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Changing NamesTradition and Innovation in Ancient Greek Onomastics$

Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266540

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266540.001.0001

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Christianisation and Local Names in Asia Minor: Fall and Rise in Late Antiquity

Christianisation and Local Names in Asia Minor: Fall and Rise in Late Antiquity

(p.258) 12 Christianisation and Local Names in Asia Minor: Fall and Rise in Late Antiquity
Changing Names

Sylvain Destephen

British Academy

Abstract and Keywords

This article analyses processes in detail based on the evidence now provided by the relevant volumes of Prosopographie chr�tienne du Bas-Empire, Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Lexicon of Greek Personal Names and the rich cemetery at Korykos. It is argued that the onomastic patrimony of late antique Asia Minor underwent a twofold process of transformation and simplification but did not vanish. The complete hegemony that the Romans achieved in Asia Minor in the 1st century BC induced a Latinisation of the region that was only superficial. This development had two contrasting effects. Firstly, Hellenistic and Roman influences reduced ethnic and cultural diversity in Asia Minor to the point where indigenous languages were more or less extinct when Christianity arose. Secondly, Hellenisation and Romanisation allowed a general enrichment of the onomastic patrimony in Asia Minor. The study of names therefore provides a balanced response since Asia Minor possesses a rich, varied onomastic patrimony. It also relates to how the conversion of the Roman Empire in general, and of Asia Minor in particular, brought about an overall transformation of the names people bore, even though modifications occurred more rapidly within ecclesiastical and monastic milieus than among ordinary laymen.

Keywords:   Christianisation, Christian naming, Domna, Kyrilla, Bishops, Korykos, Konon, Menas


THE CONVERSION OF ASIA MINOR to Christianity is a long-lasting and complex phenomenon. It is a long-term process since it spans several centuries, from the 1st c. AD with the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys to Anatolia to the 6th with imperial edicts imposing Christianity on every province and eradicating the remnants of paganism. As written sources only provide episodic, scattered and fragmentary evidence, studying the spread of the new religion is a complex task. In these circumstances, the data provided by inscriptions found in the region, which contain a wealth of names deriving from Christian communities both before and after Constantine, are particular valuable. This epigraphic evidence allows us to see with accuracy how Christianity progressed through a region characterised by the superposition and coexistence of several cultures and languages that were related to different onomastic stocks and traditions. An Anatolian substrate, represented by the Luwian language group (Carian, Lycian, Lydian, Pamphylian and Pisidian), which formed a regional branch of the Indo-European languages, was effaced after the conquest of Alexander the Great by an extended Greek layer. The complete hegemony that the Romans achieved in Asia Minor in the 1st c. BC induced a Latinisation of the region that was only superficial, since Latin remained mostly used by a local ruling class directly transplanted from Italy or in close connection with it.1

(p.259) This development had two contrasting effects. On the one hand, Hellenistic and Roman influences reduced ethnic and cultural diversity in Asia Minor to the point where indigenous languages were more or less extinct when Christianity arose. Phrygian, the last written Anatolian language, survived in a funerary, formulary aspect and within a limited area until the 3rd c. AD.2 When the new monotheistic religion appeared in the eastern Mediterranean, Asia Minor was partially Hellenised and indigenous languages only existed more or less as place names, names of gods and personal names. On the other hand, Hellenisation and Romanisation allowed a general enrichment of the onomastic patrimony in Asia Minor: ‘traditional’ Anatolian names merged or coexisted with names from Greek and Latin-speaking regions.3 It should be noted that evangelisation was carried on in Greek, since the language was spoken or at least understood by the populations whom the Apostles met during their mission in Asia Minor: inhabitants of urban communities settled and organised according to the social and political principles of the Greco-Roman city. Moreover Greek language and literature conveyed and framed the gospel.4 But the Semitic roots of Christianity offered also a new choice of names. If one can trace the progress of Christianisation in remote or isolated regions such as northern Phrygia or southern Lycaonia, the new religion had small influence on major urban centres such as Ephesus, Smyrna, Cyzicus or Nicaea. Consequently, Christians were a religious minority nearly everywhere in early 4th-c. Asia Minor.5 The process of conversion, always conducted in Greek, made a decisive step with the legal and financial support from Constantinian and above all Theodosian dynasties. From that moment on, Christianisation spread throughout Roman institutions and circumscriptions (cities, provinces), which the new religion imitated and reinforced.

