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Artefact ID699
TM IDTM 38522
Findspot (DEChriM ID)15   (al-Baǧawāt)
ClassFunerary element, Textual
Writing mediumDipinto
Text contentSubliterary

I.Oasis p. 69 no. 12; SB XX 14858; IGChrEg 353; I.Métriques 173; SEG 53 1920: Funerary epigram dedicated to Ammonios.

On the wall facing the entrance, painted in red, under a large crux ansata, two lines of a metric epigram written in a large hand mixing majuscule and minuscule elements (angular majuscule alpha with broken middle element at the end of the lines (see I.Oasis p. 69 no. 13) / round minuscule alpha; use of ligatures drawing on documentary habits), the letters of the second line being of smaller size. The epigram is dedicated to one Ammonios, "esteemed in Christ", with an invocation to "Father Christ, thou who hast shown a golden lineage".

Mixing quotations from both classical (Hesiod) and Christian (Gregory of Nazianzen) authors, this erudite inscription is as famous as its content is debated, and the identity of the deceased Ammonios (without any patronym) remains unknown.

On the other walls of the same chapel, see I.Oasis p. 69 no. 11 and I.Oasis p. 69 no. 13

Selection criteriaChristian terms/formulas/concepts, Christian symbols/gestures/isopsephy, Archaeological context associated with Christian markers
Date from375
Date to499
Dating criteria

The suggested date is based on the archaeological context and parallels. The text has been diversely assigned from 4/5th c. (see SEG 8 792) up to 6th c. (Koenen 1968 and Bernand 1969: 626). Cipriano 2003: 278 suggests 5th c.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Chapel no. 53, one of the oldest square domed type (type 4), opening south. The interior is coated with a layer of plaster; and a crux ansata is painted on every wall (see Fakhry 1951: 125).

Accession number

Al-Baǧawāt, in situ (Chapel no. 53 / Roquet, Ghica no. 28.03).


Reference edition

• Wagner, Guy. 1987. Les oasis dʼÉgypte à lʼépoque grecque, romaine et byzantine dʼaprès les documents grecs. Le Caire: Ifao, 69, no. 12.

Editio princeps

• Lefebvre, Gustave. 1907. Recueil des inscriptions grecques-chrétiennes d'Égypte. Cairo: Ifao, no. 353.

Additional bibliography

• Bernand, Etienne. 1969. Inscriptions métriques. Cairo: Ifao, 625-630, no. 173.

• Boyaval, Bernard. 2003. “Jeu de mots dans un distique chrétien d’Égypte?”, CRIPEL 23, 95-96.

• Chaniotis, A., Corsten, T., Stroud, R.S. and Tybout, R.A. 2003. “SEG 53-1920. Egypt Funerary epigrams.” In Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Current editors: A. T. E. N. Chaniotis Corsten Stavrianopolou Papazarkadas. Consulted online (2021). no. 3.

• Cipriano, Giuseppina. 2003. El-Bagawat. Un cimitero paleocristiano nellʼalto Egitto. Rivista di archeologia cristiana 79: 274-278.

• De Bock, W. 1901. Matériaux pour servir à lʼarchéologie de lʼÉgypte chrétienne. St. Petersbourg, 13.

• Fakhry, Ahmed. 1951. The Necropolis of El-Bagawat in Kharga Oasis. Cairo: Government press, no. 53.

• Gallavotti, Carlo. 1980. "Intorno ai metri vari di epigrafi greche cristiane", Vetera Christianorum 17,  290-293.

• Guarducci, Margherita. 1978. Epigrafia Greca. IV: Epigrafi sacre, pagane e cristiane. Rome. 464-466.

• Hondius, J.J.E. 1937. “SEG 8-792. El Bagaouāt Oasis Magnae. Carmen sepulcrale, s. IV/Vp.” In Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Current editors: A. T. E. N. Chaniotis Corsten Stavrianopolou Papazarkadas. Consulted online (2021).

• Koenen, Ludwig. 1968. "Zwei inschriften aus el Bagawat", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 2, 75-78

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 699", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,
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