V 331. Hermonassa. Dedication of Doutzagas, Sauagas, and others 470–480s C.E.






Dimensions (cm)

H. 78.0, Diam. 35.5.

Additional description

Polished surface. Broken at the top and bottom. 

Place of Origin


Find place

Taman, coast. 

Find context


Find circumstances

1868, chance find. 

Modern location

Kerch, Crimea. 

Institution and inventory

Historical and Archeological Museum of Kerch State Historical and Cultural Preserve, КЛ–1011. 


May 1999, September 2004, September 2008. 

Epigraphic field


On half of the circle. 


Lapidary; letters with serifs. Alpha with broken crossbar, delta and pi with extended horizontal, lambda with projecting right hast, mu with shortened middle, elongated phi. 

Letterheights (cm)






470–480s C.E. (before 491–492 C.E.; 473–474 or 483–484 C.E.?). 

Dating criteria



L1. IOSPE I2 389; 1.1. Tikhanova-Klimenko 1926, 546–560; 1.2. КБНCIRB 1099; 1.2.1. SEG 3, 609; 1.2.2. Diatroptov, Yemets 1995, 61; 2. Yaylenko 1987, 163–166; 2.1. Bull.ép. 1990, 903; 2.2. SEG 39, 697; 2.3. Vinogradov 1998, 238–239; 2.3.1. SEG 48, 994; 3. Yaylenko 2002; 3.1. SEG 52, 739; 4. Vinogradov 2007, 261, № 7; 5. Vinogradov 2010a, 147-149. 


[Ἀ]μπελου[ργούς σ]ου σέπτα̣[σον?, κ(ύρι)ε,]
(καὶ) ζε̣̣͂σο αὐτοὺς καὶ μνημ[όνευε]
[ἐ]μ̣ὲ μετὰ τῶν ἁγίων· ὑγ̣[ία].
[.ψ]´ ἔτι κ̣αὶ μηνεὶ Ξανθικ[ῷ ..]´.
5Εἰσὶν δὲ οἱ συνθειασεῖτα̣[ι]·
Δουτζαγας, + Σαυαγας κόμ̣(ης),
Θ̣οριμαγ, Δαππαεις,
+ Τρόφιμος, Ομαρ,
Σα.λ̣ιχ, Μιδαχ,
10.ο̣β̣ουλγαεις, Αττασις,
Αλδαγ, Κ̣α̣νδιτζις,
Αδμα..[τ]ζις, Σευραγ,
Δα..., [ἀμ]ή̣ν.



EpiDoc (XML)

<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc">
      <lb n="1"/><supplied reason="lost">Ἀ</supplied>μπελου<supplied reason="lost">ργούς</supplied>
      <supplied reason="lost">σ</supplied>ου
      σέπτ<unclear>α</unclear><supplied reason="lost" cert="low">σον</supplied><supplied reason="lost">, 
      <lb n="2"/><expan><ex>καὶ</ex></expan> ζ<unclear>ε͂</unclear>σο αὐτοὺς καὶ
      μνημ<supplied reason="lost">όνευε</supplied>
      <lb n="3"/><supplied reason="lost">ἐ</supplied><unclear>μ</unclear>ὲ μετὰ τῶν
      ἁγίων· ὑ<unclear>γ</unclear><supplied reason="lost">ία</supplied>.
      <lb n="4"/><num atLeast="700"><gap reason="lost" quantity="1" unit="character"/><supplied reason="lost">ψ</supplied></num>
      ἔτι <unclear>κ</unclear>αὶ μηνεὶ
      <rs type="month" ref="xanthikos">Ξανθικ<supplied reason="lost">ῷ</supplied></rs>
      <num atMost="30"><gap reason="lost" quantity="2" unit="character"/></num>.
      <lb n="5"/>Εἰσὶν δὲ οἱ 
      συνθειασεῖτ<unclear>α</unclear><supplied reason="lost">ι</supplied>·
      <lb n="6"/>Δουτζαγας, <g ref="#stauros"/>
      Σαυαγας <expan><abbr>κό<unclear>μ</unclear></abbr><ex>ης</ex></expan>,
      <lb n="7"/><unclear>Θ</unclear>οριμαγ,
      <lb n="8"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Τρόφιμος, 
      <lb n="9"/>Σα<gap reason="illegible" quantity="1" unit="character"/><unclear>λ</unclear>ιχ, 
      <lb n="10"/><gap reason="illegible" quantity="1" unit="character"/><unclear>οβ</unclear>ουλγαεις, 
      <lb n="11"/>Αλδαγ, <unclear>Κα</unclear>νδιτζις,
      <lb n="12"/>Αδμα<gap reason="illegible" quantity="2" unit="character"/><supplied reason="lost">τ</supplied>ζις,
      <lb n="13"/><seg part="I">Δα</seg><gap reason="illegible" quantity="3" unit="character"/>,
      <supplied reason="lost">ἀμ</supplied><unclear>ή</unclear>ν.
Apparatus criticus

