The ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias in Asia Minor presents abundant source material–inscriptions and images–for the study of memory and identity from the late second century bce to the seventh century ce. These sources permit the study of overlapping civic, social, and religious identities, the expression of changing identities through name changes, the significance of memories of war and foundation legends for the transmission of collective and cultural memory, the agency of elite benefactors and intellectuals, the role played by inscriptions in the construction and transmission of memory, and the adaptation of identity to changing contexts, including emerging contacts with Rome, competition with other cities, an elevated position as provincial capital, and the spread of Christianity. In late antiquity–when the importance of religious conflicts increased–personal names, religious symbols, and acclamations became an important medium for the expression of the identity of competing religious groups.

New impulses in the study of Greek and Roman history come from various sources: the discovery of new and important documents in the forms of inscriptions and papyri; the dialogue with other historical disciplines and with the social sciences; and both new theoretical models and modern experiences and challenges. In the last six decades, new epigraphic finds have significantly changed our understanding of ancient religion. Papyri, such as the Qumran texts and the Judas evangelium, have revolutionized the study of early Christianity. Quantitative methods in the social sciences have contributed to the study of ancient demography, and the study of ancient democracy has profited from input from the political sciences, anthropology, and sociology. Performance theories and theories on rituals have inspired new research of the political culture of Greece and Rome. The feminist movement gave new directions to the study of gender and society; dialogues with the neurosciences, psychology, and modern history have generated vivid interest in the study of emotions and social memory in classical antiquity.

The study of some of the subjects mentioned above, including religion, memory, demography, and democracy, has a long tradition in ancient history; but in recent years, research has been exploring new hermeneutic paths. Subjects such as gender and sexuality were novelties in the 1970s and 1980s, but now belong to the thematic canon of ancient history. Other subjects, such as theatricality, performativity, and emotion, have only been introduced into the field in the last decades. Identity, the subject discussed in this essay, belongs to the latter category. It has emerged as an important research object in the last decades in part through dialogue with the social sciences, and partially because of the significance of identity in communities facing the challenges of globalization and multiculturalism.

Around 360 ce, a fortification wall was completed at Aphrodisias. Old material was recycled for its construction: parts of older buildings, blocks of funerary monuments, and statue bases, many of them inscribed. Most of the texts honor members of the elite, mentioning their services to the city, the offices they had occupied, the honors bestowed upon them, and the achievements of their ancestors. A posthumous honorific inscription for a woman, from the first or second century ce, is a good example:

The council and the people buried and honored Apphia, the daughter of Menestheus, son of Eumachos, wife of Hermias Glykon, son of Hermias, who belonged to one of the first and most prominent families, one of those who together built the city, a woman who also herself excelled in prudence and modesty, lived a life worthy of her ancestors and her husband, and was honored many times through decrees.1

At the time of their original use, these monuments were truly memorials. But a semiotician should forbear saying that the Aphrodisians fortified their city with stones preserving memory. The inscribed stones were used as building blocks because they had become irrelevant and obsolete as memorials; the families who would have cared for the memory of the ancestors had gone extinct, or had left the city, or were indifferent to such memory.

Aphrodisias is not the only city in the Roman East that recycled old monuments and carefully selected what was to be preserved in order to reshape its public memory and identity. It is an ideal case study because of the abundance of artifacts, inscriptions, and other sources from the late second century bce to the seventh century ce. These sources allow for a study of transformations of identity, their agents, and their historical contexts, over the course of a millennium. This study addresses subjects that have been at the forefront of contemporary ancient studies.2

We can define identity as the response to the question who are you? or to whom do you belong? When Herakleides, a traveler from the third century bce, visited Plataia, the place of the Greeks’ decisive victory over the Persians in 478 bce, he described its citizens as having “nothing to say except that they are colonists of the Athenians and that the battle between the Greeks and the Persians took place in their territory.”3 This was the Plataians’ answer to the question who are you? Such an answer involves a historical narrative, real or imaginary–“we are colonists of the Athenians,” or “the Persians were defeated in our land”–and an association or affinity with another group (“we are Athenians”). What defines identity is the context in which the question is asked: Who wants to know? What consequences will the answer have? The context of communication leads to different–sometimes overlapping, sometimes contradictory–expressions of identity.

