V 176. Theodoro. Building inscription of Chouïtanes, 1300–1301 or 1361–1362 C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H. 33.0, W. 49.0, Th. 26.5.

Additional description

On the front - incised framing line runs the perimeter. Broken into several parts, chipped at the top. 

Place of Origin


Find place


Find context

Great basilica, tomb, masonry of the wall. 

Find circumstances

1913, excavations of R.Ch. Loeper. 

Modern location

Sevastopol, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 79/36504. 


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

Epigraphic field


Inside the framed area. 


Lapidary. Alpha with a loop and vertical right hasta, beta with vertically spaced loops, delta with extended horizontal raised to mid-letterheight, diamond-shaped and oval epsilon, theta and sigma, lambda with projecting right hasta, mu with T-shaped middle, with Y-shaped middle and with V-shaped middle, closed-top omega. Ligatures, superscript marks, abbreviations. 

Letterheights (cm)




Building inscription. 


1300–1301 or 1361–1362 C.E. 

Dating criteria

Explicit date. 


L1. Malitsky 1933, 9–11; 2. Myts 1991, 180–181; 3. Vinogradov 2000, 444; 2.1. Myts 2009, 26–31. 


Κ(ύρι)[ε] Ἰ(ησο)ῦ [Χ(ριστέ)], ὁ θ(εὸ)ς ἡμ[(ῶν)], [σῶ]σ(ον) τ[οὺ]ς θεμε-
λιώσαντας τὸ τῖχο[ς· ἐκ]τίσθη ὁ πύρ-
γος τοῦτ(ος) τῆς πανπόλεος τετιμημένης Πο-
ΐκας διὰ βοηθί(α)ς τοῦ θ(εο)ῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Δημητρίου
5καὶ σηνδρομ(ῆς) τοῦ [παν]τιμιωτάτου ἡμῶν
Χουϊτάνη τοῦ (ἑκατοντ)[άρ]χου, πάσης τιμ(ῆ)ς· κ(αὶ) ὁ ἀνα-
καιν(ισ)μὸς τῆς Θεοδωρ(οῦς) μετὰ τὸν Ποΐκαν· ἔκτ(ισ)-
θαν ὁμοῦ ἐπὶ ἔτ(ους) ͵ςωθ̣´ resp. ͵ςωο̣´ .



EpiDoc (XML)

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      <supplied reason="lost"><expan><abbr>Χ</abbr><ex>ριστέ</ex></expan></supplied>,
      ὁ <roleName><expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>εὸ</ex><abbr>ς</abbr></expan></roleName>
      <expan><abbr>ἡμ</abbr><supplied reason="lost"><ex>ῶν</ex></supplied></expan>,
      <expan><abbr><supplied reason="lost">σῶ</supplied>σ</abbr><ex>ον</ex></expan>
      τ<supplied reason="lost">οὺ</supplied>ς θεμε<lb n="2" break="no"/>λιώσαντας τὸ τῖχο<supplied reason="lost">ς·</supplied>
      <supplied reason="lost">ἐκ</supplied>τίσθη ὁ πύρ<lb n="3" break="no"/>γος <expan><abbr>τοῦτ</abbr><ex>ος</ex></expan> τῆς
      πανπόλεος τετιμημένης Πο<lb n="4" break="no"/>ΐκας διὰ
      <expan><abbr>βοηθί</abbr><ex>α</ex><abbr>ς</abbr></expan> τοῦ
      <roleName><expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>εο</ex><abbr>ῦ</abbr></expan></roleName> καὶ τοῦ
      <roleName>ἁγίου</roleName> Δημητρίου
      <lb n="5"/>καὶ <expan><abbr>σηνδρομ</abbr><ex>ῆς</ex></expan>
      τοῦ <supplied reason="lost">παν</supplied>τιμιωτάτου ἡμῶν
      <lb n="6"/>Χουϊτάνη τοῦ
      <expan><ex>ἑκατοντ</ex><abbr><supplied reason="lost">άρ</supplied>χου</abbr></expan>,
      πάσης <expan><abbr>τιμ</abbr><ex>ῆ</ex><abbr>ς</abbr></expan>·
      <expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>αὶ</ex></expan> ὁ <expan><abbr>ἀνα<lb n="7" break="no"/>καιν</abbr><ex>ισ</ex><abbr>μὸς</abbr></expan> τῆς
      <expan><abbr>Θεοδωρ</abbr><ex>οῦς</ex></expan> μετὰ
      τὸν Ποΐκαν· <expan><abbr>ἔκτ</abbr><ex>ισ</ex><lb n="8" break="no"/><abbr>θαν</abbr></expan> ὁμοῦ ἐπὶ
      <app type="alternative"><lem><num value="6809">ςω<unclear>θ</unclear></num></lem>
      <rdg><num value="6870">ςω<unclear>ο</unclear></num></rdg></app></date>.
Apparatus criticus

1: Χ(ριστ)ὲ Malitsky; θ(ε)ὲ Malitsky; εὐλόγησον ? Malitsky; εὐλογή]σ(ῃ) Vinogradov
3: ἄνω πόλεως Malitsky
6: τουρμάρχου Myts
7: Θεοδωρῶ Malitsky, Vinogradov
8: ξωο´ Malitsky; ξωθ´ Vinogradov


Lord Jesus Christ, our God, save the builders of this wall. This tower of the honourable united city of Poeka was built with the help of God and Saint Demetrios, and with the assistance of our most honourable centurion Chouïtanes, of every honour; and the renovation of Theodoro with Poeka: they were built together with Poeka in the year 6809 (or: 6870).



