Epitaph of Tiberios Petronios Kapiton


Trismegistos ID: 738910

Source Description


Stele of unknown stone broken away below (dimensions unknown).


Inscribed on front face in 15 lines.


Unknown height; three styles of script: a) at ll. 1-2, capitals: alpha with straight bar, four strokes non-slanting sigma, omega with developed lower part; b) at ll. 3-5, larger characters than a): alpha with dropped bar, alpha and lambda with projecting right stroke, lunate epsilon and sigma, xi with serpentine central part; c) l. 6 on: same shapes as b) (also lunate omega), smaller in size than a).

Place of Origin



Probably 198/9 A.D. (internal-date, lettering)


First copied by J.-R. Pacho in 1825 at Cyrene : presumably in one Necropolis .

Last recorded Location

Copied by J.-R. Pacho in 1825 in Shahat .

Present Location

Neither seen by GVCyr team nor by J.M. Reynolds for IRCyr; seems to be lost.

Text constituted from

Transcription from editor.


Pacho, 1827 , pp. 388-392 (Letronne), pl. LXII (also Letronne, 1828 , pp. 183-188) and Welcker, 1828 , n. 50, whence CIG , 5172; Kaibel, 1878 , n. 418; Peek, 1955 , n. 1522. .


[𐅹 (ἔτους) σ]κθ´ Τι(βέριος) Πετρώνιος Καπίτων ἐτῶν δ̣κ´.

| Βαιόν σοι τὸ μετα|ξὺ βίου θανάτοιό | (5) τ' ἔθηκε ∴ καὶ τύμβου, | Καπίτων, καὶ θαλάμοιο Τύ|χη ·

νύκτα μίαν ψευστίν καὶ ἀνη|λέα, τὴν ἄνις αὐλῶν · τὴν δίχα σοι πα|στῶν, τὴν ἄτερ εἰλαπίνης ·

5 αἲ αἲ | (10) τὴν ἐπὶ πέπλα καὶ εἰς ἀμύριστα πε|σοῦσα[ν] ⨯ στέμματα καὶ βίβλους <σ>εῖ|ο, πρόμοιρε, <τέ>φρην·

οἲ θρήνοισι βο|ητὸν Ὑμήναον· οἲ προκελεύθους ⦢ | λάμπαδας ὑστατίου καὶ κενεοῖο | (15) λέχους ∴̣ (vac. 18?) (vac.)


1 [σ]κθ (Chamoux' suggestion, see commentary) : Pacho, 1827 , Welcker, 1828 , CIG  κθ (Letronne's reading) : Kaibel, 1878 , Peek, 1955  Κ(αταχθονίοις) θ(εοῖς)

2 Pacho, 1827 , Welcker, 1828  δ̣κ (Letronne's reading) : CIG , Kaibel, 1878 , Peek, 1955  𐅹 (ἐτῶν) κ

10-11 πε|σοῦσα[ν] ⨯ : Pacho, 1827  πε|σοῦσα[ν] (Pacho's copy has a small cross and no space for a letter before: either this was omitted on the stone – or in Pacho's copy –, or it was an unclear nu followed by no punct)

12 Pacho, 1827 , Welcker, 1828  <τέ>φρην (either omitted by Pacho or by the stone-cutter)

French translation

[L'an 2]29, Tiberios Petrônios Kapitôn, (mort) à l'âge de 24 ans.

La Fortune a mis pour toi un espace bref

entre la vie et la mort et entre le tombeau et la chambre nuptiale, Kapitôn,

elle a mis une seule nuit, mensongère et impitoyable, une nuit sans flûtes,

une nuit pour toi privée de voiles nuptiaux, une nuit dépourvue de festin ;

hélas, ta cendre tombant sur tes vêtements, sur tes couronnes

non encore parfumées, sur tes livres, mort que tu es avant l'heure !

Ah, Hyménée célébré par des thrènes ! Ah, les flambeaux

qui t'ont escorté vers cette couche ultime et vide !

English translation

[Year 2]29, Tiberios Petronios Kapiton, (died) aged 24 years.

Fortune set for you a short space

between life and death and between the tomb and the bridal-room, Kapiton,

she set one night, deceptive and pitiless, a night without flutes,

a night deprived for you of wedding curtains, a night lacking banquet;

alas, your ashes falling down onto your dress, onto your wreaths

not yet flavoured, onto your books, you dead before your time!

Ah Hymenaos celebrated with laments! Ah torches

leading you to this ultimate and empty couch!

Italian translation

[Anno 2]29, Tiberios Petronios Kapiton, di 24 anni.

La Sorte ha posto per te un intervallo breve

tra la vita e la morte, tra la tomba, Kapiton, e la stanza nuziale,

una sola notte, menzognera e impietosa, senza flauti,

lontana per te dalle cortine del talamo, senza banchetto;

ahimé cadono sulle tue vesti, sulle tue corone

non ancora profumate, sui tuoi libri le ceneri, tu morto anzitempo!

Oh Imeneo celebrato con lamenti! Oh, torce

che ti hanno scortato verso questo letto, estremo e vuoto!


In Pacho's volume of plates, the copy of this inscription, along with IGCyr006800, is given as from Cyrene. In the volume of text, Letronne's notes also give Cyrene as provenance, whereas the same Letronne, 1828 mentioned Ptolemais, probably erroneously.

The beginning of line 1 was restored in various ways, implying no gap or a gap of only one letter. We follow here a restoration suggested by Chamoux (doctoral seminar 1980): as the copy shows a lacuna of two characters, the most plausible restoration leads to a date expressed through the siglum for 'year' followed by a number consisting of three characters, of which the first was lost: if it was a ρ the year would be 129 (of Actian era i.e. 98/9 AD), if σ it would be 229 (i.e. 198/9 AD). The latter seems preferable on behalf of the lettering, which might be compared with that of IRCyr C.153.

Kapiton died one day before his wedding; the poem thus highlights all the details of a wedding celebration transformed into a mourning celebration. The poet proves to be a good artist, playing with variety inside repetition and using sometimes rare words: although clear in meaning and formation, the feminine ψευστίς and the simple βοητός are hapax legomena .

Metrical analysis: after two lines mentioning the deceased, four regular elegiac couplets.

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