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E00816: Fragmentary Greek inscription on the wall of a tower in Miletos (Caria, western Asia Minor), mentioning *Onesipos (an otherwise unattested local martyr of Miletos, S00516) or *Onesimos (a disciple of the Apostle Paul, S00517). Probably late antique.

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posted on 2015-10-30, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ΚΛΙ (?) τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρος Ὀνησί<μ>ου +

'[- - -] of the holy martyr Onēsimos. +'

Text: Milet VI/3, no. 1578.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Onēsimos (disciple of Paul the Apostle, martyr of Rome?), ob. in the 1st c. : S00517 Onēsippos (martyr of Miletus, Caria, west Asia Minor), ob.c.? : S00516

Saint Name in Source

Ὀμήσι<μ>ος Ὀμήσιπος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Miletus Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Towns, villages, districts and fortresses


The inscription was recorded in the early modern period on a wall of a tower, on the left-hand side of a gate. It is not clear, whether the stone was reused in that structure. If so, the inscription refers to a different building. Now lost.


The inscription was known to 17th c. travellers and scholars of Antiquity: John Covel and Jacob Spon. Covel copied the text: ΚΑΙΤΟΥΑΠΙΟΥΜΑΡΤΥΡΟ | ΝΗΣΙΠΟΥ +, while Spon offered a very similar reading: ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥ ΑΠΙΟΥ | ΜΑΡΤΥΡΟΣ ΟΝΗΣΙΠΟΥ. The inscription is currently lost, so their readings cannot be verified. If a martyr called *Onesippos is really mentioned in the text, he must be an otherwise unattested victim of persecutions, who was venerated in Miletos. On the other hand, Peter Herrmann argues that the name of the martyr should be corrected to *Onesimos which allows us to identify the mentioned person with a disciple of *Paul the Apostle. Onesimos was a fugitive slave, converted to Christianity by Paul and mentioned by him in two of his letters (Epistle to Philemon and Epistle to the Colossians 4:9). The inscription cannot be dated since there are many phases of fortification at Miletos, and no information on which one our inscription was carved.


Edition: Milet VI/3, no. 1578. Grégoire, H. (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 223. Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, no. 8847. Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, no. 1787: Further Reading: Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 87. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 82, 346. Niewöhner, P., "Milet in frühbyzantinischer Zeit", in: O. Dally, M. Maischberger, P.I. Schneider, A. Scholl (ed.), Milet in Kaiserzeit und Spätantike (Regensburg : Schnell & Steiner, 2009), 65. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2006), 549. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 58, 1342.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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