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E01230: Greek inscription with a possible reference to a martyr, whose name is lost. Just possibly a conjuration/imprecation, or marker of a burial ad sanctos. Found near Antissa (Lesbos, the Aegean Islands). Probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 2016-03-30, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Inscription A (running around a circular panel):

[- - - τὸν μ]άρτυρα τὸ π[- - -].

Inscription B (framed by a tabula ansata):

+ πάντες [οἱ ἀδελ]-
φοὶ καὶ πα̣τ[έρες]
μεμνημένο[ι ἐμοῦ πάν-]
τοτε μὴ συνκ[αλύ-]
ψητε τὴν ἐμὴ̣ν [μνή-]
μην ἐν τõͅ μνη̣μ[είω μή-]
τε ἐπιβάλητέ τ[ινα τῶ τά-]
φω μου, ἔχοντες [- - -]

A1. [ἐνορκίζω τὸν μ]άρτυρα τὸ [π - - -] Paton, [μ]άρτυρα τόπ[ον or φ (?)] Grégoire || B8. ἔχοντες [κριτὴν τὸν θεόν or θεὸν κριτήν] Grégoire, ΕΧΟΝΤΕC Γ[- - -] drawing

Inscription A: '[- - - the] martyr [- - -].'

Inscription B: '+ Αll [the] brethren and fathers, who always remember [me], do not conceal my memory in the tomb, and do not put anybody else [into] my [gr]ave, having [- - -].'

Text: IG XII 2, no. 525.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : S00060

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions Literary - Magical texts and amulets


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Lesbos Antissa

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

Lesbos Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Antissa 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

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


Fragment of a plaque, broken and lost on all sides. Found in the place 'Gabatha/Gavatha', to the west of Antissa by a local, Emmanuel N. Gelama. First edited by William Paton after a squeeze. In the left-hand section of the fragment, there is a partially preserved large carving of a cross. Inscription A runs around a circular panel, sited to the right of the cross. Inscription B is engraved below Inscription A and framed by a tabula ansata.


Inscription A is very fragmentarily preserved. The legible section probably contains the word 'martyr', which, given the Christian context of the decorations carved on the object, probably refers to a saint. William Paton, the first editor of the inscription, suggested that the panel, on which Inscription A was engraved, contained a picture of this presumed martyr, and that the preserved passage should be reconstructed as a conjuration, for example: [ἐνορκίζω τὸν μ]άρτυρα τὸ [π - - -] / '[I conjure the] martyr, the [- - -]'. As a parallel, he quoted an epitaph from Tanagra in Boeotia (central Greece) with an imprecation: μάρτυς ἐστὶ δὲ τῶνδ' ἀτρεκὴς ὁ ἅγιος μάρτυς, ὡς καὶ ἐπὶ κάρατος γεγραφήατε ὄβριμος ὅρκος/'The holy martyr is a trusted witness of these, as the mighty curse has been written in the beginning' (see: IG VII, no. 582 and EXXXX). Henri Grégoire rejected this interpretation and preferred to consider Inscription A as referring to the burial place of a martyr. However, the reconstruction, he proposed, makes little sense: [μ]άρτυρα τόπ[ον] / 'martyr, place'. Inscription B is certainly the epitaph for an unnamed person. According to Paton's reconstruction the deceased asks fellow Christians to keep his memory alive and not to bury anybody else in his tomb. Grégoire supposed that the last line could have contained a sentence appointing God as the guardian of the peaceful rest of the deceased, threatening all possible desecrators: ἔχοντες [κριτὴν τὸν θεόν] / 'having [God as the judge]'. Combining the presumed reference to a martyr in Inscription A with the funerary character of Inscription B, Grégoire concluded that the inscription must have marked a burial ad sanctos, that is close to a martyr's relics. This is, of course, a very fragile hypothesis. The reference to a martyr (if any) is too poorly preserved to be used as an argument, while the proper epitaph (Inscription B) says nothing about the alleged closeness of a martyr's tomb.


Edition: IGC - Grégoire, H (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 162 (after Paton's edition). IG XII,2 - Paton, W.R. (ed.), Inscriptiones Graecae, vol. 12: Inscriptiones insularum maris Aegaei praeter Delum, part 2: Inscriptiones Lesbi, Nesi, Tenedi (Berlin: Apud G. Reimerum, 1899), no. 525. Further reading: Leclercq, H., "Achaïe", Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et liturgie, vol. 1/1 (Paris: Librarie Letouzey et Ané, 1924), 337.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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