AIBABIN A.I. For a Discussion About Epigraphic Evidence of the Activities of Byzantium in the Mountainous Crimea in the 6th Century

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.1

Aleksandr I. Aibabin

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Director of the Research Centre of History and Archaeology of Crimea,

V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University,

Prosp. Akademika Vernadskogo, 4, 295007 Simferopol, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4116-8198


Abstract. Introduction. In the basilicas discovered on the Mangup plateau (fig. 3), in the Karalez valley (fig. 1) that begins at its foot and on Eski-Kermen (fig. 2, 1), inscriptions were found, the interpretation and dating of which caused many years of discussion. Some scientists considered them as evidence of the activities of the Eastern Roman Empire in the region in the 6th century, while other specialists doubted both such an interpretation of the inscriptions and their dating.

Methods. To substantiate the chronology of the mentioned inscriptions, it is important to consider the formulas and linguistic features contained in them, as well as the stratigraphy recorded during the excavation of temples and the revealed dated closed ceramics complexes.

Analysis. The text of the inscription with the name of Justinian I is correlated with the information of Procopius about the construction of the “Long Walls” in the Dory region at the behest of the emperor. Most likely, the inscription reported the construction of one of the “Long Walls” in the Karalez valley at the foot of Doros. It is possible that the stone (fig. 1) with the typical Byzantine graffiti with the formulas ΦΩС ΖΩΗ and κ(ύρι)ε βοήθ(ει...) was inserted into a wall of an apse of the basilica right after its construction in the Karalez valley in the second half of the 6th century. On a stone over the graffiti ΦΩС ΖΩΗ letters of the second graffiti “Ἰς νικᾷ” are cut out which means Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς (Χριστὸς) νικᾷ – “Jesus Christ wins”. In Byzantium the images of a cross with the formula IC XC NI ΚΑ (Ἰ(ησοῦ)C Χ(ριστὸ)C Ν(ικ)Α) appeared at the iconoclast emperor Leo III (717–741) and were distributed in later time.

Results. Undisputed evidence of Byzantium’s activity in the region in the 6th century is only the fragment of a plate with a building inscription that means the emperor Justinian I found in a late slab grave at the basilica on Mangup. According to the stratigraphy, revealed in 1938 during the excavations of the Baptistry on Mangup, the graffiti (fig. 3) that caused a long discussion was carved on the back of the cornice in the second construction period not earlier than in the 9th century.

Key words: Byzantium, Crimea, Justinian I, Dory, Doros, Mangup, Eski-Kermen, Goths.

Citation. Aibabin A.I. For a Discussion About Epigraphic Evidence of the Activities of Byzantium in the Mountainous Crimea in the 6th Century. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2021, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 6-18. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.1.

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