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E04535: Long and complex, but poorly spelt, Greek text roughly inscribed on all the faces of a limestone slate, invoking the help of a number of saints: a saint *Klemens (probably *Clement of Alexandria, S02839), *Polykarpos (bishop and martyr of Smyrna, S00004), *Tryphon (martyr of Nikaia/Nicaea, S00439), *Kyprianos (probably the magician and martyr of Antioch, S01704), *Athanasios (probably the bishop of Alexandria, S00294), *Epiphanios (probably the bishop of Salamis, S00215), *Theodore (soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita, S00480), and *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Found at Lythrodontas near ancient Tamassos, Cyprus. Probably 5th or 6th c.

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posted on 29.12.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Side A:
- - - - - - - - - - - ΝΕΝ - - - - - - - - - ΟΑΝ̣Ο
[Ω?] ΛΟΙΛΕΝ - - - - - - - - - - - ἐπ' αἰῶ̣ν̣α
[- - - -]ΚΑΚΕ· τὸ τῆς ΦΥΛΥΣ κ(αὶ) τοῦ δούλ[ου]
Κυ[ρί]ου (?) Ἐπυφανίου κὲ Γε[ωργ]ήου
[κα]κήας ἀπόστρεψον σ[υ ὁ] θ(εό)ς μου
- - - - ΟΝ ἐπὴ ὀνοματ του· ΣΧ ἁγήε
- - - -ΘΗΝΑ με οὖν ὁ βαση[λ]εὺς τõν
ΣΚΚΑ. ΣΥΣ ΤΗΣ
ΟΥ ΟVV ΓΗ.Σ Γ.ΕΝ - - - -
[οὐρανῶν] Υ ΗΝΑΣ ΤΣ ΝΟΠΗΠ . ΘΝ+V+
- - - - τοῦ φοτὸς Ο.Ι τον τὸν ἤληον
- - - -ΗΡΑΣ δόξα Ο ... πέτραn μεγ-
αλη]ν γένου ἠς ΛΟΝ ΝΕΚΥΟ
- - - κάρτε θ(εός) τῶν ἄνω ΑΥ̣Τ ̣Κ̣Ε̣Υ Ι
- - - Ι̣Ν ὁς ἐβλογήσας τοὺς ε΄ ἄρτους ΤΑΣ ΟΥ
- - - - V VΑΣ κ(αὶ) ἐχορτάσθησαν πεντακησχι-
λὺ ἄρτρες ὁ τότε θ(εὸ)ς κάρτεος ΠΑΚ ̣Ι
γένου ἠς τὴν ΑΠΛΟΝ ΑΠΑ Κ(ύρι)ε 'Υ(σηο)ῦ Χ(ριστ)ὲ, θ(ε)οῦ
ἡμῶν ὁ παραγενάμενος ἐν Κανᾷ
τῆς Γαληλέας κ(αὶ) εὐλογήσας τὸ ὕ̣δ-
[ω]ρ κ(αὶ) παραγαγὼν αὐτῦς ὖνον
[γ]ενεσθε ὁ τότε θ(εό)ς, κάρτε θ(εό)ς,
παρατείνου ΗΤΣ ἄνπελο Τ ΚΟ ΠΕΝΔΥ
καρπὸν, Κ(ύρι)ε Ἠ(σο)ῦ ΠΟ, θ(ε)έ μ[ου]
ΩΡΕΘΗ οὐδὲ μήτε ζήλους, [μ]-
ήτε φθόνος, μήτε ΒΟΑ.
ΝΗΑ, μήτε ΚΑΟΥΜΟΣ,
[μ]ήτε σπάσμα, μήτε
- - - - - ΚΟ - - - - -

'[- - -] unto the ages [- - -] and the servant of the Lord, Epiphanios and Georgios. My God, avert evil [- - -] upon your (?) name. O Saint [- - -] may the King [- - - of Heavens - - -] of the Light [- - -] the mercy [- - -] glory [- - -] the great rock (?) [- - -] O Mighty God of the High [- - -] who blessed 5 loaves and fed (the faithful) with five thousand loaves, O Mighty God! [- - -] O Lord, Son (?) of our God, who were present in Kana of Galilee, and who blessed water, and who brought them wine, arrive (?) O God, O Mighty God, extend [- - -] (you blessing over?) vineyards [- - -] and crops, O Lord Jesus... my God [- - -] so that neither jealousy, nor envy, nor cry (?), nor sufferings (?), nor epilepsy (?), nor [- - -]'

