Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik vol:177 pages:97-109
The terms 'stephanitic games' or 'crown-games' are often used anachronistically in modern scholarship. A survey of the ancient use of these terms shows that 'stephanitic' was used as a categorizing term for games from the mid-third century BC to the first century BC, when it was replaced by the term 'sacred'. It meant that other cities had agreed to reward the victors at home. The ancient categorization system had nothing to do with the award by the organizing city of either a symbolic crown or a valuable prize, as often assumed. The term 'thematic' is not attested before the late first century AD and denotes those contests organized with money from an agonistic fund in cash, for which the victors were not rewarded in their home town.