A Note on Divine Honours for Antigonos Gonatas


  • Stephanos Apostolou Universidade de São Paulo




Antigonos Gonatas, divine honours, Hellenistic religion, ruler cult


Nearly a century ago, W. W. Tarn concluded that Antigonos Gonatas had never been honoured as a god. He based his view (which was thereafter acknowledged as “the traditional view” on the subject) not only on the influence of the Stoic philosophy but also on a well known passage in Plutarch’s Moralia 360c, where Antigonos Gonatas retorts sarcastically to the poet Hermodotos that “the servant who carries my night pot knows I am not a god”. This paper offers an alternative interpretation of the passage. Gonatas does not reject divine honours, but only his supposed godlike nature. All we can deduce from his statement is a feeling of disapproval for those honours and there is no hint to support the traditional view. The context in Plutarch’s text clarifies this further. Plutarch builds a case against a very common practice, the divine honours towards great kings. He lists examples and on the most crucial turn of his argument he adds the anecdote concerning Gonatas. If Antigonos was never worshipped as a god, this example would have been meaningless. There would be no better argument than citing a king’s disapproval of this practice, but a king who – like all those listed before and after him – had indeed received divine honors.


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Biografia do Autor

Stephanos Apostolou, Universidade de São Paulo

PhD Student




Como Citar

Apostolou, S. (2011). A Note on Divine Honours for Antigonos Gonatas. Letras Clássicas, (15), 3-8. https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2358-3150.v0i15p3-8