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E01005: Greek epitaph for an imperial official who 'had given himself' to *Michael (the Archangel, S00181). Found at Germia (Galatia, central Asia Minor), at the sanctuary of Michael. Probably 5th-6th c.

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posted on 2015-12-18, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[τὸ μάταιον τοῦ κόσμου ἀνα-]
λογισάμενος [καὶ - - -]
[τ]ῷ ἀρχιστρατήγῳ ἑ[αυτὸν ὅλον]
παραδούς, ἐνθάδε κ[ατάκειται]
Σωτήριχος ὁ τῆς μεγ[αλοπρεπ(οῦς)]
μνήμης τῆς τε ἀρχ[ῆς θεόθεν]
τοῦ βίου τὸ διάταγμ[α αἰσίως ἐν-]
ταῦθα δεξάμεν[ος - - -]

Presented here are other attempts at reconstructing of the text, which are also discussed below:

1-2. [τὸ μάταιον τοῦ κόσμου ἀνα]|λογισάμενος Mango, [ὅτι καὶ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγείρειν δύναται ὁ θ(εὸ)ς] | λογισάμε̣νος Mitchell Ramsay, . . . . . λο[γ]ισάμε[νος. . . .] IGR Ramsay || 2-3. [καὶ . . . . .] | [τ]ῷ Mango, [καὶ τ]|ῷ Mitchell || 3. ἀρχιστρατήγῳ Mango Mitchell Ramsay, ἀντιστρατηγῷ (sic!) IGR || ̣ἑ[αυτὸν Mitchell || 4. κ[εῖται] Mitchell IGR, κ . . . . . Ramsay || 5. μεγ[αλοπρεπ(οῦς)] Feissel (in a letter date 17.09.2016), μεγ[αλοπρεπ(εστάτης)] Mango, μεγ[άλης] Mitchell, με[γίστης(?)] IGR Ramsay || 6-7. possibly τῆς τε ἀρχ[ῆς καὶ τέλους] Feissel (ibidem), ἀρχ[ῆς θεόθεν] | τοῦ βίου or τῆς τε ἀρχ[ῆς τοῦ πραι]|τουρίου (?) Mango, ἀρχ[ῆς] | τοῦ βίου Mitchell Domaszewski, ἀρχ[. . . . .] | ΤΟΥΡΙΧ IGR Ramsay || 7. δι[ά]ταγμα IGR Ramsay || 7-8. τὸ διάταγμ[α ἐν]|ταῦθα Mitchell || 8. ̣δεξάμεν[ος] Mitchell, ε[ὐ]ξά[μ]εν[ος (?) IGR Ramsay

'Having reflected [on the vanity of this world and - - -] given himself [entirely over] to the Commander-in chief, here lies Soterichos, of magnificent memory, who received here [from God] the edict [summoning him] to begin his life.'

Text and translation: Mango 1986, no. 1, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source


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)

Germia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials Aristocrats


An ordinary stone (Ramsay) or white marble slab (von Domaszewski, accepted by Mango). H. 1.38 m; W. 0.70 m. It was first recorded at Gömüş Konak/Yürme (ancient Germia, Galatia, central Asia Minor) and transcribed in June 1881 by William Ramsay and again in 1882 by Alfred von Domaszewski. The stone was then reused in a fountain. In 1965 it was revisited by Clive Foss, but in the 1980s Cyril Mango could not find it. Probably lost.


