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E00940: Bilingual, Greek and Latin epitaph for a son of a high-ranking member of the imperial guard with a reference to burial ad martyres, probably *Dorotheos and Gorgonios (martyrs of Nicomedia, S00242). Found in Nicomedia (Bithynia, north-west Asia Minor). Probably 4th c.

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posted on 2015-12-07, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Φλ. Μαξιμῖνος σκουτ[ά-]
ριος σινάτωρ ἀνέστη-
σα τὴν στίλλην τῷ υἱῷ
μου Ὀκτίμῳ ζήσαντι
ἔτη ε΄, ἡμέρας ιε΄· τμηθὶς
ὑπὸ ἰατροῦ ἐμαρτύρη-
σεν. (ivy leaf) Fla(vius) Maximinus scu-
tarius sinator levavi sta-
tu(am) filio meo Octemo, vixit an-
nos V, dies XV, precisus a medico
ic postus est ad martyres

Greek version: 'I, Fl(avios) Maximinos, scutarius of the rank of senator, erected the stele (stille) to my son Oktimos who lived 5 years, 15 days. Cut by a doctor, he died as a martyr (emartyresen) (or: was placed near the martyrs).'

Latin version: 'I, Fla(vios) Maximinos, scutarius of the rank of senator, erected the stele (statua) to my son Octemus who lived 5 years, 15 days. Cut by a doctor, he was placed here, near the martyrs (ad martyres).'

Text: Feissel 1987, 435-436. Translation: U. Gehn, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060 Dōrotheos and Gorgonios, martyrs in Nicomedia, ob. 304 : S00242

Saint Name in Source

martyres martyres

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions



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)

Nicomedia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Place of martyrdom of a saint

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Children Soldiers Officials


The appearance of the stone (form the photograph published by Feissel) is of a free-standing slab, surmounted by a pedestal and rudimentary akroteria. Dimensions: H. 0.83 m; W. 0.53 m; Th. 0.045-0.09 m, letter height 0.03-0.035 m, in lines 10-11: 0.015 m). Broken into three parts. First recorded by members of the congregation of the Assumptionists from Kadiköy on a hill at Nikomedia, where the martyrdom of Dorotheos, Gorgonios, and their companions took place. The inscription was fixed on a well-preserved tomb with the skeleton of a boy. The finders made a copy and forwarded it to Emile Beurlier, who presented it in capital letters at a meeting of the Societé nationale des antiquaires de France on 26 June 1895. Republished by Theodore Mommsen in 1902. Two fragments were seen by Denis Feissel in 1982 in the Museum of Istanbul.


The inscription is a bilingual, Greek and Latin, epitaph for a boy, Oktemos, son of Flavios Maximinos, a high-ranking soldier of the imperial life guard. Maximinos held the rank of a senator, the highest rank within a schola, which gave access to clarissimus rank by the 5th century. It is very likely that he could also have been the head of the imperial arms factory in Nikomedia. The editors of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum guess that the primary language of the epitaph is Greek. We may infer this first of all from the height of letters, which are much larger in the Greek section of the inscription, and from the incorrect use of the Latin word statua (statue) as an equivalent for the Greek term στίλλη = στήλη (stele, inscribed plaque), see Feissel 1984, 547, note 11. The inscription has caught the attention of scholars because of its importance for the study of the terminology of burials ad martyres (i.e. close to martyrs' graves). The author of the inscription says that the boy died after a painful surgery, and 'was placed here, near the martyrs' / 'ic postus est ad martyres' (in the Latin version). The parallel passage from the Greek version, however, says that the boy emartyresen which is normally translated 'he died as a martyr' and may refer to the boy's sufferings. Nonetheless, because both versions should be equivalent and the inscription was found on a hill associated with martyrs, it has been suggested that the verb martyreo was used as a technical term, to denote burial ad martyres. This interpretation was found attractive by Henri Grégoire, but was rejected by Hippolyte Delehaye. The editors of Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum compare it with the label of a family tomb from Attica (IG II(2) 7080a), where the word emartyresen occurs in line 6, but it seems that it was used there in its original sense of 'to witness' and to introduce the name of a witness, present at the acquisition of the tomb by the family. Dating: probably 4th c., certainly after 330s, when scutarii (an imperial life guard) were introduced.


Edition: Feissel, D., "De Chalcédoine à Nicomédie. Quelques inscriptions négligées", Travaux et Mémoires 10 (1987), 435-436. Schulze, Ch., Medizin und Christentum in Spätantike und frühem Mittelalter (Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 27, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), no. 104. Samama, E., Les medecins dans le monde grec. Sources epigraphiques sur la naissance d'un corps medical (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 2003), no. 309. Dörner, K. F. (ed.), Tituli Asiae Minoris, IV. Tituli Bithyniae linguis Graeca et Latina conscripti, 1. Paeninsula Bithynica praeter Chalcedonem. Nicomedia et ager Nicomedensis cum septentrionali meridianoque litore sinus Astaceni et cum lacu Sumonensi(Vienna: Apud Academiam Scientiarum Austriacam, 1978), no. 367. Iinscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, no. 2180. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum III, no. 14188. Beurlier, E., "Séance 26 Juin", Bulletin de la societe nationale des antiquaires de France (1895), 225-227. Further reading: Delehaye, H., "Bulletin des publications hagiographiques", Analecta Bollandiana 30 (1911), 335. Delehaye, H., Les origines du culte des martyrs (Bruxelles : Société des Bollandistes, 1912), 180, note 1. Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: JC. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 97. Comments in LSA-633 (by Ulrich Gehn). Comments by Henri Grégoire in Studia Pontica, vol. 3, part 1: J.G.C. Anderson, F. Cumont, H. Grégoire (eds.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques et latines du Ponte et de l'Arménie (Brussels: Lamertin, 1910), no. 13. Schulze, Ch., Medizin und Christentum in Spätantike und frühem Mittelalter (Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 27, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 101. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 37, 1081.

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