University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E01003: Bronze figurine of a bull inscribed with the names of *Rhypsis (an otherwise unattested saint or *Rhipsime, Armenian virgin and martyr, S00645) and *Ktimon (probably an Anatolian martyr, S00642). Found at Ankyra (Galatia, central Asia Minor). Probably 5th-6th c.

online resource
posted on 2015-12-18, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
A bronze figurine of a bull, found at Ankara and now in the British Museum. H. 0.052 m; W. 0.058 m. The bull has a cross between its horns and abnormally large hooves. Inscriptions are engraved on both sides of the bull. Images of such bulls are common in Armenian iconography. Anne Roes notes that the Kaiser Friedrich Museum (now the Bode Museum) in Berlin owns a similar figurine of a ram, found at Trabzon (H. 0.011 m). The ram also has a loop, so it was probably hung as a votive offering.

Inscriptions on sides of the figurine:

Right side:

+ τὸν ἅγηον Ῥ-

'(For?) + Saint Rhyphsis'

Left side (written from right to left):

+ κὲ τὸν ἅγη-
ον Κτίμο-

'+ and Saint Ktimon.'

Text: Roes 1950, 221-228.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Ktimon, probably an Anatolian martyr : S00642 Rhyphsis : S00644 Rhipsime, an Armenian virgin and martyr, ob. c. 290 : S00645

Saint Name in Source

Κτίμον Ῥύφσης Ῥύφσης

Type of Evidence

Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.) Inscriptions - Inscribed objects


  • 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)

Ankyra Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Ex-votos Other


The figurine is inscribed with two names of saints, interestingly given in the accusative, instead of the vocative or dative, which are common in invocations of saints and dedications in the East. However, in Late Antiquity the accusative case was gradually taking over the functions of the dative case and our object may illustrate this trend. For a similar formula, this time referring to Peter the Apostle, see E00843. The inscription on the right side of the figurine is written backwards (from right to left). Anne Roes comments that the figurine must have been a votive offering to the mentioned saints. Unfortunately, their identity is not clear. The inscription says that the saints' names are Rhyphsis and Ktimon. Such figures are not addressed in monumental inscriptions from Anatolia. However, a certain *Ktimon (Κτίμον) is depicted in a 10th or 11th c. painting found by Guillaume de Jerphanion in a rock-cut church in at Keledjlar (Cappadocia). Ktimon is shown there together with other, well known, martyrs of central and northern Anatolia: *Photios, *Aniketos, *Theodotos, *Platon, *Tarasios, *Kallinikos, and *Polycarp. Therefore, though he is not recorded in Eastern calendars and martyrologia, we can infer that he was also of Anatolian origin (see Jerphanion 1925-1942, vol. 1, 210 note 2, 316). The identity of *Rhyphsis is more puzzling. Following the advice of Paul Peeters, Roes suggests that this figure is to be identified with *Rhipsime, a 4th c. Armenian virgin and martyr (despite the fact that in our inscription Rhypsis is apparently a male saint, as the name is preceded by the masculine article τόν). Roes believes that the offering of a bull figurine to saints is a manifestation of overlapping Christian and pagan traditions. On the one hand, the bull was a symbol of Luke the Evangelist, but on the other, bull offerings were frequent in pagan Cappadocia and at the Syro-Anatolian border. Oxen offerings were still practised by the 6th c. Christians in Anatolia (see the Life of Nicholas of Holy Sion, E04957). Dating: 5th-6th c. (stylistic dating).


Edition: Roes, A., "Un bronze d'Asie Mineure au Musé britanique", Syria 27 (1950), 221-228. Further reading: Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 93. de Jerphanion, G. (ed.), Une nouvelle province de l'art byzantin : les églises rupestres de Cappadoce, vol. 1, part 1(Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1925), 210 note 2, 316. Mouterde, R., "[Review:] Anne Roes – L'aigle psychopompe de l'époque impériale (dans les Mélanges Charles Picard, II 1949, pp. 881-891, 5 fig.) – Un bronze d'Asie Mineure au Musée Britannique (Extrait de Syria, XXVII, 1950, pp. 223-227, 5 fig.)", Mélanges de l'Université Saint Joseph 29 (1951-1952), 368-370.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager