An Inscription from the Asclepieion of Gortys

Click here to view it in Greek.

A short excursion to Arcadia in December 2012 gave us the opportunity to visit the Asclepieion of ancient Gortys located by the river Lousios, near the old village of Atsicholos.

Phot. 1. The Byzantine church of Ag. Andreas in Ancient Gortys
Phot. 2. The inscription inside the church of Ag. Andreas

The reason of our visit to this site was to examine an ancient inscription inside the byzantine church of Agios Andreas (see phot 1)1 in the vicinity of the Asclepieion. The amount of ancient material built into the walls of Agios Andreas is truly remarkable.

We had first seen the inscription a few years ago, but the lack of light inside the church made it impossible for us to read and copy the text in full (see phot 2). The lack of adequate light may have prevented the French excavators of the area from publishing the text when they located the stone some 70 years ago and referred to the content of the inscription in their archaeological reports.2 However they did note in 1940-41 that the inscription was the only topographical evidence at the time for the identification of the Asclepieion of Gortys.

The inscription is a dedication to Asclepios and Hygieia. The text runs at the top of a circular base, which is fully preserved, except from a small part of the inscribed surface.

It seems that the base was occasionally covered by a table cloth, which covered also the inscription as is evident in a photograph of the monument published by N. Moutsopoulos in 1997.3

To the best of our knowledge the inscription is still unpublished.4 We will publish it in the journal Grammateion (

Georgia E. Malouchou – Angelos P. Matthaiou

1 For the church of Agios Andreas see N. K. Moutsopoulos, Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀνδρέας Γόρτυνας, Ἐπιστημονικὴ Ἐπετηρὶς τῆς Πολυτεχνικῆς Σχολῆς, Τμῆμα Ἀρχιτεκτόνων, vol. ΙΔ´ (1997) 59-93.

2 See the Chronique de Fouilles in BCH 64-65 (1940-1) 284-285 (R. Martin et H. Metzger), and 66-67 (1942-3) 335. A brief summary of the archaeological research of the French School in ancient Gortys is provided by G. Daux in his preface in: R. Ginouvès, L’établissement thermal de Gortys d’Arcadie, Etudes péloponnésiennes II, Paris 1959, p. V-IX.

3 See Moutsopoulos, op.cit. (note 1) 74, fig. 4.

4 Cf. Milena Melfi, I Santuari di Asclepio in Grecia. I, Studia Archaeologica 157 (2007) 212-227, esp. 226, no. 3.