Narrow left side:
[κ]ακὸς οφθαλμός, μήτε - - διαβολικῆς ἐν[έδρας]

'evil eye, nor [- - -] devilish temptation'

Side B:
- - - - - - - - ̣Π̣Ε - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - Η - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - ̣Μ - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - ̣Λ̣Ο - - -ἅγηε ΚΛΗΜΑ̣Ν VΝ
- - - - - - - - κ(αὶ) ἅγηε ΠΟΛΥΜΕ Πολυκάρπη̣ε
- - - - - - - - ἅγηε Τρύφον, ἅγηε Κυπρυαν[έ],
- - - - Ἀθανάση ὅση[ε], ΑΠΟΤΟΠΕΝΑΤΟΧ.
- - ̣ἅγηε Ἐπιφάν[ιε], - - - ΑΠΟΝΑ ΚΑΜΑΙ (?)
- - -[ἅγ]ηε Θεόδο<ρ>[ε] - - - ΜΗ ΙΣΡΕΦ (?) ἅγ-
[ηε] Γεόργηε, ἁγήασον εἰς ὄνομα σο-
[ν] ΑΥΤΕ ΤΟΙ Α - - - - [χ]άρισε τοῦ δού-
[λ]ου θ(εὸ)ς Ἐπυφανή[ου] κ(αὶ) Γεοργήου κὲ ΣΙ
.ΑΠΑΣΗΣ ΠΑΝΔΡΗΣ ΗΒΗΝ ΤΟ
[μ]νισθῇς ἄν ΣΚΟΝ (?) ΚΟΚΗ ΒΗΑ ΟΥ ΚΕ
- - - ΚΡΗΨΟΥ εἰς ἀνηπαυησε τῆς
[ψυχῆς] τοὺς ἰ[ς] ἐõνηα ζ[ω]ὴ κ(αὶ) ΟΠΟΣΑΣ Κ
- - - ̣π̣ο̣νηρὸν Η Φ ΣΜΑΚΤΟΣ ΚΙ
- - - - - ΕΚ ΠΟΝ+Α ΕΝΟΣ ΚΙ
- - - - - - ΟΝ κακὸν - - - ΚΛΑΜΑΝ
- - - - - - Π - - ΔΕΣ - - -

'[- - -] Saint Klemens (?), and Saint Polykarpios, [- - -] Saint Tryphon, Saint Kyprianos, [- - -] reverend (hosios) Athanasios, [- - -] Saint Epiphanios [- - -], Saint Theodore, [- - -] Saint George, sanctify Your Name [- - -] bless the servant of God, Epiphanios, and Georgios, and [- - -] may you remember [- - -] for the repose of the soul, life upon the ages and [- - -] evil [- - -] evil [- - -]'

Narrow side below:
- - - - - - - Σ ΓΟΣ Π(ατρὸ)ς (?)
ΟΝ κ(αὶ) Ἁγήου Πν(εύματο)ς ἀ[μήν]

'[- - -] of the Father (?) [- - -] and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.'

Text: Michaelidou-Nikolaou 2010, 630-632, no. 31, adapted.

History

Evidence ID

E04535

Saint Name

Polycarp/Polykarpos, bishop and martyr of Smyrna, and his companion martyrs : S00004 Tryphōn, martyr of Phrygia : S00439 Kyprianos and Ioustina/Justina, martyrs of Antioch : S01704 Athanasios, bishop of Alexandria, ob. 373 : S00294 Epiphanios, bi

Saint Name in Source

Πολυκάρπηος Τρύφον Κυπρυανός Ἀθανάσηος Ἐπιφάνιος Θεόδο<ρ>ος Γεόργηος ΚΛΗΜΑΝ ΚΛΗΜΑΝ

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti Liturgical texts - Invocations, prayers and spells Literary - Magical texts and amulets Liturgical texts - Amulets

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

400

Evidence not after

600

Activity not before

400

Activity not after

600

Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Lythrodontas Tamassos

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

Lythrodontas Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Tamassos Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Miraculous protection - of people and their property Exorcism Other miracles with demons and demonic creatures

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Source

The inscription is on both faces and two narrow sides of a limestone slate, broken into two conjoining fragments. Max. H. 0.225 m; max. W. 0.18 m; max. Th. 0.23 m. Letter height 0.005 - 0.016 m. The editor notes that only small portions of the text are missing, and that the inscription was probably executed with a pointed stylus. Poor spelling and 'ill-formed' shapes of letters. The slate was found at Lythrodontas, a village near ancient Tamassos on Cyprus, 'at the locality "Hagios Nikolaos"'. First published by Ino Michaelidou-Nikolaou in 2010 in majuscules, with no diacritics. Further comments were offered by the editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum who, however, deemed the text too poorly spelt to reproduce it in full. We present the text as published by Michaelidou-Nikolaou with minor alterations, including the addition of diacritics where the meaning is relatively clear. The inscription certainly deserves more attention, and perhaps an even clearer text could be extracted from doubtful passages.

