V 151. Kalamita. Epitaph of Abramis and Cosmas, XIIIth century C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H. 33.0, W. 47.0.

Additional description

Flat-faced niche, with a border, carved in the rock wall. The surface is chipped, broken on the right and bottom. 

Place of Origin


Find place


Find context

Mouth of Gaytanskaya Gully, church "with baptistery," arcosolium in the north wall, eastern wall. 

Find circumstances

1870s, survey of D.I. Strukov. 

Modern location

In situ. 

Institution and inventory

In situ, no inventory number. 


September 2005. 

Epigraphic field


On the border. 


Lapidary. Alpha with a loop and curved right diagonal, wide mu, minuscule sigma. Accent marks. 

Letterheights (cm)






XIIIth century C.E. 

Dating criteria

Historical context, palaeography. 


L1. Latyshev 1896, 40–42, № 33; 1.1. Millet 1900, № 33; 2. Vinogradov 2005a, 432–434. 


+ Ἐκημήθ(η)σαν ὑ δοῦλη
τοῦ θ(εο)ῦ Ἀβράμης υ(- - -), α´ θ(έσεως) κα̣[ὶ ὁ?]
κόμης μηνὶ πρότο ἰς̣ ἡ-
μ(έραν) η´ · κὲ Κο[σμ]ᾶς, α´ θ(έσεως) κα[ὶ] resp. κ(αὶ) ὁ κ[ό-]
5μης, μη̣νὶ [. ἰς], ἡ-
μ(έραν) τ(ὴν) κθ (?)´.



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> <expan><abbr>Ἐκημήθ</abbr><ex>η</ex><abbr>σαν</abbr></expan> ὑ 
      <lb n="2"/>τοῦ <roleName><expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>εο</ex><abbr>ῦ</abbr></expan></roleName> 
      <abbr>υ</abbr>, <num value="1">α</num> <expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>έσεως</ex></expan> 
      κ<unclear>α</unclear><supplied reason="lost">ὶ</supplied> 
      <supplied reason="lost" cert="low">ὁ</supplied>
      <lb n="3"/>κόμης <date>μηνὶ πρότο 
      ἰ<unclear>ς</unclear> <expan><abbr>ἡ 
     <lb n="4" break="no"/>μ</abbr><ex>έραν</ex></expan> <num value="8">η</num></date> · κὲ 
      Κο<supplied reason="lost">σμ</supplied>ᾶς, 
      <num value="1">α</num> <expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>έσεως</ex></expan> 
      <app type="alternative"><lem>κα<supplied reason="lost">ὶ</supplied></lem> 
      <rdg><expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>αὶ</ex></expan> ὁ</rdg></app> 
      κ<supplied reason="lost">ό</supplied>
     <lb n="5" break="no"/>μης<date>, μ<unclear>η</unclear>νὶ 
     <num><gap reason="lost" quantity="1" unit="character"/></num> 
     <supplied reason="lost">ἰς</supplied>, 
     <expan><abbr>ἡ<lb n="6" break="no"/>μ</abbr><ex>έραν</ex></expan> 
     <num value="29">κθ <certainty locus="value" match=".." cert="low"/></num></date>.
Apparatus criticus

3: υ(ἱὸς ?) Ἄθκ[α Latyshev
3-4: ..´, ἡμ(έρᾳ) [...] Latyshev; ι[θ´], ἡ(μέρᾳ) ς´. Vinogradov
4: Ἄθκα Latyshev
5-6: [Μαρτίῳ ?] ςτκθ´? Latyshev; ἡμ(έρᾳ) ΤΚΘ Millet; ἡ(μέρᾳ) .´, ςϠκθ´ ? Vinogradov


Fell asleep: servants of God, Abramis, ..., of the First Rank and a comes, on the 8th day of the first month; and Cosmas, of the First Rank and a comes, on the 29th day of [...] month.