1: Κύριε, βοήθησον δούλους ἀμπελου[ργούς] e.g. Yaylenko 1987; Κύριε, βοήθησον δούλους περ]ιπόλους Yaylenko 2002; πολου IOSPE, Gaydukevich; σοὺς ἑπτά Yaylenko 1987; [πιστ]ους ἑπτὰ Yaylenko 2002; ους ἑπτά IOSPE, Gaydukevich
2: (καὶ) ζε͂σο Vinogradov 2007, Vinogradov 2010; ἐ]λέ(η)σο(ν) Yaylenko 1987; σο͂σε Yaylenko 2002
2-3: μνήμ[ησον ἐ]μὲ Zheltov apud Vinogradov 2007; μνημ...ιο IOSPE, Gaydukevich; μνημ[ονε]υε sic! Yaylenko; μνήμ[ης τῆ]ς Vinogradov 1998; μνήμ[ησον] Vinogradov 2007
3-4: ὑγ[ία. .ψ´] Vinogradov 2007, Vinogradov 2010a; ψ..´ Yaylenko 2002, Vinogradov 1998; Y[... .ψ´] Vinogradov 2007
4: καὶ Yaylenko
5: εἰσὶν δὲ οἱ Yaylenko; .. οἱ ..λ.οι IOSPE, Gaydukevich
6: Δουτζαγας Yaylenko; ...τζαγας IOSPE, Gaydukevich; Σαυαγας κόμ(ης) Vinogradov 1998, Yaylenko 2002; Σαυαγάσκου IOSPE, Gaydukevich, Yaylenko 1987
7: Οριμαγ Yaylenko 1987; Χοριμαγ Yaylenko 2002; ...ορίμαγ(ος) IOSPE, Gaydukevich; Δαππαεις Yaylenko; Δαππασις IOSPE, Gaydukevich
8: ὁ μάρ(τυς) (?) Vinogradov 1998
9: Σα.λιχ Vinogradov 2007, Vinogradov 2010a; Σ[αλ(?)]διχ Yaylenko 1987; Σαλδίχ Yaylenko 2002; Μιδαχ Yaylenko; Μίδαχ(ος) IOSPE, Gaydukevich
10: .οβ.ουλγαεις Vinogradov 2007, Vinogradov 2010a; Οὐάγ[α]σις IOSPE, Gaydukevich; Το(?)βουλγαεις Yaylenko 1987; † Ταβουλγαεις Yaylenko 2002; Ατταεις Yaylenko
11: Αλδαγ Vinogradov 2007, Vinogradov 2010a; [Μά]λδαγ(ος ?) IOSPE, Gaydukevich; Μαλδαγ Yaylenko; Κανδιτζις Yaylenko; ..νδ.τζις IOSPE, Gaydukevich
12: Αλμ...ις IOSPE, Gaydukevich; Αλμα...ζις Yaylenko 1987; .]δμα[....]ξις Yaylenko 2002; Αδμα...ζις Vinogradov 2007; Σευραγ Yaylenko 1987; Σεραυγ Yaylenko 2002; Σεύραγ(ος) IOSPE, Gaydukevich
13: Δα.., [ἀμ]ήν Yaylenko; ...ν IOSPE, Gaydukevich


Honor your vineyard workers, o Lord, and grant them life, and remember me with the saints; health. [In the 7... ] year and month of Xanthikos [on the day...]. These are the participants in thiasos: Doutzagas, prefect Sauagas, Thorimag, Dappaeis, Trophimos, Omar, Sa.lich, Midach, .oboulagaeis, Attasis, Aldag, Kanditzis, Adma.tzis, Seurag, Da..., amen.



Inscriptions on columns were common in Early Byzantine period. Some contemporary parallels to our inscription include V 342 and IdC 49 (III–Vth century). What is unclear is whether this was a free-standing column, or an architectural element of some building, e.g., of a church.