The elementary identity of a member of an ancient community was his civic identity, the identity of a man as a citizen of Athens or Ephesos, for instance. In Aphrodisias, even this simple civic identity evolved: when the city first acquired the status of an independent polis circa 188 bce; when it joined the neighboring community of Plarasa in a sympolity, likely around the mid-second century bce; when the city absorbed all neighboring communities under the name Aphrodisias in the late first century bce; when it could proudly declare that it was “the most glorious city of the most distinguished People of the Aphrodisians, allies of the Romans, friends of the emperor, free and autonomous”; and when it became the provincial capital, “mother-city of Karia.”4

Civic identity was occasionally overlaid by other forms of consciousness, solidarity, and loyalty. Since the earliest times, the Greeks held the feeling of belonging to a group broader than that of their civic community. The three most widespread forms of such identity were the culturally defined Hellenic identity, based on language, custom, and common cultural memory; the regional identity, as in the case of the Cretans; and kinship with another group of cities, as illustrated by the Dorians, or with settlements claiming to have had the same founder.

Within the community, civic identity could be overlaid, and at times undermined, by social identity, loyalty to a political group, or adherence to a religion that required initiation or the acceptance of a set of principles. Social identity, in turn, was shaped through participation in various types of communal organization and performance. In Hellenistic/Roman Greece and Asia Minor, such organizations included civic subdivisions, important for the celebration of festivals; the gymnasium, an exclusive place of athletic training where bonds of friendship were made; the council of elders; age classes for boys and girls; the clubs, including professional and cult associations; and (in late antiquity) the circus factions.5 In certain historical periods, especially in late antiquity, religious identity could become more important than any other form of allegiance.6

Various media were drawn upon for the expression of identity. They included ethnic, civic, or geographical designations (such as “Greek,” “Aphrodisian,” or “Karian”), personal names, commemorative anniversaries, peculiar rituals and cults, symbols, attire, comportment, linguistic choice, and even culinary preferences. Which identity was displayed and how it was expressed depended on the context of its manifestation: a festival, a commemorative anniversary, a meeting of the assembly, a religious celebration, an internal conflict, an external threat, or perhaps a diplomatic mission.

Regarding memory, we should take care to distinguish between things remembered because they have been collectively experienced, also known as collective memory, and things transmitted orally, in writing, or through rituals and monuments, known as cultural memory.7 Inscriptions were the most important media for the construction and transmission of collective and cultural memory in Aphrodisias, and in most cities during the Hellenistic and imperial periods.8 Public inscriptions referring to the past are based on an existing version of the past, which is selective and constructed. How the act of inscription changes the character of a text is illustrated by a letter Octavian sent to Samos around 31 bce. When the letter was inscribed in Aphrodisias more than two hundred and fifty years after its composition, it was no longer an administrative document, but part of historical commemoration:

Imperator Caesar Augustus, son of Divus Julius, wrote to the Samians underneath their petition: you yourselves can see that I have given the privilege of freedom to no people except the Aphrodisians, who took my side in the war and were captured by storm because of their devotion to us. For it is not right to give the favor of the greatest privilege of all at random and without cause…. I am not willing to give the most highly prized privileges to anyone without good cause.9

The recipients of Octavian's hand-written response certainly did not inscribe it on stone; successful petitions were recorded in inscriptions, not failures. The Aphrodisians, who probably received a copy through a citizen in Octavian's service, selected it as part of a dossier of documents evidencing the relations between Aphrodisias and Rome, and the privileges awarded to their city: freedom, autonomy, exemption from taxes, and the inviolability of Aphrodite's sanctuary. This dossier was inscribed on a wall of the theater around 230 ce.10 (See Figure 1.) The compilers of the dossier also intervened in the document's content; they omitted the petition and only published the response. And since Octavian was better known as Augustus, a name he received a few years after he had sent the response in 27 bce, they also added that name. When the document was inscribed, the sacrifices of Aphrodisias were no longer collective memory; they had become cultural memory, an abstract symbol of heroism and loyalty.

Figure 1

Public Documents Evidencing the History of Aphrodisias Inscribed on a Wall of the Theater, circa 230 ce

Figure 1

Public Documents Evidencing the History of Aphrodisias Inscribed on a Wall of the Theater, circa 230 ce

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Such inscriptions construct and control memory. They present a curated version of the past intended to become the authoritative version of past history. The places they were displayed were places of commemoration.

