V 342. Taman peninsula, Azov sea shore. Ownership inscription of Sauagas, 478-479 C.E.
Broken at the top and bottom (?).
Place of Origin
Taman peninsula, Azov sea shore.
Azov Sea shore
Institution and inventory
Private collection, no inventory number.
On one side of the column shaft.
Lapidary. Alpha with broken crossbar, rectangular epsilon, sigma and omega, reduced omicron, diamond-shaped omicron and phi, pi with extended horizontal, abbreviation mark.
L1. Vinogradov 1998, 239–240, № 4; 1.1. SEG 48, 995; 1.2. Vinogradov 2007, 261, № 6; 2. Vinogradov 2010a, 149-151.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/>Ὠν<unclear>ε</unclear>ί<supplied reason="lost">θη</supplied> <supplied reason="lost"><g ref="#stauros"/> ὁ</supplied> τόπος <lb n="2"/>ἁλιευτικὸς νέος <lb n="3"/>δι<unclear>α</unclear>φέρο<unclear>ν</unclear> Σαυα<lb n="4" break="no"/>γᾳ Ἀρίστονος <expan><abbr>κόμ</abbr><ex>ητι</ex></expan> <lb n="5"/>ἐν τῷ <num value="775">εοψ</num> <expan><abbr>ἔτ</abbr><ex>ει</ex></expan>. </ab> </div>
1: ΙΙΙΠΕΙ[... Y. Vinogradov
A new fishing spot was purchased, belonging to comes Sauagas, son of Ariston, in the year 775.
The inscription was found not in the vicinity of the village Troitskaya, as I had previously thought on the basis of editio princeps, but on the Azov shore of the Taman peninsula (kindly pointed out to me by A.V. Piankov). The editor used a rubbing made by B.A. Rayev and passed on to him by S.R. Tokhtasiev. In the early 1990s, the monument was in the collection of the public museum at the village Troitskaya, but in 2008 it has turned up in a private collection. The photograph was kindly made available to me by Rayev.
1. The rubbing (kindly shared with me by S.R. Tokhtasiev) shows that there is no horizontal in the second letter, however, the only pi in the inscription has a widely extended horizontal, for which there is no room on the stone. This reading is confirmed by Rayev's photograph.
1–5. As the author of the editio princeps correctly observed the inscriprion had marked the newly acquired fishing spot of Sauagas, who is also known to us from V 265, V 305. Ownership inscriptions are not otherwise attested in Byzantine inscriptions of the Northern Black Sea region, and in the rest of the Christian world they are associated only with graves (except "the place belonging to the Blues" in Oxyrynchus, early VIIth century (SB 6019) and, probably, a similar inscription from Antiochena, early VIth century (IGLS 1232). In this respect, the lexical choices of the inscription become important: the term τόπος is used in Christian epigraphy mainly to denote the place of burial and often accompanied by the participle διαφέρων "belonging to so and so" (see for details Grossi Gondi 1968, 241–254). We may therefore hypothesize that the model for our otherwise unparalleled ownership inscription could have been this type of formula with τόπος (although it is not attested in the Northern Black Sea region), especially since it does not refer to a burial as such, but to a plot designated for burial and acquired ahead of time (often the seller, the sum, and the date (as in our case) of the purchase are recorded).