V 282. Pantikapaion. Epitaph of Sotereis and Sambatis, late IV-Vth centuries C.E.
H. 61.0, W. 42.0, Th. 12.0.
The stele tapers to the bottom (from 42 to 17cm); the upper half of the front is smooth and bears carved images of three crosses in the centre. The arms of the central cross are of approximately same width, but its left and right ones are poorly aligned. An alpha hangs from the end of the left arm, and an omega from the end of the right one. In addition, two sideways crosses are scratched on the top and right arms. The surface is chipped.
Place of Origin
23 May 1901, chance find.
Institution and inventory
Historical and Archeological Museum of Kerch State Historical and Cultural Preserve, КЛ–3172.
May 1999, September 2004, September 2008.
Above the crosses.
Lapidary. Alpha with broken crossbar, rectangular epsilon and theta, bowl-shaped omega.
Late IV-Vth centuries C.E.
L1. Latyshev 1902a, 48–50, № 15; 1.1. Diatroptov, Yemets 1995, № 30.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Ἐνθάδη <g ref="#stauros"/> <lb n="2"/>κατάκειτη Σ<lb n="3" break="no"/>ωτήρεις <g ref="#stauros"/> <lb n="4"/>καὶ Σαμ<supplied reason="lost">β</supplied>άτις. </ab> </div>
Here lie Soteris and Sambatis.
The inscription was published by Latyshev on the basis of a photograph. In his opinion, the second name and crosses below are added by a second hand. Indeed, the letters here are smaller and carved not as deeply, which can be due to a later addition.
1–2. On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.F.d.
2–3. A typical Greek name (and unknown among the Hebrews), Soteris, occurs in Christian inscriptions in Asia Minor: Marek 1993, № 10; SEG 35.1360 (Boncuklar in Honorias); 42.1157 (Sinope). On the change of the ending -ιος into -ις, see Tokhtasiev 2007.
4. The name Sabbatis (here Sambatis) is known as that of a certain martyr (see Delehaye 1902, 1159). In the form Σαμβάτις it is attested in Feissel 1983, № 175 и IG III 3525. The name Σαμβατίων was also popular in Bosporus: in Gorgippia, Western Kuban, and Tanais (CIRB 1142, 1231, 1278, 1279, 1280, 1282), mostly in connection with the cult of Zeus Hypsistos, so we can speculate that Sambatios of our inscription may have come from the circles of those Bosporans who worshipped the Jewish god.
We should note the replacement of epsilon with eta (lines 1 and 2), which elsewhere (line 3) represents the sound "i" (see commentary to V 61).