No matter how identity is defined, a name constitutes its most elementary expression. Before it was renamed around 200 bce, the city of Aphrodisias must have been named Nineuda. The artificial name Aphrodisias, “the city of Aphrodite,” highlighted the cult of an Anatolian war goddess the Greeks associated with their Aphrodite. Then, in the second century bce, Aphrodisias joined Plarasa in a sympolity, forming one community whose official name was “the people of Plarasa and Aphrodisias”; but before the end of the first century bce, Plarasa disappears from the record. And, finally, by the mid-seventh century ce, Aphrodisias was renamed Stauropolis (“the City of the Cross”). These changes of name reflect changes in the very way this community wanted to present itself to citizens and foreigners.

Another important element of identity is the commemoration of a group's origins. By the early second century ce, different traditions about Aphrodisias's origins coexisted. The foundation (see Figure 2) was attributed to the mythical hero Bellerophon, who was believed to have built it long before the Trojan War; this tradition made Aphrodisias one of the oldest cities in Asia. At the same time, the city's foundation was attributed to Ninos, the spouse of the legendary queen Semiramis, a long time after the Trojan War; this explained Aphrodisias's early name, Ninoe (a variant of Nineuda). More plausibly, some elite families claimed that their ancestors founded Aphrodisias in the second century bce.11 A city having multiple founders is not unparalleled in history. Just as Aeneas and Romulus could coexist as founders of Rome, so, too, could the historical founders of Aphrodisias coexist with the legendary ones; this added prestige to the descendants of the families that founded the city.

Figure 2

Relief Panel in the Civil Basilica of Aphrodisias

Figure 2

Relief Panel in the Civil Basilica of Aphrodisias

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These different versions of the city's origins reflect both a complex history and adaptations of identity to changing contexts. Aphrodisias was a city with a population of diverse origins.12 The indigenous inhabitants must have been speakers of Karian, an extinct Anatolian language. A new population arrived when the successors of Alexander the Great settled soldiers serving in their armies: primarily Greeks, a few Iranians, and most likely a number of Jews. And to these military settlers, we can attribute the initiative to have their city recognized as an independent city-state, probably after 188 bce. In a world dominated by Greek culture and political institutions, the public image of Aphrodisias was Greek. In the inscriptions of the late Hellenistic and imperial periods, the indigenous population is almost invisible, except for a few personal and place names. Not a single Jewish name is attested in one of the hundreds of surviving epitaphs earlier than the fourth century ce; only a single grave monument decorated with a menorah was found in a necropolis at Gök Tepesi.13 The Jews either lived in the countryside, distancing them from the inscriptions and cemeteries of the better-preserved urban center, or, upon death, were buried in a still-unexcavated cemetery or interned without a clear indication of their religious identity.

The Aphrodisians participated in the “assembly of the Greeks” of Asia, and their Greekness is explicitly mentioned in a letter sent by Hadrian in 119 ce.14 Built in the mid-first century ce to serve the imperial cult, the Sebasteion displayed one hundred and ninety relief panels with cult scenes, engaging with themes connected with Greek and Roman mythology: Bellerophon and Pegasus, Orestes at Delphi, Achilles and Penthesilea, centaurs, the deeds of Herakles, Aeneas's flight from Ilion, Romulus and Remus, and allegorical representations of the first Roman emperors. This iconographical program displayed Greek education, stressed the significance of Hellenic culture, and connected the Roman emperors with Greek mythology.15

Although Aphrodisias had a predominantly Hellenic identity, the survival of local culture can still be observed in religious practices. The public dedications were addressed to Aphrodite, but when simple people sought divine protection, they did not address their prayers and vows to the public patron of the city; rather, they addressed their prayers to local gods, whose epithets derive from Karian place names: Nineuda, Spaloxa, Plyara, (Zeus of Nineuda, Zeus of Spaloxa, and “the Virgin of Plyara,” respectively).16 Non-Greek heroes also featured among the mythical founders, and the local historian Apollonios referred to early Aphrodisias as a city of Leleges, a non-Greek population. In late antiquity, long after the last speaker of Karian had died, the Aphrodisians labeled themselves as Karians, because their city was the capital of the province of Karia. In the Roman East, a Hellenic identity could easily coexist with a regional “barbarian” one. Which identity was displayed through the use of mythological themes depended on Aphrodisias's relations to others: to Rome as an ally, to other Greek cities as a peer, or to Karian cities as their metropolis.17

