Серебряные канфары из слоя пожара 46/47 г. времени боспоро-римской войны на городище Артезиан в Крымском Приазовье
The new complex of Greek inscriptions from Machkhomeri fortress is a unique evidence of the Christianization of Lazica in the 6th c. Along with the inscriptions from Sepieti and Vashnari (now in the Ozurgeti Museum) churches, these are the first monuments of lapidary epigraphy from Lazica and the only complex of inscriptions known there. Three lapidary inscriptions have different characters: one is an invocative and building inscription, the second is invocative and prohibitive, and the third is probably prohibitive. All three of these inscriptions are executed according to the epigraphic style of the mid-6th ‒ mid-7th c., but by different carvers; especially the form of epsilon is different: drop-shaped (incl. with a gap at the top), rectangular and diamond-shaped, that indicates Lazica’s acquaintance with different varieties of the Greek epigraphic ductus. The graffiti inscriptions on the slab, possibly of school character, should also be considered as evidence of the spread of Greek alphabet in Lazica; but also here the form of alpha varies between one with a broken crossbar (like on the lapidary inscriptions of Machkhomeri) and the other with a loop. One should also pay attention to the names of the ktetors: Gorgonios and Theonas, who, as in the case of Sepieti (Philoktistos), are not of local, but of Greek and Christian origin. Probably, the builder of the martyrium basilica, Gorgonios, dedicated it to the holy Forty martyrs of Sebasteia, bearing himself the name of one of them. Also important are the parallels to the formulas of Machkhomeri inscriptions found in the epigraphic traditions of Asia Minor and the East (Arabia and Syria), which may suggest the origin of the ktetors or carvers.
he new data that has become available in the last two decades show that the Scythian kingdom with the capital in Neapolis Scythica which existed in the Crimea in the 2nd c. BC, was much closer to Hellenistic states ruled by Barbarian dynasties than to the nomadic kingdom of the Scythians of the 4th c. BC. At the same time, these data allow us to return in part to the old view formulated by Rostovtzeff about continuity between the Scythia of the 4th c. BC and the Late Scythian kingdom, from which most researchers refused in the last thirty years. It turned out that this continuity existed at least at the ideological level, and the excavations at Ak-Kaya (Vishennoe) filled the chronological gap between the Scythian kingdoms of the 4th and 2nd c. BC. Apparently, Ak- Kaya became one of the political centers of the Scythians as early as in the late 4th c. BC, before the fall of the “Great Scythia”, and the capital of the Crimean Scythians was located here before moving to Neapolis. In the formation of the Late Scythian culture and the Late Scythian kingdom with the capital first in Ak-Kaya and then in Neapolis, apart from the Scythian elements, sedentary Tauroi as well as probably the Greeks and the Hellenized population of the chorai of the Greek cities of the north-western Crimea, took part. A key role in changing the character of the Scythian culture was apparently played by a change in the economic-cultural type and the transition from nomadic pastoralism to settled agriculture. This article also proposes a new interpretation of the inscription on the mausoleum of Argotas, discovered in Neapolis in 1999. Argotas was apparently not a Scythian, but a Greek, despite his Scythian name. This Bosporan aristocrat with Scythian family ties married the widowed Bosporan queen Kamasarya in the second quarter of the 2nd c. BC (CIRB 75). He played an important role in governing the Bosporan kingdom and its protection from attacks from the east. Then, most likely after the death of Kamasarya, he moved to the neighboring kingdom of the Scythians, where he became one of the leading generals, the right hand of the king and the tutor of his children. After his death in ca. 130–125 BC, he received from King Skiluros unprecedented honors – a heroon in front of the facade of the royal palace was erected for him, and this was the only truly Greek building in Neapolis: it was built in accordance with the rules of the order architecture and decorated with Greek statues and reliefs, as well as a metric epitaph with numerous Homeric forms and expressions.
The paper publishes Greek Christian inscriptions from the Crimea either re-found or newly discovered mostly in 2015–2016, which are missing in the IOSPE3 V. These finds allowed us to get photographs of IOSPE3 V 165, 307 and to correct the reading of IOSPE3 V 126, 222, and 246. The new finds comprise slabs from Bermana Ravine in vicinity of Sevastopol (add. 1, 2), a commemorative inscription from 1365/6 AD from a small church above Verkhorech’e (Biia-Sala) (add. 3), graffiti from a roadside altarless church near Il’ka Mountain in vicinity of Mangup (add. 5) and Eski-Kermen (add. 6), tombstones from Staryi Krym (Solkhat) from 1361/2 (add. 7), Tyritake from ca. 900 (add. 8), Kerch from the sixth (add. 10) and eleventh (add. 9) centuries, and Bogatyr’ from 1509, and also building inscription from a cave church at Zagaitanskaia Cliff in Inkerman from 1303 (add. 4). The latter mentions that the church was dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia and the name of John Skleros, a previously unknown Metropolitan Bishop of Cherson, and also the kellion of monk Helias, which revives the question of the status of minor cave monasteries in the Mountainous Crimea.