A Red-Figure Cylix with an Inscription from the Excavations in Chersonesus Taurica

Makarov Igor A., Ushakov S. V.

The cylix unearthed in the south-eastern part of Chersonesus belongs to the group of redfigure vessels with Dionysian scenes and is dated to the 1st half of the 4th century BC. The Greek inscription scratched on the tondo reads: ‘Αγεμοvνας καλα'ς. The Paleographic characteristics of the inscription correspond to the 4th c. BC. The noun ‘Αγεμοvνα admits two interpretations. If it is a woman’s personal name (not so far attested in North Pontic epigraphy), the inscription is to be read as a proprietor’s mark: «Beautiful Hagemona’s cup». But if it is an epiclesis, it is most probably referred to the supreme goddess of Chersonesus, Parthenos. If this is the case, the inscription is sacral in character and confirms the closeness of the Chersonesian cult of Parthenos to that of Artemis. The cult of Artemis Hegemone is known in many parts of the Greek world (especially in Peloponnese). In Chersonesus the epiclesis ‘Αγεμοvνα could refer to various aspects of Parthenos’ cult. The goddess could have been seen as the leader of the first colonists and protector of the city, as a patroness of girls and women or as the head of the nymphs, whose sanctuary, situated on the acropolis, was one of the city’s attractions (Pomp. Mela II. 3).

Keywords: Greek epigraphy, pottery, archaeology, Chersonesus Taurica, North Black Sea region, Pontic region