The monument had been reused in the wall of a tomb at the Great Basilica of Mangup, where it was discovered in 1913 by Loeper. The limestone block bears traces of fire damage. The front is deeply gouged. The stone suffered further light damage during the transportation and while in the care of the Chersonesos museum. The photograph in the article of Malitsky 1933 shows basically the same damage as can be seen today.

Physical characteristics of the inscription of Chouitanes point to the early period of Theodorite epigraphy (XIVth century): regular Late Byzantine script with elongated and angular letters (and not ornate relief script typical of the XVth century), single line border running the perimeter of the front. Since only the front is worked, it suggests that the block was meant to be inserted into a wall of some structure, probably a tower.

1. A rare example of the use of the invocation formula Κ(ύρι)ε ὁ θ(εό)ς, σῶσον, see Ševčenko 1966, 262, № 3 (Sinai, 548–565 C.E.).

3. Malitsky interprets ΠΑΝΠΟΛΕΩΣ as πάνω πόλεως, which is unlikely both in the grammatical sense (in this rather literate text, we would expect ἄνω), and in the epigraphic sense (an abbreviated omega would have been marked with an abbreviating overline). Malitsky's incorrect reading spawned a theory of the division of Mangup into two parts: the summit fortress of Poeka (Poika) and the lower city of Theodoro. Another possibility is that we might have here an abbreviation of some epithet, which starts with παν- “all, every“: for example, πανευδαίμων “all-blessed," which could have been borrowed from the standard description of Constantinople. Alternatively, the word πανπόλεως “all-city” might be an etymological dissimilation of παμπόλεως, which is attested twice: once, in the sense of "common to all cities" (Scholia in Sophoclem, Ant., 614), and another time in the sense "the greatest of cities" (Oracula Sibyllina 5, 434). In our case, the latter sense is quite appropriate. Yet another was proposed to me in a private conversation by S.V. Kharitonov: Boiko-Poika might have been something like a synoikia of several settlements in the vicinity of the Church of the Saviour, surrounded by a single system of defensive walls (O.I. Dombrovsky 1968), — in such a context, the term "all-city" could be understood as a "united city" (by analogy with the synoikia of Megalopolis in Arkadia).

The epithet of Poika, τετιμημένη, is used in Late Byzantine times in reference to monasteries (e.g., Mystras). It might have been parallel to the common epithet for Theodoro - "God protected": V 14, V 170, V 175

6-8. The syntax is difficult in these lines: colons are used too often, separating both distinct phrases and dependent elements. At the same time, the absence of a colon suggests that we should take μετὰ τὸν Ποΐκαν as referring to "was built," and not to the preceding "renovation of Theodoro." The latter circumstance encourages the translation "together with Poika," rather than "after Poika." The irregular use of cases (Nominative after Genitive) should be of concern: the closest parallel in the inscription of prince Alexis from Mangup dated to 1427 C.E.: κυροῦ Ἀλεξίου, αὐθέντου πόλεως Θεοδωροῦς καὶ παραθαλασίας καὶ κτήτωρ. And before that, we should probably expect an epithet applied to the builder Chouitanes "most honourable and renovation (that is, renovator) of Theodoro".

6. For the name Chouitanes, Myts (2009) has suggested a Gothic origin, derived from a word meaning "white." The reconstruction "tourmarches" proposed by Myts shoud be rejected due to the absence of an abbreviating overline above rho, and the size of the lacuna insufficient for accommodating three letters: mu, alpha, and rho. The presence of centurions at Mangup in the XIVth century is confirmed by V 177.

7. The word ἀνακαινισμὸς could mean "renovation-sanctification" (Lampe, s.v.), that is, it might be here referring to the inauguration of the fortress built by Chouitanes, but it could also be used specifically to mean "renovation" of a fortress, as in V 14.

The city of Poika is traditionally associated with Mt. Boyka and the local basilica of the Saviour (Soter). How then could an inscription for Boyka, located 18km away from Mangup, turn up built into a tomb wall of the Great Basilica? One possibility is indicated by the traces of fire damage: if the stone had been damaged by fire prior to being set up for its original purpose, it could have been suitable only as building material afterwards. We know another example of early Theodorite epigraphy which resembles ours in its outlook - the tombstone of Karamani...(V 190). Letter-cutters were probably few and far between in the XIVth century, and it might have been expedient to have an official inscription of high quality cut at the Theodorite court, at Mangup, for subsequent transportation to its final destination, which might have been precluded by a fire or some other cause (e.g., a change in the political situation or demise of the centurion Chouitanes).

8. Malitsky restored ἐπὶ ἔτ(ει) instead of the standard, for inscriptions from Mountainous Crimea (see Introduction III.1.C.b) ἐπὶ ἔτ(ους). One of the most difficult problems associated with our inscription is the question of its precise date. Malitsky had no doubts about reading ςωο´ “6870”, that is, 1361–1362 C.E. His own historical interpretation of the inscription, as well as those of other scholars, have depended on this date. Recently I have proposed an alternative reading: ςωθ´ “6809”, that is, 1300–1301 C.E. My correction was based on the autopsy of the stone conducted in artificial light in the storage room (lapidarium) of the Chersonesos museum. My second inspection of the stone, this time conducted both in the natural and artifical light, led me to the following conclusion: a stroke at the end of the line could be interpreted either as an extension of the horizontal stroke of a theta, with a pronounced serif, or as a continuation of the crack running through the end of the last line of the inscription. The photo published by Malitsky shows both the crack and the dent affecting the left half of the theta. It is true that in the text of the inscription, the horizontal stroke in thetas never extends beyond the oval, however, we must remember that often more elaborate letter forms are used in the date: this is illustrated by a wide omega with open top. Thus, at present, both restorations could be validated, entailing divergent historical interpretations.



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