Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation (run by Philip A. Harland)

Donation of a Common Grave for an Assembly of Brothers (III-IV CE) Caesarea - North Africa

Caesarea (North Africa, Cyrenaica and North Africa), before 257 or 304 CE
CIL VIII 9585 = AGRW ID# 24218


The refurbished stone has a crown on the left and dove on the right. This inscription was a key piece of evidence for De Rossi's claim that Christian groups exploited the legal benefits of funerary associations by appearing as burial collegia. He points to certain words in this inscription that would have generated the impression among non-members that this Christian group was an association, the most plausible of which is the group's usage of cultor. Severianus was governor of Mauretania.

A supporter (or: teacher; cultor) of the word has given an area for the tombs, and has constructed a chamber at his own expense. He has left this memorial to the holy assembly (ecclesia = ekklēsia).  Be well, brothers (fratres)!  I, Euelpius, greet you with a pure and simple heart, being appointed by the spirit. The assembly of brothers restored this marble tablet in the first year of Severianus, renowned man, through the talent of Asterius.

Translation by: Richard Last

Aream at [ad] sepulcra cultor verbi contulit | et cellam struxit suis cunctis sumptibus | ec(c)lesiae sanctae hanc reliquit memoriam | salvete fratres puro corde et simplici || Euelpius vos sa[lu]to sancto spiritu | ec(c)lesia fratruum hunc restituit titulum m(armoreum?) a(nno?) I Severiani c(larissimi) v(iri) | ex ing(enio) Asteri.

Item added: June 13, 2016
Item modified: March 3, 2017
ID number: 24218
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