Epitaph of Myrtilos


Trismegistos ID: 738909

Source Description


Tocra Museum, inv. number unknown.


Sandstone panel cracked in two places and broken away at the lower righthand corner (1.65; 0.45;0.08).


Inscribed on front face, in a shallow recess.


0.03-0.04; lunate epsilon, sigma and omega, alpha and lambda with right stroke projecting above, cursive mu.

Place of Origin

Taucheira : possibly from the Gymnasium .


Perhaps second or third century A.D. (lettering)


Found in 1965 at Taucheira : reused as a paving slab, in the East corridor of the Byzantine 'fortress' , South of the decumanus.

Later recorded Location

Seen by J.M. Reynolds before 1968 at Tūkrah : Tocra Museum .

Last recorded Location

Seen in 1975 and again 1976 by Fr. Chamoux at the same place.

Present Location

Not seen by GVCyr team

Text constituted from

Transcription from previous editors.


Reynolds, 1996 , p. 40, pl. XIV, whence SEG , 46.2222; Chamoux, 2000 , pp. 109-114, whence SEG , 50.1651. Cf. Reynolds, 1998 , pp. 479-480.


Μουσάων θεράποντα καὶ Ἡρακλῆος ἑταῖρον (vac. 1) | Μυρτίλον ἥδ' εὐνὴ λαϊνέη κατέχει (vac. 1)

ᾦ κανόνες τε πόδες τε διηνεκέως ἐμέλησ[αν] | πενταέθλων μελέτης γράμματι κη[δομένῳ]


4 Chamoux, 2000  γράμματι κη[δομένῳ] : Reynolds, 1996  γραμματικῆ[ς θ' ἅμ' ἔην] : Reynolds, 1996  γραμματικῆ[ς τε γὰρ ἦν]

French translation

Serviteur des Muses et compagnon d'Héraclès,

tel était Myrtilos qui repose dans cette tombe de pierre.

Il n'a pas cessé de donner tous ses soins aux règles et aux pieds

en consacrant un poème à la pratique du pentathle.

(trad. Fr. Chamoux)

English translation

Servant of the Muses and companion of Heracles,

Myrtilos is constrained by this bed of stone.

The rules and feet were his constant care

and he produced a poem about the pentathlon practice.

(J.M. Reynolds' translation with some changes)

Italian translation

Servitore delle Muse e compagno di Eracle,

Myrtilos questo letto di pietra trattiene.

A lui ininterrottamente stettero a cuore i metri e i piedi:

dedicò un poema alla pratica del pentathlon.


Reynolds suspected that Myrtilos' tomb stood inside the Gymnasium, which would explain that the stone was reused in the nearby Byzantine 'fortress', more easily than if it was brought from one of the necropoles outside the city walls.

In Chamoux' view, the γράμμα was a didactical poem about the pentathlon; of course Myrtilos would also have composed his own epitaph.

Metrical analysis: two elegiac couplets.

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