(p.260) Therefore one may wonder whether Christianisation represented the last avatar of Romanisation, which itself perpetuated Hellenisation. The study of names may provide a detailed and balanced response since Asia Minor possesses a rich, varied onomastic patrimony despite the lack of documentation that Christians themselves produced and controlled. A second important point is to understand how the conversion of the Roman Empire in general, and of Asia Minor in particular, brought about an overall transformation of the names people bore, even though modifications occurred more rapidly within ecclesiastical and monastic milieus than among ordinary laymen. At the end of Antiquity, the complete conversion of Asia Minor caused a widespread Christianisation of names but did not suppress some onomastic regionalisms: some early martyrs bore regionally distinctive names, which were then taken up by their worshippers who again might be regionally restricted.

Early Christian Names in Asia Minor

The study of individual names is made possible in Asia Minor, as in many regions of the Greco-Roman world, by the extensive epigraphic documentation. Papyrological evidence is limited to a few Roman provinces, and the moderately wet climate of Asia Minor does not allow ancient papyri to be preserved. On the other hand, literary sources give just a glimpse because they were mainly produced by clerics for other clerics and they aimed at narrating ecclesiastical events or illustrating theological debates and not inventorying names. Within the onomastic field, late antique Christian etymology and exegesis only dealt with the names of people and places transmitted by the Bible.6

The earliest testimonies on the first stages of evangelisation in Anatolia come mainly from the Bible, that is the Pauline epistles and the Acts of the Apostles, while a few useful details can also be found in the Petrine epistles and the Revelation of John. Put all together, biblical texts reveal the presence of some twenty Christian communities at the end of the 1st c. AD, a very limited expansion if compared to the hundreds of cities spread throughout the region. Christianisation was essentially an urban phenomenon and people mentioned in the New Testament lived in towns. Thirty years ago, a study based on the Pauline epistles and the Acts of the Apostles listed sixty-five individuals: they occupied varied positions in the social (p.261) ladder and did not belong to its extreme levels, but all of them were related to an urban environment.7 The names that they bore were Greek, Roman and Semitic. Although the first Christian communities in Asia Minor founded by the Apostle Paul were of crucial importance in Christian history, the New Testament depicted them in little detail, like the communities of Corinth and Rome. For instance, Acts does not name any individual whom Apostle Paul met and evangelised during his journeys in Asia Minor.8

If we want to achieve a better understanding of the first Anatolian Christians, we can elicit information from hagiographic sources, but difficulties arise because many uncertainties remain concerning the date and mode of transmission of such texts. There are few early acts of the early martyrs, those whose death occurred prior to the general persecution unleashed by Emperor Diocletian in 303, but late antique and mid-Byzantine synaxaria and martyrologia provide further data. A total of 110 individuals (ninety-eight males and twelve females) can be counted who supposedly underwent martyrdom in Asia Minor between the 2nd and the 3rd c. AD, and they bear ninety-six different individual names, nearly all of which are Greek (sixty-seven) or Latin (twenty-three).9 Conversely Semitic or Anatolian names are exceptional, and this unexpected finding may confirm the assumption that most of the converted in Asia Minor originated from a Hellenised background and were integrated into Roman civilisation. But the inaccuracy and unreliability of hagiographic sources raise many questions, and their ascription to martyrs with openly Christian names (Athanasios, Christianos, Christodoulos) or names related to the Bible (Ioannes, Stephanos), not attested for Christians of the 1st–3rd c. AD, casts doubts on the historicity of the martyrs supposedly so named.

