V 328. Phanagoreia. Epitaph of Oustanos, son of Agathos, IV–Vth century C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H. 65.0, W. 40.0, Th. 17.0.

Additional description

At the top of the front - relief rosette within rectangular frame. In secondary use? Broken at the bottom, chipped along the left edge. 

Place of Origin


Find place

Soleny hamlet, vicinity. 

Find context


Find circumstances

1962, chance find of N.I. Sokolsky. 

Modern location

Temryuk, Krasnodar region, Russia. 

Institution and inventory

Temryuk Historical-Archaeological Museum, no inventory number. 


September 2007. 

Epigraphic field


Below the rosette, inside the frame. 


Lapidary. Alpha with slanting crossbar, mu with sagging middle, rectangular sigma and omega. 

Letterheights (cm)




Commemoration (?). 


IV–Vth century C.E. 

Dating criteria



L1. Yaylenko 1987, 167–168; 1.1. Bull.ép. 1990, 903; 1.2. SEG 39, 704; 1.3. Vinogradov 1998, 245–246; 1.3.1. SEG 48, 1025; 1.4. Yaylenko 2002a; 1.4.1. SEG 52, 747; 3. Vinogradov 2010a, 159-161. 


Ἐνθάδ(η) ἠ-
[ὁ] προτω-
υεἱὸς Ἀγά-
θου τοῦ [---]



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><expan><abbr>Ἐνθάδ</abbr><ex>η</ex></expan> ἠ<lb n="2" break="no"/>τοξεύετ᾿
      <lb n="3"/>Οὐστανος,
      <lb n="4"/><supplied reason="lost">ὁ</supplied> προτω<lb n="5" break="no"/>κομίτες
      <lb n="6"/>Χιμίρις,
      <lb n="7"/>υεἱὸς
      Ἀγά<lb n="8" break="no"/>θου
      τοῦ <gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/>
Apparatus criticus

1-3: Ἐνθάδ᾿ ἐτοξεύετο Vinogradov 1998
2: τοξεύει Yaylenko
3: ἱστανό(μενο)ς Vinogradov 1998
4: [ὁ]: om. Vinogradov 1998
5: Χιμιρί(δο)ς Yaylenko; Κιμίριος Vinogradov 1998


Here was shot Oustanos, protocomes of Chimiris, son of Agathos...



The monument that bears our inscription might be of Roman date; the absence of Christian symbols, atypical formula and uncertain palaeographic indicators leave the possibility of the inscription's Roman date open. Its grammar is close to V 282 and V 305 (491–492 C.E.): the sound e and equally о lost their quantitative value, but eta does not yet stand for the sound i, and in writing, epsilon and eta are occasionally conflated, however, the first eta in πρωτοκωμήτης does signify i. The text is not necessarily funerary, it might be a memorial at the site of Oustanos' death.

1–3. One of the main questions is where to place word divisions in the first three lines of text. Although Yaylenko's reading is grammatically correct, it is nevertheless unacceptable because at the end of line 2 a tau is very clear, and because there are no parallels either in the classical or Byzantine epigraphy for an inscription that reads "Here shoots from a bow." An alternative proposed by Yu. Vinogradov, ἐτοξεύετο ἱστανός, is also not convincing: both because a participle ἱστανός is an unlikely form (also due to the late, after the VIIIth century, transition of upsilon into the sound i), and also because in inscriptions this position is typically occupied by the name of a deceased. More plausible, at least at first sight, seems to be the reading Ἐνθάδ᾿ ἐτοξεύετο, however, the letter-cutter of this inscription had a tendency to fit the end of lines with the end of words or of its components (except in line 7), so that the most likely hypothesis is that the cutter considered the last letter of the first two words to be also the first letter of the following word.

The formula with ἐτοξεύετο is unique and has no parallels in Christian epigraphy (while Yaylenko's hypothesis about a shooting range of Oustanos is simply outlandish); circumstances of death, and of violent death for that matter, are recorded in the Christian epigraphy of the Northern Black Sea region on the tombstone of Chupan from Laki (V 144), dated, however, to 1364 C.E., that is, almost a thousand years later than the inscription in question. We could not find parallels in the Christian epigraphy of other regions either (except for a rather puzzling ἀπώλετο in Wessel 1989, № 687).

3, 7–8. The name Oustanos is known in Bosporan epigraphy (see commentary to V 312) and can be safely said to be of Iranian origin (Justi 1995, 69, 139). Although Agathos, the father of Oustanos, might not have been Christian, this name is common in Bosporan epigraphy (40 times in CIRB), and is attested in Christian use (e.g., Sironen 1997, № 241; Pontica 218). It is highly doubtful that Oustanos was a representative of Iranian nobility, as argued by Yaylenko, because the father of our Oustanos and the fathers of other men of that name (V 312 and CIRB 1278) have Greek names (Agathos, Nikephoros, and Zenon (?) respectively), which is typical of long-assimilated families of noble Bosporites.

4–5. The title of Oustanos - "protocomes" - signifies, as the first editor had observed, the head man of a village (see LSJ, s.v.). The only difficulty in this word is the phonetics, as I have mentioned in the above.

6. The greatest difficulty in the interpretation of this insciption is caused by the word Χιμίρις, probably a toponym (in the text, in the gen.), or personal name, according to Yu.G. Vinogradov. Yaylenko sees here Kimmeris (i.e., Χιμιρί(δο)ς from Κιμμερίδος). Accepting this etymology. Yu.G. Vinogradov, identifies here a personal name (i.e. Χιμίρι(ο)ς from Κιμμέριος), in line with his overall reading of the text. Finally, there is an unpublished opinion expressed by S. Tokhtasiev in a letter to Yu. Vinogradov. Agreeing with the view that the word may have taken this form as a result of regressive assimilation of the vowel e between two i (cf. Threatte 1980, 388), Tokhtasiev considers the transition of Κιμμ- to Χιμ- unlikely. Instead, he proposes to derive Χιμίρι(ο)ς from Χειμέριος (in line with Yu. Viongradov's hypothesis), as a type of the so-called Temperament- und Charakternamen (see Bechtel 1917, 500–506) — LGPN offers only the examples of Χείμαρος/Χίμαρος. In my opinion, Χιμίρις should indicate a village name, where Oustanos served as protocomes, but we can apply Tokhtayev's linguistic reasoning, which seems correct, to the toponym and reconstruct the name Χείμιρις (gen. Χειμίρις formed on the model Χειμιρίδος > Χειμιρίος > Χειμίρις). The closest parallel would be the toponym Χείμαρις (or Χειμάριον; the place of exile and death of the St. Maximus the Confessor in Abkhazia). Thus, a toponym Chimiris would originate from some local natural phenomenon associated with winter and characteristic for this geographic area (e.g., Χείμαρις was so called because of rushing and roaring winter streams). Independent of etymology, however, the localization of Chimiris in Taman (so Yaylenko) is not inevitable because the monument was apparently set up at the site of accidental death of a village head, who may have come there from another area altogether.

8–9. A patronymic (in the form "son of") after the name and occupation of the deceased is uncharacteristic of Bosporus, although it is quite common in other parts of the Byzantine world (except Syria and Italy, according to PHI7 Database). The article after the name Agathos could have introduced not only the name of Oustanos' grandfather, but also his (grandfather's) position, as has been rightly pointed out by Yu.G. Vinogradov, and the latter possibility seems to me the most likely.


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