Autun Inscription

Autun Inscription One of the most remarkable Christian epigraphs was found in 1839 in the cemetery St. Pierre l'Estrier, near Autun, where the Christians, during the persecutions, used to hold divine service. The plate, consisting of eight pieces, contains a metric inscription in Greek. It originally was attached to a wall or a tomb. According to Garucci (with additions and corrections placed within brackets) the inscription reads thus: Ι᾿χθύος ο ῾ὐρανίου θε ῖον γένος, ἤτορι σεμνῷ Χρῆσε, λαβὼ ῾ν πηγὴ ν ἄμβροτον ἐν βροτέοις Θεσπεσίων ὑδάτ ῾ω ν. τήν σήν, φίλε, θάλπεο ψυχ ῾ην ῞Υδασιν ἀενάοις πλουτοδότου σοφίης Σωτῆρος ἁγίων μελιηδέα λάμβαν ῾ε βρῶσιν ῎Εσθιε πινάων, ἰχθὺν ἔχων παλάμαιν Ι᾿χθύϊ χό ῾ρταζ᾿ ἄρα, λιλάιω, δεσποτα σῶτ ῾ερ Ευ εὕδοι μ ῾ή τηρ, σε λιτάζομε, φῶς τὸ θανόντων. Α᾿σχάνδιε ῾πάτ επ, τώμῳ κε ῾χα ρισμένε θυμῷ Σýν μ ῾ητρὶ γλυκερῇ καὶ ἀδελφει οῖσιν ἐμοῖσιν Ι᾿ ῾χθύος εἰρίγνῃ σέο μνήσεο Πεκτορίονο.

"The heavenly Ichthys' divine race, a pure heart Keep, having received among mortals the immortal fount Of divine waters. Refresh, O friend, thy soul With the ever-flowing water of riches-giving wisdom. The honey-sweet meat of the saints! Saviour receive, Eat with hunger, the Ichthys holding in the hands. With the Ichthys satisfy then, I long, my Lord Saviour. Sweet rest to the mother, I entreat thee, light of the dead! Aschandios, O dearest father to my heart, With the best nmother and my brethren. In the peace of Ichthys remember thy Peectorios!" It is not improbable that the first part, containing six verses, belongs to another author, as may be seen from the language of that part in opposition to that of the other. According to the character of the writing, the epigraph belongs to the 4th, if not to the 5th, century. For the meaning of Ichthys, see that article. The first two lines are a clear testimony of the divinity of Christ. Pohl suggests that the first six lines contain an ancient liturgical formula from the time of Irenleus, which perhaps was used at the celebration of the eucharist. The rest contains a praver of Pectorios for the soul of his deceased mother, and a petition that she, in connection with the father and brethren, may remember the living son. See Le Blant, Inscr. Chret. de la Gaule, volume 1, page 9, pl. 1, n. 1; Rossignol, Revue Archeol. (1856), 13:65, 491; Garucci, Mel. d'.Epigr. Anc. page 32; Kirchhoff, Corp. Insca. Gr. 4:9890; Becker, Die Darstellung Jesu Christi unter denz Bilde des Fisches (Breslau, 1866); Marriot, The Testimony of the Catacombs (Lond. 1870), pages 114, 214; Pohl, Das Ichthys Monument von Autun (Berlin, 1880); Heuser, in Kraus's Real-Fncyklop. der christl. Alterthumer, page 524; Klein, in Wetzer u. Welte's Kirchenlexikon, s.v. (B.P.)

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