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p142 Asiarchae

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p142 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

ASIARCHAE (ἀσιάρχαι), were, in the Roman province of Asia, the chief presidents of the religious rites, whose office it was to exhibit games and theatrical amusements every year, in honour of the gods and the Roman emperor, at their own expense, like the Roman aediles. As the exhibition of these games were attended with great expense, wealthy persons were always chosen to fill this office; for which reason, Strabo says, some of the inhabitants of Tralles, which was one of the most wealthy cities in Asia, were always chosen asiarchs. They were ten in number, selected annually by the different towns of Asia, and approved of by the Roman proconsul; of these, one was the chief asiarch, and frequently but not always, resided at Ephesus. Their office lasted only for a year; but they appear to have enjoyed the title as a mark of courtesy for the rest of their lives. In the other Roman provinces in Asia, we find similar magistrates corresponding to the Asiarchae in proconsular Asia, as for instance the Bithyniarchae, Galatarchae, Lyciarchae, &c. (Strab. XIV p649; Acts, xix.31, with the notes of Wetstein and Kuinoel; Euseb. H. E. IV.15; Winer, Biblisches Realwörterbuch, art. Asiarchen.)


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