V 31. Cherson. Dedication of unknown, middle - second half of Vth century C.E.
H. 22.5, W. 30.0, Th. 2.0.
The front is carved away to form a shallow relief within a frame (Th. 2.5cm), inlaid with coloured stucco. The relief depicts two figures on either side of the cross: the first, in chiton and himation, holds a cross in his left hand and makes a blessing with his right; the second, shorter figure, also in chiton and himation, stands under a fig tree in the pose of an orant. Broken into 9 fragments, broken on the left and top. Only one piece has survived from the bottom edge.
Place of Origin
Extramural Cruciform Church, exterior.
1902, excavations of K.K. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich.
Institution and inventory
Bottom edge of the frame.
Lapidary style, somewhat careless. Mu with sagging crossloop, Y-shaped upsilon.
Middle - second half of Vth century C.E.
Style of representation, palaeography.
L1. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich 1906, 79, fig. 79; 1.1. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich 1909, 67; 1.2. Vinogradov 2009, 234–236.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/>Οὗ ὁ <roleName>θεὸς</roleName> τὸ ὄνομ<supplied reason="lost">α</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">οἶδεν, ἐποίησεν <note>e.g.</note></supplied> </ab> </div>
ἐποίησεν e.g. Vinogradov; om. Latyshev apud Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich 1906
Whose name God [knows, made this].
The edition of the inscription, found in the publications of K.K. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich, was proposed by V.V. Latyshev. The stone was stolen from the exhibition of the State Hermitage in the 1990s.
Since the cross probably occupied the vertical centre of the relief, we could provisionally reconstruct its width at about 0.28m. The broken off and re-attached piece at left bottom corner, bearing the image of a right sandal belonging to the tall figure, must have fit right in with the bottom left corner of the panel. The inscription must have started just in that corner. It can thus be suggested that the remains of the preserved letter strokes belong to the initial words of the inscription.
On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.B.i. It is unclear why Zalesskaya (1976, 35–38, fig. 1) identifies the figures specifically as Christ and St. Phocas the Gardener - in my opinion, we most likely have here a saint (possibly associated with the Extramural Cruciform Church) making a sign of benediction and an anonymous dedicant in the pose of an orant (cf. eulogia stamp with the image of a saint and an orant on either side of the cross (Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich 1901, 116–117, fig. 16)).
The shape of mu makes our inscription a relative of V 21. The rounded shape of letters also supports an early date (see commentary to V 28). The exact function of the panel is difficult to determine. Judging by the reconstructed size, it is not likely to have been part of the altar partition. It is more likely to be simply a votive insert into a wall. Considering its date, we could suggest that the inscription might have come from the first little church that had stood on that spot and which could not have been earlier than the coin of the first half of the Vth century found under its floor (Sorochan 2005, 802-803).