V 33. Cherson. Dedication of Bik- (?) and Michael, VI–VIIth centuries C.E.
Originally a panel from architectural revetment, here in secondary use as cornice. Burnt, broken off on the left and right.
Place of Origin
Institution and inventory
National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, 34978.
H. 3.5, W. 10.0.
Church 7 ("Kruze Basilica"), spoil heap of 1891 excavations.
2010, excavations of S.V. Ushakov.
H. 3.5, W. 18.0, Th. 7.0.
Church 7 ("Kruze Basilica").
1891, excavations of K.K. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich.
May 1999, August 2001, September 2002, September 2003, September 2004, September 2005, September 2006, September 2007.
On the front.
Lapidary. Lightly articulated serifs. Alpha with broken crossbar; beta with bottom underline; rectangular epsilon; lambda with projecting right hasta; pi with extended horizontal; tailed rho; upsilon slightly leans to the right.
VI–VIIth centuries C.E.
Fr. 1. Unpublished. Fr. 2. L1. Latyshev 1892, 36, № 28; 1.1. Latyshev 1896, 29–30, № 18.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/><seg part="F">α</seg>, <seg part="I">Βι<unclear>κ</unclear></seg><gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" cert="low" unit="character"/> <supplied reason="lost">καὶ</supplied> <supplied reason="lost" cert="low">Μιχ</supplied>αὴλ ὑπὲρ <gap reason="lost" extent="unknown" unit="character"/> </ab> </div>
...], Bik[...](?) and Mi]chael for/about [...].
For the archaelogical context of Fragment 2, see Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich 1893b, 4. Fragment 1 was found in the spoil heap resulting from the excavation of 1891. It must have been originally found somewhere near Fragment 2, but ended up in the spoil heap by accident.
Latyshev considered Fragment 2 to be "a piece, apparently belonging to an inscribed dedication of some object in a church, made by a certain Michael on behalf of a relative." Indeed, the small height of the stone suggests that it is a cornice of some element of the interior, e.g. a templon, rather than of a church building.
The letters ΑΒΙΚ on Fragment 1 cannot as a sequence belong to any single Greek word, and it is not likely that they belong to a name (the name Abika in Kerch (V 296) is completely unique). One possible way of breaking up the sequence is to take the alpha as the last letter of some word (e.g., a female name) and the rest of letters - Bik - as the beginning of another name, e.g., Biktor or Bikentios, that is, Viktor or Vikentios). Alternative readings are possible, however, e.g. ...]α βικαρ... (see commentary to V 6) or καβικλάριος. Before the name of the second dedicant there was probably a conjunction "and." The second dedicant's name was almost certainly Michael: other names with the ending -ael in Christian inscriptions are not attested (according to the HI7 Database), with the exception of a single case of Mesael.
The preposition ὑπέρ was most likely followed by a noun or pronoun, such as "prayer," "salvation", "oneself," or similar. For various possibilities of the formula ὑπέρ after the name of a dedicant, see Grégoire 1929, nos. 44, 64, 94, 119. Since here the names precede the formula, it must be that Fragment 2 followed Fragment 1 (with the non-Greek name).
The rectangular epsilon calls for a comparison with V 7, but the Y-shaped upsilon suggests a date in the first half of the VIth century. Tailed rho is unique for the Northern Black Sea region. Archaeologically, Church 7 dates no earlier than the middle of the VIth century (according to the kind personal communication of S.V. Ushakov, the last excavator of the site).