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  • Writer's pictureJason Borges

The Jewish Inscription at Termessos?

A Jewish inscription at Termessos (in Pisidia, near Antalya) reads:


Μ(ᾶρκος) Αὐρ(ήλιος) Ἑρμαῖο δὶς Κευη τὴν σωματοθ̣ή̣κην τῆ θυγατρὶ αὐτοῦ Αὐρ(ηλία) Αρτεμει Ἰουδέα μόνη· ἄλλω δὲ μ<η>δενὶ ἐξὸν εἶναι ἐπειθάψε τινά, ἐπὶ ὁ πειράσας ἐκτίσ[ει] τῶ ἱερωτάτω̣ τ̣αμίω (δην.) μύρια καὶ ἔνοχος ἔσται ἐνκλήματι [τυμβωρυχίας κτλ.]


The original publication is TAM III.1 448 (PHI280553). Margaret H. Williams, “The Meaning And Function Of Ioudaios In Graeco-Roman Inscriptions,” Zeitschrift Für Papyrologie Und Epigraphik 116 (1997): 249–262 then translates the text:


M(arkos) Aur(elios) Hermaio(s), son of Hermaios, son of Keues, (has set up) the sarcophagus for his daughter Aur(elia) Artemeis, a Jewess, alone. No one else has the right to bury anyone else (in it). He who attempts (to do so) shall pay 10.000 (denarii) to the most sacred treasury and be liable to a charge of [tomb violation]


During a February 2023 visit with friends from EON travel, we were close to locating the tomb, but ultimately did not succeed. The tomb is located in the E10 acropolis, which is located on the south (left) side of the path proceeding south from the Corinth Temple. The acropolis is massive, with tombs sprawling in all directions.


The tomb measures 1.25m x 2.23m x 1.08m, so it is standard size. According to PHI, the layout of the text involves two long lines and three short lines (presumably inside the central box). However, IJO says there are three long lines across the top. The location of the tomb, according to Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientes: II Kleinasien, is “opposite inscription no. 699 and near no. 612” (pg. 453=no. 216).


We found no. 612, the related inscription of her uncle (text here).

Termessos Tomb 612

Tomb 612 is located 10 meters due west of the popular Lion’s tomb in the E10 acropolis and right next to the tomb with two griffin reliefs. See the pictures below. We inspected all the tombs in this area to locate the tomb of Aurelia Artemis (no. 448), but had no success. Tomb no. 448 is supposed to be opposite 699 (text here), but we could not locate that one either. If you have any suggestions or luck in finding it, please comment below.



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