V 159. Chora of Chersonesos. Epitaph of Photeinos, V–VIIth centuries C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H. 76.5, W. 28.0, Th. 18.0.

Additional description

Stele in the shape of a support (on the bottom front - semi-spherical niche) mounted by a carved circle, with a carved Greek cross with flaring arms inscribed into the circle. Broken in two parts, small chips on the surface; by 1986, only the middle part was surviving. 

Place of Origin

Chora of Chersonesos. 

Find place


Find context

Sakharnaya Golovka, necropolis, pit grave 3. 

Find circumstances

1952, excavations of E.V. Veymarn. 

Modern location

Bakhchisaray, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

Bakhchisaray State Historical and Cultural Preserve, no inventory number. 


September 2006. 

Epigraphic field


Between the circle and the niche. 


Lapidary, bouletée. Alpha with broken crossbar, rectangular epsilon, У- and V-shaped upsilon. 

Letterheights (cm)






V–VIIth centuries C.E. 

Dating criteria

Palaeography, orthography. 


L1. Solomonik 1986, 215–216, fig. 9–10. 


+ Κ(ύρι)ε ἀν̣{ν}άπ[αυ-]
σον τὴν ψυ-
χ̣ὲν Φωτινοῦ.



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> <roleName><expan><abbr>Κ</abbr><ex>ύρι</ex><abbr>ε</abbr></expan></roleName>
      ἀ<unclear>ν</unclear><surplus>ν</surplus>άπ<supplied reason="lost">αυ</supplied><lb n="2" break="no"/>σον τὴν
      ψυ<lb n="3" break="no"/><unclear>χ</unclear>ὲν
Apparatus criticus

1-2: α[.]ματ[.]ον Solomonik


Lord, rest the soul of Photeinos.



It would appear that M.Ya. Choref was preparing a publication of this inscription: a photograph and drawing (inscribed fig. 1) of the text can be found in his archive (currently at the Bakhchisaray Historico-Cultural Preserve).

Ye.V. Veymarn (1963, 51, fig. 10.) dated the burial to the VIth-VIIIth centuries, while A.I. Aybabin dated the area with burial vaults where this inscription had been found to the VIIIth-IXth centuries. Solomonik simply applied the same date to the inscription. There are reasons to doubt such late dating, however: a characteristic interchange of eta and epsilon, as well as the script point to an Early Byzantine date. The style, formula, palaeography and orthography (dittography of nu) place this inscription in close affinity with the epigraphic tradition of Chersonesos of the V-VIIth centuries (cf. V 60, V 61, V 62, V 63, V 64), and if Aibabin's dating of archaeological remains is correct, then we would be dealing with secondary use, or reuse of an earlier monument, in which case the main attraction would have been the image of the cross, without an effort to change the earlier text. If our hypothesis about the date and origin is correct, then this inscription would represent the most geographically distant (from the metropolis) Byzantine inscription of Cherson.

1–3. On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.F.b.

The name Photeinos, otherwise unknown in the Black Sea region, is Christian: we know of three martyrs of that name (see Delehaye 1902, 1177). According to PHI7 Database, it is attested 16 times in Byzantine epigraphy, predominantly in Asia Minor.



(cc) © 2015 Andrey Vinogradov (edition), Irene Polinskaya (translation)
You may download this inscription in EpiDoc XML. (This file should validate to the EpiDoc schema.)