Fortunately ancient Asia Minor provides more satisfactory evidence through inscriptions. On the one hand, Christian inscriptions emerge precociously in the region compared to other Greek-speaking provinces such as Macedonia, Crete, Thrace, Cyprus or Syria; on the other hand, the total of late antique inscriptions is large enough, if not to conduct a comprehensive study, at least to give regional or local overviews. In the Roman West early Christian epigraphy is documented only in Italy and Northern Africa.10 The earliest Christian inscriptions in Asia Minor belong to the mid-2nd c. AD and they appear to multiply from (p.262) the mid-3rd c. onwards. Some 290 early Christian inscriptions—that is, before Emperor Constantine declared Christianity legal—have been identified and collected in the region. Inscriptions reveal Christian individuals and families who lived in a secular and pagan environment. Their names were made up of one or two elements, rarely three, and followed the general pattern of personal names. As they mostly used the imperial nomen gentilicium Aurelius they acquired Roman citizenship in AD 212.11

The 288 inscriptions in question, of which sixty-eight are fragmentary, are concentrated in time and space: most of them can be ascribed to the 3rd c. AD on the basis of iconography, palaeography, formulae and names, while 250 derive from central Anatolia (Phrygia above all, and also Galatia, Pisidia, Lycaonia). These early Christian inscriptions mention 961 individuals (695 males and 266 females), but since a quarter of the inscriptions are lacunose, the total number of individuals was originally greater and could easily exceed one thousand.

Although nomina gentilicia are omnipresent they are not systematic and some individuals are designated only by a personal name with or without patronymic, very exceptionally with a matronymic name for women. Due to the confluence of cultural traditions in Asia Minor, the variety of names is remarkably great: the 695 men bear 312 names which belong mainly to the Greek sphere, secondly to the Anatolian, finally to the Latin or Semitic. The most frequent names are Greek (Alexandros, Zotikos, Trophimos, Auxanon, Eutyches), but encompass only 102 individuals. In a religious perspective, the most significant and common names are borrowed from the gods Asklepios, Men and Artemis. Christians bore such names notwithstanding their pagan origin. The first Christians of Asia Minor seem to have been deeply influenced by the regional context, and from an onomastic perspective they did not stand out from their pagan neighbours.12

The case of the 266 Anatolian women named on early Christian inscriptions may show more original features. The problem of under-representation of female individuals on epitaphs is not peculiar to Christian inscriptions but occurs all (p.263) through Greco-Roman epigraphic production. At first sight, characteristics already noted for men are also found with women: a large, varied stock of names (140 different names, mostly Greek, often Anatolian, less frequently Roman, rarely Semitic). Like male names, nearly every female name is attested at least twice, but a statistical average conceals differences and originalities. The ‘concentration’ of female names seems more emphatic than of male names: inscriptions record forty Ammiai, twenty-eight Tatiai and twenty-six Domnai,13 three names that represent a third part of all women known from early Christian inscriptions. If we include the next two most frequent names, Kyrilla and Appia, five names cover one half of all female persons. By comparison, the five most frequent male names represent only 15% of men. Beyond statistical averages, the range of names appears to be more limited for women than for men. If we examine more closely the commonest names among Christian women, Ammia and Tatia, we see that they are attested throughout Asia Minor and common to pagan women. However, it is striking to note that Domna and Kyrilla, two frequent names on Christian tombstones, are formed from the Latin word dominus and the Greek equivalent kyrios. Both perhaps sounded significant to the first Christians, and perhaps Domna and Kyrilla discreetly reveal a familial religious allegiance. If the question is worth asking for women, it is pointless for men as male names formed from theos, dominus and kyrios represent only thirty-three individuals, that is less than 5% of men attested by early Christian inscriptions.14 However the small number of inscriptions and individuals in question requires caution: the over-representation of Domna and Kyrilla among women may be fortuitous and not conceal a religious identity, since openly Christian names borrowed from the Bible are extremely rare and chronologically uncertain.15

