New Names, Status and Family Sentiment in Multi-ethnic Cappadocia: Greek Inscriptions from the Museum of Malatya

Peter Liddel, Ergün Lafli, Timothy Mitford, Alev Cetingoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article offers an edition of 19 Greek inscriptions from the Museum of Malatya (ancient Melitene, Cappadocia), among them 13 previously-unpub-lished texts including two new metrical inscriptions. With the exception of the one in the Appendix, these texts are funerary, should be dated to the period c. 150-250/300 AD, and take the form of family members dedicating funerary monuments in commemoration of deceased relatives. They offer significant insight into naming habits in this part of inland Asia Minor at the time of the Roman empire, not least in the use of Greek and Roman conventions includ-ing double-names and short names; among the inscriptions are several names otherwise not firmly attested in otherwise-published inscriptions (Amate, Anophthenes, Atios, Mazoubine, Taurophilos). A plague or illness is attested in one inscription. The funerary formulae of these inscriptions offer insight into the use of traditional Greek acclamations and also the translation into Greek of the Latin habit of dedicating funerary monuments to the Household Gods. The physical aspects of the stelai, featuring pedimental decorations, acroteria and inscribed texts, and sometimes objets de toilette, echo Greek traditions in commemoration but also constitute a recognisably local style. Aspects of the human bust portraits on a number of the monuments resemble those known elsewhere in inland Asia Minor. The metrical aspect of two of the inscriptions demonstrates a further level of artistry and engagement with a long Greek epitaphic tradition and indicates an aspirational literary ostentation. Overall, they illustrate the mingling of Greek, Roman and other cultures in a region influenced by the presence of the 12th Roman Legion; in particular they enun-ciate the significance of funerary display across the cultural spectrum and demonstrate the power of private funerary monuments to express family ties in Cappadocia at a time of Roman power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-231
Number of pages59
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023


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