Cyrene Museum, 3504.
Small stele of local limestone, reddish from earth, broken off at all four angles (0.265; 0.38;0.006); below, there are some traces of a circular feature, probably a wreath or rosette; the back is not very regularly cut.
Inscribed on the face in three lines, the end of line 2 leaning toward bottom.
average 0.01, irregularly but rather carefully cut; alpha with low bar, epsilon with three equal bars, (h)eta with both values, slanting mu, nu and sigma, the latter very tall, rho with nearly no tail, + as chi.
Place of Origin
Probably second half of fifth century B.C. (lettering)
Found before 1991 at Shtail, in the vicinity of Qasr Libya pleiades; HGL ; possibly from Kainopolis pleiades; HGL .
Last recorded Location
Seen by C. Dobias-Lalou in 1997 and again in 2001 in Shahat : Cyrene Museum .
Text constituted from
Transcription from stone (CDL).
Dobias-Lalou, 2015 Dobias-Lalou, C., 2015, Les débuts de l'écriture en Cyrénaïque, in A. Inglese, Epigrammata 3. Saper scrivere nel Mediterraneo antico. Esiti di scrittura fra VI e IV sec. a.C., in ricordo di Mario Luni. Atti del convegno di Roma, 7-8 Novembre 2014, Tivoli, 59-80, 315-321 - see in bibliography , pp. 77-80 and fig. 10. Cf. Mohamed-Reynolds, 1992 Mohamed, F.A., Reynolds, J., 1992, Some new inscriptions from Cyrenaica, in A. Mastino (ed.), L'Africa romana: atti del 9. Convegno di studio, Nuoro, 13-15 dicembre 1991 (L'Africa romana9), I, Pubblicazioni del Dipartimento di storia dell’Università degli studi di Sassari20, Sassari, 115-122 - see in bibliography , p. 115 (quick mention), whence SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Leiden, then Amsterdam, 1923-1971, then 1979- - see in bibliography , 42.1661.
1 Ἀγό̄νιιο[ς] : SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Leiden, then Amsterdam, 1923-1971, then 1979- - see in bibliography (mentioned as Ἄγώνιππος) : Mohamed-Reynolds, 1992 Mohamed, F.A., Reynolds, J., 1992, Some new inscriptions from Cyrenaica, in A. Mastino (ed.), L'Africa romana: atti del 9. Convegno di studio, Nuoro, 13-15 dicembre 1991 (L'Africa romana9), I, Pubblicazioni del Dipartimento di storia dell’Università degli studi di Sassari20, Sassari, 115-122 - see in bibliography (mentioned as Agonippos)
La tombe que voici est celle d'Hermaios fils d'Agônis, pêcheur, (édifiée par) Khairôn.
This is the tomb of Hermaios son of Agonis, a fischerman, (built by) Chairon.
Questa è la tomba di Hermaios figlio di Agonis, pescatore, (eretta da) Chairon.
The spellings Ηερμαίō and ἀλιῆος are contradictory and might belong to a time when the new value of eta was progressively coming into use. In fact, as psilosis happened early in Cyrenaican, the letter as spiritus asper was probably dropped earlier in the vocabulary than in a personal name; but its use in the new value of e cannot be assigned to a date earlier than the middle of the fifth century. Conversely, omicron is still used here for all qualities of the vowel o.
As noted by Mohamed and Reynolds, the provenance of the stone was a surprise, for Qasr Libya is mainly known for its Byzantine churches and no inscription was known up to now from that countryside. Dobias-Lalou supposes that the dead Hermaios, being a fisherman, lived probably in a place somewhat nearer to the see than Qasr Libya, perhaps in the kome of Kainopolis (see Laronde, 1983 Laronde, A., 1983, Kainopolis de Cyrénaïque et la géographie historique, Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (CRAI), 67-85 - see in bibliography ). Anyway, both places belonged at the time to the territory of Barce.
Although several metrical segments are perceivable, we decided eventually not to include this item into the verse-inscriptions corpus. See for instance Ἑρμαίω τῶ Ἀγώνιος, which might be spelled as three dactyls if it was not followed by a consonant, and -ος τόδε σαμεῖον, which might be spelled as the second hemistich of a hexameter after a hephthemimer caesura. Another fact that provides a poetic touch to this inscription is the mention of Hermaios' occupation, a fact that usually does not occur in prose epitaphs.
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