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E00978: Greek epitaph for a woman, 'former deacon of the saints' (unnamed, S00518), ending with an invocation of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Amisos (Helenopontus, northern Asia Minor). 562.

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posted on 2015-12-12, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ ἐνθάδε ἀ[ν]απαύ-
ετε ἡ ἀείμν[ησ]τος
δούλη {ε} τοῦ Χριστοῦ
Ἀερίη ἡ κα[τ]αγεναμέ-
νη διάκονος τῶν
ἁγίων, ἡ πάντων
φίλη· ἀνεπαύσατο
[δ]ὲ ἰνδικ(τιῶνος) ιʹ μην(ὸς) Ἰανουα-
[ρίου] γʹ, ἔτους φϙδʹ
Θεοτόκε [βοήθει (?)]

9. ἔτους ͵ϛφϙδʹ Cumont || 10. Θεοτόκε [βοήθει ἡμῖν (?)] Cumont

'+ Here rests Aerie, the always remembered servant of Christ, former deacon of saints, everyone's friend. She found her rest in the 10th indiction, on the third day of the month of January, year 594. O God-Bearer, [help]!'

Text: Studia Pontica III/1, no. 12.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

οἱ ἅγιοι Θεοτόκος

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)

Amisos Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



A white slab found in 1885 in the northern part of Amisos (Helenopontus, north-eastern Asia Minor), in the Armenian district and communicated to Margarites Dimitsas by Anthimos Alexoudes, metropolitan bishop of Amasea (Helenopontus, northeastern Asia Minor). H. 0.54 m; W. 0.42 m. Already lost in 1907. Decorated with a carving of a cross.


The inscription is the epitaph for a pious woman, Aerie, called 'a servant of Christ', 'a deacon of saints' and 'everyone's friend' / δούλη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, διάκονος τῶν ἁγίων, ἡ πάντων φίλη. These expressions were quite popular in late antique funeral eulogies. We find them, for instance, in a very similar configuration in an epitaph from Ankyra (Galatia, central Asia Minor) (see E01004). The man, for whom it was composed, is praised as 'a servant of God', 'a presbyter of saints' and 'everyone's friend' / δοῦλος τοῦ θεοῦ, πρεσβύτερος τῶν ἁγίων, ὁ πάντων φίλος. The identity of these 'saints' is disputable. It is possible that the holy patrons of churches, these people served in, are meant. But perhaps it is just a metaphor of a pious life, a reminiscence of a passage from the First Letter to Timothy, which specifies requirements for the so-called “enrolled” / “canonical” widows: 'if she have washed the saints' feet' / εἰ ἁγίων πόδας ἔνιψεν (1 Timothy 5:9-10). For epitaphs with similar references to the First Letter to Timothy, see E00962 and E01028. The epitaph for Aerie ends with a classic invocation of Mary as the God-Bearer (Θεοτόκος). Dating: AD 562. The inscription is dated according to the era of Amisos. In the 19th c. this era was believed to have begun in 33 BC, when the tyrant Straton was exiled from the city. However, William Ramsay, based on the evidence of Strabo, proved that Amisos was liberated by Octavian and that its era must be dated from 31 BC, the year of the battle of Actium (see Ramsay 1890, p. 441). Franz Cumont dated the inscription to AD 1086, because he misread the date: ἔτους ͵ϛφϙδʹ / 'year 6594' instead of ἔτους φϙδʹ / 'year 594'.


Edition: Anderson, J.G.C., Cumont, F., Grégoire, H., Studia Pontica, vol. 3, part 1: Recueil des inscriptions grecques et latines du Ponte et de l'Arménie (Brussels: Lamertin, 1910), no. 12. Cumont, F., "Les inscriptions chrétiennes de l'Asie Mineure", Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 15 (1895), 293, no. 409. Dimitsas, M.G, ΑΝΕΚΔΟΤΟΙ ΕΠΙΓΡΑΦΑΙ, Athenische Mitteilungen 14 (1889), 210. Further reading: Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 95. Ramsay, W.M., The Historical Geography of Asia Minor (London: John Murray, 1890), 441.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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