Discussion

The inscription records an elaborate prayer meant to avert evil from a certain Epiphanios and Georgios. The last passages contain a request for repose after death. This may refer to the supplicants after the end of their earthly life, or to other people. The spelling and lettering of the inscription are very poor, and the text may reflect 'popular' low-level religious beliefs. On the other hand, the author of the text had knowledge of biblical stories and biblical phrasing, and knew a wide range of saints (compared with the saints usually appearing in inscriptions). He also knew the structure of classic anamnetic prayers, where first examples of God's help are presented, and then God is asked to extend his help upon contemporary Christians in the same way. Elements of sympathetic magic (or at least sympathetic religious thinking) are traceable, as the protection of vineyards and crops is invoked through biblical accounts of miracles dealing with food and wine (see below). The inscription begins with a request for the aversion of evil from Epiphanios and Georgios, and apparently the mighty God of Heavens is invoked. There follows a reference to the blessing and multiplication of the five loaves for the five thousand followers (Mark 6:31-44; Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1-14; a similar but much shorter mention of this episode is recorded in a prayer was found in the territory of Gortyn on Crete, see Bandy 1971, no. 36), and the transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana (John 2:1-11). There follows a request for the protection of vineyards, and crops (usually from hailstorms, which were a common element in rural Christian inscriptions, see, for example Nieto 1997). Standard threats, e.g. jealousy, envy, and the evil eye are also mentioned. The second part of the inscription is more interesting to us. The prayer invokes a series of saints. The first preserved name may be that of a certain Saint Klemens (almost certainly Clement of Alexandria, our S02839, given the links of Cyprus with this city and the interest of the author of this invocation in Athanasius, the famous fourth-century bishop of Alexandria); then follow Polykarpos (spelt Polykarpios), certainly the 2nd c. bishop and martyr of Smyrna; Tryphon, probably the martyr of Nikaia/Nicaea whose relics were translated to Constantinople, and who enjoyed a lively cult in rural Helenopontus and Bithynia (see: E00733, E00955); Kyprianos, almost certainly the magician converted to Christianity by the virgin Ioustina, and subsequently a martyr of Pisidian Antioch; Athanasios, almost certainly the bishop of Alexandria and a partisan of the Nicene creed (here, notably, termed hosios, not hagios); Epiphanios (termed hagios), almost certainly the famous bishop of Salamis of Cyprus, author of a complex refutation of 'all the heresies' (Panarion); Theodore, the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita in Pontus; and, finally, George, the soldier and martyr of Diospolis/Lydda in Palestine. These saints, except for Theodore and George, appear very rarely in inscriptions. Michaelidou-Nikolaou says that some of the saints mentioned are presently venerated in Cyprus. This part of the prayer ends with requests for the repose of a soul, for eternal life after death, and protection from evil. Possibly, the Holy Trinity is invoked. Dating: Michaelidou-Nikolaou places the inscription in the 5th or 6th c. giving, however, no arguments. This is a standard solution for otherwise undatable Christian inscriptions, and the same time-frame is repeated in the SEG.

Bibliography

Edition: Michaelidou-Nikolaou, I., "Corpusculum of the Inscriptions from Tamassos. 4.b.β. Alphabetic inscriptions", in: H.G. Buchholz, H. Matthäus (eds.), Tamassos: ein antiker Stadtstaat im Bergbaugebiet von Zypern, vol. 1 (Münster : Ugarit-Verlag, 2010), 630-632, no. 31. Further reading: Bandy, A.C., (ed.), The Greek Christian Inscriptions of Crete (Athens: Christian Archaeological Society, 1971), no. 36. Nieto, F.J.F., "La pizarra visigoda de carrio y el horizonte clásico de los χαλαζοφύλακες", in: J.M. Blázquez, A. González Blanco, R. González Fernández (eds.), La tradición en la Antigüedad Tardia, Antigüedad y Cristianismo 14 (Murcia 1997), 259-286. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 61, 1352.

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