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E01226: Fragmentary Greek inscription, once wrongly thought to have been the epitaph for a martyred 1st c. preacher of the Gospel. Found in the city of Rhodes (Rhodes, the Aegean Islands). No certain dating.

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posted on 2016-03-23, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[- - -]υχης
Δάφνας καὶ θεοῦ
ἀρχιερεὺς [- - -]
<α>ὐτοῖ<ς> δ’ <ἅ>μα τέ<κ>̣νον
Δωσιθέου κεῖται
ὁ <ἱε>ρὸς εὐαγγελιστὴς
παπαῖ δείλαιος

1. εὐχῆς (?) or ἐνθάδε κεῖ(ν)ται Εὐτ]υχής Grégoire, εὐχῆς Achelis, [ὑπὲρ] <ψ>υχῆς Kaibel and Willamowitz apud Hiller von Gaertringen || 2. Δάφνας or Δαφνᾶς Grégoire, Δάφνας Achelis Hiller von Gaertringen || 4. <α>ὐτοῖ<ς> δ’ <ἅ>μα τέ<κ>̣νον Hiller von Gaertringen, ΔΥΤΟΙΔΜΑΤΕΧΙΟΝ Achelis lapis || 6. ΟΗΡΟC = δ' <ἱε>ρός Kaibel, ΟΗΡΟC = ὁ ἥρως or Οὐῆρος (?) Grégoire, ΟΗΡΟC Achelis || εὐαγγελιστὴς or ΣΥΑΓΓΕΛΕΥΣ or ΣΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣ ΤΗΣ [ΚΑΡΙΑΣ] Grégoire

'[- - -] Daphnas (?) and the arch-priest of God [- - -] together with them lies the child of Dositheos. Oh, the holy evangelist! Woe to the miserable ones!'

Text: IG XII 1, no. 675.

History

Evidence ID

E01226

Saint Name

Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518 Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions

Language

  • Greek

Evidence not before

50

Evidence not after

600

Activity not before

50

Activity not after

600

Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rhodes (island) Rhodes (city)

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

Rhodes (island) Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Rhodes (city) Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Children

Source

A white marble circular stone (resembling a millstone), with a round hole in the centre. Found on the site of the citadel of Rhodes, in the workshop of a stone-cutter. Edited in 1895 by Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen after a copy made by Stylianos Saridakis. There is no detalied description of the stone.

Discussion

The inscription was very poorly preserved and hence its actual character and possible Christian connotations are disputable. It was originally identified simply as 'an epitaph' by Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen, its first editor, based on the occurrence of the word κεῖται/'lies' in line 5. A closer insight into the contents of this text was offered by Hans Achelis. Based on the presumed reference to an εὐαγγελιστής in line 6 he identified the inscription as the epitaph for a certain evangelist, probably one of the 1st c. itinerant preachers of the Gospel, mentioned in the Epistle to the Ephesians 4:11: καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς / 'And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists'. Achelis also interpreted the exclamation in the last line (παπαῖ δείλαιος/'Woe to the miserable ones!') as a concealed statement that the buried person had possibly died a martyr's death. Trying to understand the rest of the incomplete text, Achelis concluded that this evangelist had been originally a highpriest of Apollo in Daphne near Antioch on the Orontes in Syria (Δάφνας καὶ θεοῦ ἀρχιερεύς), who converted to Christianity and was sent to Rhodes to convert others. Such an elaborate theory is, of course, unsound and Henri Grégoire rightly expressed his doubts about Achelis' interpretation. He even suggested the following, though still hypothetical, reconstruction, deprived of any 'markers of Christianity': [ἐνθάδε κεῖ(ν)ται Εὐτ]υχής, Δαφνᾶς καὶ θεοῦ ἀρχιερεύς [ὁ δεῖνα]. αὐτοῖς δ' ἅμα τέκνον Δωσιθέου κεῖται ὁ ἥρως (or Οὐῆρος) Συαγγελεύς (or Συαγγελίς) τῆς [Καρίας]. παπαῖ δείλαιος / '[Here lie Eut]yches, Daphnas and the archpriest of god [so-and-so]. Together with them lies the child of Dositheos, the deceased (or: Verus) citizen of Syangela (or Theangela) (of the province) of [Caria]. Woe to the miserable ones!' In other words, Grégoire suggested that the term εὐαγγελιστής was in fact a misread ethnic: Συαγγελεύς τῆς [Καρίας]. Despite the best efforts of Achelis and Grégoire, their readings are highly dubious. The name Daphnas, argued by Grégoire, is not listed in the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, while another inscription from Rhodes presents the word as a toponym: Ἀντιοχίδος Ἀντιοχίδος ἀπὸ Δάφνας/'Of Antiochis, daughter of Antiochis, from Daphne' (IG XII 1, no. 382). The first line is also more likely to have contained the common Christian votive formula ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς rather than any of the completions proposed by earlier editors. The presumed reference to an evangelist (if there is one) does not necessarily mean that the figure was buried in the tomb – it may be just an invocation of a holy person.

Bibliography

Edition: IGC - Grégoire, H (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 124 (Rhodes). Achelis, H., "Spuren des Urchristentums auf den griechischen Inseln?", Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 1 (1900), 88 (after the edition in IG). Hiller von Gaertringen, F. (ed.), Inscriptiones Graecae, XII: Inscriptiones insularum maris Aegaei praeter Delum, vol. 1: Inscriptiones Rhodi, Chalces, Carpathi cum Saro, Casi (Berlin: Apud G. Reimerum, 1895), no. 675 (after Saridakis' copy). Further reading: Achelis, H., "Spuren des Urchristentums auf den griechischen Inseln?", Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 1 (1900), 98-99.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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