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E01040: Greek inscription commemorating the restoration of an aqueduct 'of the holy martyr Sokrates' (perhaps a local saint or the martyr of Perge in Pamphylia, S00655), and containing a request for the protection of the aqueduct by the martyr. From Zenonopolis (probably Zenonopolis of Isauria, southern Asia Minor). Dated 488.

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posted on 2016-01-02, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ Φριμινιανὸς ὁ εὐλαβέστ(ατος) ἡμῶν ἐπίσκο(πος) ταύτης
τῆς λαμπρ(ᾶς) Ζηνωνοπολιτῶν πόλεως ἐπεσκεύ<α->
σεν ἐξ ὁλοκλήρου τὸ ὅλον ὑδραγώγιον τοῦ ἁγίου
μάρτυρος Σωκράτους μετὰ ὑπατίαν Φλ(αουίου) Λονγί-
(5)νου τοῦ λαμπροτ(άτου), ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) ια΄. καὶ ἔρευσεν πρώ-
τοις ἐν τῷ τετραστόῳ σὺν τῷ ἐξώϋδρῳ τοῦ αὐτοῦ
ἀθλοφόρου μηνὶ Φεβρουαρίου. εὔχεσθαι οὖν οἱ
ἀπολαύοντες ὅπως τε͂ς πρεσβίες τοῦ ἁγίου μάρ-
τυρος ἀρραγῆ αὐτὸ διαφυλάττεσθαι ἐπὶ πολλοῖς
(10) + καὶ μηκίστοις χρόνοις. +
ἠργάσατο δὲ Αὐξάνον ὑδραγωγὸς Πρυμνησσεύς

1. Φιρμιανός Wiegand || ταύτη[ς] Weißbrodt, Delehaye, Cagnat & Besnier, ταύτη(ς) Schultze || 2–3. επεσκευ[α]σεν Weißbrodt, Delehaye, Cagnat & Besnier, επεσκευ(α)σεν Schultze, επεσκευασεν Kubińska

'+ Phirminianos, our most pious bishop of this glorious city of the Zenonopolites restored from the foundations the entire aqueduct of the holy martyr Sokrates (in the year) after the consulate of Flavios Longinos, of clarissimus rank, in the 11th indiction. And (water) flowed for the first time in the atrium and the fountain of this prize-winning (martyr) in the month of February. May those, who enjoy (it), pray that it would remain unbroken for many + and very long years + by the intercessions of the holy martyr. Constructed by Auxanon of Prymnessos, builder of aqueducts.'

Text: I. Varsovie, no. 28. Translation: P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sōkratēs (unspecified) : S00654 Sōkratēs, martyr of Pergē (Pamphylia), southern Asia Minor, ob. c. 138-161 : S00655

Saint Name in Source

Σωκράτης Σωκράτης

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)


  • 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

Zēnōpolis in Isauria

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Zēnōpolis in Isauria Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous protection - other

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Merchants and artisans Crowds


A white marble plaque with ansae. H. 0.4 m; W. 0.555 m; Th. 0.03 m; letter height 0.018-0.02 m. Broken into three conjoining fragments. Original find-spot unrecorded; however the contents of the inscription strongly suggest that it came from one of the cities named 'Zenonopolis', of which the most likely is that in Isauria (see below). Theodore Wiegand saw it in 1909 in a bazaar in Constantinople and made a squeeze. It was said that the inscription had been brought there from a certain Zenonopolis via Konya. In 1911 it appears in the inventory (inv. no. 1127) of the collection of antiquities of the Lyceum Hosianum in Braunsberg, then in north-eastern Germany. While in Braunsberg, it was re-examined by Wilhelm Weißbrodt, professor at the Lyceum Hosianum, who made a squeeze and forwarded it to Hippolyte Delehaye. After World War II and the territorial changes, Braunsberg became Braniewo, a Polish city. In 1947 its collection of antiquities was nationalised and transferred to the National Museum in Warsaw. Currently kept in the National Museum in Warsaw (inv. no. 198825). Seen there and read anew by Jadwiga Kubińska (before 1994) and Adam Łajtar (before 2003).


