“Two people in charge of meat shall be chosen”: Greek Sacred Law

A new book gathers together a variety of Greek epigraphic sacred laws or regulations concerning civic and other cults and groups: Eran Lupu, Greek Sacred Law: A Collection of New Documents (NGSL). Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 152. Leiden: Brill, 2005. The book focuses on those sacred laws that were not included in earlier collections, especially Sokolowski’s Lois sacrées de l’Asie Mineure (Paris 1955) and Lois sacrées des cités grecques (Paris 1962 and 1969). Sokolowski’s collections included several regulation inscriptions that were produced by associations, including the famous Iobacchoi monument from Athens and the rules of the household-based association devoted to Zeus and Agdistis at Philadelphia in Asia Minor (on the various types of associations, go here).

Included in Lupu’s new volume is a sacred law of an association (synodos) of Herakles devotees at Paiania in Greece, dating to about the turn of the second century (no. 5 = SEG 31 122, first published 1981). Among the statutes of this group are the typical prohibitions against fighting and the supply of food and sacrificial victims for the gatherings of the group. The inscription also seems to suggest that children could also become members of the group (lines 38-40). Among the concerns to ensure supplies is the following:

Two people in charge of meat shall be chosen by lot every [festival] day and likewise two people in charge of pastries. If any of those entrusted is found to have done something sordid, he shall pay 20 drachmas (lines 31-33; trans. Lupu).