Epitaph of Aphrodisia


Trismegistos ID: 105963

Source Description


Rock-cut tomb, inscribed on the facade, with inscriptions IRCyr P.274, IRCyr P.275, IRCyr P.276, IRCyr P.277.


Inscribed on the facade, below IRCyr P.276, within a rectangular panel (1.00; 0.25;).


0.03; lunate epsilon, lunate sigma, W-shaped omega.

Place of Origin



First to third centuries A.D. (lettering)


First copied by J.-R. Pacho in 1825 at Ptolemais : Quarry 1 , sector c, North wall.

Later recorded Location

Seen by H. De Cou in 1911 in situ.

Last recorded Location

Seen by J.M. Reynolds at an unknown date in situ.

Present Location

Not seen by GVCyr team.

Text constituted from

Transcription from previous editors and J.M. Reynolds' notebooks (CDL).


Pacho, 1827 , pl. LXXVIII (printed as LXXIX) and p. 403 (Letronne), whence CIG 5200.b; IGRR I.1026; Robinson, 1913 , pp. 196-197, whence Sammelbuch 5939. Cf. Lüderitz-Reynolds, 1983 , n. 32.d, whence SEG , 33.1468.


Ἀφροδεισία ἡ καὶ Πτ[ο]λ̣εμαΐς ἐτῶν δύο ἐνθάδε κε(vac. 1)ῖται. ταύτης ὁ πατὴρ ἀπαγ̣ο̣ρεύει ταῦτα λέγων· ὃς ἂν ἀνύξῃ τ̣ὸ λαρνάκιον τοῦτό ποτ[ε] καὶ θάψῃ τινά εἴσοισει τῷ ἱερωτάτῳ ταμείῳ δηνάρια πεν̣τα[κό]σι̣α. ❧

θάρσει ❧ | (5) (vac. 8) ἡρωΐς, οὐδεὶς ἀθά[να]τος ❧ (vac. 7)


1 Lüderitz-Reynolds, 1983  Ἀφροδεισία : Robinson, 1913  Ἀφροδείσα || Robinson, 1913  Ἀφροδεισία ἡ καὶ Πτο̣λ̣εμαΐς (De Cou's reading) : CIG  α' [ἔτ]ο<υ>ς. Εἰρ̣άν̣α [Καπί]τ̣ων<ο>ς

2 Lüderitz-Reynolds, 1983  ἀπαγ̣ο̣ρεύει : Robinson, 1913  ἀπα[γ]ορεύει (De Cou's reading) : CIG  ἀπαγόρ<ε>υσ̣α̣ : Pacho, 1827  ἀπαγόρευε (Letronne's reading)

3 τοῦτό ποτ[ε] : Robinson, 1913  τοῦτό πο[τε] (De Cou's reading) : Pacho, 1827 , CIG  τοῦ τόπου̣ (Letronne's reading)

French translation

Aphrodisia dite Ptolemais, âgée de deux ans, repose ici. Son père profère un interdit en ces termes : quiconque ouvrira ce petit cercueil et y ensevelira quelqu'un sera redevable de 500 deniers au très saint Trésor.

Courage, héroïne, personne n'est immortel.

English translation

Aphrodisia also called Ptolemais, aged 2, lies here. Her father gives the following prohibition, saying that whoever shall ever open this small coffin and bury someone in it must contribute 500 denarii to the Sacred Treasury.

Take courage, Heroine, no one is immortal.

(Unpublished translation by Ch. Roueché)

Italian translation

Aphrodisia, detta anche Ptolemais, di due anni, qui giace. Suo padre pronuncia questo divieto, dicendo: chi mai aprirà questa piccola bara e vi seppellirà qualcuno dovrà versare al Tesoro sacro 500 denari.

Coraggio, eroina, nessuno è immortale.


Although very young when she died, the girl had already got a surname, which seems a little queer if used at Ptolemais proper. We may guess that some event in her family such as a recent settling made her birth there noteworthy and resulted in that second name.

The metric formula is assumed as a clue for a Jewish family by Lüderitz, citing Simon, 1936 . For the latter, the internal contradiction of the formula is solved by the belief in resurrection, a topic which from Egypt passed on in Jewish and then in Christian religion. However, many pagan testimonies were mentioned by Robinson and the case is not so clear.

Metrical commentary: in this inscription only the end forms a whole verse line, a pentameter which is a common funerary formula with only the addressee needing to be changed. However also ἐνθάδε κεῖται in the pedestrian text is a very common formula, the rhythm of which can take place in a dactylic verse, especially at the end of a hexameter.

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