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E01009: Greek epitaph for a person, who 'found a place of relief, having run to the (unnamed) *Apostles', probably indicating a burial near their church, and arguably mentioning one of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia (S00103). Found at Tavium (Galatia, central Asia Minor). Probably 5th c. or later.

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posted on 21.12.2015, 00:00 by pnowakowski
[- - -] . Μ . . vacat
[. .] . ̣μετὰ θεὸν
[τ]ὸν εὔσπλαγχ-
4 νον, Πρίσκον τὸ-
ν θεοφύλακτ̣ο[ν]
καὶ ζήσας ἐ̣ν [δ]-
όξῃ πολλῇ
8 ἐνθάδε ἀναπ-
̣αύετε ἀνέσεω-
ς τόπον εὑρὼ-
ν τοῖς ἀποστό-
12 λοις προσδρ-
αμών, +
με(νὸς) Φεβρ(ουαρίου) γ',
ἰν(δικτίωνος) ιε' +

'[- - -] after God, [t]he compassionate one, (and after) Priskos, guarded by Go[d], and having lived (his life) in great [g]lory, here he rests having found a place of relief, and having run to the Apostles. + On the 3rd (day) of the mo(nth) Febr(uary), in the 15th in(diction). +'

Text: I. Mus. Yozgat, no. II 2. Translation: S. Mitchell in I. North Galatia, no. 466, modified.

History

Evidence ID

E01009

Saint Name

Apostles (unspecified) : S00084 Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, ob. early 4th c. : S00103

Saint Name in Source

οἱ ἀπόστολοι Πρίσκος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions

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

Tavium

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

Tavium Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

Two conjoining fragments of a white marble slab, probably cut from a fragment of a column. Broken and lost on top and partially on the right-hand side. Preserved dimensions: H. max. 0.91 m; W. max. 0.51 m; Th. max. 0.15 m. Fragment B (lines 8-15) was seen and copied by Stephen Mitchell at Büyüknefes in the autumn of 1970. When recorded, it was reused in a wall of a house. Currently kept in the Museum of Yozgat. According to the inventory of the Museum, it was acquired in 1977; marked “51”. Interestingly, the inventory lacks any entries on the provenance of Fragment A (lines 1-7), though the stone itself is marked “51a”. It was first edited by Christian Wallner in 2011. The inscription is neatly carved in a rectangular frame. Dimensions of the inscribed field: H. max. 0.81 m; W. 0.38 m; letter height 0.025-0.045 m.

Discussion

The inscription is the epitaph for an unnamed person, introduced as the one who "found a place of relief, having run to the Apostles" / ἀνέσεως τόπον εὑρὼν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις προσδραμών. The formula may denote a burial in the proximity of saints' relics, though the presence of corporal relics of Apostles in the Galatian countryside is rather unlikely. Perhaps the deceased was buried by a church of the Apostles, mentioned in E01141. The concept of running to saints or martyrs is quite common in literary sources. See, for example a homily by John Chrysostom, describing a feast held in honour of saints, where he says: πρὸς τοὺς πόδας τῶν ἁγίων ἐδράμομεν / "we ran to the feet of the saints" (Homilia in Ascensionem Domini, PG 50, col. 442). Karl Strobel, based on the fine character of the lettering, supposed that the buried person was a local holy man himself, honoured with the elaborate epitaph by his home city, but this reasoning is unjustified, as there are no signs of veneration in the text. The contents of the seven lines of the newly edited fragment (A) are less clear. They certainly refer to God, shown as the compassionate one (θεὸς εὔσπλαγχνος) and to a certain Priskos. Christian Wallner, the first editor of the new fragment, and Ulrich Huttner, who reedited the inscription in the Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, suppose that he could be a holy figure: a local, otherwise unattested martyr or one of the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia, and that the dead was probably buried close to his relics. However, the only argument, they bring forward, is that this Priskos is named θεοφύλακτος, that is guarded by God, and that the name is mentioned in the dossier of hagiohgraphical texts on the Forty Martyrs. This is, nonetheless, unconvincing and the presumed burial ad sanctos, refers, as it has been said, rather to the Apostles, while the identity of Priskos is at least very ambiguous. At best, the inscription may express personal devotion of the deceased towards a patron (if, our Priksos is really to be identified with a holy figure), like the epitaph of Loukianos (found in Kırşehir, near Parnassos, see: E01020). In his comments in BE Feissel considers Priskos as probably a bishop of Tavium, certainly not a saint. Dating: 5th/6th c. or later (based on the lettering resembling Justinianic inscriptions).

Bibliography

Edition: I. Mus. Yozgat - Wallner, C., Die Inschriften des Museums in Yozgat (Tyche. Sonderband 6, Vienna: Holzhausen, der Verlag, 2011), no. II 2. I. North Galatia, no. 466 (lines 8-15). Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, no. 2280: http://www.epigraph.topoi.org/ica/icamainapp/inscription/show/2280 Further reading: Strobel, K., "Städtebau und Kunstschaffen im römischen und byzantinischen Tavium", in: V. Gaggadis-Robin, A. Hermary, M. Reddé, C. Sintes (eds.), Les ateliers de sculpture régionaux: techniques, styles et iconographie. Actes du Xe colloque international sur l'art provincional romain: Arles & Aix-en-Provence, 21-23 mai 2007 (Aix-en-Provence: Centre Camille-Jullian, Arles: Musée départemental Arles antique, 2009), 369-379. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1983), 438; (2014), 582. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 61, 1112.

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