V 115. Bakla.Epitaph of Theodore and Tzalbanda, VIII–IXth centuries C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H.80.0, W.50.0, Th.10.0.

Additional description

Roughly worked block. On the front is an incised Greek cross. Broken in two parts. The bottom right corner is missing; the surface is chipped. 

Place of Origin


Find place


Find context

Foot of the Bakla hill, burial vault, southwestern wall, niche. 

Find circumstances

1984, survey of I.A. Baranov. 

Modern location

Simferopol, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

Central Museum of Tavrida, no inventory number. 


September 2003. 

Epigraphic field


In corners between the arms of the cross. 


Lapidary. Alpha with broken crossbar, left-slanting crossbar, and with a loop. Omega with pointy loops. Ligatures: alpha-upslion, omicron-upsilon. Abbreviated καί. 

Letterheights (cm)






VIII–IXth centuries C.E. 

Dating criteria

Palaeography, archaeological context. 


L1. Baranov1990, 129, fig. 50, 1; 1.1. Sidorenko1997, 642–645. 


+ Ὑπὲρ μνήμης (καὶ) ἀναπαύ-
σεος τοῦ δούλου σου
Θεωδόρου (καὶ) τῖς συβίου αὐτοῦ
Τζαλβάνδα, ἀμήν +.



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Ὑπὲρ μνήμης <expan><ex>καὶ</ex></expan> ἀναπαύ<lb n="2" break="no"/>σεος τοῦ δούλου σου
      <lb n="3"/>Θεωδόρου <expan><ex>καὶ</ex></expan> τῖς συβίου αὐτοῦ
      <lb n="4"/>Τζαλβάνδα, ἀμήν <g ref="#stauros"/>.
Apparatus criticus

2: δούλου θεοῦBaranov
4: Τζὰλ βανδᾴBaranov,Sidorenko


For remembrance and rest of your servant Theodore and his spouse Tzalbanda. Amen.



The difference in execution of lines is due, as Sidorenko rightly pointed out, to uneven stone surface.

1. On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.F.a. In our case, it is not dedicatory, but funerary, which is confirmed by the physical characteristics of the monument.

2. Conflation of the formulae "servant of God" and "your servant" is typical for Christian epigraphy (see IV.3.E.a), but it should not be necessarily considered "popular," as Sidorenko describes it.

3-4. It is also difficult to agree with Sidorenko regarding the addition of the words κ(αὶ) τῖς συβίου αὐτοῦ: the formula used is not in doubt and the only part of the text that can be considered a subsequent addition is the very end, after the name Theodore (as in V 305.4). The latter is quite possible, since that segment of the text is not arranged symmetrically on either side of the cross. Sidorenko's mistaken conclusion about an addition to the original text led to an incorrect understanding of the last line. This has been also mentioned to me by C. Zuckermann in a private conversation. A remarkable verb βανδᾴ (sic!; without any supporting reference) - is certainly lectio difficilior, which is not, however, a reason for accepting it. Due to the unknown ethnic identification of the person buried here we transcribe the female name as Tzalbanda, and not Chalbanda, as does Sidorenko.

4. On the word "amen" at the formula, see V 63.

The script is typically transitional from the Early to Middle Byzantine: particularly characteristic is the simultaneous use of three forms of alpha. Alpha with broken crossbar is not attested in Crimea after the early Xth century (V 66).

Archaeological investigation of the robbed burial vault revealed five skulls and three burials in wooden coffins. The date of burial goods (a buckle), according to Baranov, is 2nd half of the IXth century. The two persons named in the inscription were probably the original owners of the vault, which may have become their family tomb.



(cc)© 2015 Andrey Vinogradov (edition), Irene Polinskaya (translation)
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