IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

C.762. Christian imprecation

Description: Marble panel (w: 0.95 x h: 0.49 x d: 0.07)
Text: Inscribed on one face.
Letters: Sixth century CE: 0.03; lunate epsilon, lunate sigma, cursive omega; an ivy leaf on a long undulating stalk concludes the text.

Date: Sixth century CE

Findspot: Cyrene: bought in 1910/11 from a dealer in Benghazi
Original location: Unknown.
Last recorded location: Walled into the courtyard of the American Academy at Rome.


[.. ? ..]Λ̣Λ̣[.. ? ..]
[ἤν τις ἀδικήϲῃ τὸν ναὸν] ϲου τῶν ἐνταῦθα θε-
[ομαχούντων κακοπο]ί̣ηϲον τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ
[καὶ τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐ]ξάλιψον ἐν γενεᾷ μιᾷ καὶ τὴν
5[μερίδα αὐτοῦ μετ]ὰ τῶν θεοκτόνων Ἰουδαίων κα-
[τάθεϲ τῶν δ]ὲ φροντιζόντων τοῦ ναοῦ ϲου τού-
[του Παρθέ]νε θεοτόκε μὴ ἐκλείπῃ τὸ γένοϲ ἕ-
[ωϲ τῆϲ ϲυν]τελίαϲ τοῦ αἰῶνοϲ ἀμήν
((crux)) ((leaf))


[.. ? ..]..[.. ? ..]

3: καταπάτ]ησον Robinson, 1913 suggested by W.M.Ramsay

English translation

Translation by: Editors

[ . . . if anyone damages Your temple] from among those here who [fight with] God, damage his house [and] wipe out [his name] within one generation, and place [his share] with the Jews who killed God; [but] of those that care for Your temple, [Virgin] Mother of God, let not their race fail [until] the end of time. Amen.


Only limited confidence can be placed on the statement of the Benghazi dealer who said that this came from Cyrene. Bates reported that it was bought 'from a German resident'; see his report of 17 June 1909, published by J. Uhlenbrock, 'Cyrene Papers: The Second Report. The Oric Bates Expedition of 1909', Libyan Studies 30 (1999), 77-97, 84-85 (with a photograph)

A photograph taken at the time suggests the traces in line 1, and perhaps part of a letter at the beginning of line 8

Lines 4-5: Cf. Matth XXIV. 51, τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν θήσει, and Luke XII. 46, τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀπίστων θήσει, and for the antisemitism, Synesios, Epp. 4; this feeling may have been sharpened in Cyrenaica by memories of the Jewish Revolt of CE 115. Robinson noted that the text shows the ecclesiastical use of language found in the curse tablets. Those being threatened were almost certainly Monophysites.

Bibliography: Robinson, 1913, from ?Oric Bates, 104, with Hiller von Gaetringen, ap. Robinson, 1913a, 504, whence Sammelbuch, I.5928; Ohl, 1931, 99; Reynolds, 1960, 25, p.294, whence SEG 18.771 PHI 324468, Robert, Bulletin Épigraphique, 1961.835; Reynolds-Ward-Perkins-Goodchild, 2003, 171 (fusing lines 3 and 4).
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Face (Reynolds XIV.3)