Saint NameJohn the Baptist : S00020
John the Evangelist : S00042
Saint Name in SourceἸωάννης
Image Caption 1Photograph. From: I. Tyana 2, Tafel 117.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after800
Activity not before400
Activity not after800
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcTyana
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Tyana
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesWomen
Other lay individuals/ people
SourceA greyish-white marble slab, found at Bor, Armutlu Mah (near ancient Tyana, Cappadocia, eastern Asia Minor). H. 1.60 m; W. 0.415 m; Th. 0.16 m; letter height 0.03-0.04 m. Photographed by Dietrich Berges.
Tyana was one of the most prominent cities in Cappadocia, the capital of the province of Cappadocia Secunda (after its creation by the emperor Valens in 372) and the rival city of Kaisareia/Caesarea.
DiscussionThe inscription is the epitaph for a young girl, Kelsina. It is remarkable for its peculiar phrasing and an explicit reference to a burial 'ad sanctos', close to a saint.
The author of the epitaph must have had some knowledge of philosophy or theology, and of the technical terms of these disciplines, as death is here described as the escape from 'all earthly matter' / ἡ ἅπασα κοσμικὴ ὕλη. Virginity is praised as the most prominent virtue of the deceased, and the fact the girl was baptised, probably shortly before death, is also important for the author.
The second part of the epitaph provides some detail of the place of burial. It was almost certainly a burial ad sanctos, as the inscription says that Kelsina was buried 'in the holy place of John' / ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ τόπῳ Ἰωάννου ἔνθα. The identity of this John is disputable, but he is likely to be John the Baptist, as another epitaph from the area of Bor attests to a burial close to or at a sanctuary dedicated to this saint (see E01023). Unfortunately, it is not stated whether any relics, corporeal or contact, were kept at the sanctuary. It is also not explicit that the saint, and closeness of his shrine, were expected to aid the deceased in any way.
The tomb is denoted as σκήνωμα / 'tent, quarters, shrine', which is quite a rare usage. Interestingly, though in lines 5-7 both parents, Theoprepis and Viktorinos, are specified (note that the mother is mentioned before her husband), in lines 17-19 only the mother is indicated as the builder of the tomb. Presumably Viktorinos had died before his daughter. The family was certainly of local importance, as burials ad sanctos were available to a limited number of people in the East and the size of the plaque is much larger than in the case of regular tombstones.
Die Inschriften von Tyana, no. 108 (after Berges' photograph).