Influenced by Greco-Roman culture and mostly indifferent to names handed down by the Holy Scriptures, the first Christians of Asia Minor appear deeply rooted in a regional environment. Many Anatolian names borne by men and women are so ordinary that it is quite impossible to relate them to this or that province. Rather than ask which names are typically Carian or Pamphylian at a time when indigenous languages had more or less disappeared or were nearly vanishing at least in a written form,16 it is simpler and wiser to note that early Christians of Asia Minor used popular names. For instance, we can observe the (p.264) unexpected presence of Auxanon among the most frequent male names. Though Greek in origin, this name was common in Asia Minor, particularly in Phrygia and Pisidia,17 and gives additional evidence that the first Christians in Asia Minor, mostly known from funerary inscriptions, were Anatolian natives rather than foreigners with a Semitic background—even though common names could easily sweep across regions, lose their regional or indigenous character and become integrated into an empire-wide stock of individual names. Evangelisation had occurred in Asia Minor since the Apostolic Age and rapidly spread out of local Jewish communities and involved Greek, Roman and indigenous pagans insofar as they were able to understand the gospel in its original language. Whatever their cultural origin and social status, the converted held the same faith in common. For these reasons, we can trace in the 2nd–3rd c. AD a Christianisation of Anatolia rather than an ‘Anatolisation’ of Christianity. Thus a rapid overview of the preserved early Christian inscriptions proves that Christianisation was a visible but still fragmentary process, even in central Anatolia, and did not jeopardise the local onomastic traditions.

Late Antique Names and the Church

The religious history of the Roman Empire reached a turning point with the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity in the early 4th c. AD. Legalisation, official recognition and finally imposition of Christianity can be examined from an onomastic point of view despite the large array of studies dedicated to this issue, since most of them are focused on the Latin-speaking part of the Roman world and based upon the epigraphic material of Rome.

Inscriptions always hold a predominant place in the field of ancient names for countless and relatively varied inscriptions were carved during the Roman High Empire. However the 3rd-c. crisis and the barbarian invasions of the next centuries wrought havoc, even though some scholars have taken less drastic views, and political decay caused a definitive diminution of epigraphic production, even in Asia Minor which was less affected by the miseries and misfortunes of the time. Inscriptions of 4th–6th-c. Asia Minor are characterised by three features: a sharp reduction in numbers, increasing standardisation and a general Christianisation in content and context. Many examples are available, but a glance at the Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien is enough to prove that late antique inscriptions generally represent less than 5% of all edited inscriptions.18 Only a few volumes of the Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua (henceforth abbreviated as (p.265) MAMA), which are focused on central Anatolia, have higher proportions, but these collections do not profess to be complete.19 A less varied epigraphic production means the disappearance of certain categories of inscriptions full of names such as listings of prytaneis or councillors, catalogues of ephebes or athletes, honorific or proxeny decrees, grants of freedom or citizenship. The proportion of funerary inscriptions is high in all periods of Greco-Roman history and becomes overwhelming in Late Antiquity. We should recall that there does not exist anything similar to the Inscriptiones Christianae Vrbis Romae, and the rare corpora dedicated to Late Antiquity collect inscriptions from areas surrounding but not including Asia Minor (Bulgaria, Crete, Macedonia, Attica, the Cyclades).20 Concerning the region of interest, the sole existing corpus of Christian inscriptions dates from the 1920s and covers only western Asia Minor.21 In this context, studying names is more difficult in Late Antiquity than in classical times; moreover, measuring Christian influence upon individual names is an arduous task.

However the sixty-year project of identifying and inventorying every member of the late civil or religious elites casts a new light upon relations between Christianity and personal names. If the Prosopographie chrétienne du Bas-Empire (hereafter abbreviated as PCBE) mostly deals with the Roman West (Africa, Italy and neighbouring islands, recently Gaul and Germany, the Iberian Peninsula soon22), it also covers the eastern half: one volume is dedicated to the civil diocese of Asia, another volume on the civil diocese of Pontus is in prospect, and the Anatolian provinces (Isauria, Cilicia) belonging to the civil diocese of Oriens have come under scrutiny too.23 Although the last two volumes are only (p.266) in preparation, data gathering is almost complete and gives an overview of all clerics and monks attested in Asia Minor from the 4th to the 7th c. AD. Further research may occasionally find new individuals but this will represent only a marginal gain.

