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OpenEdition Books

Studies in Greek epigraphy and history in honor of Stefen V. Tracy

 | 
Gary Reger
, 
Francis X. Ryan
, 
Timothy Francis Winters

Part I. New inscriptions

Chapter 5. Two Early Christian inscriptions from Eleusis

Erkki Sironen

Texte intégral

  • 2 Early Christian inscriptions were excluded from Kirchner’s corpus in favor of a separate Christian (...)
  • 3 IG, II/III2, 13254, 13265, 13267, 13513, 13514, 13515, 13633, 13682 and 13685. Stronen 1997, no. 22 (...)
  • 4 Lenormant 1862, no. 126, 127, 128, 129, and 131 = IG, II/III2, 13682, 13513, 13515, 13685 and Siron (...)
  • 5 Sironen 1997, no. 9 = Clinton 2005, no. 660; IG, II/III2, 13267; the only possibly Post-Herulian in (...)
  • 6 Sironen 1997, no. 221 = Lenormant 1862, no. 130; IG, II/III2, 13514.
  • 7 Sironen 1997, no. 322 and 325 = Lenormant 1862, no. 125 and Soteriou 1931, 233; IG, II/III2, 13254 (...)
  • 8 Sironen 1997, no. 345bis = Soteriou 1931, 184; IG, II/III2, 13633.

1In what follows the last inedita for a corpus of Attic texts from the Post-Herulian and Early Christian period, i.e. dating from around AD 267 to 600, will be presented prior to a publication of a separate supplement to the post-classical Kirchnerian Inscriptiones Graecae2. A fair number of 12 Late Antique inscriptions from Eleusis have been published so far3 As many as five of them have not been located since their edition by F. Lenormant in 18624. As far as published documents are concerned, four dedications5, a Christian epitaph6, two Christian votive dedications7 and a Christian thorakion8 survive today.

A Votive Dedication

2A fragment of grayish marble, broken on top and at right, but without loss of text. The monument has been roughly finished at the left and bottom edges. Height 0.28 m; width 0.47 m; thickness 0.10 m. Letter height 0.0015-0.0036 m (christograms 0.055 m); interlinear space 0.003-0.018 m. Inventory number E 901.

καλλιεργα πρ
ε
χῆς κ<α> σωτηρίας
ν οδεν· ὁ Θ(εò)ς τ ὀνώ-
μα<τ>α.

3“The beautiful work (has been carried out) for the vow and safety of those, whose names God knows”.

4Whatever the adorned work (καλλιεργα) may have been, the work of the letter-cutter looks uneven. It is interesting to find cursive alphas side by side with ones that feature a broken bar, the latter becoming increasingly popular during the sixth century AD. Note also the peculiar form of sigma at the end of line 2. Furthermore, the letter-cutter made two mistakes: in line 2 the letters alpha and iota, or rather epsilon, have not been cut, whereas in line 4 tau was not carved despite a wide space available. To compensate for these flaws, the orthography is better – only the omega at the end of line 3 stands for an obviously accentuated omicron.

  • 9 Sironen 1997, no. 327 = SEG, 18, 135; IG, II/III2, 13258; from Laureotikos Olympos.
  • 10 From among 22 Late Antique votive inscriptions and Early Christian dedications, only the following (...)

5On the whole, this Early Christian votive dedication does not follow the most typical models. Apart from a very similar mosaic inscription found in southern Attica9, there are very few anonymous votive dedications in the province of Achaia with comparable wording10. It is difficult to decide whether our inscription should be ascribed to the fifth or sixth century AD.

Invocation

6An irregular fragment of whitish marble, broken at left with a minimal loss of text. The right and bottom edges have been roughly finished, back finished semi-roughly. Height 0.18 m; width 0.32 m; thickness 0.085 m. Letter height 0.013-0.032 m; interlinear space 0.03 m. Inventory number E 575.

[Κ](ύρι)ε βοήθι τώ -
[]κ τούτ.
“Lord, bring help to this house!”

