V 249. Sougdaia. Dedication of Christophoros (?), VII–VIIIth centuries C.E.
Yellow Kapselian sandstone.
H. 46.0, W. 17.5, Th. 17.0.
Front is planed and smoothed. Broken on the left; the top face and right back edge are cut off; in secondary use, burnt along the edges to a reddish tint, with traces of lime mortar on the back.
Place of Origin
Fortress, curtain wall XV.
1988, excavations of I.A. Baranov.
Institution and inventory
Museum "Sudak Fortress", no inventory number.
September 2003, September 2009.
At the top of the front.
Lapidary; angular letters. Alpha with a broken crossbar.
VII–VIIIth centuries C.E.
Archaeological context, palaeography.
L1. Vinogradov, Dzhanov 2004, 408–410, № 4; 1.1. Dzhanov 2004, 58.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> <supplied reason="lost">Ὑπὲρ</supplied> <supplied reason="lost" cert="low">σωτη</supplied><lb n="2" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">ρία</supplied>ς <expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>αὶ</ex></expan> ἀφ<lb n="3" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">έσεως</supplied> ἁμαρ<lb n="4" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">τιῶν</supplied> <unclear>Χ</unclear>ριστω<lb n="5" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">φόρο</supplied>υ <note>?</note>. Ἀμήν. </ab> </div>
[For salvation] (?) and for[giveness] of sins of Christo[pher] (?), amen.
The stone was found in secondary use, but its easily restorable formula allows us to envision its original dimensions. About half of the original width survives (4–5 letters out of 9). The top of the block is even, but the impossibility to restore even the shortest beginning of a formula (e.g., ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς) consisting of 4-5 letters suggests a secondary reworking of the top surface, whose treatment (apparent from tool marks) does in fact differ from the other three. We should therefore expect a loss of some text preceding the portion that has been preserved.
How may lines are likely to be missing? There are several variants of this type, but in most cases it consists of three elements, following the introductory ὑπέρ: εὐχῆς, σωτηρίας, ἀφέσεως ἁμαρτιῶν. Since the latter phrase is in fact present on our stone, we have to choose only between the remaining two, so as to restore the beginning of the text consisting either of 13-14 letters or of 22-23 letters. Ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς gives us only 8 (including the preserved final sigma of the last word), ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς καὶ σωτηρίας — 17, ὑπὲρ σωτηρίας — 11. The latter variant, with a traditional cross at the start of the text, seems to be the most probable.
1–4. Inscriptions with this type of formula (see Introduction IV.3.B.c) are attested in the Northern Black Sea region inscribed on architectural members of structures built by a dedicant (cf. V 28). In our case, we are dealing with a simple limestone block and not a marble arhitectural piece of the Justinian period. Taking the material type into consideration, we can cautiously propose that our block comes from a cultic building, most likely, of post-Justinian times.
4–5. As far as the name of the dedicant is concerned, if we leave aside various rare compounds (e.g., Χριστομαῖος), we should consider two: Χριστοδοῦλος and Χριστοφόρος. The first is attested epigraphically in Egypt (Lefebvre 1907, № 29, 367), while the second is widely known in our region (V 61, V 79) — it is the latter that we cautiously opt for.
The monument was discovered in 1988, during the investigation of a property dated to the IX - 1st half of Xth century, located in the area of Curtain Wall XV of the Sudak fortress. If we recall that the building material was mainly gathered by city residents on site, in immediate vicinity of a future structure, then a hypothesis about the inscription's association with a building that had been the IX-Xth century estate's predecessor seems quite feasible. Such a building complex consists of a large structure dated on the basis of archaeological material to the late VIIth - early VIIIth centuries. Fragments of massive cornices were found among the ruins, as well as multiple Byzantine tombstones and panels with compass-drawn crosses, similar to those on V 249 and V 250 (for more detail, see Vinogradov and Dzhanov 2004). In all likelihood, we are dealing with remains of a large Christian church, into one of whose walls the donator's or funerary inscription of Christopher had been built.