V 275. Pantikapaion. Epitaph of Theodore, early VIth century C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H. 59.0, W. 32.0, Th. 12.0.

Additional description

Cross with flaring arms. The left and right arms are broken off, and the right corner of the bottom arm is missing. 

Place of Origin


Find place


Find context

Mithridates Hill, north slope, Grave 37, at a depth of 131-150 cm, stone fill of a child's burial. 

Find circumstances

1953, excavations of V.D. Blavatsky. 

Modern location

Kerch, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

Historical and Archeological Museum of Kerch State Historical and Cultural Preserve, КЛ–541. 


May 1999, September 2004, September 2008. 

Epigraphic field


On the front. 


Lapidary; letters are painted with ochre. Alpha with broken crossbar, delta with projecting right hasta, rectangular epsilon, omicron, sigma and omega. 

Letterheights (cm)






Early VIth century C.E. 

Dating criteria

Explicit date, formula, form of the stone. 


L1. Blavatsky 1956, 117; 1.1. Diatroptov, Yemets 1995, № 22. 


+ Ἐνθά-
δε [κα-]
[τ]άκιτε Θ[ε-]
[ό]δωρος δ(ιάκονος) resp. δ[ι](άκονος) resp. δ[ω]´
5ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) β´.



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Ἐνθά<lb n="2" break="no"/>δε <supplied reason="lost">κα</supplied><lb n="3" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">τ</supplied>άκιτε
      Θ<supplied reason="lost">ε</supplied><lb n="4" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">ό</supplied>δωρος 
      <app type="alternative"><lem><expan><abbr>δ</abbr><ex>ιάκονος</ex></expan></lem>
    <rdg><expan><abbr>δ<supplied reason="lost">ι</supplied></abbr><ex>άκονος</ex></expan></rdg>
      <rdg><num value="804">δ<supplied reason="lost">ω</supplied></num></rdg></app> 
     <lb n="5"/><date><expan><abbr>ἰνδ</abbr><ex>ικτιῶνος</ex></expan>
      <num value="2">β</num></date>.
Apparatus criticus

4: δ(οῦλος τοῦ) [Θ(εοῦ)] Blavatsky, Diatroptov
5: [ἐν] ἰνδ(ικτιῶνι) Blavatsky, Diatroptov


Here lies Theodore, deacon (or: in the year 804), in the 2nd indiction.



On the archaeological context of the find, see also Blavatsky 1962, 36, fig. 23. In all likelihood, this inscription belongs to a child's burial in the Grave 37. On tombstones in the shape of the cross, see commentary to V 61. Diatroptov and Yemets dated the inscription to the VI-VIIth centuries without providing justification (see below).

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

3–4. The name Theodore occurs in Early Byzantine inscriptions of Bosporus in the following: V 291, V 273. The delta after the name of the deceased cannot be an abbreviation of δ(οῦλος τοῦ) [Θ(εοῦ)], as had been the opinion of Blavatsky. There are two possible explanations. If the tombstone is not of a child, then it might be an abbreviation of the word διάκονος (cf., e.g., MAMA IV, 223; Reynolds 1960, 291); if there had been another letter on the now lost right arm, then we also know of an abbreviation δι(άκονος) (see, e.g., Şahin 1978, 45; MAMA III, 758). Another possible reconstruction is to interpret delta as the year date according to the Bosporan era (with typical reverse order of numbers and without the word "year", as in V 272): there is space for one more sign to the right, but considering the need to match the year with the 2nd indiction (in line 4), only one possibility remains - the last month of the year 804 of the Bosporan era, that is, October 507 - September 508 C.E. (indictions began in September). In addition, only this interpretation could explain the double dating: it was exactly in the early VIth century that Bosporus came under the direct rule of Byzantium, which could result in the appearance of the date according to indiction alongside the old Bosporan era. In any case, the dating formula according to indiction suggests a date of the inscription in the VI-VIIth centuries, but the shape of the monument, similar to Bosporan tombstones of the IV-Vth centuries, narrows down the range to the VIth century.

5. There is no room for ἐν before the word "indiction", as we can see from the fully preserved left edge of the bottom arm.



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