7The lettering is very coarse, executed haphazardly, almost like a graffito, as is usual in invocations of this type. In any case this document shows the work of an amateur; he knew, however, to cut a horizontal bar to indicate the abbreviation of a nomen sacrum. In this short text orthographical errors are comparatively numerous: in line 1 read βοήθει instead of βοήθι and οκ instead of κ. All of this suggests a date rather in the sixth than in the fifth century AD, although we cannot be absolutely certain.

  • 11 Cf. Sironen 1997, 334-335 for a short survey of 30 Late Antique invocations and prayers from the pr (...)
  • 12 Sironen 1997, no. 322 = Lenormant 1862, no. 125; IG, II/III2, 13254; † πρ εχής 'Αρτεμισίου κέ πα (...)

8Because Early Christian invocations very often begin with Κ(ύρι)ε βοήθει, it is highly probable that there was not more than one letter lost at the left margin. If this is the case, our document does not follow the usual formula where help is being asked for a particular person, almost always for the praying person himself or herself11. Is it a mere coincidence that in Eleusis the house or the family is mentioned in Early Christian inscriptions more often than elsewhere in the province of Achaia12? With the addition of these minor documents to the corpus we probably cannot decide, but we certainly know more now than we did before.

Notes

2 Early Christian inscriptions were excluded from Kirchner’s corpus in favor of a separate Christian fascicle of inscriptions; but in the vicissitudes and aftermath of the Second World War, J. Lietzmann and G. Soteriou could not finish the task assigned to them in 1940. The corpus was published in December 2008.

3 IG, II/III2, 13254, 13265, 13267, 13513, 13514, 13515, 13633, 13682 and 13685. Stronen 1997, no. 224 was excluded from the IG volume for being too late in date. Three possibly Post-Herulian inscriptions not included in my doctoral thesis are to be found in Clinton 2005, no. 656, 657, and 658.

4 Lenormant 1862, no. 126, 127, 128, 129, and 131 = IG, II/III2, 13682, 13513, 13515, 13685 and Sironen 1997, no. 224, respectively.

5 Sironen 1997, no. 9 = Clinton 2005, no. 660; IG, II/III2, 13267; the only possibly Post-Herulian inscriptions can be found in Clinton 2005, no. 656, 657, and 658.

6 Sironen 1997, no. 221 = Lenormant 1862, no. 130; IG, II/III2, 13514.

7 Sironen 1997, no. 322 and 325 = Lenormant 1862, no. 125 and Soteriou 1931, 233; IG, II/III2, 13254 and 13256.

8 Sironen 1997, no. 345bis = Soteriou 1931, 184; IG, II/III2, 13633.

9 Sironen 1997, no. 327 = SEG, 18, 135; IG, II/III2, 13258; from Laureotikos Olympos.

10 From among 22 Late Antique votive inscriptions and Early Christian dedications, only the following three are comparable with our piece of anonymous dedicants: Meritt 1931, no. 253 (not deciphered by Meritt); SEG, 34, 305 (from the Laconian site of Molaoi); Pallas 1977, 22-23, no. IV (from Kallion, Phocis). Cf. Sironen 1997, 326-327.

11 Cf. Sironen 1997, 334-335 for a short survey of 30 Late Antique invocations and prayers from the province of Achaia. None of them or the 10 Attic invocations, prayers and acclamations show this phrase.

12 Sironen 1997, no. 322 = Lenormant 1862, no. 125; IG, II/III2, 13254; † πρ εχής 'Αρτεμισίου κέ παν { τοσ } τòς το οκο<υ> ατο, an Early Christian dedication from Eleusis.

Auteur

Senior Lecturer in Ancient Greek Language and Literature, University of Helsinki, Finland. Both of the inscriptions presented here for Professor Stephen V. Tracy, who kindly initiated me into Attic epigraphy in Athens and has been helpful ever since 1987, have remained unpublished until recently (see now IG, II/III2, 13261 and 13312). I would like to thank the 3rd Ephorate of Classical Antiquities and the Eleusis Museum for the permission to study and publish these inscriptions.

© Ausonius Éditions, 2010

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