In late antique Asia Minor taken as a whole there can be identified 2,595 clerics, monks and nuns, among whom are 1,521 bishops (58.5% of the total), 434 priests (17%), 262 deacons and sub-deacons (10%), and 252 individuals (9.5%) leading a monastic or ascetic life. The 136 remaining individuals, who represent around 5% of the total, are lower clerics (readers, cantors, porters) and infraecclesiastical grades (sacristans, gravediggers). Bishops are better known than other clerics and monks since more personal data are recorded about them, to a large extent provided by the copious proceedings of the ecumenical councils. As church assemblies primarily consisted of bishops, the high number of bishoprics is a major factor in the totals for many individual data. This explains why more clerics and monks can be identified in the diocese of Asia (1,405 individuals in 330 episcopal sees) than in the rest of Asia Minor (1,190 individuals in eighty-two episcopal sees in the diocese of Pontus and forty-two in the ‘oriental’ provinces of Isauria and Cilicia).

Studying bishops’ names in Late Antiquity can be fruitful because bishops are much more fully documented than any other ecclesiastical group. Many bishops who lived in 4th-, 5th- and 6th-c. Asia Minor are known, since the greatest church councils took place in this period in Asia Minor itself (Nicaea in Bithynia, Seleucia in Isauria, Ephesus, Chalcedon) or nearby (Constantinople, Serdica, i.e. modern Sofia). The meeting of three major councils in 431, 449 and 451 explains why nearly half of all late antique bishops are attested in the 5th c. AD. The first, most obvious trend in episcopal onomastics is the continuous reduction in number of bishops bearing theophoric names: in the 4th c. 10.5% of the bishops bore a name related to some pagan deity (forty-three out of 408), but the proportion declines to 8.5% in the 5th (fifty-seven out of 676), and to 5.5% in the 6th (twenty-two out of 388). Although we know only forty-nine bishops in the first half of the 7th c., none of them had a theophoric name. Obviously the presence of such a name up to the 5th–6th c. AD does not prove that paganism was still active within the Christian clergy, quite the contrary: clerics could happily bear theophoric names as soon as they had lost their previous pagan meaning. Many names originally related to Greek (Athena, Pallas, Dionysus, Heracles, Demeter), Roman (Uranus, Silvanus), indigenous (Men) or exotic (Ammon) deities were actually Christianised by popular saints.24 Pagan theophoric names vanished whereas openly Christian names became popular. The latter can be divided into (p.267) three groups: ‘divine’ names formed from the words kyrios, christos and theos,25 names borrowed from the Old and the New Testament,26 and names expressing a Christian virtue or value.27 In the 4th c. AD, 20% of Anatolian bishops (eighty-two out of 408) bore a ‘divine’, biblical or pious name, 27% in the 5th (183 out of 676), 45% in the 6th (177 out of 388), and 57% in the 7th (twenty-eight out of forty-nine). The proportion of lower clerics with ‘divine’ names is similar to the onomastic situation among the episcopacy.28 The other names that bishops bore in late antique Asia Minor, albeit not theophoric nor openly Christian, might not be neutral on the religious level. Some of the remaining names which are borne by 70% of the 4th-c. bishops and still by 50% of the 6th-c. bishops can be related to famous eastern saints, such as Basilios (of Caesarea), Eustathios (of Antioch), Leontios (of Tripolis) and so on.