The inscription commemorates the restoration of an aqueduct 'of the holy martyr Sokrates' by a 'bishop of the Zenonopolites'; it was almost certainly an aqueduct serving a church of the saint. For other aqueducts named after saints, see, for example, Procopius De aedif. III 7,1 (E04511: an aqueduct named after Saint *Eugenios in Trapezous/Trabzon, north-eastern Asia Minor); V 9 (E05099: an aqueduct named after Saint *Kοnon. This aqueduct is followed by the label 'on Cyprus'/ἐν Κύπρῳ, but this is probably a tag for next entries from Procopius's list. For a discussion on the order of entries of this list, see Feissel 2000, 96 and Pilhofer 2018, 243-247. The note on the aqueduct is probably to be read with the preceding entry on the poorhouse of Saint Konon at Korykos, and the structure was likewise situated in Cilicia or Isauria. Pilhofer suggests that it may be identical with an extant aqueduct built near Korykos and Sebaste, along the river Lamos. This aqueduct was resorted, probably in the mid-fifth century, by one Illous of megaloprepestatos rank, comes and 'father of the city', perhaps the usurper Illous or his kinsman). The identity of our Sokrates is not at all clear. Hippolyte Delehaye pointed out that the Martyrdom of Saint Theodore of Perge (Pamphylia, southern Asia Minor) mentioned a certain Sokrates as one of Theodore's companions and martyrs under Antoninus Pius (138-161). The name Sokrates is also mentioned in the martyrdom of Saint Theodotos (BHG 1780, in Nikaia/Nicaea, Bithynia, northwestern Asia Minor) and in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum on 17 September (E04959) and on 17 October (E04989). The former entry reads: 'In Brittania Socratis et Stephani' , and the latter gives us a long list of martyrs, including a certain Socrates, who died 'in Mauritania'. Daniel Serruys, in an appendix to Delehaye's edition of our inscription, implausibly identified Brittania as a misspelt form of Mysia Abrettene, a land in the area of Ankyra Sidera (north-western Asia Minor). He also placed the original location of our inscription (Zenonopolis), in this region, see Serruys 1911. On the other hand, Delehaye, in a somewhat later paper, corrected the location 'in Brittania', given by the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, to 'in Bithynia', as the entry on Socrates follows a note on the feast of *Euphemia in Chalkedon/Chalcedon, Bithynia (see Delehaye 1931). All these suppositions were rejected by Louis Robert, who stated that there was no basis for all these textual corrections and that any attempt to identify our Sokrates with the aforementioned martyrs would be highly speculative. As for the most probable identification of the find-spot of the inscription, Robert plausibly opted for Iznebol (Zenonopolis in Isauria, south-eastern Asia Minor), which is the only ancient bishopric, bearing this name, whose bishops appear in extant literary sources from 553 onwards. (see BE (1972), 552 and Robert 1975, 172, note 97). Though Zenonopolis in Lydia (western Asia Minor) was also an ancient bishopric, it was apparently a place of little significance. Jadwiga Kubińska reasonably argued that the bishop, and founder of the aqueduct, Phirminianos, an otherwise unattested figure, could have been the first bishop of Zenonopolis in Isauria after its promotion to the status of a bishopric by the emperor Zeno (474-491), since our inscription is reliably dated to 488. The inscription says that the aqueduct provided water for a fountain (ἐξώϋδρον, a word that is known only from this inscription), and that the device was placed in the τετράστοον, almost certainly the atrium in front of the church dedicated to Sokrates. Fountains, frequently in the atrium, are often mentioned in association with ancient churches, serving a ritual as well as a practical function. The discussed monument is the earliest securely dated Anatolian inscription, containing a request for a martyr's intercession, in the present database. The request is in lines 7-10 and contains a very popular formula πρεσβίαις τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρος / 'by the intercessions of the holy martyr'. The inscription is securely dated to 488, by both the consular and indiction date.


Edition: I. Varsovie 28 (from the stone itself) = Łajtar, A., Twardecki, A. (eds.), Catalogue des inscriptions grecques du Musée National de Varsovie (JJP Supplements 2, Warsaw: Fundacja im. Rafała Taubenschlaga, 2003). P. Pilhofer (ed.), Das frühe Christentum im kilikisch-isaurischen Bergland: Die Christen der Kalykadnos-Region in den ersten fünf Jahrhunderten (Berlin - Boston: De Gruyter, 2018), 148-149 (text on p. 149, after Kubińska 1994). Hagel, St., Tomaschitz, K., (eds.), Repertorium der westkilikischen Inschriften (Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse 265, Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris 22, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1998), no. Zen 1 (from Wiegand's edition). Kubińska, J., "L'évêque Firminianos de Zénonopolis et son aqueduc", Les Études classiques 62 (1994) 169-175 (from the stone itself). Schultze, V., Altchristliche Städte und Landschaften, vol. 2 (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1926), 261-262 (from Weißbrodt's edition). Cagnat & Besnier in L'Année épigraphique (1911), 90 (from Weißbrodt's edition). Wiegand, Th., "Inschriften aus der Levante II", Athenische Mitteilungen 36 (1911), 296-297, no. 7 (from his own squeeze). Delehaye, H., "L'aqueduc de S. Socrate à Zénonopolis", Analecta Bollandiana 30 (1911), 316-321 (from Weißbrodt's squeeze). Further reading: Delehaye, H., "'In Brittania' dans le martyrologe hiéronymien", Proceedings of the British Academy 17 (1931), 289-307. Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 82, n. 67; 109. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 88-89. Robert, L., "Nonnos et les monnaies d'Akmonia de Phrygie", Journal des Savants (1975), 3/1, 172, note 97. Serruys, D., "La patrie de S. Socrate", Analecta Bollandiana 30 (1911), 442-443. For further references, see I. Varsovie, 95-96. Reference works: L'Année épigraphique (1911), 90. Bulletin épigraphique (1972), 552. Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 505. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 44, 1222.

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