V 283. Pantikapaion. Epitaph of Tryphon, IVth century C.E.





Coarse-grained limestone. 

Dimensions (cm)

H. 83.0, W. 30.0, Th. 11.0.

Additional description

The stele slightly widens and thickens towards the bottom; at the top of the front -- a Christogram (with double diagonals of chi), and alpha and omega with a double line under them. Broken in 4 parts and broken off at the top. The surface is chipped. 

Place of Origin


Find place


Find context

Extension of the Quarantine (now Kirov) St., house no. 11, property of A. Serganidi, next to the almshouse of A. Zolotarev (on the territory of the modern Komsomolsky Park). 

Find circumstances

22 November 1911, chance find 

Modern location

Kerch, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

Historical and Archeological Museum of Kerch State Historical and Cultural Preserve, no inventory number. 


September 2010. 

Epigraphic field


Below the Christogram. 


Lapidary; letters are filled with ochre. Alpha with straight crossbar, delta with projecting right hasta, rectangular sigma, diamond-shaped phi, rectangular omega. 

Letterheights (cm)






IVth century C.E. 

Dating criteria

Formula, palaeography. 


L1. Shkorpil 1912, 18–20, № 9; 1.1. Diatroptov, Yemets 1995, № 36; 2. Vinogradov 2007, 263, № 11. 


[Τ]ρύφων [υ-]
[ἱὸς] Ἀγαθ[οῦ],
ὁ καλῶς οἰ-
5τὸν βίον, ἐν-
θάδε κατά-
κιμε. Κάρβα-
νος ἀνέστ-



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><supplied reason="lost">Τ</supplied>ρύφων
      <supplied reason="lost">υ</supplied><lb n="2" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">ἱὸς</supplied> 
      Ἀγαθ<supplied reason="lost">οῦ</supplied>,
      <lb n="3"/>ὁ καλῶς οἰ<lb n="4" break="no"/>κονομέσα<supplied reason="lost">ς</supplied>
      <lb n="5"/>τὸν βίον, ἐν<lb n="6" break="no"/>θάδε κατά<lb n="7" break="no"/>κιμε. Κάρβα    
      <lb n="8" break="no"/>νος ἀνέστ<lb n="9" break="no"/><surplus>στ</surplus>εσα.
Apparatus criticus

2: [υἱὸς] Shkorpil, Diatroptov


Tryphon, son of Agathos, who has managed his life well, I lie here. Karbanos set (this monument) up.



A photograph of the estampage is preserved at the Photo Archive, of the Institute for History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences (III–12151). Shkorpil thought the design of our monument to be similar to CIRB 64, but this observation seems to me to be superficial: the inscriptions are also different in palaeography (cf. the shape of omega).

1. In Christian epigraphy, the name Tryphon is attested first and foremost in Asia Minor (17 times; twice in Greece, and 3 times in Italy). At the same time, it is common in Bosporus (from the I century onwards), where it is attested 18 times (see CIRB 901-920). It is noteworthy that it is not attested among the worshippers of Theos Hypsistos, although it was popular among Hellenized Jews (see, e.g., Iustinus Philosophus. Dialogus cum Tryphone Iudaeo).

2. The name Agathos in Christian epigraphy is attested only twice (MAMA III 209; PPUAES III.A, № 262), but is known in Bosporus (see CIRB 846). Thus, we are dealing here with a tombstone of a typical Bosporite, while an atypical (for Christian tombstones of Kerch) formula points to an early date of the monument - early IVth century.

3–7. The closest parallels in early Christian epigraphy for the formula found in this inscription are the following: ζήσας τὸν βίον καλῶς (ICUR 2591), καλῶς βίον ἐξετέλησεν (MAMA I 228), τὸν βίον καλῶς διάξας (Beševliev 1964, № 96), τὸν βίον καλῶς διαπραξάμενοι (SEG 27.30), ἐτελίοσας τὸν βίον καλῶς (LBW VI 2459), περάναντες τὸν βίον καλῶς (PPUAES III,A 800), but the example cited by Shkorpil (CIRB 64 (πολλὰ ἀποδημήσας)) is not relevant. At the same time, we should note that used with the verb οἰκονομέω, this formula is otherwise attested only in reference to deeds of the living: cf. [καλῶς κ]αὶ δικαίως οἰκονομῶν в OGIS 4 (Samos, ca. 260 B.C.E.). A variant formula Ἐνθάδε κατάκειμαι, in the first person, is also attested (e.g., Sironen 1997, № 116, Attica, IVth century: ... Δημήτριος ἐνθάδε κεῖμαι).

8–9.On the conflation of eta and epsilon, see commentary to V 61. The formula with ἀνέστησα is very common in Christian epigraphy (117 cases, according to PHI7 Database), although in Byzantine inscriptions of the Northern Black Sea region it is not otherwise attested. It is perhaps noteworthy that in the Bosporan inscriptions from classical antiquity it also occurs only once - CIRB 951 (Theodosia, IVth century) — and resembles our inscription in palaeography.



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