V 171. Theodoro. Building inscription of Justinian I, 532–533, 547–548 or 562–563 C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H. 23.0, W. 47.0, Th. 17.5.

Additional description

Secondary use. Cut on all sides (including the back), except for the top. 

Place of Origin


Find place


Find context

Great basilica, to the left of the central nave, a group of graves. 

Find circumstances

1913, excavations of R.Ch. Loeper. 

Modern location

Sevastopol, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 4285. 


May 1999, August 2001, September 2002, September 2003, September 2004, September 2005, September 2006, September 2007. 

Epigraphic field


On the front. 


Lapidary; bouletée. Alpha with broken crossbar, kappa with elongated vertical. Style: lines of text are carved between incised lines. 

Letterheights (cm)




Building inscription. 


532–533, 547–548 or 562–563 C.E. 

Dating criteria

Explicit date. 


L1. Latyshev 1918a, 18–19, № 1, fig. 1; 2. Vinogradov 2001, 70–71; 2.1. Feissel 2000, 94, № 27; 2.1.1. SEG 50, 695; 2.2. SEG 53, 774bis; 3. Vinogradov 2007, 264–265, № 15. 


[Ἐπὶ Ἰ]ουστινιαν[οῦ]
[το]ῦ̣ α̣ὐτοκράτο[ρος],
[---] ἰ̣ν̣δ̣(ικτιῶνος) α̣ι̣, ἔ̣τ̣ο̣υ̣[ς ..].



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><supplied reason="lost">Ἐπὶ</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">Ἰ</supplied>ουστινιαν<supplied reason="lost">οῦ</supplied>
      <lb n="2"/><supplied reason="lost">το</supplied><unclear>ῦ</unclear> <unclear>α</unclear>ὐτοκράτο<supplied reason="lost">ρος</supplied>,
      <lb n="3"/><gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> <expan><abbr><unclear>ἰ</unclear><unclear>ν</unclear><unclear>δ</unclear></abbr><ex>ικτιῶνος</ex></expan> 
      <num><unclear>α</unclear><unclear>ι</unclear></num>, <unclear>ἔ</unclear><unclear>τ</unclear><unclear>ο</unclear><unclear>υ</unclear><supplied reason="lost">ς</supplied> <num><gap reason="lost" quantity="2" unit="character"/></num>.
Apparatus criticus

1: ἐπὶ: om. Latyshev
2: [το]ῦ: om. Latyshev
3: [Σεβά]στου Latyshev


at the time (?) of emperor Justinian..., in the 11th indiction, in ... year.



In my opinion, the whole inscription fit on a single block, which was subsequently cut on all sides, except the top. Thus, we can restore the text almost fully.

1. Dating by emperor is almost always introduced by preposition ἐπί.

3. At the bottom break traces of a delta with an abbreviation mark are clear and must belong the word "indiction," followed by an alpha and iota, that is, the 11th indiction. The number that followed the word "year" would have not been indicating an era, but the year of Justinian's reign (cf., e.g., Grégoire 1929, № 255; Beševliev 1964, № 97, 231).

The 11th indiction in the reign of Justinian I (a date in the reign of Justinian II is excluded on historical grounds) falls in the years 532-533, 547-548, or 562-563. We should point out that a building inscription from Taman (V 329) also dates to the 11th indiction of Justinian's reign. It is quite possible that we are witnessing two projects in the same building programme of the emperor, which was described by Procopius (De aedificiis 3, 7, 12–13). Since Procopius had finished his writing before 563 C.E., and since the Taman inscription dates most probably to 547-548, the most likely date for our inscription would be 547-548 C.E. as well.

The character of the inscription (short formula, large letters) suggests that it was meant to be visible from afar. It was most likely built into a wall, whereas a more detailed text might have also been inscribed nearby on the same wall. It might well have been a crosswall in the Mangup kleisoura (see Sidorenko 1991): the estimated width of the inscription corresponds to the width of the wall-blocks from that wall - 65cm (probable height was ca. 27cm). Another consideration is that since the inscription was found at the summit of Mangup, it might have come from a Justinian wall at the edge of the plateau, the wall by the main entrance.



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