Latyshev published the inscription relying on the transcription made by Bertye-Delagard (1886, 220–221, fig. 67; see also: Latyshev 1897, 151); a transcription made by D. Strukov is also preserved (Manuscript Archive, Institute for History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences f. Р–I, № 619, l. 4; see Strukov 1876, 26) and the photograph published here taken in the early XXth century (Photo Archive, Institute for History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences (II–36633; O.1320.22)). By now more than half (bottom) of the text has been lost.

The inscription is painted over a twin burial in the northwest part of the church, dated on the basis of architecture and liturgical design to the Late Byzantine period (see Vinogradov, Gaydukov, Zheltov 2005, 76). Apparently, it is an epitaph for two ktitores of the church and possibly of the monastery (cf. V 149). My reading of the text presupposes their high position in the state of Theodoro.

1-2. On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.F.e.

2. The name Abramis is not otherwise attested in inscriptions from Crimea, but is well known in Christian epigraphy: and in exactly the same form we hear of a certain saintly monk (see Delehaye 1902, 1042).

2, 4. Latyshev proposed to interpret ΥΑΘΚ in line 2 and ΑΘΚΑ in line 4 as υ(ἱὸς) Ἄθκ[α] and Ἄθκα respectively, on the basis of a comparison with the names (or surnames) Ἄπκα and Ἀνάτκους in the Chalki (Sougdaia) synaxarium, and his theory has been virtually universally accepted. There are a number of difficulties with such a reading: firstly, an abbreviation υ(ἱὸς) has no parallels among Byzantine inscriptions of the Northern Black Sea region; secondly, it is unclear why this word is not repeated in the second instance. Finally, the diacritics are quite clear in this inscription: accents over some words are distinct, as well as abbreviation marks and number marks, as over the upsilon in question - one such is placed above the alpha that follows the upsilon.

In an epitaph from Eski-Kermen (V 224 ) the name of the deceased is followed by his rank, which is clear and legible: ὁ καὶ τῆς πρώτης θέσεως “of the first rank” (from what follows in that text it becomes clear that he was the head of the "Third Part" — apparently a territorial unit of Theodoro). This is also how I am inclined to read the abbreviation ΑΘ in our inscription — α´ θ(έσεως) (in the second instance - a theta with abbreviating overline), while the following kappa and alpha would represent the remains of καί. Such an interpretation goes with the accompanying title of comes. If indeed we are dealing with a designation of rank or office, then it becomes clear why in the first instance the name is followed by an upsilon, while in the second it is not, but we should resist, in the absence of obvious parallels, a temptation to restore a specific title which would have started with upsilon. Alternative readings for lines 2 and 4 come from the transcription of Strukov.

3, 5. The indication of date in the inscription presents some difficulty. The month is spelled out in the first instance as the first (that is, September, cf. V 169), but in the second instance, it is represented by a digit (cf. V 60, V 89, V 169).

4. On the name Cosmas, see commentary to V 237.

4–6. After the unusual abbreviation ἰς ἡμ(έραν) "on the day," which typically introduces the day of the week, we read a combination of Η and : ΤΚΘ respectively (the archival photograph dispelled my earlier hypothesis about a possible dating by year formula in line 6). In this situation, we must either suppose that the day of the week was stated before this particular word (but in that case we would not be able to interpret the letters that follow), or we should imagine that with this word the author introduces the day of the month, and in the second instance supplies it with an article.

It would appear that Abramis and Kosmas might have been the ktitores of the Church "with baptistery." This church is one of the most "developed" in the Late Byzantine Mountainous Crimea: it is the sole example with an isolated prosthesis and baptistery. The cave complex around it can be interpreted as a monastery. Such a complex and impressive construction program would fit well with the high social status of the deceased, who probably belonged to the top ranks of Theodorite magistrates, and might have been local feudal lords, similarly to La..ouli-bei from Eski-Kermen (see V 224). The palaeographic features (above all, the shape of mu) date this inscription to the Late Byzantine period, but the historical realia (e.g., "the rank") point specifically to the XIIIth century (see V 224).



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