V 336. Tamatarcha (?). Epitaph of an unknown (invocation of Demetrios), 912 C.E. (?)
H. 13.0, W. 9.5, Th. 2.0.
H. 12.0, W. 11.5, Th. 2.0.
Both the front and the back of the panel are polished. Broken, two fragments survive.
Place of Origin
Institution and inventory
State Historical Museum, 7740.
Institution and inventory
State Historical Museum, no inventory number.
Epigraphic field 1
On the front.
Lapidary; letters with serifs, carved between guiding lines. Alpha with pointy loop, delta with extended horizontal, almond-shaped epsilon, theta, omicron and sigma, mu with slanting outer hastae and short central hastae, У-shaped upsilon. Abbreviation marks.
912 C.E. (?)
L1. Latyshev 1896,114, № 105; 2. Vinogradov 2006, 95–96, № 5.
<div type="textpart" subtype="inscription" n="1"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><g ref="#stauros"/> Ἐνθάδε <supplied reason="lost">κατάκειται</supplied> ὁ δοῦ<lb n="2" break="no"/>λος τοῦ <roleName><expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>εο</ex><abbr><unclear>ῦ</unclear></abbr></expan></roleName> <supplied reason="lost">ὁ</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">δεῖνα</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">τοῦ</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">Ἰ</supplied><lb n="3" break="no"/>βάντζο<unclear>υ</unclear>, <supplied reason="lost">ὁ τοῦ ναοῦ <note>e.g.</note></supplied> <supplied reason="lost">τού</supplied><lb n="4" break="no"/>του <certainty locus="value" match=".." cert="low"/> δεκα<supplied reason="lost">νός,</supplied> <gap reason="lost" quantity="3" unit="character"/> <lb n="5"/>δὲ γενάμ<supplied reason="lost">ενος</supplied> <supplied reason="lost"><expan><abbr>Ἰω</abbr><ex>άννου</ex></expan></supplied> <supplied reason="lost">τοῦ</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">θεο</supplied><lb n="6" break="no"/>λόγου <certainty locus="value" match=".." cert="low"/>. Ἐτ<supplied reason="lost">ελειώθη</supplied> <date><supplied reason="lost">μηνὶ</supplied> <lb n="7"/><rs type="month" ref="iul"><supplied reason="lost">Ἰουλίο</supplied> <certainty locus="value" match=".." cert="low"/></rs> <num value="25">κε</num>, ἱμέρᾳ σα<supplied reason="lost">ββάτῳ</supplied>, <lb n="8"/><expan><abbr>ὥρ</abbr><ex>ᾳ</ex></expan> <num atLeast="1" atMost="10"><gap reason="lost" quantity="1" unit="character"/></num>, <expan><abbr><supplied reason="lost">ἰν</supplied>δη</abbr><ex>κτιῶνι</ex></expan> <num value="15">ιε</num>, ἀπὸ <supplied reason="lost">κτίσε</supplied><lb n="9" break="no"/><supplied reason="lost">ως</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">κό</supplied>σμου <num value="6420">ςυ<supplied reason="lost" cert="low">κ</supplied></num> ἔτους</date>. </ab> </div>
2-6: θ[εοῦ ...] βαντζο[...] τοῦ δεκα[...] δε γεναμ[...] λόγου Latyshev
8: ὥρ(ᾳ) ., ἰνδ. Latyshev, Vinogradov
9: ςυ[... Latyshev, Vinogradov
Here lies a servant of God..., son of ... Ibantz-, decanus of this [church?]... having become... [of John Theo]logian. He died on the 25th of July (?), Saturday, in the 15th indiction, in the year 6420 (?) since the creation of the world.
