V 183. Theodoro. Invocation of Agapios, Gregory, and John, IX–XIth centuries C.E.
H. 9.5, W. 25.0, Th. 21.0.
Frieze with a double row of acanthus-leaf decoration, in secondary use; the smooth front bears graffiti and drawings. Chipped on the surface, and broken on the right.
Place of Origin
Basilica, baptistery, pavement, next to Wall B, on the north side, over Tomb IV.
1938, excavations of M.A. Tikhanova.
Institution and inventory
Bakhchisaray State Historical and Cultural Preserve, no inventory number.
Epigraphic field 1
Mid-height, on the left; over the graffito of a head with a halo.
IX–XIth centuries C.E.
<div type="textpart" subtype="inscription" n="1"> <ab> <supplied reason="lost"><roleName><expan><abbr>Κ</abbr><ex>ύρι</ex><abbr>ε</abbr></expan></roleName>, βοήθει <note>e.g.</note></supplied> Ἀγα<supplied reason="lost">πί</supplied>ο <expan><abbr>ἀναξ</abbr><ex>ί</ex><abbr>ο</abbr></expan> <expan><abbr>πρ</abbr><ex>ω</ex><abbr>το<supplied reason="lost">π</supplied>α<supplied reason="lost">π</supplied>ᾷ</abbr></expan> <note>?</note>. </ab> </div>
Lord, help (?)] Agapios, unworthy protopope.
The stone is part of the same Early Byzantine cornice in secondary use as was used for V 193 . Apparently, two fragments of the Early Byzantine relief had been built into a wall with their top side showing, and that side was then used for graffiti. Unfortunately, notes that were taken during the physical inspection of monuments in situ, are lost, and the readings offered here are based on the photographs. At the top left there is one more inscription, but this one is in Gotthic (Vinogradov, Korobov 2015).
The title "protopope" is known in the Northern Black Sea region from V 345 (Bosporus, 2nd half of XIth century).
Epigraphic field 2
Mid-height, on the right side, to the right of Text 1.
Graffito, uncial. Letters have light serifs; alpha with a pointy loop, beta with bottom underline, Y-shaped upsilon.
IX–XIth centuries C.E.
L1. Yaylenko 1987, 163; 1.1. SEG 39, 700.
<div type="textpart" subtype="inscription" n="2"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Ὁ <roleName>θεός</roleName>, τῖ πρ<choice><corr>ε</corr><sic>ο</sic></choice>σβείᾳ τοῦ <roleName>ἁ<supplied reason="lost">γίου</supplied></roleName> <lb n="2"/>Ἰωάννου σῶσον τ<supplied reason="lost">ὸν</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">δοῦλόν</supplied> <lb n="3"/>σου παπᾶν Γριγώρ<supplied reason="lost">ιν</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">ἀναγνόσ</supplied><lb n="4" break="no"/>την ἁμαρτολόν, <supplied reason="lost">ἀμήν</supplied>. </ab> </div>
1: ὅ ἐστι πρεσβεῖα Yaylenko; τῖ τῇ
Lord, by intercedence of St. John, save your servant, priest Gregory, a sinful lector. Amen.
The inscription was published without an image; it would appear that at the time of its discovery, the right edge was still preserved.
Tikhanova (1953, 386, n. 1) does not offer a reading of the text, but only a translation: "O, Lord, [hear] and supplication of St. John and save your servant, Father Gregory, a sinful lector."
1. The incorrect reading of the line led Yaylenko to a false conclusion about the dedication of the baptistery to St. John the Precursor. Indeed, St. John of our inscription could be St. John the Baptist, but the stone found in the pavement may not have originally belonged there. An analogy for omicron instead of epsilon in the word πρεσβεία is known from Thür, Taeuber 1994, № 18 (ca. 189 B.C.E.). The formula of this inscription is paralleled in Wessel 1989, № 461 (VIth century., crypt of the church of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter in Rome): Ὁ θεός, τῇ πρεσβείᾳ τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων καὶ τῆς ἁγίας Ἑλενης σῶσον τούς σου δούλους Ἰωαννην καὶ Θωμᾶν (cf. also Grégoire 1929, № 283 (Phoenix, Kassosos, Vth century): Ὁ θεὸς σῶζε ... τῷ δούλῳ σου; cf. Feissel 1980, 483, № 1). At the same time, this formula is also attested in Middle Byzantine times, e.g., in Guillou 1996, № 138 (Santa Severina, 1035–1036 C.E.): Κύριε ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, τῇ πρεσβείᾳ ... θεοτόκου, ... Ἀνδρέου καὶ ... Σευηρίνης, μνησθήθη τοῦ δούλου σου ...
2–3. On the name Gregory (here Grigoris), see commentary to V 27. Lectors are mentioned in two other inscriptions from Mangup (V 181 и V 189), suggesting that their position was of high social consequence; see below.
Tikhanova compares the script of our inscription with that of V 21, V 56, dated to the V–VIIth centuries, as well as with V 47 (IX–Xth century). We should point out, however, that in applying the same method of analogy, Tikhanova has misdated an inscription from Taman (see commentary to V 334) by some one thousand years. Meanwhile, a beta with extended bottom hasta clearly dates this inscription to the IX-Xth centuries. Thus, a suggestion of Aybabin (1999, 123–124) to date the inscription to the XIth century on the basis of the title "pope" used in reference to a lector (see Sophocles 1914, 839; at the same time, Aybabin's proposition to date the baptistery to the same period stems from the mistake of Yaylenko).
Epigraphic field 3
IX–XIth centuries C.E.
<div type="textpart" subtype="inscription" n="3"> <ab><supplied reason="lost">Βοή</supplied>θη τὸν δοῦλόν σου, πατήρ μου, πρεσβύτερον Ἰω<supplied reason="lost">άννην</supplied> <gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/><w part="F">ετον</w> <space extent="unknown" unit="character"/> Προκωπίου <note>?</note>.</ab> </div>
Help, o my father, your servant, presbyter Ioannos... of Prokopios.