Stephani (1870, 193–194) who was the first to mention the inscription in print had only read ΤΙΟ in line 3, ΤΡΟΦΙΝΟΣ in line 8 and ΑΛΜ in line 12, and for this reason his readings are not reflected in the apparatus criticus.

1–3. We should give due credit to Yaylenko for making a significant contribution to the reconstruction of the beginning, although he was not able to reconstruct the formula fully. My reading also relies on a couple of hypothetical links: I reconstruct a verb σεπτάζω, which would be hapax but with a parallel in another hapax - σεπτεύω (Hesychius, s.v.), and I envision an Imperative ζε͂σο (instead of ζῆσο) without the final nu (Yaylenko's suggestion ἐ]λ̣έ̣(η)σο(ν) is not possible because lambda is not on the stone). Suggestions for the reading of the end of line 2 and the beginning of line 3 were kindly shared with me by the Reverend Mikhail Zheltov. A request to be "remembered with the saints" is typologically similar to the funerary formula "rest with the righteous" (see V 64, V 65). It is noteworthy that members of this thiasos which had lasted down to the end of the Vth century and was distinctly Christian in character (indicated by the use of crosses) call themselves "vineyard workers." The term should probably be understood symbolically (cf., e.g., Eusebius Caesarensis. Comm. in Isaiam 2, 51). Tikhanova (1926, 553) convincingly demonstrated the Christian usage of the term "thiasotai" in Theophylaktos Simokattes (7, 2, 17): it referred to participants in a feast celebrating a saint (for the form θιασῖται see Julius Pollux, Onomasticon 6, 8).

The formula with μνημόνευε is otherwise attested only once - in ICUR 24611.

3–4. The practice of dating by the month Xanthikos is a feature of the Bosporan tradition, as is the practice of dating by year. Yaylenko's suggestion (accepted by Yu.G. Vinogradov) to take the upsilon preceding the word "year" not as the number 400 (in that case, the inscription would date to 183-193 C.E., which is too early both in terms of content and palaeography), but as an incomplete psi (without the top half of the vertical) should be rejected because in all Bosporan inscriptions of the 2nd half of the Vth century the number of hundreds in the year date always comes at the end (cf. V 265, V 305, V 342). The vertical stroke after the upsilon cannot belong to a pi because the latter has an extended horizontal in this inscription and there is no room for it in this case - thus, the vertical could belong to gamma, mu, or nu. Seeing that before the upsilon there is a sign resembling a colon, the most likely reconstruction seems to be the word ὑγία, used in Christian epigraphy as self-standing exclamation (Gough 1958, 244–250) or in combination with other ones (SEG 35.1529, 1531, 1532; IGLS 304, 381, 1463, 2070). The year date, therefore, must have stood at the beginning of line 4, but its left edge allows us to reconstruct only one more letter besides the necessary psi (see below).

6. At the same time, the suggestion of Yu.G. Vinogradov to identify the comes Sauagas of this inscription with the comes Sauagas known from three other inscriptions dated to 478–492 C.E. (V 265, V 305 and V 342) allows us to date this inscription to the last quarter of the Vth century. Considering this chronological period, the only digit before psi could have been either an omicron or pi, and the inscription would then date either to the 770s or 780s of the Bosporan era, that is, 473–474 or 483–484 C.E. As has been noted by Yu.G. Vinogradov, Sauagas is the only thiasotes whose title is mentioned and his name is marked with a cross. Этот крест, вероятно, не имеет отношения к упоминанию умершего, (это противоречит словам «оживи» и «здравие», а скорее маркирует двух особых персонажей (см. ниже). The cross apparently does not refer to the deceased here (this would contradict the words "grant life," "health"), but marks a special personage (see below).

8. The second cross accompanies the name Trophimos, which is also the only one in this inscription attested as Christian elsewhere (see commentary to V 49). The letters that follow this name should not, contra to Yu.G. Vinogradov, be interpreted as an abbreviation of the word "martyr."

The two crosses, which appear next to the Christian name and next to the name of a prominent Bosporan official raise a question about the name of the thiasos mentioned in the inscription: it might have brought together members of nobility, but not necessarily Christians. Our proposed date (late Vth century), undermines a hypothesis expressed by I.A. Levinskaya (2000, 211–213, n. 158), who dates the inscription to the IVth century and considers the members of this thiasos to be Jewish quasi-proselytes who had recently adopted Christianity.

13. As is fitting for a Christian invocation, the text ends with the word "Amen."



(cc) © 2015 Andrey Vinogradov (edition), Irene Polinskaya (translation)
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