The inscription is one of 10 epitaphs from the sanctuary of Michael the Archangel at Germia, published by Cyril Mango in 1986. The epitaph of Soterichos had been known long before Mango’s visit to the sanctuary, and is the longest and the most elaborate of them. The deceased is described as a person, who 'gave himself to the archangel'. None of the other nine refers to a saint, but Mango supposes that they are all epitaphs of pilgrims who died at the shrine. This is possible, though not explicitly stated in these texts, as Germia was a renowned healing sanctuary, frequently visited by people suffering from numerous afflictions. The first line of the epitaph is missing and there have been two attempts to reconstruct it. Both are highly hypothetical. William Ramsay argued that this passage was based on the Epistle to the Hebrews 11:19, and should be read: [ὅτι καὶ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγείρειν δύναται ὁ θ(εὸ)ς] | λογισάμε̣νος / 'Having reckoned [that God can also raise from the dead]', which was accepted by Stephen Mitchell. Cyril Mango offers us another completion: [τὸ μάταιον τοῦ κόσμου ἀνα]|λογισάμενος / 'Having reflected [on the vanity of this world]'. The contents of other lines and the status of Soterichos himself have also been disputed. In line 5 he is styled as a former official of the rank of megaloprepestatos. Therefore, Cyril Mango wondered whether lines 6-8 could be reconstructed as ἀρχ[ῆς τοῦ πραι]τουρίου τὸ διάταγμ[α - - - ἐν]ταῦθα δεξάμεν[ος - - -] / 'he received [he]re his appointmen[t] to the off[ice of the pre]torian prefect'. Though Mango noted that the rank of megaloprepestatos was normally a bit too low for a pretorian prefect, the case was not unparalleled. In the end, however, he opted for another reconstruction: ἀρχ[ῆς θεόθεν] τοῦ βίου τὸ διάταγμ[α αἰσίως ἐν]ταῦθα δεξάμεν[ος / 'he received here [from God] the edict [summoning him] to begin his life'. The inscription was also understood in a similar manner by earlier editors and such a reconstruction gave basis to a fanciful hypothesis that Soterichos was a martyr and a heretical Christian!. This interpretation was argued by William Ramsay, who understood literally the word διάταγμα (Latin: edictum, praeceptum / 'edict', occurring in line 7), as the sentence of the governor who tried Soterichos for opposing the mainstream church and had him executed in c. 350-400. Ramsay's considerations were, however, very soon contested by Ernst Honigmann and François Halkin. It is much more probable that διάταγμα has here a metaphorical meaning. It could refer to death, understood as a call or order to begin eternal life in heaven, issued by God or perhaps Michael (as suggested by Mitchell). Dating: 5th-6th c. (based on the contents and letter forms).


Edition: Mango, C., "The pilgrimage centre of St. Michael at Germia", Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 36 (1986), no. 1 (from both copies). I. North Galatia, no. 130. Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes III, no. 221. von Domaszewski, A., "Inschriften aus Kleinasien", Archäologisch-epigraphische Mitteilungen aus Österreich-Ungarn 7 (1883), no. 64 (from own copy). Ramsay, W.M., "Inscriptions de la Galatie et du Pont", Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 7 (1883), no. 12 (from his own copy). Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, no. 2422: Further reading: Destephen, S., Prosopographie du Diocese d'Asie (325-641) (Prosopographie chrétienne du Bas-Empire 3, Paris: Association des amis du centre d'histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2008), Soterichus 2. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, I, Faux martyrs et inscriptions pseudo-hagiographiques", Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949) 93. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 94. Honigmann, E., "Pour l'atlas byzantin", Byzantion 11 (1936), 548. Ramsay, W.M., "Notes anatoliennes", Revue archéologique 18 (1923), 227-232. Reference works: Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 472. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 6,73; 36,1179 For the sanctuary of Michael the Archangel at Germia, see: Mango, C., "St. Michael and Attis", Δελτίον τῆς Χριστιανικῆς Ἀρχαιολογικῆς Ἑταιρείας 12 (1984), 39-62. Mitchell, St., Anatolia. Land, Men and Gods in Asia Minor, vol. 2: The Rise of the Church (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 117, 129. Niewöhner, P., Rheidt, K., "Die Michaelskirche in Germia (Galatien, Türkei). Ein kaiserlicher Wallfahrtsort und sein provinzielles Umfeld", Archäologischer Anzeiger (2010), 137–60. Niewöhner, P. and others, "Bronze Age Hüyüks, Iron Age Hill Top Forts, Roman Poleis, and Byzantine Pilgrimage in Germia and Its Vicinity. 'Connectivity' and a Lack of 'Definite Places' on the Central Anatolian High Plateau," Anatolian Studies 63 (2013), 97-136. Tabula Imperii Byzantini 4, pp. 166-168, 247.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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