According to Latyshev, Fragment 1 came from the collection of E.E. Lyutsenko, and according to the inventory of the State Historical Museum (op. 305/IV) — it comes from the collection of A.M. Podshivalov. The monument was part of the exhibition "From [the land of] Varangians to [the land of] the Greeks" (21.05.1996; the catalogue published, with errors, Latyshev's edition of Fragment 2). Since Fragments 1 and 2 belong to the same inscription (this is supported by the palaeography, and in particular, the characteristic shape of mu, the thickness of the panel, letter height, etc.), perhaps the discrepancy between attributions to different private collections has to do with the existence of and mix-up between two fragments. The origin of Fragment 1 is unknown: it had been in a private collection and then entered the collection of the State Historical Museum; Fragment 2 was found in the Kuban region and directly transferred to the Historical Museum. Latyshev already considered the idea of joining the fragments, but was dissuaded by A.N. Tschukarev and A.V. Oreshnikov.
The thinness of the panel is of note: it must have been a revetment panel for insertion into a wall above the grave (see commentary to V 319). After the demolition of the wall, it was reused for an invocative graffito: two parts of the stone remain, and therefore it means that Text 2 had been inscribed while the whole panel was still intact.
1–2. On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.F.d.
2–3. After the words "servant of God" stood the name of the deceased. A lacuna in line 2 is too big, however, to take βαντζου at the start of line 3 together with it; rather, these letters must be part of a name, either of a family name or of a patronymic. The former is attested in the epigraphy of the Northern Black Sea region once (V 66, 915 C.E.); the likelihood of the second is supported by the ending - the father's name might have been Ivanets (this name is recorded in a birch bark letter № 2 from Moscow, of the XIVth century).
3–6. The sequence of letters λόγου appearing before the formula "He died" probably belongs to some epithet: among those that characterize saints the most frequent is θεολόγος, and the lacuna in line 4 allows no other restoration but St. John the Theologian (all restorations are of course highly hypothetical). The preceding γενάμ[ενος most likely indicates that the deceased (or perhaps his father, although this is less likely) had become a cleric of some church or monastery dedicated to John the Theologian and located somewhere in the Kuban region. In that case, his former status of decanus (according to the PHI7 Database, decani are mentioned in Christian inscriptions 18 times) probably indicates his responsibility for burials (Lampe, s.v., 2), apparently in connection with the church where he himself was eventually buried. The developed church terminology evident in the inscription suggests that the monument originated in a bishopric's centre, that is, Tamatarcha.
6. On the formula, see Introduction IV.3.F.f.
7–9. The detailed dating formula is similar to those found on other Middle Byzantine tombstones (V 316, 767 C.E; V 315, 819 C.E.; V 243, 906 C.E.); the last example is also very close to the one under consideration in terms of palaeography. This similarity is probably not accidental, especially if we take into consideration the fact that the author, and possibly the letter cutter, of the epitaph from Partenit was "Nikolaos, a monk and presbyter from Bosporus." The possible year dates of death (15th indiction) between 891 and 992 C.E. are 896–897, 911–912, 926–927, 941–942, 956–957, 971–972 and 986–987 C.E. (on the correspondence of years 'since Creation' and 'since the Birth of Christ' in the Middle Byzantine period, see Introduction IV. 4. D). Of these years, the 25th of a month fell on a Saturday in the following years: December 25, 896 C.E., June 25, 897 C.E., April and July 25, 912 C.E., November 25, 926 C.E., August 25, 927 C.E., September and December 25, 941 C.E., June 25, 942 C.E., October 25, 956 C.E., April and July 25, 957 C.E., November 25, 971 C.E., May 25, 972 C.E., December 25, 986 C.E. and June 25, 987 C.E. In the lacuna, there is space for about 5 letters for the month name. If it was Μαΐῳ, then May, 25th fell on a Saturday only in 972 C.E. If it was Ἰουνίο or Ἰουλίο, then the possible dates are: June 25, 897 C.E., July 25, 912 C.E., June 25, 942 C.E., July 25, 957 C.E., and June 25, 987 C.E. Considering the similarity of our inscription to V 243 (906 C.E.) we should probably prefer the first two possibilities, and the size of the lacuna for the year date suggests ςυκ´, that is, 912 C.E. We should note the special for the Northern Black Sea region dating formula 'since Creation' rather than 'since Adam' (see commentary to V 243 and Vinogradov 2008).
© 2015 Andrey Vinogradov (edition), Irene Polinskaya (translation)
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