7.
49/ Morrow 1985, 90-96
50/ Themelis 2001b; Themelis 2002d.
51/ The well-known cult group of Isis and Sarapis, each standing on its own base, from Gortyn in Crete: Merkelbach 1995, 590, fig. 115.
52/ Hölbl [1994] 2001, 100.
53/ Arr. An. 3.1.5. Cf. Hölbl [1994] 2001, 85 and 100.
54/ For Isis in the Piraeus, see Bricault 2001, 5. For Isis at Eretria, see Bruneau 1975; Bricault 2001, 13.
55/ Walters 1988, 13, n. 57. The standing Isis and Sarapis from Gortyn (Merkelbach 1995, 590, fig. 115) are thus not a good parallel for the Messene statues.
56/ Tran tam Tinh 1971, cat. no. 23, fig. 16; Merkelbach 1995, 613, fig. 143.
57/ Stamatopoulou 2008, 252-253.
58/ Merkelbach 1995, 668-670, figs. 207-209.
59/ Hdt. 2.91. Cf. Lloyd 1969; Sauneron [1974] 1983, 39-44 and 89-90.
60/ Merkelbach 1995, 238-239, 241, 271, 453 and 456.
61/ Merkelbach 1995, 453.
62/ Marinatos 1962; Themelis 2004b.
63/ Sidiropoulos 1996.
64/ Nikagoras had welcomed Archidamos, the exiled brother of king Agis of Sparta, into his home at Messene: Plb. 5.37; Plu.Cleom.35 (Roebuck 1941, 68). For the trade in horses, see Rostovtzef 1922, 167-168. The discovery of a bronze piece of a horse’s bit in the road that runs from the Asklepieion to the Stadium corroborates the textual evidence for Messenian horse-raising: Themelis 1998, 122, pl. 63b. For Messenian horse-breeders, see Themelis 2007.
65/ Hornbostel 1973, 141-142; Bricault 1999;SNRIS, Alexandria 2.
66/ Fraser 1972, 670-671.
67/ Spawforth 1992, 235-236.
68/ Themelis & Konti 2002, 34, 42, and n. 84.




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