Among the stories that ancient communities commemorated, two were more important than others: foundation legends and wars–preferably victorious ones. A defeat was commemorated when it could be connected with a sacrifice that served either as an exemplum or as a new beginning: Aeneas's flight from Troy, for instance, represented in the Sebasteion temple complex, alluded to the destruction of one great city and the foundation of another. Although Aphrodisias is primarily known for its urban development and its statuary, built in a period of undisturbed peace, war memories were also an important element of memory and identity. The citizens were descendants of military settlers; military training was part of civic identity until the third century ce. Their privileges were justified by their sacrifices during war. Aphrodisias was a loyal ally of the Romans in the wars against Mithridates VI in 88 bce; the city fought against the renegade general Labienus around 40 bce; and it supported Octavian (Augustus) in the last civil wars of the Roman Republic. For centuries, war was the most important component of local commemoration. Thus, the Aphrodisian declaration to a Roman proconsul in 88 bce was, centuries later, inscribed as a reminder of their self-sacrifice:

Our entire people, together with the women and the children and all the property, is willing to risk everything for Quintus and for the Roman interests, for we do not wish to live without the leadership of the Romans.

The dramatic situations the Aphrodisians faced, along with their loyalties and their sufferings, were evidenced by documents inscribed on a wall of the city's theater in the early third century ce (see again Figure 1). Surprisingly, the one theme that we would expect to find in this documentation–kinship–is absent. Aphrodite was the mother of Aeneas; consequently, her city should be regarded as a kin of the Romans. In a period in which many communities stressed kinship, based on myths, the Aphrodisian leaders chose a different strategy, recalling war exploits and the foundation of the city by their ancestors.19 And they had good reasons to do so. Aphrodisias was not the only city of Karia with an important sanctuary of Aphrodite; many other places could have claimed kinship with the Romans. In a competitive environment, the city needed a distinctive achievement. More important, the Roman authorities, who were interested in pragmatic arguments, were the primary addressees of their diplomacy. The Athenians had allegedly learned this lesson in 87 bce, when Sulla besieged their city and their envoys confronted him with stories of their past military glory:

When they made no proposals which could save the city, but proudly talked about Theseus and Eumolpos and the Persian Wars, Sulla said to them: “Go away, blessed men, and take these speeches with you; for I was not sent to Athens by the Romans to fulfill love of knowledge, but to subdue rebels.”20

The consideration of Roman attitudes and priorities affected the Aphrodisian identity promoted by the city's elite.

Changes in name and memories of a city's origins, such as those sketched above, are evidence for a conscious and continuous reshaping of identity. In some cases, we may identify the agents of these changes as members of the elite. One of them was Apollonios, high priest of the imperial cult and author of a local history.21 Another was the poet Longianus, honored for the recital, in 127 ce, of his poems in Halikarnassos, a “relative” city of Aphrodisias. The foundation of both cities by Bellerophon may have been a subject of his poems.22 But magistrates and benefactors also shaped memory: when they initiated or funded the construction of buildings decorated with mythological images, when they published old documents describing Aphrodisias's relations with Rome, when they built statues and authored inscriptions that expressed targeted values, and when they engaged in the commemoration of their own families.23

One of the first images that the classical visitor of the Sebasteion saw–after descending from the podium of the temple of the emperors–was that of Aeneas's flight from Troy. The family that funded the building selected this image because it highlighted the relation between the city of Aphrodite and the son of Aphrodite, the founder of Rome. Many members of the elite were named Aeneas for precisely this reason.24 The memory promoted by the elite also concerned recent historical personalities. Kallikrates, for instance, in the mid-first century ce, restored the statue of an ancestor who had excelled in the wars of the late first century bce; he inscribed a copy of a decree praising him as a warrior and benefactor; and he restored a statue of Nike that linked his family with Octavian.25

Representations of myth and history presuppose “agency”: of authors, of promoters, and of interpreters. As they all competed with alternative reconstructions of the past, they were subject to adjustments and reinterpretations. In some cases, we know why a theme was chosen. Aeneas's flight from Ilion, for example, reminded viewers that the founder of Rome–and of Rome's ruling dynasty–was the son of the local civic goddess. The mythological representations in the Sebasteion evoked the world of Greek culture and religion, into which the Roman emperors were to be incorporated; further, they reconciled imperial rule with Greek culture. The reliefs that decorated the civil basilica included images alluding to local foundation legends. As noted before, Semiramis and husband Ninos recalled the earlier tradition of Ninoe. Gordios was the mythical founder of Gordiou Teichos, a neighboring community incorporated in Aphrodisias; Bellerophon was the founder of cities in Karia and Lykia (see again Figure 2). Mythological reliefs from the Agora Gate, dating from the late second century ce, represented battles between Greeks and barbarians, and probably glorified recent imperial victories against the “new barbarians,” the Parthians.26 In the past, fights between Greeks and symbolic representatives of barbarity and chaos (such as Amazons and centaurs) had been depicted in a similar way to commemorate victories over the Persians and the Gauls.

