Tuesday, June 17, 2014


A Third Century A.D. Inscription from Eumeneia

John Ferguson and Jackson P. Hershbell, "Epicureanism Under the Roman Empire," Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt II.36.4 (1990) 2257-2327(at 2311):
Anti-Christian formulations are not earlier than the late third century, and may belong to the early fourth. W. M. RAMSAY published a particularly good example from Eumeneia (Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia [Oxford 1895], 232). This life is all there is; it is pleasurable (ἡδύς), and only cowards rush off to resurrection. This is Epicurean and anti-Christian.
This is somewhat misleading. See e.g. W.H. Buckler, W.M. Calder, and C.W.M. Cox, "Asia Minor, 1924. III.—Monuments from Central Phrygia," Journal of Roman Studies 16 (1926) 53-94 (no. 183, at pp. 61-64, esp. 64, footnote omitted):
With the present text, no doubts as to the religion of Gaius can well arise; from A, 13 and C, 4-7, it is plain that he was a Christian. The materialist view of B, 21-24, was like the advice in I Cor. xv, 32 ('let us eat and drink, etc.'), a rhetorical suggestion made to be immediately rejected; this was emphasised in the statement that it is the stone, not Gaius himself, who utters that view (B, 27-28). His own Christian philosophy was set forth in C, the final poem.
There is a text and translation of this interesting inscription in A.R.R. Sheppard, "R.E.C.A.M. Notes and Studies No. 6: Jews, Christians and Heretics in Acmonia and Eumeneia," Anatolian Studies 29 (1979) 169-180 (Greek text pp. 177-178, translation pp. 178-179). Here is the translation:
I Gaius, who am equal in numerical value to two words of awe, make this declaration as a holy and good man:

A man—Gaius the lawyer, trained in the arts—built this tomb while he was alive for himself and his dear wife Tatia and their lamented children, that they might have this eternal home together with Roubes, servant of the great God.

I did not have much wealth or much property for my livelihood, but I worked hard and gained a modicum of learning. This enabled me to assist my friends, as far as I was able, freely putting the ability I had at the disposal of all. Helping anyone who was in need was a joy to me, as, in the case of other people, prosperity brings joy to the heart. Let no one deluded in his wealth harbour proud thoughts, for there is one Hades and an equal end for all. Is someone great in possessions? He receives no more, (but) the same measure of earth for a tomb. Hasten, mortals, gladden your souls at all times as (allegedly) a pleasant way of life is also the measure of existence. So, friends. After this, no more of this—for what more is there? A monument of stone speaks this, not I.

Here are the Doors and the road to Hades, but the path has no way out to the light. Indeed the righteous at all times point the way to resurrection. This, the God of Hosts....
Here is a slightly simplified version of Sheppard's Greek text (without subscript dots and underlinings, and without apparatus; I added some iota subscripts and regularized some accents):
[Οὐνόμασιν σεμνοῖσιν]
ἰσόψηφος δυσὶ τούτ[ο,
Γάϊος, ὡς ἅγιος, ὡς ἀγ[α-
θὸς προλέγω·

ζωὸς ἐὼν τοῦτον τύμ-        5
βον τίς ἔτευξεν ἑαυτῷ
Μούσαις ἀσκηθεὶς
Γάϊος πραγματικός
ἠδ' ἀλόχῳ φιλίῃ Τατίῃ
τέκεσίν τε ποθητοῖς        10
ὄφρα τὸν ἀΐδιον τοῦ-
τον ἔχωσι δόμον
σὺν Ῥούβῃ μεγάλοιο
θ(εο)ῦ . θεράποντι.

Ο]ὐκ ἔσχον πλοῦτον πολὺν        15
εἰς βίον, οὐ πολὺ χρῆμα,
γράμμασι δ' ἠσκήθην ἐκπο-
νέσας μετρίοις,
ἐξ ὧν τοῖσι φίλοισιν ἐπή[ρ-
κεον ὡς δύναμίς μοι,        20
σπουδὴν ἣν ε[ἶχ]ον, πᾶσι
τοῦτο γὰρ ἦν μοι τερπ[νόν,
ἐπαρκεῖν, εἴ τις ἔχρῃζε[ν,
ὡς ἄλλων ὄλβος τέρψιν        25
ἄγει κραδίῃ.
μηδεὶς δ' ἐν πλούτῳ τυφ[ω-
θεὶς [γα]ῦρα [φ]ρονείτω·
πᾶσι γὰρ εἷς Ἅδης καὶ τέ-
λος ἐστὶν ἴσον.        30
ἔστιν τις μέγας ὢν ἐν κτή-
μασιν; οὐ πλέον οὗτος
ταὐτὸ μέτρον γαίης πρὸς
τάφον ἐκδέχεται.
σπεύδετε, τὴν ψυχὴν        35
εὐ[φ]ραίνετε πάντοτε, θνη[τοί,
ὡ]ς ἡδὺς βίοτος καὶ μέτρο[ν
ἐστὶ ζοῆς.
ταῦτα [φ]ίλοι· μετὰ ταῦτα τί
γὰρ πλέον; οὐκέτι ταῦτα·        40
στήλλη ταῦτα λαλεῖ καὶ λί-
θος. οὐ γὰρ ἐγώ.

θύραι μὲν ἔνθα κα[ὶ
πρὸς Ἀΐδαν ὁδοί,
ἀνεξόδευτοι δ' εἰσ[ὶν        45
ἐς φάος τρίβοι·
οἱ δὴ δίκαιοι πάντο[τ'
εἰς ἀνάστασιν
πρ]οδε[ικνύ]ουσι. τ[οῦ-
το δυνα[μέων] θεὸς        50
(3 lines illegible)
το — — — — —        55
..... ἀ[νάστα]σις.
Louis Robert discussed this inscription in "Épitaphes d'Eumeneia de Phrygie," Hellenica XI-XII (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1960), pp. 414-439, but his discussion is unavailable to me.

Michael Hendry, "How Is Gaios Holy and Good?," explains the beginning of the inscription.

From Karl Maurer:
Michael, that very interesting tomb inscription from Eumeneia, that you posted on 17 June, has a few tiny errors. I list them in case you’re interested:

In 20 ε[ῖχ]ον -- add smooth breathing [done].

Lines 31 f. mean, "Is there someone who is (ὢν) great in possessions? That person receives" etc. (Sheppard’s transl. ignores the participle and the rel. pronoun, and if one is being 'literal', one should be literal!)

In 39 ff. S.'s transl. twice ignores γὰρ and misses the point of the repetition ταῦτα... ταῦτα... ταῦτα... ταῦτα
. I think it means something like this: "I’m finished. For after this, what more (is there to say)? And there is no longer even this: for it is a stone speaking this, not I."

There in 39 the first 'ταῦτα.' seems an idiom meaning, "And that’s that." or "Period." or "I’m done." It occurs at the end of the end of an papyrus letter, P. Oxy. 119, of ii/iii A.D., from a boy to his father (it’s printed in George Milligan, ed., Selections from the Greek Papyri, Cambridge U. P., 1910, p. 102-3, text #42). The boy is angry that his father wouldn’t take him to Alexandria; so his letter is full of reproaches, threats, pleading; and at the end, summing up, he says, πέμψον εἴς με, παρακαλῶ σε. ἂν μὴ πένψης , οὐ μὴ φάγω, οὐ μὴ πείνω. Ταῦτα. Ἐρῶσθέ σε εὔχομαι. I.e. "Send for me, I beg you. If you don’t send for me, I’m not eating, I’m not drinking. And that’s that. I wish you well." (Or, "... And now I’m done. I wish you well".)

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