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E00834: Fragmentary Greek inscription giving an account of the career of a certain Athanasios of Aphrodisias, a municipal official and traveller (perhaps an imperial envoy). Athanasios claims that, while on his journeys, he wished to be buried in his homeland, probably close to a memorial of unnamed martyrs. Found in Aphrodisias (Caria, western Asia Minor). 4th-6th c.

online resource
posted on 2015-11-03, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Plaque with almost the same inscription on both faces:

Face A:

ἐγὼ Ἀθανάσιος ὁ πάντα λιτουρ-
γήσας ἐν τῇδε τῇ ἐμαυτοῦ πα-
τρίδι καὶ πολλὰ ἔτη ἀποδημή-
σας καὶ πο̣λ̣[λὰ] ̣ἔθνη εἱστορήσας
καὶ πλε[ύσας π]ᾶσαν θάλασ-
σαν ἕω[ς Ὠκε]ανοῦ καὶ ἰδὼν
πᾶν γέ̣ν̣[ος ἀ]νθρώπων καὶ σω-
θεὶς η̣ὐ̣[ξάμη]ν τῷ θεῷ ἐλ-
θε̣ῖν [ἐν? τῇ π]ατρίδι μου καὶ
ταφῆν̣α̣[ι παρὰ] τὰ ἴχνη τῶ[ν]
ἁγείων [μαρτύρ]ων (?) ἵν[α(?) τοῦ]
παρακλ[ήτου(?) - - - ἐν ἡ-]
μέρᾳ κρε[ίσεως - - -]
τῷ ἀνα[- - -] Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χρ(ιστὸ)ς Πα(τὴρ) [- - -]
τὴν ψυχ[ὴν - - -]

Face B:

ἐνθάδε κεῖμαι ἐγὼ Ἀθανάσιος
ὁ πολλὰ ἔτη ἀποδημήσας καὶ
πολλὰ ἔθνη ἱσ[τορήσας] καὶ πᾶ-
σαν θάλασσαν ̣π̣[λεύσ]ας ἕ-
ως Ὠκεανοῦ κα[ὶ ἰδὼ]ν πᾶν
γένος ἀνθρώπ[ων κ]αὶ σω-
[θ]̣εὶς ηὐξάμην ̣τ̣[ῷ θ]̣ε̣ῷ ἐλ-
[θεῖν] ἐ̣ν ̣π̣[ατρίδι μ]ου καὶ τα-
[φῆναι παρὰ τὰ ἴχνη] τῶν ἁγί-
[ων μαρτύρων (?) ἵνα (?)] ̣τοῦ παρα-
[κλήτου? - - - ἐν] ̣ἡμέρᾳ κρί-
[σεως - - -] vacat

Face A:

'I, Athanasios, who performed every civic duty in this (and) my own country, and lived abroad for many years, and visited many peoples, and sailed every sea as far as the Ocean, and saw every race of men, and was kept safe, I prayed to God to reach my country and to be buried at the remains of the holy [martyrs (?)], so that (?) [I should have an] advocate [on (?)] the day of judgement [·· ? ··] Jesus Christ, Father, [- - ? - - receive my] soul [- - ? - -].'

Face B:

'Here I lie, Athanasios, who lived abroad for many years, and visited many peoples, and sailed every sea as far as Ocean, and saw every race of men, and was kept safe, I prayed to God to [reach my country (?)] and [to be buried at the remains] of the holy [martyrs so that I should have an] advocate [on (?)] the day of judgement [- - ? - -].'

Text: IAph2007 8.263. Translation: Ch. Roueché, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : S00060

Saint Name in Source

ἅγιοι [μάρτυρες]

Image Caption 1

Face A; from: IAph2007 8.263.

Image Caption 2

Face B; from: IAph2007 8.263.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions


  • 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)

Aphrodisias Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Place associated with saint's life

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



Broken white marble plaque, inscribed on both faces, found in Aphrodisias (Caria, western Asia Minor). Two fragments were found in the theatre, one near the nymphaeum, and one in obscure circumstances. Original dimensions: H. 0.4 m; W. 0.42 m; Th. 0.09 m. It is very unclear how, and where, this double-sided plaque was displayed.


The two inscriptions give an identical account of the career of a certain Athanasios of Aphrodisias. Athanasios says that he performed all civic duties. Then he travelled all over the Mediterranean and saw every race of men, which implies that he could have been an imperial envoy. At some point on his journeys, his life was endangered and he prayed to God to be saved. He wished to return to his homeland and be buried there. The following sections of the inscription are severely damaged. Charlotte Roueché suggests that Athanasios wanted to be buried 'at the remains of the holy martyrs': παρὰ] τὰ ἴχνη τῶ[ν] | ἁγείων [μαρτύρ]ων. The word 'martyrs' is, however, reconstructed and could be substituted with similar expressions, e.g. the holy Apostles (ἁγείων [ἀποστόλ]ων), etc. It is, though, undisputed that some kind of a holy figure is meant, as in the last paragraph Athanasios explains that this kind of burial gives him the advantage of having an advocate (parakletos, a word which, between the two inscriptions, can be confidently reconstructed) on the day of judgement (for a similar expression, see E05290). The Syriac Martyrology of 411 says that Diodotos and Rodopianos were martyred in Aphrodisias, and were commemorated there on 13 April (E01484). Dating: 4th-6th c. or later, proposed by Charlotte Roueché, based on the lettering and contents. The first half of this period is more probable because of the decline of classical municipal offices, that started in the later part of the 5th c.


Edition: IAph2007 8.263. Roueché, Ch. (ed.), Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity. The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions including Texts from the Excavations at Aphrodisias conducted by Kenan T. Erim (Journal of Roman Studies Monograph 5, London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1989), nos. 163A-B. 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. Roueché, Ch., Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity,electronic second edition (London, 2004), ch. IX.27.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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