A dedication by “the demos” was paid for by public funds; consequently, these works were subject to approval by the assembly. What we see today is the outcome of successful proposals. We simply do not know how many times a mythological theme may have been rejected as inappropriate, but such discussions did take place. The actions of the elite depended on negotiations with the Roman emperors, the citizens whose support had to be won in the assembly, competitors among their peers, and rivals in Asia Minor. The surface of concord and homogeneity conceals tensions and conflicts.

Although issues of identity may have been debated, there is no indication that such debates undermined the city's cohesion. This changed dramatically in late antiquity, when the importance of religious identity increased over other forms of self-representation. Only then–in response to the aggressive spread of Christianity–did the strong community of Jews in Aphrodisias express their own separate identity by using biblical names and incorporating Jewish religious symbols into public buildings.27

A small Christian community must have existed at Aphrodisias as early as the third century. Enjoying the support of the emperors, but divided as a result of dogmatic conflicts, Christianity advanced in Aphrodisias as it did in the rest of Asia Minor, but not without resistance. A strong Jewish community existed in late antiquity, as well, confidently displaying its religious symbols in public buildings. Even anti-pagan legislation failed to stop pagan ritual practice; the resistance of the last Hellenists lasted until 529 ce, when Justinian ordered the conversion of all inhabitants of the Empire.

Christians, Jews, and a strong group of philosophically educated followers of the polytheistic religions all competed in Aphrodisias for the support of citizens who were asking the same questions: Is there a god? And how can we attain a better afterlife? Before imperial legislation awarded victory to Christianity, a long period of religious dialogue and mutual influence–but also of violent conflict–dominated life in Aphrodisias.28 Inscriptions and graffiti reflect this religious atmosphere, and the predominant role religious identity played in the city. While the Christians engraved their religious symbols (the cross, fish) and acclamations, the pagans engraved theirs, such as the double axe (see Figure 3). Representations of menoroth in the Sebasteion indicated that shops in respective areas were owned by Jews (see Figure 4). Around 480 ce, an honorary epigram for Pytheas, a prominent statesman, began with the words “City of the Paphian goddess and of Pytheas,” provocatively reminding the reader that his fatherland was still the city of Aphrodite. At the same time, a flourishing group of philosophers, under the leadership of Asklepiodotos, defied anti-pagan legislation. Even in the last years of the fifth century ce, pagans performed sacrifices anticipating the restoration of the old cults.

Figure 3

Representation of Double Axes on the Pavement of the Tetrapylon

Figure 3

Representation of Double Axes on the Pavement of the Tetrapylon

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Figure 4

A Partly Erased Representation of a Menorah and Shofar on a Column of the Sebasteion, Aphrodisias

Figure 4

A Partly Erased Representation of a Menorah and Shofar on a Column of the Sebasteion, Aphrodisias

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In the context of a religious competition, the construction of identities becomes the predominant concern of religious groups. Rituals, liturgical texts, names, symbols, and the use of specific religious terms served as the means by which specific identities were constructed and expressed. In a deeply divided community, personal names were instrumentalized in order to express religious identities. Two Jewish donor inscriptions in Aphrodisias preserve the names of members of a particular group; both inscriptions present an abundance of names in closed contexts. Thirty-nine of one hundred Jews recorded had Biblical or Hebrew names such as Benjamin, Zacharias, Judas, and Samuel; another large group had rare names related to religious values, often translations of Hebrew names. The Jews in Aphrodisias used their names as a means of identity and separation. Similarly, the majority of Aphrodisian Christians bore names that revealed their religious identity, including names of apostles, evangelists, and angels, and a name related to the Lord, Kyriakos. Their names also revealed their religious values: Iordanes alluded to baptism, Athanasios referred to the immortality of the soul, and Anastasios, to the hope of resurrection.

