Epitaph of Koison


Trismegistos ID: 738897

Source Description


Cyrene Museum, 236.


Two adjacent fragments pasted together of a limestone stele, broken above, chipped off below, with irregular depth (0.53; 0.80;0.04 (right) - 0.17 (left)).


Inscribed on front face in two lines (l. 1 ascending along the left edge, l. 2 descending along the right edge) (0.53; 0.72;).


0.06-0.075; boustrophedon, alpha with oblique central bar joining the second stroke very low (sometimes at its end), epsilon with three oblique and equal bars, three-stroke iota, dissymmetrical nu, san for sibilant.

Place of Origin



First third of sixth century B.C. (lettering)


Found before 1937 by Oliverio at Cyrene : North necropolis .

Last recorded Location

Seen by C. Dobias-Lalou in 1976 in Shahat : Cyrene Museum .

Text constituted from

Transcription from stone (CDL).


From †Oliverio's papers Pugliese Carratelli-Oliverio, 1961 , n. 14, fig. 25-26, whence SEG , 20.745; Dobias-Lalou, 1970 , n. 4; Peek, 1972 , n. 1; CEG , n. 164. Cf. Gasperini, 2000 , p. 31 (= Gasperini, 2008 , pp. 452-454).


|   ←Κ̣οίσōνος στάλα [ ˘  ˘  |  ˉ  ˘  ˘  |  ˉ  ˘  ˘  |  ˉ  ± ] 

|   → [ ˉ  ˘  ˘  |  ˉ  ˘  ˘  |  ˉ  ˘  ˘  |  ˉ ]  ἔστασαν ἑταῖρ[οι]


1 Κ̣οίσōνος στάλα [---?]  : Pugliese Carratelli-Oliverio, 1961  Κ̣οίσōνος (Hiller von Gaertringen's reading per epistulam ) : Pugliese Carratelli-Oliverio, 1961  [Ἀ]λ̣((ϙ))ίσονος (Oliverio's reading ϙ inverted) : Peek, 1972  Κοίσōνος στάλα · φθι| : Peek, 1972  Κοίσōνος στάλα [το͂ Κάρνιος εἰμ' ἐπὶ τύμβōι·]

2 [---?]  ἔστασαν ἑταῖρ[οι] : Peek, 1972  |[μένōι δ']ἔστασαν ἑταῖρο[ι] : Peek, 1972  [νούσōι δὲ φθιμένōι μνάμαν μ']ἔστασαν ἑταῖρο[ι]

French translation

La stèle de Koisôn [---?]  a été dressée par ses compagnons.

English translation

The stele of Koison [---?]  was erected by his companions.

Italian translation

La stele di Koison [---?]  è stata eretta dai suoi compagni.

Arabic translation

لوح كويسون التذكاري [---؟] كان قد نصب من قبل أصحابه.


This being the only inscription written boustrophedon, we catch from Bertarelli, 1937 , p. 413 that it was already exposed at the time in room 2 of the then Antiquarium (today Office of the Department of Antiquities).

As both short ends of the stone are broken off, its original dimensions and placement are impossible to infer, except from the content.

As the word 'stele' and the verb meaning 'to erect' show, this was a standing stone to be read looking from the centre alternatively to one and the other longer side. The verb being usually at the end of a sentence and the deceased person's name being an important information at the beginning of the text, it can be inferred that the first line is to be read at left from below upwards and the second line from above downwards.

Depending on the following formula, the first word 'stele' should be used at the accusative, in relation with the verb 'to erect' or at another case if the text had two sentences.

Metrical analysis: Peek's preferred restoration, producing only one dactylic hexameter, supposes a moderate loss of the upper part. This reading is quite possible. However we left the question open in the translation for an alternative reading, supposing that more than one half of the stone might be lost. This would provide a distich made of two dactylic hexameters, a solution for which Peek also offered less cautious restorations.

Creative Commons Attributions-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

All citation, reuse or distribution of this work must contain a link back to DOI: http://doi.org/10.6092/UNIBO/IGCYRGVCYR and the filename (IGCyr000000 or GVCyr000), as well as the year of consultation.