Phrygian Funeral Altar, 4th Century CE

Server Costs Fundraiser 2023

Running a website with millions of readers every month is expensive. Not only do we pay for our servers, but also for related services such as our content delivery network, Google Workspace, email, and much more. We would much rather spend this money on producing more free history content for the world. Thank you for your help!
$256 / $21000

3D Image

Geoffrey Marchal
published on 01 February 2020

Marble funeral altar (Bômos) from Roman-era Phrygia, 313-314 CE.

The decoration of the four faces is composed of the following elements, which are made difficult to read due to vandalism by Christians.

a) A medallion representing a rider hero (Manes?) surmounted by the bust of the Sun.

b) Below niche with a bust of a goddess, possibly Hecate. A crown once containing a portrait which was replaced by a cross.

c) An eagle, a crown in its beak and indistinct figures (a rider and two felines).

d) Finally, a representation of Hermés holding the purse and the caduceus.

In the inscription spread over three faces (a-c), the high priest Athanatos Epitynchanos boasts of having received, thanks to his initiation by the high priestess Ispatalé, the gift “to make oracles real”.

From Otourak (near Acmonia, Phrygia). Museum of Art History (Musée du Cinquantenaire) Brussels, Belgium). Made with CapturingReality.

Remove Ads


Free for the World, Supported by You

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide.

Become a Member  

Cite This Work

APA Style

Marchal, G. (2020, February 01). Phrygian Funeral Altar, 4th Century CE. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Marchal, Geoffrey. "Phrygian Funeral Altar, 4th Century CE." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 01, 2020.

MLA Style

Marchal, Geoffrey. "Phrygian Funeral Altar, 4th Century CE." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 01 Feb 2020. Web. 05 Feb 2023.