V 61. Cherson. Epitaph of Stephanos, Stephanos and Christophoros, IV–Vth centuries C.E.
H. 42.0, W. 28.5, Th. 15.0.
Stone cross; elongated bottom arm and widening ends. Right corners of the top and bottom arms are broken off. The surface is chipped all over.
Place of Origin
Western necropolis, bank of a gully, unknown burial vault, near the entrance.
1890, excavations of K.K. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich.
Institution and inventory
National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 4138.
May 1999, August 2001, September 2002, September 2003, September 2004, September 2005, September 2006, September 2007.
Entire surface, except for the top arm.
Lapidary. Alpha with slanting crossbar, beta with enlarged bottom loop; elongated rho, tau, upsilon, phi; semi-diamond-shaped rho; У-shaped upsilon; diamond-shaped phi.
IV–Vth centuries C.E.
L1. Latyshev 1892, 36, № 29; 1.1. Latyshev 1896, 31–32, № 24; 2. Vinogradov 2010, 139–141, № k.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/>Ὑπ<unclear>ὲ</unclear>ρ μ<unclear>νή</unclear>μης καὶ <lb n="2"/><unclear>ἀ</unclear>ν<unclear>α</unclear>παύσεος Στε<lb n="3" break="no"/>φάνου καὶ Στεφ<lb n="4" break="no"/>άνου καὶ Χρ<lb n="5" break="no"/>ηστοφό<lb n="6" break="no"/>ρου πρησβυ<lb n="7" break="no"/>τέρον. Ἀμὴν. </ab> </div>
For remembrance and rest of Stephanos, and Stephanos, and Christopher, the presbyters. Amen.
On the discovery, see Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich 1890, 35, fig. 19. The monument was on display at the exhibition "Byzantine Cherson" (Chichurov1991, 28, № 13).
1–2. On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.F.a.
2-6. The name Stephanos is attested among Early Byzantine inscriptions of Crimea - V 281, Christophoros - is known from Cherson (V 79) and probably also in V 249 from Sougdaia. In Christian epigraphy it is attested altogether twelve times, according to PHI7 Database.
6-7. The phonetics reflected in the inscription belong to the transitional period: eta is used to convey both the sound "e" (in πρησβυτέρον) and the sound "i" (in Χρηστοφόρου). Latyshev dates this phenomenon to the VI-VIIth centuries, but in Bosporos it is already evident in the inscriptions of the IV-Vth centuries (cf. V 282,V 283, V 306).
In terms of palaeography, the inscription is close to V 5, if we compare the shapes of alpha, as well as beta with enlarged bottom loop. The date in the IV-Vth centuries suggests that at this time, presbyters were still buried outside city walls (Sorochan 2005, 1054). This inscription is the only Christian epitaph at the Western Necropolis.
What is not entirely clear is how we are to understand the burial of three presbyters together (the inscription is carved by one hand): whether it indicates their contemporaneous death (e.g., due to violence or epidemic, cf. V 64), or should be seen as priestly grave, over which the funerary monument was erected not immediately after the first burial, but soem time later. Tombstones in the shape of a cross are conventionally considered a characteristic of Constantinople and its Bithynian vicinity (see Feissel 2006, № 181, 185, 396, 410).