V 21. Cherson. Dedication of Martyrios, late IV – Vth century C.E.





Proconnesian marble. 

Dimensions (cm)

H. 87.0, W. 71.0, Th. 7.0.

Additional description

On the front - relief Latin cross with serifs. Broken off on the left and right; broken in three pieces. 

Place of Origin


Find place

Sevastopol (Chersonesos). 

Find context

Church 36 ("Eastern basilica") (?) 

Find circumstances

1877-1878, excavations of the Odessa Society of History and Antiquities. 

Modern location

Sevastopol, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 3467/3. 


September 2002, September 2006, September 2007. 

Epigraphic field


In upper corners between the arms of the cross. 


Lapidary. Letters are slightly uneven. Alpha with a loop and with slanting crossbar; pi with extended horizontal; elongated rho and phi; V-shaped and Y-shaped upsilon, sometimes leaning to the right; rounded and rectangular omega. 

Letterheights (cm)






Late IV – Vth century C.E. 

Dating criteria



L1. Yurgevich 1879, 8, № 4; 1.1. Yurgevich 1879a, 313; 2. Latyshev 1896, 28, №15; 3. Vinogradov 2010, 119–122, № b1. 


Ὑπὲρ ε-
ὐχῆς Μα-
ρτυρίου κ-
αὶ πάντω-
5ν τῶ̣ν δι-
ων αὐτοῦ.



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Ὑπὲρ ε<lb n="2" break="no"/>ὐχῆς Μα<lb n="3" break="no"/>ρτυρίου κ<lb n="4" break="no"/>αὶ πάντω<lb n="5" break="no"/>ν τ<unclear>ῶ</unclear>ν  δι<lb n="6" break="no"/>αφερόντ<lb n="7" break="no"/>ων αὐτοῦ.
Apparatus criticus

1-7: Τὴν ἐκκλίνει εὐχὴν λιπαροῦ γυνὴ Ἀντωνίου Ἰνδικτιῶνος ΙΔ, ῶνα ἔτους Yurgevich 1879


For the prayer of Martyrios and all his near and dear.



For the editio princeps Yurgevich used imperfect photographs. The second edition relied on A.V. Ivanov's images. The inscription was part of the exhibition "The Byzantine Cherson" (Moscow, 1991; Chichurov 1991, 20, № 4).

1-2. On the formula, see IV.3.B.b.

2-3. The name Martyrios is not attested in the Northern Black Sea area; otherwise, there are four saints of this name (Delehaye 1902, 2, 160, 205, 457). It often occurs in Christian inscriptions, and there is even a parallel with exactly the same text (ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς Μαρτυρί[ου]) from Phthiotic Thebes (SEG 30.536). It is noteworthy that the name is attested three times in Asia Minor, once each in the Caucasus and the Balkans, twice in Italy, five times in Greece, and 13 times in the Syrian region. In this context, one wonders whether Martyrios, similarly to Malchos in V 20, could have been a Syrian.

Regarding inscriptions on altar screens, see commentary to V 19. Judging by the size, this inscription on the panel of the altar screen is the dedication of a ktitor from a large Early Byzantine church. Since the excavations of the Odessa Society of History and Antiquities in 1877-1878 produced only one such church - church 36 (while in church 23, the so-called Uvarov Basilica, only a baptisterium and adjacent structured were identified), our monument most likely derives from that church. We should note that recently A. Biernacki (2009, 207), ignoring the archaeological context, attributed the panel to the Uvarov Basilica, identified it as an intercolumnial screen and dated it to the VIth century.

The alpha with slanting crossbar points to an affinity of our text with V 6, while the alpha with a loop points to an affinity with V 65; the mu with a sagging middle resembles that of V 18. The lettershapes therefore suggest a date at the end of the IVth - early Vth centuries. The date of church 36 is debated: as early as the Vth or as late as the end of the VIIth century (Biernacki, Klenina, Ryzhov 2004, 77). The hypothesis of Sorochan (2005, 880–886) about the construction of a church here at the end of the IVth century, as well as the point made by Gaydukov (2005b, 52–53, 62) about an archaic feature, the absence of a niche for relics under the altar, allows us to speculate a date as early as the late IVth century (see also commentary to V 58). At the same time, we should mention that A. Biernacki (2009, 207) dates the inscription to the VIth century on the basis of carving style.



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