OGIS: 593


Greek text:   CIIP_3573 , CIIP_3532
Date:   (A) c. 250 , (B) c. 200 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

Cerberus Inscription A was found in a prominent position in an impressive underground tomb complex in Maresha. The evidence suggests that the tomb began to be used during the reign of Ptolemy II, and it is generally thought that Apollophanes must have been one of the first to be buried there. For a description of the tomb, see A. Kloner in "Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his World", pp. 173-177 ( Google Books ).

Inscription B (not printed in OGIS) is graffiti painted on a wall of the same tomb, above a depiction of Cerberus. It is written in verse - but it is not a proper poem. Numerous different attempts have been made to provide a rational explanation for these enigmatic lines; there a a commentary in "Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae", iv.3532 ( Google Books ).

The Greek text is included here because these two inscriptions have not yet been added to the PHI database.

[A]   Ἀπολλοφανής Σεσμαίου ἄρξας τῶν ἐν Μαρίσηι Σιδωνίων ἔτη τριάκοντα καὶ τρία καὶ νομισθεὶς
πάντων τῶν καθ' αὑτὸν χρηστότατος καὶ φιλοικειότατος ἀπέθανεν δὲ βιώσας ἔτη
ἑβδομήκοντα καὶ τέσσαρα ἐν . . .


Apollophanes son of Sesmaios, who led the Sidonians in Marisa for thirty-three years, and was considered to be the most just and most family-loving man of all those of his time, died after living for seventy-four years in . . .

[B]   οὐκ ἔχω τί σοι πάθω ἢ τί χαρίσωμαι. κατάκειμαι μεθ ἑτέρου, σὲ μέγα φιλοῦσα.
ἀλλὰ ναὶ τὴν Αφροδίτην, μέγα τι χαίρω, ὅτι σου τὸ ἱμάτιον ἐνέχυρα κεῖται.
ἀλλ ἐγὼ μὲν ἀποτρέχω, σοὶ δὲ καταλίπω εὐρυχώριην πολλήν. πρᾶσσε, ὅτι βούληι.
μὴ κροῦε τὸν τοῖχον, ψόφος ἐγγείνεται, ἀλλὰ διὰ τῶν θυρῶν νεύμασι κεῖται.

  There is nothing I can suffer for you, or any pleasure I can give you.
  I lie with another but I love you most dearly.
  In the name of Aphrodite, I am glad of one thing,
  That I have your cloak as a security.
  But I am running away, and I leave you
  A wide open space. Do as you will.
  Do not bang on the wall, the noise is heard inside;
  But with signals through the door - it is agreed.

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