Epitaph or honors for a gladiator


Trismegistos ID: 738911

Source Description


Limestone stele moulded above, the upper part of the face occupied by a round-headed niche with flanking columns in relief containing a relief of a gladiator (0.57-0.59; 1.74;0.28-0.30).


Inscribed in a tabula ansata below the relief (0.475; 0.21;); lines 2 and 3 encroaching on the right ansa, line 6 below the tabula.


0.03-0.035; lunate epsilon, sigma and omega.

Place of Origin



Second or third century A.D. (lettering)


Found before 1915 at Ptolemais : in the Amphitheatre (see commentary).

Later recorded Location

Seen at an unknown date by J.M. Reynolds at Ţulmaythah : in the Tolmeita Museum .

Last recorded Location

Seen by Dobias-Lalou in 1985 at the same place.

Text constituted from

Transcription from previous stone (CDL).


Oliverio, 1933-1936 , n. 493, p. 247, fig. 79, whence SEG , 9.363. Cf. Robert, 1940 , p. 124, n. 69; Peek, 1955 , n. 835.


| Τούτους μὲν κα|τέπεφνεν [Ἄ]ρης καὶ | φύλοπις αἰνή·

ἐμὲ δὲ | νῦν κατέπεφνε νό|(5)σος σωθέντα σει|δ̣ήρου.


1-2 Oliverio, 1933-1936  κα|τέπεφνεν : SEG , Robert, 1940  κα|τέπεφνε

4 SEG , Robert, 1940  κατέπεφνε : Oliverio, 1933-1936  κατέπεφνεν : Peek, 1955  κατέπεφνε{ν}

French translation

Ceux-là ont été tués par Arès et son atroce mêlée;

moi, c'est la maladie qui m'a tué quand j'avais réchappé au fer.

English translation

Those have been killed by Ares and his dread din of battle;

me, it was disease that killed me after having escaped iron blades.

Italian translation

Questi li ha uccisi Ares e la sua atroce pugna;

quanto a me, la malattia mi ha ucciso dopo che ero sfuggito al ferro.


At Ptolemais, were found three other steles for gladiators (IRCyr P.220, IRCyr P.221 and GVCyr017); only the latter and this one were composed in verse and mention a reason for death. The findspot of GVCyr017 is unknown, whereas the three others were found together.

This inscription has been incorporated into the epitaphs (SEG, Peek). However, Oliverio, 1933-1936 reported that this one, IRCyr P.221 and GVCyr017 were found in the cavea of the amphitheatre. Kraeling, 1962 , p. 110 thus thought that «they were presumably not connected with funerary structures». Differently, Ghislanzoni-Oliverio, 1915 , pp. 122-124, who visited the place before Oliverio, had been told that the two others (the inscription of which gives no clue for or against a funerary function) were found in the West necropolis, re-used as lids of later tombs. As the amphitheatre and the West necropolis were situated not far from one another on either side of the city wall, stones might have been moved here and there. However, the use of τούτους as first word of this one shows that all three steles stood originally together. Either the spot was really the amphitheatre and the inscription is honorary in spite of the funerary topic, or gladiators were buried in a common area and we should thus consider the inscriptions as epitaphs.

At the beginning of line 2, the short syllable is metrically lenghtened; σειδήρου has a ει for a short iota because of iotacism. Both hexameters are quite regular.

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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.