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E01004: Greek epitaph for a silversmith and presbyter (of a church?) of unnamed saints (S00518). Found at Ankyra (Galatia, central Asia Minor). Probably 5th-6th c.

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posted on 2015-12-18, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ ἐνθάδε κεκύ-
μητε ὁ δοῦλος τ-
οῦ θ(εο)ῦ Θεόδωρος
πρεσβ(ύτερος) τῶν ἁγί-
ον κὲ ἀργυροκό(πος), ὁ
πάντων φίλος. ἐτε-
λιόθι μη(νὶ) Νοενβρ(ίῳ)
ιεʹ ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) εʹ +

'+ Theodoros fell asleep here, (he was) a servant of G+od, presbyter of saints and silversmith, everyone's friend. He died on the 15th (day) of the month of November, in the 5th indiction. +'

Text: CIG IV, no. 9258.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518

Saint Name in Source

οἱ ἅγιοι

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)

Ankyra Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Merchants and artisans


An epitaph, probably a stele. Seen and copied in June of 1555 by Hans Dernschwam during his journey across Asia Minor. There is no published description of the stone on which this inscription appears. Dernschwam offers just a laconic description of the find-spot (see: Babinger (Dernschwam) 1923, 226): “Nahent bey Ancira, in ain halbe meyl, ist ein kloster zw vnser frawen genant. Ist ein schlecte, altte, krichische kirche gewest. (…) Alda bey dem closter ein gros alt cristen begrebnus, dohin von den altten herlichen romischen zerschlaifften palatien vnd gepewen grosse zerbrochene staine sewlen etc., die man auff die greber pflegt zu legen, von allen ortten herzwgefurt worden. Darauff vill altter inscriptiones vnd epitaphia gefunden adi 10 Juny.” / “Near Ankyra, about a half-mile, there is a monastery, named of Our Lady. There is also a shabby, old Greek church. (…) Next to the monastery there is a Christian cemetery, where large broken stones, etc., were brought from various places, from destroyed old military Roman forts. They were laid on tombs. Many old inscriptions and epitaphs were found there on 10 June”. The precise find-spot is described: “Ibidem in sepultura” / “In the same place, in a tomb”.


The inscription is the epitaph of a certain Theodoros, presbyter (of a church?) of saints and silversmith (πρεσβύτερος τῶν ἁγίων καὶ ἀργυροκόπος). It is not surprising that he was at the same time an ecclesiastic and an artisan, as presbyters were normally allowed to have a regular job. Over the course of the 5th and 6th c. some councils tried to prevent priests from involving themselves in business, but even this ban was hardly ever enforced. The ecclesiastical affiliation of Theodoros is disputable. François Halkin, following the opinion of Adolf Kirchhoff, the editor of the CIG, interpreted the expression 'presbyter of saints' as 'presbyter (of a church) of (All) Saints' or as 'presbyter of (a church of local) saints', whose names need not to be mentioned as they were well known to everybody in the city. Stephen Mitchell suggested that dedicating churches to groups of saints was a peculiar Ancyran habit, as we know that at the city there were also: a martyrion of the (Montanist?) Patriarchs, a martyrion of the (Montanist?) Fathers (see the Martyrdom of Theodotos of Ancyra 16, EXXXXXXXX), and a church of unnamed archangels (see E01123). However, the phrase πρεσβύτερος τῶν ἁγίων may also refer to ἅγιοι understood as the Christian community, in contrast to supervisors (πρεσβύτεροι) of lay guilds. Theodoros is also praised as everyone's friend: πρεσβύτερος τῶν ἁγίων (...) ὁ πάντων φίλος. A very similar formula is recorded also in the epitaph of Aerie, deacon of Amisus (Helenopontus): διάκονος τῶν ἁγίων, ἡ πάντων φίλη (see E00978). Dating: 5th/6th c. (based on the contents and the letter forms).


Edition: Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum IV, no. 9258. Babinger, F., (ed.), Hans Dernschwam's Tagebuch einer Reise nach Konstantinopel und Kleinasien (1553/55): nach der Urschrift im Fugger-Archiv (München: Duncker & Humblot, 1923), 226. Further reading: Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 93. Mitchell, St., "The Life of Saint Theodotus of Ancyra", Anatolian Studies 32 (1982), 105.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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