We know the winner of this conflict. The Christians occupied the temples, erased the names of the Jews in the town hall and a menorah engraved in the Sebasteion, and destroyed the statues of Aphrodite. The embarrassing name Aphrodisias was the victim of damnatio memoriae: the city was renamed to Stauropolis, the city of the cross. The old name was erased from public inscriptions (see Figure 5) in a case of collective amnesia-not without parallel–that aimed to support a new Christian identity.

Figure 5

A Public Document on a Wall of the Theater

Figure 5

A Public Document on a Wall of the Theater

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“Funerary Honors for Hermias Glykon, His Wife Apphia, and Their Daughter Apphia,” in Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, ed. Joyce Reynolds, Charlotte Roueché, and Gabriel Bodard (London: Center for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London, 2007), 12.306,


For a few representative approaches to identity in the ancient world, see Jonathan M. Hall, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Richard Miles, Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity (London and New York: Routledge, 1999); Hans-Joachim Gehrke, “Myth, History, and Collective Identity: Uses of the Past in Ancient Greece and Beyond,” in The Historian's Craft in the Age of Herodotus, ed. Nino Luraghi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 286–313; Nino Luraghi, The Ancient Messenians: Constructions of Ethnicity and Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); and Angelos Chaniotis, “European Identity: Learning from the Past?” in Applied Classics: Constructs, Comparisons, Controversies, ed. Angelos Chaniotis, Annika Kuhn, and Christina Kuhn (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2009), 27–56. On the importance of myth and foundation legends, see Guy Maclean Rogers, The Sacred Identity of Ephesos: Foundation Myths of a Roman City (London and New York: Routledge, 1991); Tanja S. Scheer, Mythische Vorväter. Zur Bedeutung griechischer Heroenmythen im Selbstverständnis kleinasiatischer Städte (Munich: Editio Maris, 1993); and Ruth Lindner, Mythos und Identität. Studien zur Selbstdarstellung kleinasiatischer Städte in der römischen Kaiserzeit (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1994).


See Fragment 11 in Friedrich Pfister, ed., Die Reisebilder des Herakleides. Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung undKommentar mit einer Übersicht über die Geschichte der griechischen Volkskunde (Vienna: Rohrer, 1951).


On the historical development of Aphrodisias, see Joyce Reynolds, Aphrodisias and Rome (London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1982); Angelos Chaniotis, “New Evidence from Aphrodisias Concerning the Rhodian Occupation of Karia and the Early History of Aphrodisias,” in Hellenistic Karia, ed. Riet van Bremen and Mathieu Carbon (Bordeaux: Ausonius, 2010), 455–466.


On elite identity, see Eckhard Stephan, Honoratioren, Griechen, Polisbürger. Kollektive Identitäten innerhalb der Oberschicht des kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasien (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2002). On age classes, see Andrzej S. Chankowski, L’éphébie hellénistique (Paris: De Boccard, 2010). For athletics, see Onno van Nijf, “Athletics, Festivals and Greek Identity in the Roman East,” Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 45 (1999): 176–200. For material on the gymnasium, see Daniel Kah and Peter Scholz, eds., Das hellenistische Gymnasion (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2004). For associations, see John S. Kloppenborg and Stephen G. Wilson, eds., Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World (New York: Routledge, 1996); and Vincent Gabrielsen, “Brotherhoods of Faith and Provident Planning: The Non-Public Associations of the Greek World,” Mediterranean Historical Review 22 (2) (2007): 183–210.


Robert M. Frakes and Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, eds., Religious Identity in Late Antiquity (Toronto: Edgar Kent, 1997); and Isabella Sandwell, Religious Identity in Late Antiquity: Greeks, Jews, and Christians in Antioch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).


A small selection of relevant studies include: James Fentress and Chris Wickham, eds., Social Memory: New Perspectives on the Past (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992); Maurice Halbwachs, La mémoire collective. Édition critique établie par Gérard Namer (Paris: Albin Michel, 1997); Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Harald Welzer, Das kommunikative Gedächtnis. Eine Theorie der Erinnerung (Munich: Beck, 2002); and Jan Assmann, Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). On the distinction between collective and cultural memory, with further bibliography, see Angelos Chaniotis, “Travelling Memories in the Hellenistic World,” in Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture: Travel, Locality, and Panhellenism, ed. Richard Hunter and Ian Rutherford (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 249–269.


Angelos Chaniotis, “Mnemopoetik: die epigraphische Konstruktion von Erinnerung in den griechischen Poleis,” in Medien der Geschichte. Antikes Griechenland und Rom, ed. Ortwin Dahly, Tonio Hölscher, Susanne Muth, and Rolf Schneider (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013), 132–169.


“Subscript of Octavian(?)/Augustus to Samos,” in Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, ed. Reynolds, Roueché, and Bodard, 8.32,


Joyce Reynolds, Aphrodisias and Rome (London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1982).


On mythical founders, see Bahadir Yildirim, “Identities and Empire: Local Mythology and the Self-Representation of Aphrodisias,” in Paideia: The World of the Second Sophistic, ed. Barbara Borg (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2004), 23–52; and Angelos Chaniotis, “Myths and Contexts in Aphrodisias,” in Antike Mythen: Medien, Transformationen und Konstruktionen, ed. Ueli Dill and Christine Walde (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009), 313–338. On the “founders’ families,” see Angelos Chaniotis, “New Inscriptions from Aphrodisias (1995–2001),” American Journal of Archaeology 108 (2004): 382.


On military settlers, see Chaniotis, “New Evidence from Aphrodisias Concerning the Rhodian Occupation of Karia and the Early History of Aphrodisias.” On Jews in Karia, see Paul R. Trebilco, Jewish Communities in Asia Minor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). On Jews in Aphrodisias, see Angelos Chaniotis, “The Jews of Aphrodisias: New Evidence and Old Problems,” Scripta Classica Israelica 21 (2002): 209–242.


Chaniotis, “The Jews of Aphrodisias,” 239.


“Decree of the Koinon of Asia,” in Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, ed. Reynolds, Roueché, and Bodard, 2.503, See also “Letters from Hadrian to the city,” in ibid., 11.412,


R. R. R. Smith, “The Imperial Reliefs from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias,” Journal of Roman Studies 77 (1987): 88–138; R. R. R. Smith, “Myth and Allegory in the Sebasteion,” in Aphrodisias Papers: Recent Work on Architecture and Sculpture, ed. Charlotte Roueché and Kenan T. Erim (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series No. 1, 1990), 89–100; and R. R. R. Smith, The Marble Reliefs from the Julio-Claudian Sebasteion (Darmstadt: Philipp von Zabern Verlag, 2013).


Angelos Chaniotis, “Aphrodite's Rivals: Devotion to Local and Other Gods at Aphrodisias,” Cahiers du Centre Gustave Glotz 21 (2010): 235–248.


Christopher C. Jones, “Multiple Identities in the Age of the Second Sophistic,” in Paideia: The World of the Second Sophistic, ed. Barbara Borg (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2004), 13–21.


“Decree of Plasara/Aphrodisias,” in Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, ed. Reynolds, Roueché, and Bodard, 8.3,


Christopher P. Jones, Kinship Diplomacy in the Ancient World (Cambridge, Mass.; London: Harvard University Press, 1999).


Plutarch Sulla 13.


Angelos Chaniotis, “Vom Erlebnis zum Mythos: Identitätskonstruktionen im kaiserzeitlichen Aphrodisias,” in Stadt und Stadtentwicklung in Kleinasien, ed. Elmar Schwertheim and Engelbert Winter (Bonn: Habelt, 2003), 79–80.


“Honours for C. Julius Longianos, Poet,” in Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, ed. Reynolds, Roueché, and Bodard, 12.27,


R. R. R. Smith, Roman Portrait Statuary from Aphrodisias (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern Verlag, 2006).


See numbers 138–142 in Ioulia Bourtzinakou, Die Prosopographie von Aphrodisias (Heidelberg: Universität Heidelberg, 2012),


“Restoration of the honours for his ancestor by Kallikrates,” in Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, ed. Reynolds, Roueché, and Bodard, 12.402, See also “Funerary inscription for Dionysios, Descendant of Diogenianos,” in ibid., 13.106,


Pascale Linant de Bellefonds, “The Mythological Reliefs from the Agora Gate,” in Aphrodisias Papers 3: The Setting and Quarries, Mythological and Other Sculptural Decoration, Architectural Development, Portico of Tiberius, and Tetrapylon, ed. Charlotte Roueché and R. R. R. Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series No. 20, 1996), 174–186.


Chaniotis, “The Jews of Aphrodisias.”


Angelos Chaniotis, “The Conversion of the Temple of Aphrodite at Aphrodisias in Context,” in From Temple to Church: Destruction and Renewal of Local Cultic Topography in Late Antiquity, ed. Johannes Hahn, Stephen Emmel, and Ulrich Gotter (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 243–273.

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