V 28. Cherson. Dedication of an emperor, VIth century C.E.
White fine-grained marble.
Cornice with mouldings. Two dowel holes on the back. The front is polished. Broken into pieces, of which two fragments survive. Fragment 1 is damaged on the top and right side, and the bottom left corner is chipped off; Fragment 2 is damaged on all sides except the top.
Place of Origin
Institution and inventory
, no inventory number.
May 1999, August 2001, September 2002, September 2003, September 2004, September 2005, September 2006, September 2007.
H. 9.5, W. 31.0, Th. 13.5.
Church 22 ("Northern basilica").
1893, excavations of K.K. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich.
Institution and inventory
National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 35117.
H. 6.0, W. 18.0, Th. 13.5.
Lapidary. Letter strokes are accentuated with serifs. Alpha with broken crossbar, which does not reach the base line; rectangular epsilon and sigma, omega in the shape of W.
VIth century C.E.
Archaeological context, palaeography.
Fr. 1. 1. Latyshev 1895, 24, № 30; 1.1. Latyshev 1896, 29, № 17. Fr. 2. Unpublished.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Ὑπὲρ σωτηρίας κ<supplied reason="lost">αὶ</supplied> <gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> <supplied reason="lost">Ἰουστινιανοῦ <note>e.g.</note></supplied> <rs type="month" ref="aug">αὐγούστ<supplied reason="lost">ου</supplied></rs>. </ab> </div>
For the salvation and [·· ? ·· of Justinian?] emperor.
The origin of Fragment 2 is unknown, but the cornice’s profile and the letterforms leave no doubt that it belongs to the same inscription as Fragment 1.
On the dedicatory formula and its possible reconstruction, see IV.3.B.c.
A kappa that follows σωτηρίας must be the beginning of the conjunction κ[αὶ] "and", rather than the first letter of a name. The letters ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤ on Fragment 2 further complicate matters. Because in dedications where such formulae are used the date is never given by month, these letters must indicate either an emperor’s title or a personal name. Personal names Augustus or Augusta are not attested in Byzantium, and the name Augustine does not occur in the inscriptions of the East. Therefore, the most likely scenario is that the letters indicate an imperial title. It is quite possible that an emperor could have provided money for the construction or renovation of a temple: compare a similar votive formula in Mango 1951, 66, no. H2 B (Constantinopole, 457-474 C.E.): [Ὑπἐρ εὐχῆς τ]οῦ βασιλέως [Λέοντο]ς α<ὐ>γούστου.
Regarding the archaeological dating of the Church 22, see my commentary to V 19. Rectangular epsilon and sigma are similar to those on V 7, but upsilon-shaped epsilon finds an even closer parallel in V 22.
The cornice was found in the same Church 22 as V 19 – a dedication of Theodore on an altar partition panel - but the script is very different there: rectangular letters with serifs, with vertical upsilon. The letterforms and the difference in votive formulae virtually exclude the possibility of our inscription belonging to the same templon as V 19. Instead we have to conclude that two types of script were used in the same temple structure: a more archaic, rounded (V 19) and a newer, angular type that appears some time in the VIth century C.E. (cf. V 29). The two scripts could co-exist only within that century, and most likely in the middle of that century. If, however, the two scripts were not contemporary, it would be very unlikely for a templon panel with the archaic script to be later than the construction of the temple with a cornice inscribed in a newer script. Conversely, it would be unlikely for that panel to survive the temple’s reconstruction when the cornice in question would have been installed in it. The only remaining possibility that could fit a scenario of non-contemporaneous use of the two scripts is where the cornice belongs to some auxiliary structure adjunct to Church 22, but no architectural additions or reconstructions are attested for the “Northern Basilica” in the Early Byzantine period (see Bernatzki, Klenina, Rhyzhov 2004, 67). Thus, V 19 and V 29 must be contemporary and date to the VIth century C.E. (see above). In this century, however, no emperors’ names start with kappa, thus excluding this possibility for reconstructing V 28. With some caution, therefore, we may suggest that the construction of Church 22 is to be connected with the building activities of the emperor Justinian I.