Prosopographical Reconstruction of the Reduced and Fragmented Names of Historical Persons (on the Example of Olbia)

Keywords: Olbia, epigraphy, reconstruction, onomastics, prosopography


When reconstructing fragmented names in epigraphy, the onomastic principle is traditionally used: the fragment is supplemented with suitable names, taking into account the approximate number of missing letters. For example, in the collection «Inscriptions in Olbia. 1968» (hereinafter IOlb) the remains of letters [...]ιον inscriptions IOlb 21 were restored by possible names Διονύσιος, Δημήτριος, Ἀθήναιος, Εὑρησίβιος, etc. Onomastic reconstructions were widely used by V.V. Latyshev in his work «Latyshev B. Inscriptiones antique orae septentrionalis Ponti Euxini Graecae et Latinae. Petropolis. 1916» (hereinafter – IPE I2) and other researchers (for example, «Supplementum epigraphicum Graecum. Brill» (hereinafter – SEG)); at the same time, the recovered names were used neither in Olbia nor in the Northern Black Sea region. Onomastic reconstruction of names, assuming the diversity of possible theoretical variants, remains essentially provisional, since it is not associated with a certain historical figure. Accordingly, the goal of the paper is to substantiate and protect a fundamentally different, prosopographical approach to the reconstruction of the fragmented (reduced) names of historical persons, as well as overcoming the opponent’s criticisms.

The restoration of the chronology of Olbia of the 4th – 1st centuries BC (synchronization of the eponym catalogue IPE I2 201) made by the author, opened the prospect of replacing traditional onomastic reconstruction with a fundamentally different, however, completely obvious approach to reconstruction of fragments and reduced names in monuments of a lapidary, ceramic, magical epigraphy and numismatics with the names of real historical persons prosopographical reconstruction. As it is known, prosopography, because of its relatively «young age», is traditionally considered secondary to onomastics, linguistics, and paleography. The paradox is that when an appropriate level of study of a specific urban community, for example, Olbia, is reached, prosopography becomes dominant in the study of monuments containing the names of historical persons, including the ones in the form of fragments or reduced names. In the urban community of the ancient polis, a very limited number of persons was mentioned in lapidary or other inscriptions and coin legends. Those real historical persons came from the highest elite. The restoration of Olbia eponymous chronology was accompanied by obtaining representative prosopographical information about the members of seven elite families. That made it possible to substantiate the prosopographical approach to the reconstruction of the fragmented and reduced names of historical persons. Prosopography is successfully used in lapidary, ceramic, magical epigraphy and numismatics of Olbia (Tauric Chersonesos). In the monograph of V.P. Yailenko, 2017, the studies on the reconstruction of fragmented names were heavily criticized from traditional positions. The criticism of V.P. Yailenko is overcome and the goal of the paper is achieved by unequivocal confirmation of the fragment of dedication SEG 58:766 prosopographical reconstruction performed 10 years ago when it was combined with the previously known inscription IOlb 125.


Avram, A. (2016). Bulletin épigraphique. Paris [in French].

Avram, A. (2017). N.I. Nikolaev. Prosopografiya Olvii Pontiiskoi V v. do n.e. – I v. n.e. Ancient West & East, 16, 441-442 [in French].

Belousov, A., Dana, M., & Nikolaev, N. (2016). Deux nouvelles defixionum tabellae du territoire d’Olbia du Pont. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 197, 167-177 [in French].

Belousov, A.V. (2016). Grecheskaia i rimskaia epigrafika Severnogo Prichernomoria v 2015 g. [The Greek and Latin inscriptions of Ancient North Black Sea Region. 2015 year]. Aristei, XIV, 246-273 [in Russian].

Ivanchik, A.I. (2015). O nekotorykh poddelnykh nadpisiakh Olvii i Tiry [Some Fake Inscriptions from Olbia and Tyras]. Arkheologiia i davnia istoriia Ukrainy, 1 (14) [Olbio. In memoriam V.V. Krapivina], 147-157 [in Russian].

Karyshkovskii, P.O. (2003). Monetnoe delo i denezhnoe obrashchenie Olvii [Coins of Monetary Circulation in Olbia]. Odessa [in Russian].

