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E00935: Greek epitaph for a local priest (whose name is lost), perhaps a martyr. Found near Savatra (Lycaonia, central Asia Minor). Probably late antique.

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posted on 06.12.2015, 00:00 by Bryan
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ς̣αιϙ̣ (?) μηνὸς ἀνιαρίου ἱερεὺς ἐνθά̣[δ-]
ε κῖτε π̣ολι<τ>είαν τὴν ἐ<ν>θάδε κομ[ί-]
̣σα̣ς (?) πολιτεύετε μετὰ ἁγίων ΑΘΩ[-]
4 Ο̣Ν (?) ἁγούμενος (?) παρὰ ἀγγέλων ΑΓ̣[-]
μετὰ ΠΟΔΗΣ χέρων ἀκολουθῖ κομ[ί-]
ζων τὰ ἐπινίκια ὡς καλὸς ἀθλητ-
ὴς ὀφίλων κομίσασθε τὸν ἀμα[ρ-]
8 άντινον στ[έφανον ]
[ ]

1. 'unconvincing' Feissel || 3-4. perhaps ἀθῷ|ο̣ς, ὁ̣δ<η>γούμενος παρὰ ἀγγέλων Feissel, ΑΘΩ[-]|Ο̣Ν (?) ἁγούμενος (?) MAMA XI || 4-5. ἀ̣π[ὸ] μετα<β>ο<λ>ῆς χέρων Feissel, ΑΓ̣[-] | μετὰ ΠΟΔΗΣ MAMA XI

'[Year (?) ...] in the month of January. A priest lies here: having received ecclesiastical office here (on earth), he now ministers among the saints as the innocent one... guided by the angels... he follows rejoicing, having received the prize of victory like an excellent athlete, worthy of receiving the never-fading crown of glory [- - -].'

Text and translation (lightly modified): MAMA XI, no. 288.

History

Evidence ID

E00935

Saint Name

Saints, name wholly or largely lost : S01744

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

300

Evidence not after

600

Activity not before

300

Activity not after

600

Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Savatra

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

Savatra Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Ceremonies at burial of a saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Source

A grey marble block, reused in the steps of a house at Zengicek / Koçyaka near Savatra (Lycaonia, central Asia Minor). Preserved dimensions: H. 0.25 m; W. 0.62 m; letter height 0.015-0.03 m. A squeeze was made in 1956 by Michael Ballance. A new scan of the squeeze was offered to us by the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents (University of Oxford).

Discussion

The inscription is the epitaph for a priest. He could be a martyr as in lines 6-9 he is described as a person that 'received the prize of victory like an excellent athlete, worthy of receiving the never-fading crown of glory' / κομ[ί]|ζων τὰ ἐπινίκια ὡς καλὸς ἀθλητ|ὴς ὀφίλων κομίσασθε τὸν ἀμα[ρ]|άντινον στ[έφανον]. The expressions κομίζειν τὰ ἐπινίκια and καλὸς ἀθλητής are circumlocutions that were often used by Christians to denote martyrdom and martyrs. The latter part of the sentence is a clear reference to 1 Peter 5:4 ('And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away' / καὶ φανερωθέντος τοῦ ἀρχιποίμενος κομιεῖσθε τὸν ἀμαράντινον τῆς δόξης στέφανον), which in our case expresses the belief that the buried person was worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Furthermore, the author of the inscription stated that the deceased continued to minister as a priest in the heavenly community of saints (πολιτεύετε μετὰ ἁγίων). Nevertheless, one should note that the deceased is not openly called 'martyr'/martys and therefore the editors of the eleventh volume of Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua carefully point out that he could have been a pious priest who dies a peaceful death, and that the epitaph might be just a sophisticated eulogy of his diligent performance of priestly duties. The editors note that, strangely, the name of the priest is absent in the preserved fragment of the inscription. It was probably mentioned in the first, now lost, line.

Bibliography

Edition: Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua XI, no. 288. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2014), 576.

Usage metrics

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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