The Christianisation of bishops’ names represents a long-term change, since it began more or less with the conversion of Emperor Constantine, made progress in the 4th c. AD, and accelerated in the next. This evolution brings more proof of how decisive was the Theodosian era (379–450) in Christianising the late Roman Empire even though the process was only completed under the reign of Emperor Justinian (527–565).29 As additional evidence of the major change brought by the new religion, we can note that the proportion of bishops and lower clerics with biblical names increased fivefold within the span of three centuries.30 (p.268) Other onomastic changes appeared among bishops as early as the Constantinian dynasty. If the traditional Roman system of the tria nomina was never popular in 1st–2nd-c. Asia Minor, using duo nomina was frequent until the 3rd–4th c. AD, when individuals came to favour single names on epitaphs, first with and then without patronymic names. Similar evolutions took place in the Roman West.31 However, in Asia Minor bishops had an original stance in comparison with laymen and clerics: none of them used tria or duo nomina or mentioned a nomen gentilicium. There is only one exception, which can be assigned to the 340s.32 Within the clergy, bishops differed in this respect from intermediary (priests, deacons) and lower grades (sub-deacons, readers), who willingly mentioned duo nomina on individual or familial tombstones. This discrepancy from the episcopacy might reveal that bishops adopted a different or distinctive onomastic behaviour. Yet literary sources produced by the Church itself never mentioned a nomen gentilicium or patronymic: any cleric of whatever rank was designated by a single name.

By adopting more ‘religious’ names, bishops may have pioneered the Christianisation of the names that clerics and laymen bore in Late Antiquity. But if bishops seem to have rapidly abandoned the nomina gentilicia, remaining differences are negligible: for any century under scrutiny the proportion of bishops’ names formed from kyrios, christos and theos is only 2–3% higher than for other grades among whom, by contrast, theophoric names were used longer. The differences are too small to be significant and it would be wrong to draw a sharp distinction between bishops’ names and those of lower clerics. The only noticeable difference appears if we compare clerics with monks and ascetics: nearly (p.269) half of monks and ascetics bore ‘divine’, biblical or pious names while only one in three clerics had such names.

For the last centuries of ancient Asia Minor, despite familial, regional or local onomastic traditions, we can assume that the devout names of clerics, monks and ascetics increasingly sounded in the ears of pagans and laymen as living slogans encouraging conversion and piety, requiring humility and obedience.

Names on the Eve of the Dark Ages

The Christianisation of Asia Minor and, on a wider scale, of the Roman world changed the names that people bore: ‘divine’, biblical and pious names contributed substantially to an onomastic renewal and caused theophoric names to vanish, although some continued to exist in a Christianised, more acceptable form. However, onomastic renewal does not mean an increase in the stock of names, and a quite opposite evolution occurred in late antique Asia Minor: the later we go, the fewer names are found. We see this phenomenon in the case of clerics and monks, among whom classical names declined at the end of Antiquity. For instance, Alexandros, Eugenios, Leontios and Philippos are borne by 110 persons, of whom ninety-five lived before the 6th c. AD. On the other hand, ‘divine’, biblical or pious names knew a noteworthy, albeit late success: Ioannes, Paulos, Theodoros, Stephanos and Petros total 363 individuals of whom 230 lived after the 5th c. AD.33 The last five names represent more than a quarter of all clerics and monks attested between 500 and 650. (But one must remember that there are fewer preserved ecclesiastical sources after the 5th c.) The popularity of Christian names explains not only why theophoric names vanished but also why regional names progressively declined. For example Auxanon, Meiros and Menneas, three well-attested names in central Anatolia, were borne by only twenty-eight clerics and monks, among whom twenty-four lived before the 6th c. AD.34 In other words, Christianisation induced in Anatolia a double process of globalisation and simplification of names.

Thus the Christianisation of Asia Minor did not lead to an enrichment of the stock of names, but actually contributed to an impoverishment of the onomastic patrimony bequeathed by the Greco-Roman period to Late Antiquity. If prosopographical researches enable us to study individual names inside churches and monasteries, onomastic changes are more shadowy for laymen, who none the less formed most of the population. Fortunately we have at our disposal a remarkable repertory on civil, military and intellectual elites with the third volume of the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (henceforth abbreviated as PLRE), which spans the early 6th–mid-7th c. AD and gathers around 1,460 individuals (p.270) integrated in or related to the Roman Empire.35 The five most frequent names, Ioannes—299 entries!—Theodoros, Georgios, Stephanos and Petros, total 731 individuals, that is half of all characters.36 If we add to them the five next most common names (Paulos, Sergios, Konstantinos, Menas, Anastasios) we have two-thirds of all entries. The proportion was probably higher within the Roman Empire itself, as PLRE included many barbarian figures. For the imperial elites as for the clerics and monks of Asia Minor, the onomastic renewal which took place in Late Antiquity under the increasing influence of Christianity caused a higher concentration of names that represents an unprecedented phenomenon in Greco-Roman onomastics.37

