[- - -] . Μ . . vacat
[. .] . ̣μετὰ θεὸν
4 νον, Πρίσκον τὸ-
καὶ ζήσας ἐ̣ν [δ]-
8 ἐνθάδε ἀναπ-
ς τόπον εὑρὼ-
ν τοῖς ἀποστό-
12 λοις προσδρ-
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.
Saint NameApostles (unspecified) : S00084
Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, ob. early 4th c. : S00103
Saint Name in Sourceοἱ ἀπόστολοι
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after650
Activity not before400
Activity not after650
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcTavium
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Tavium
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - unspecified
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsSaint as patron - of an individual
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
Ecclesiastics - bishops
SourceTwo 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.
DiscussionThe 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).
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
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.
Bulletin épigraphique (1983), 438; (2014), 582.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 61, 1112.