Saint NameOnēsimos (disciple of Paul the Apostle, martyr of Rome?), ob. in the 1st c. : S00517
Onēsippos (martyr of Miletus, Caria, west Asia Minor), ob.c.? : S00516
Saint Name in SourceὈμήσι<μ>ος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after1000
Activity not before400
Activity not after1000
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcMiletus
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Miletus
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - unspecified
Cult activities - Places Named after Saint
- Towns, villages, districts and fortresses
SourceThe inscription was recorded in the early modern period on a wall of a tower, on the left-hand side of a gate. It is not clear, whether the stone was reused in that structure. If so, the inscription refers to a different building. Now lost.
DiscussionThe inscription was known to 17th c. travellers and scholars of Antiquity: John Covel and Jacob Spon. Covel copied the text: ΚΑΙΤΟΥΑΠΙΟΥΜΑΡΤΥΡΟ | ΝΗΣΙΠΟΥ +, while Spon offered a very similar reading: ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥ ΑΠΙΟΥ | ΜΑΡΤΥΡΟΣ ΟΝΗΣΙΠΟΥ. The inscription is currently lost, so their readings cannot be verified. If a martyr called *Onesippos is really mentioned in the text, he must be an otherwise unattested victim of persecutions, who was venerated in Miletos.
On the other hand, Peter Herrmann argues that the name of the martyr should be corrected to *Onesimos which allows us to identify the mentioned person with a disciple of *Paul the Apostle. Onesimos was a fugitive slave, converted to Christianity by Paul and mentioned by him in two of his letters (Epistle to Philemon and Epistle to the Colossians 4:9).
The inscription cannot be dated since there are many phases of fortification at Miletos, and no information on which one our inscription was carved.
Milet VI/3, no. 1578.
Grégoire, H. (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 223.
Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, no. 8847.
Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, no. 1787: http://www.epigraph.topoi.org/ica/icamainapp/inscription/show/1787
Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 87.
Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 82, 346.
Niewöhner, P., "Milet in frühbyzantinischer Zeit", in: O. Dally, M. Maischberger, P.I. Schneider, A. Scholl (ed.), Milet in Kaiserzeit und Spätantike (Regensburg : Schnell & Steiner, 2009), 65.
Bulletin épigraphique (2006), 549.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 58, 1342.