I 35. Tyras. Epitaph of Laisthenes, 1st third of III century C.E.
Marble, white with grey veins.
H. 62.0, W. 36.8, Th. 7.5 - 8.1.
Originally, at the time of editio princeps and the monument's arrival at the museum, the two fragments were joining. According to Blavatskaya: Fragment 1 H. 17,8cm; Fragment 2 H. 37,8cm. Since then, the bottom of Fragment 1 (about 7cm in height) has been lost and the fragments no longer join. The upper part of the stele bears a schematic relief of a female figure down to the chestline and frontally facing. The inscription is carved immediately below. The relief shows a female chest and neck, with schematically rendered folds of clothing, as well as a shcematically rendered shawl covering the head and shoulders. The front is planed, the epigraphic feld is polished, although tool marks are visible. The left and top faces are well worked, the back is roughly picked; other sides are broken off. The stele is thicker towards the bottom. The relief and the epigraphic field are inset about 1,5cm; border width is 7,6cm.
Place of Origin
Belenkoye, Belgorod-Dnestrovsky district, Odessa region, Ukraine.
Found before 1973, by local residents while digging a threshing floor on the edge of the village.
Institution and inventory
The A.S. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, no inventory number.
A.I. Ivantchik, December 2009
On the front, below the relief. Broken of on the right and bottom. Margins: top 1,0; left 0,7cm. H. 10.5, W. 24.5
Deeply and carefully cut letters with small serifs. Alpha with straight crossbar, rectangular sigma, diamond theta and omicron. Average distance between lines: 0,1.
3.3 - 3.4
1st third of III century C.E.
L1. Blavatskaya 1981, 50-53; 1.1. Bull.ép. 1990, n° 532 (Yu. G. Vinogradov); 1.1.1. SEG 40, 641.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/>Λαϊσθένης <unclear>Μ</unclear><supplied reason="lost">όκ</supplied> <lb n="2" break="no"/>κα <orig>ΟΥΜ<unclear>ΑΒ</unclear></orig><gap reason="lost" quantity="4" unit="character"/> <lb n="3"/><gap reason="illegible" quantity="2" unit="character"/><gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> <lb n="4"/><gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> </ab> </div>
2: Ουμα[- - -]λ[- - -] Blavatskaya; μὰ γ[ὰρ πό]λε[ως κτλ.
Laisthenes, son of M[okk]a [- - -]
The stele was apparently discovered by local residents in a more or less complete form when they were digging a threshing floor near a farm yard on the edge of the village, some time before 1973. It was then kept at a school nearby. When the school moved, the stele was discarded and probably broken. Two joining fragments were discovered by E.A. Symonovich (1981, 50) in 1973 and then given by him to the A.S. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
The restoration of the person's name who had set up the tombstone (or whose grave it marked) as Laisthenes, son of Mokka, was proposed by T.B. Blavatskaya on the basis of comparison with I 2, dated to 181 C.E. She also synchornised these two inscriptions and considered the two Laisthenes to be the same person. P.O. Karyshkovsky (1980, 80; cf. Karyshkosvky, Kleiman 1985m 131), however, suggested that the tombstone belongs to a grandson of the archon mentioned in I 2. This is convincing, considering that the script of the inscription is characteristic of the period of late Severan emperors. Karyshkovsky also speculated that Laisthenes had been killed in a battle with Karpoi, which took place in the vicinity of Tyras in 214 C.E., and was buried on the site. We cannot exclude such a possibility, but this hypothesis is not supported by other considerations. For instance, it is unclear why a female relief wouls appear on a tombstone of a fallen warrior. Rather a female relief suggests a female burial, and the name of Laisthenes probably points to a person who had set up the tombstone, as has been suggested by Blavatskaya.
Yu.G. Vinogradov, agreeing with Karyshkovsky about the date, supported Blavatskaya's view about the role of Laisthenes as the person who had set up the tombstone, and viewed the inscription as an epitaph or votive epigram, restoring Λαϊσθένης Μ[όκ]κα οὐ μὰ γ[ὰρ πό]λε[ως κτλ. The autopsy of the stone shows that the last letter of line 2 is rho or beta: the rounded loop is clear at the break. Names that begin with Ουμαρ- are, as far as I am aware, unattested; there is one example of a name that starts with Ουμαβ-: Ουμαβιος, in an Olbian decree of the I century C.E., found in Mangup (SEG 46.947), line 22.
In the last line, tops of two letters are preserved. The first might be an alpha, delta or lambda; the second - gamma, sigma or epsilon.