Funerary invocation


Trismegistos ID: 738940

Source Description


Cyrene Museum, inv. number unknown.


Sarcophagus of white marble with one long side sculpted with scenes of the myth of Phaedra and Hippolytus (dimensions not registered).


Inscribed on the opposite long side, inside a square tabula ansata between two young boys wearing chitons, who hold it (dimensions not registered); each line of script is centered along the vertical axis and two leafs are inserted at lines 2 and 3.


Height unknown; ornate lettering with serifs; alpha with dropped bar, two small oblique strokes as the central bar of epsilon, diamond shape omicron, non slanting sigma.

Place of Origin



Beginning of the third century A.D. (context, lettering)


Found in 2001 by the Mission of the University of Chieti at Cyrene : East Necropolis , in the sepulcral chamber of a large built tomb (so-called tomb C) on the edge of the upper plateau above the Ain Hofra valley.

Last recorded Location

Seen by C. Dobias-Lalou in 2001 in Shahat : Cyrene Museum

Text constituted from

Transcription from stone (CDL).


Not previously published. Mentioned in Italian translation by Fabbricotti, 2007 , p. 100. Cf. Fabbricotti, 2008 , pp. 16-17 (find).


| Τείμιέ μοι | χαίροις ❧ καὶ | εἰν Ἀϊδάο ❧ | δόμοισιν.


French translation

Toi qui m'es cher, puisses-tu être heureux même dans les demeures d'Hadès !

English translation

You, dear to me, might you be happy even in Hades' houses!

Italian translation

Possa tu, mio caro, stare bene pur nelle dimore dell'Ade!

(E. Fabbricotti's translation with slight changes)


This hexameter is a pastiche of Homer's Χαῖρέ μοι, ὦ Πάτροκλε, καὶ εἰν Ἀΐδαο δόμοισι at Il. XXIII.19 and 179. Instead of the dead's name, we have a laudatory epithet. So the invocation could be addressed to any person enclosed into the sarcophagus and the inscription, being part of the ornament, was prepared independently from the ordering person.

The change from imperative, which is usual in addresses to the dead, to optative is no commonplace, as this mood is rather used in epitaphs for addressing the passer-by who will read the inscription.

Metrical analysis: a very regular dactylic hexameter. Leaves are cut at the penthemimer main caesura and at the light break inside the fifth foot.

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