Levi, E.I. (1956). Olviiskaia agora [Agora of Olbia]. In Olviia i Nizhnee Pobuzhe v antichnuiu epokhu (pp. 35-118) [in Russian].

Nikolaev, N.I. (2008). Politicheskaia i kultovaia elita Olvii IV-I vv. do n.e. [Political and cult Olbian elite IV-I cent. B.C.]. Nikolaev [in Russian].

Nikolayev, N. (2013). Νέα ανάγνωση της επιγραφής IosPE I2 161 από την Ολβία. ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΕΙΟΝ. ΑΘΗΝΑ, 2. Σελ, 67-70 [in Greek].

Nikolaev, N.I. (2014). Prosopografiia Olvii Pontiiskoi V v. do n.e. – І v. n.e. [Prosopography of Olbia Pontika V cent. B.C. – cent. A. D.]. Kyiv [In Russian].

Nikolaev, M.I. (2017). Ahoranomy ellinistychnoi Olvii [Agoranoms of the Hellenistic Olbia]. Istoriya torhivli, podatkiv ta myta, 1 (15), 12-30 [in Ukrainian].

Nikolaev, N.I. (2018). Kriticheskie zametki k monografii V.P. Yailenko «Istoria i epigrafika Olvii, Khersonesa, Bospora VII v. do n.e. – VII v. n.e.». [Critical notes to the monograph by V.P. Yailenko «A History and Epigraphy of Olbia, Chersonesus and Bosporus VII Century B.C. – VII Century A.D.»]. Emіnak, 22 (1), 155-159 [in Russian].

Nikolaev, N.I. (2018). Razvitie prosopograficheskoi modeli obshchiny nebolshogo antichnogo goroda (na primere Olvii) [Development of a Prosopographical Model of a Small Ancient City Community (on the Example of Olbia)]. In Drevnie tsivilizatsii: sotsium i chelovek. Yaroslavl (pp. 99-104) [in Russian].

Nikolaiev, M.I. (2018). Monetni mahistraty Olvii 380-330 rr. do n.e. [Coins magistrates of Olbia of 380-330 B.C.]. In Aktualni problemy numizmatyky u systemi spetsialnykh haluzei istorychnoi nauky: tezy dopovidei v mizhnarodnoi naukovo-praktychnoi konferentsyi. Medzhybizh – Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi – Kropyvnytskyi – Kyiv (pp. 10-12) [in Ukrainian].

Rusiaeva, A.S. & Krapivina, V.V. (1992). Do istorii Olvii IV-I ct. do n.e. [Concerning History of Olbia 4th-1st cent. BC]. Arkheolohiia, 4, 17-33 [in Ukrainian].

Treister, M.Yu. (1999). Materialy k korpusu postamentov bronzovykh statui Severnogo Prichernomoria [Materials for the catalogue of the pedestals of bronze statues of the Northern Black Sea region]. Khersonesskii sbornik, 10, 121-158 [in Russian].

Turovskii, E.Yi. (2015). Lichnye imena na khersonesskikh monetakh i keramicheskie kleima: opyt sravneniia [Personal names on Chersonesus coins and ceramic stamps: a comparison experience] Antichnyi mir i arkheologiia, 17, 342-351 [in Russian].

Vinogradov, Yi.G. (1978). O metodike obrabotki grecheskikh epigraficheskikh pamiatnikov (po olviiskim materialam) [On the method of processing Greek epigraphic monuments (according to the Olbian materials)]. Metodika izucheniia drevneishikh istochnikov po istorii narodov SSSR, 46-75 [in Russian]

Yailenko, V.P. (2017). Istoriia i epigrafika Olvii, Khersonesa, Bospora VII v. do n.e. – VII v. n.e. [A History and Epigraphy of Olbia, Chersonesus and Bosporus VII Century B.C. – VII century A.D.]. Sankt-Peterburg [in Russian].

How to Cite
Nikolaev, N. (2019). Prosopographical Reconstruction of the Reduced and Fragmented Names of Historical Persons (on the Example of Olbia). Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (1(25), 149-157.