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E00879: A Greek Christian curse, inscribed on a tombstone, probably invoking *Michael (the Archangel, S00181) to punish potential desecrators of the grave. Found near Pepouza (Phrygia, west central Asia Minor). Late antique.

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posted on 24.11.2015, 00:00 by pnowakowski
ἴ τοις (= τις) ̣π[- - - - -]
οὐ βλέπι, τὸν ἀρχισ̣τ̣ρ̣[άτ-]
ιγον ἀτὸν ἔχι διάδι-
κον.
(christogram) +
+

1-2. ἴ τοις (= τις) ̣π[- - - - -] | οὐ βλέπι Feissel (in a letter dated 17.09.2016), ΙΤΟΙCΙΙ[- - -] | ̣ΟΥΒΛ Tabbernee, ΙΓΟΙCΙΙ[- - -] | ουβ<α> MAMA || 2-4. ὁ βλέπι τὸν ἀρχ[... ἐπ]|ὶ γονάτον, ἔχι διάδι|κον Huttner

'If someone [- - -] does not watch, that person shall have the Comma[nd]er-in-chief (of all the angels) himself as persecutor.'

Text: Tabbernee 1997, no. 76. Translation: W. Tabbernee, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E00879

Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source

ἀρχιστρ[άτ]ιγος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Literary - Magical texts and amulets

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

400

Evidence not after

650

Activity not before

400

Activity not after

650

Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Pepouza

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Pepouza Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

Limestone block supporting a pillar in a water basin. Broken above. H. 0.33 m; W. 0.53 m; letter height 0.025-0.037 m.

Discussion

The inscription is usually interpreted as an imprecation, threatening potential desecrators of the grave with the punishment by Michael the Archangel. However, Ulrich Huttner, in the Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, argues that the last lines should be read ὁ βλέπι τὸν ἀρχ[... ἐπ]|ὶ γονάτον, ἔχι διάδι|κον / 'whoever sees the arch[- - - on] his knees, has an enemy' and that the text is a quotation from a book of comments explaining dreams. The commentator says that if somebody sees in a dream a kneeling official, apparently has an enemy. If Huttner's reading is correct (which is very unlikely), the inscription can no longer be considered as referencing Michael.

Bibliography

Edition: Tabbernee, W. (ed.), Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia: Epigraphic Sources for Illustrating the History of Montanism (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1997), no. 76. Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua IV, no. 325. Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, no. 1078: http://www.epigraph.topoi.org/ica/icamainapp/inscription/show/1078 Further reading: Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 330.

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