GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS
The categories used in this study to examine imperial cults—provincial, municipal, group, 1 and individual—help us understand the phenomena, but, like all heuristic devices, they have limits. The first section of this chapter illustrates this through a discussion of hymnodes—male choirs that sang at religious events. Because some hymnodes cross at least three of these categories, and perhaps all four, they could have been included in chapters on provincial cults or municipal cults. I discuss them here because most of their activities took place in group settings, but they also illustrate the interconnections across the categories. The second section of the chapter presents imperial mysteries, an aspect of imperial cults that emphasized group settings more than others. The chapter closes with votive offerings individuals made for members of the imperial household.
Singing, chanting, and reciting poetry are among the most widespread of religious practices. Evidence from Roman Asia provides examples of groups of singers known as hymnodes, who were specially trained to perform such duties for many deities. 2 The epigraphic references to hymnodes are mostly to men, and do not usually specify the cult to which the hymnodes belonged. Several refer to hymnodes of Artemis, 3 and some contexts suggest other cults, such as that of Apollo, 4 Zeus and Hekate, 5 and perhaps Dionysos. 6 Many other cults probably had such choirs.