This extraordinary inscription was discovered during underwater excavations at Phanagoreia in 2004. It provides unexpected confirmation of a passage in Plutarch’s Life of Pompey ( 32.8 ), in which he states that Mithridates used to call his concubine Hypsikrateia by the masculine name Hypsikrates. In the first line of the inscription, this masculine name is deliberately contrasted with the word 'wife'.
It is likely that Hypsikrateia died during the revolt of Phanagoreia in 63 B.C., and that due to the disorder at that time, the monument containing this epitaph and her statue was not constructed until some years later; see P.Bernard, in "Les fouilles de Phanagorie : nouveaux documents archéologiques et épigraphiques du Bosphore", pp.280-288 ( Persée ). There is a detailed analysis of the inscription by O. Gabelko, "A Historical and Epigraphic Commentary on Hypsicrateia’s Epitaph" ( academia.edu ). See also the remarks of M. Facella in "TransAntiquity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Dynamics in the Ancient World", p. 115 ( Google Books ).
Hypsikrates, wife of king Mithridates Eupator Dionysos, farewell.
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