V 5. Cherson. Building inscription of Theodosios and Arkadios, 392–393 C.E.
H. 39.0, W. 80.0, Th. 34.0.
Cut at the top and bottom; the surface has flaked considerably.
Place of Origin
City wall, southern sector, inner face of the wall, rooms 25 and 26, masonry.
1899, excavations of K.K. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich
Institution and inventory
National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 3690.
May 1999, August 2001, September 2002, September 2003, September 2004, September 2005, September 2006, September 2007.
On the front.
Lapidary; letters are of uneven height, smaller in the first and last lines than in the rest of the text. Alpha with a slanting crossbar, beta with enlarged and pointy bottom loop; epsilon, sigma and omega are both lunate (lines 1-4) and rectangular (lines 1-8); mu with short central hastae; cursive ksi; the vertical of phi projects above the line of writing.
L1. Latyshev 1901b, 56–59; 1.1. IOSPE IV 464; 1.1.1. Shestakov 1907, 7; 1.2. IOSPE I2 450; 1.3. Zuckermann 1994, 550; 1.4. Zubar 1994, 142–143; 2. Vinogradov 2007, 255–257, № 1; 2.1. Vinogradov 2010, 100-107, № c.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><supplied reason="lost">Ἐ</supplied>πεὶ τῶν δεσποτῶν ἡμῶν, τῶν <expan><abbr>ἐων</abbr><ex>ίων</ex></expan> <lb n="2"/><rs type="month" ref="aug">Αὐγού<surplus>σ</surplus>των</rs>, τῶν ἀνεικ<supplied reason="lost">ή</supplied><lb n="3" break="no"/>των κὲ <expan><abbr>Φλ</abbr><ex>αβίων</ex></expan> Θεοδ<supplied reason="lost">ο</supplied><lb n="4" break="no"/>σίου κὲ Ἀρκαδίου καὶ ἐ<lb n="5" break="no"/>πεὶ τῆς πράξεως τοῦ πολὰ <lb n="6"/>καμόντος <expan><abbr>Φλ</abbr><ex>αβίου</ex></expan> Βίτου <expan><abbr>τριβού</abbr><ex>νου</ex></expan> καὶ <lb n="7"/>τῶν <expan><abbr>μηχανι</abbr><ex>κῶν</ex></expan> οἰκ<supplied reason="lost">ο</supplied>δομήθη τὸ τῖχ<supplied reason="lost">ος</supplied> <lb n="8"/><unclear>Χ</unclear><supplied reason="lost">ερ</supplied>σο͂ν<unclear>ο</unclear><supplied reason="lost">ς</supplied>, <space unit="character"/> <unclear>Ε</unclear>ὐθηρ<unclear>ή</unclear>ου τοῦ <supplied reason="lost">μ</supplied>εγαλο<lb n="9" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost" cert="low">πρεπεστάτου</supplied> <supplied reason="lost" cert="low">κόμητος</supplied> <gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> </ab> </div>
1: [Ἐ]πὶ Shestakov et alii;
[Ὑπ]ὲ[ρ] Latyshev, IOSPE
8: [τῆς Χερ]σόν[ος] Shestakov et alii; [·· ? ··]εον[τος] IOSPE ; vac. Feissel apud Vinogradov 2007; δι᾿ Latyshev et alii; [ἐπὶ] Zuckermann
9: κόμητος ? IOSPE I2 et alii ἄρχοντος resp. πρωτεύοντος Zubar
In the reign of our Rulers, eternal Augusti, the invincible Flavii Theodosios and Arkadios, through the assistance of Flavius Vitus, the tribune, who has laboured a lot, as well as of the master builders, the wall of Cherson was erected with [...] of the most magnificent comes Eutherios…
On the circumstances of find, see Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich 1901b, 40. The surface of the stone has flaked since the time of its find, and today only lines 1-5 can be made out.
Of palaeographic interest is the juxtaposition of the lunate shapes of epsilon, sigma and omega in lines 1-4 with the rectangular shapes in lines 5-8. Alpha with broken crossbar on Latyshev's drawing is a mistake: the slanting crossbar is clearly visible on the stone.
The poor quality of this inscription is striking in many respects: there are numerous orthographic mistakes (itacism, haplography) and some missed letters; the letters are uneven, their size diminishing towards the end. The latter characteristic is similar to the inscription of the IVth century (before 333 C.E.) from Sparta (Feissel, Philippidis-Braat 1985, no. 22). One is left under the impression that the inscription was carved by someone unaccustomed to stone-working, and/or writing, perhaps by someone from the garrison, who was probably of non-Greek origin (see below, comments on line 3).
1. On the title δεσπότης ἡμῶν see Rösch 1978, 39–40, as well as V 7.
1-2. The title αἰώνιοι Αὔγουστοι is applied to Theodosios I and Arkadios in I.Portes 19, Robert 1948, no. 51 (see Rösch 1978, 34–35).
2-3. The title ἀνίκητοι (see Rösch 1978, 45–46) is more typical for the beginning rather than the end of the IVth century: in combination with αἰώνιοι и Αὔγουστοι it is attested in SEG 8.19; its Latin equivalent invictus is applied to Theodosios in CIL VI, 1187; IX, 333. The closest parallel to the titulature attested in our inscription is known with respect to Theodosios II (Rösch 1978, 164).
The abbreviation ΦΦΛΛ, uncommon in Greek inscriptions (one exception is LBW 2537b), corresponds to the Latin FFLL, used as the dual form in the IV-VIth centuries (Gordon 1977, 78).
3-4. The building inscription of Theodosios and Arkadios belongs to the years of their joint rule (383-395 C.E.). PLRE I 315, 972 narrows down the chronological window and dates the inscription to 392 C.E., that is, the time period between the death of Valentinian in May 392 C.E. and the proclamation of Honorius as Augustus in January 393 C.E. Two inscriptions from Syria (IGLS 1587, 1588) are dated in the same way.
4-5. The unusual manner of composition of this inscription is coupled with the hapax use of the phrase ἐπὶ τῆς πράξεως.
6. Tribune Flavius Vitus is not attested in other sources.
7. The building formula ᾠκοδομήθη is known in Early Byzantine period mainly in Syria (10 times, according to PHI7 Database; and twice in Egypt, once in Mesopotamia), including a use specifically with respect to a wall (IGLS 1739).
Comes Eutherios (here Euthereos) is otherwise unknown. His title indicates that he was vir illustris, perhaps also magister militum (PLRE I, 315): such an official is known from an inscription of the time of Valens (Solomonik 1983, 28–30, no. 3). The restorations proposed by Latyshev ("by Eutherios") and Zuckermann ("under Eutherios," so as to rectify the order of subordination: tribune should have come after comes) are not viable, because vacat is clearly visibly on the old estampage (as has been pointed out to me by D. Feissel in a private conversation): thus, we should rather identify here a formula with the Genitive Absolute.
For the historical context, see Vinogradov 2010а, 103-107.