V 343. Taman peninsula. Inscription of Kyriakos, Mary and Constantine, IX-Xth centuries C.E.
H. 0.22, W. 0.35, Th. неизвестна.
Stele with the top in the shape of a circle with relief moulded border and inset centre; the latter shows a depression carved to receive a cross.
Place of Origin
1980-90ies, chance find.
Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk region, Russia.
Institution and inventory
Magnitogorsk State University (?), no inventory number.
Below the relief.
Bouletée. Alpha with pointy loop and broken crossbar (line 4), oval and diamond-shaped theta, kappa with extended vertical, lambda with projecting right hasta, Y-shaped and У-shaped upsilon. Ligatures omicron-upslion, sigma-tau, epsilon-upsilon minuscule sigma (?); abbreviation marks.
IX-Xth centuries C.E.
<div type="edition" xml:lang="grc"> <ab> <lb n="1"/><roleName><expan><abbr>Κ</abbr><ex>ύρι</ex><abbr>ε</abbr></expan></roleName> <choice><orig><expan><abbr>ὑ</abbr><ex cert="low">μῶν</ex></expan></orig> <reg cert="low"><expan><abbr>ἡ</abbr><ex cert="low">μῶν</ex></expan></reg></choice>, δέσπωτα κακοῦ, πθόνου καὶ ζήλου <lb n="2"/>καὶ πνευματικοῦ πράγματος· <roleName><expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>ύρι</ex><abbr>ε</abbr></expan></roleName>, δόξα σ<supplied reason="lost">οι</supplied>. <lb n="3"/><roleName><expan><abbr>Κ</abbr><ex>ύρι</ex><abbr>ε</abbr></expan></roleName> ὦ <roleName><expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>εό</ex><abbr>ς</abbr></expan></roleName>, φύλαξον τοὺς δούλους <lb n="4"/>τοῦ <roleName><expan><abbr>θ</abbr><ex>εο</ex><abbr>ῦ</abbr></expan></roleName> Κυριακὸν <expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>αὶ</ex></expan> <expan><abbr>Μα</abbr><ex>ρίαν</ex></expan> <expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>αὶ</ex></expan> Κοσταντίνου <unclear>ἀ</unclear><supplied reason="lost">π</supplied><lb n="5" break="no"/>ὼ πθόνον, ψοφης <expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>αὶ</ex></expan> μα<unclear>γ</unclear><supplied reason="lost">είας</supplied>, <lb n="6"/><expan><abbr>κ</abbr><ex>αὶ</ex></expan> πθόνος οὐκ <unclear>ἅ</unclear><supplied reason="lost">ψῃ</supplied> <supplied reason="lost">αὐτούς <note>e.g.</note></supplied> </ab> </div>
Our (?) Lord, a Master over evil, envy, jealousy and spiritual matter; O Lord, glory is yours. O Lord God, protect the servants of God, Kyriakos, Mary, and Constantine from envy, slander, and sorcery; and may envy [not touch them (?)].
A photograph of the monument was kindly provided to me by S.E. Andreyeva. The monument was a stele with a circle-shaped top. The circular front bore an inset centre surrounded by relief border, with a further cavity in the centre carved to receive a cross. The specially inserted cross (possibly containing relics, or perhaps a sacred item in itself) must have had an apotropaic function. There are similar (cross accompanied by text) apotropaic monuments from Cherson: V 42, V 109).
1-2. Reconstructions are difficult in some places, including the words at the beginning of line 1. A complex third sign in that line looks like an upside down mu with a vertical line through the centre, and might be a combination of mu, omega and nu. The formula "master of evil etc." is somewhat unusual, and should probably be understood as "Master over evil etc." The expression πνευματικοῦ πράγματος should be understood as "action of evil spirits" (cf. Ps. 90.6) - in Byzantine epigraphy, such attestation is unique: the adjective πνευματικὸς is typically used in positive sense or in reference to clerical status.
5. The meaning of the word ψοφης is also not entirely clear: it is either dat. plur. of the word ψόφος "mere noise" (LSJ, s.v.), or gen. sing. of an otherwise unknown noun ψοφή with some similar meaning. We should also note an unusual dissimilation of consonants in the word πθόνος, which might be a reflection of local pronunciation, or a deliberate misspelling in order to avoid the evil eye. There is one analogy for such spelling, found in a papyrus - PRyl 2, № 144. It is specifically this word that appears in different parts of the text in combination with various other calamities that need to be repelled: jealousy, action of evil spirits, malediction (?) and sorcery.
The shapes of theta and lambda in this text are similar to some monuments of the Middle Byzantine period (cf. V 240).