But what was the onomastic situation of persons who did not belong to the ruling class or ecclesiastical hierarchy? As usual sources say very little about modest and ordinary people, and it is scarcely necessary to recall that the history of Late Antiquity was mostly written by and for elites trying to enhance or extol their own achievements. In Asia Minor as elsewhere in the Roman Empire, with the notable exception of Egypt, the lowest categories usually fall outside the scope of any statistical onomastic survey since they are poorly attested. Late antique epigraphy, mostly funerary, does not escape from this rule: the expense of building a tomb and illiteracy excluded the poor from the epigraphic habit. As we have seen, another problem lies in the absence of any systematic corpus of late antique inscriptions of Asia Minor. Scholars will in part be able to overcome such difficulties once a comprehensive inventory of Christian Anatolian inscriptions is compiled, but this is a long and arduous task that will require goodwill and collaboration.38

For the moment, only a few chronologically coherent epigraphic data-sets can shed sufficient light to reveal common names in late antique Asia Minor. Such is the case, for instance, of the city of Korykos, a small but active trading port located on the western coast of Cilicia, whose necropolis was used during Late Antiquity and abandoned in the 7th c. AD.39 Most of the 600 epitaphs edited in the third volume of the MAMA belong to the 5th–6th c. AD and mention about 1,010 individuals whose profession and status generally indicate membership in the local middle and upper classes.40 As in the early Christian epitaphs we (p.271) have previously observed, only 10% of the names attested from the graveyard of Korykos are those of women, but epigraphic inequality is only partially related to gender inequality.41 The frequent use of patronymic names in the 5th–6th c. favoured male names. A similar disparity applies to the ruling class that PLRE has inventoried, and underrepresentation of women is systematic in PCBE, since females were nearly excluded from the ecclesiastical hierarchy.42 In proportion, the women named in the necropolis of Korykos are actually neither more nor less numerous than female members of the ruling class attested in PLRE. Though at first sight the stock of names displayed on the many Korykos tombstones seems varied—415 different names—six names (Ioannes, Konon, Georgios, Theodoros, Sergios, Paulos) cover 30% of the deceased.43 Besides crosses carved on any gravestone, names give another indication that late Anatolian society was deeply Christianised even though small Jewish communities may have subsisted here and there, as in Korykos.44 In the necropolis of this city, 27% of Christian people, (p.272) men and women alike, bore a biblical name. In the context of 5th–6th-c. Asia Minor, this high proportion may be compared with monks and ascetics (25%) and exceeds the proportion of clerics who have a biblical name (18%). Surprisingly, monks’ names seem to reflect laymen’s names, but further research could confirm or rebut an assessment based upon a single necropolis. Despite the limitations of our survey, it is worth noting that major onomastic trends among clerics and monks of late antique Asia Minor are illustrated and confirmed by the epitaphs of Korykos: Christianisation of names from the 5th c. AD onwards, reduction of the stock of names and popularity of biblical names. Other studies dedicated to late antique epitaphs have produced more or less the same results: on an onomastic level Asia Minor did not differ from other Greek-speaking regions.45

On the eve of a military and documentary crisis, the onomastic horizon of Christian Asia Minor is clear: a substantial decrease in available names has homogenised personal names in favour of a few ‘divine’, biblical or pious names. Such an impoverishment affected the entire society: rich and humble, Constantinopolitan elites and provincial populations alike, clerics, monks as well as laymen opted for a small group of names that expressed personal devotion or a claim for supernatural protection. People chose pious names for their children because they hoped that God or saints would help them.

The fame of some names could also result from popular cults of saints, in particular martyrs. At the end of Antiquity, with twenty-one martyria consecrated to him, Saint George had already acquired the largest number of places of worship throughout Asia Minor. It is not surprising that twenty-one of the twenty-six inventoried Georgioi lived in the 6th or the 7th c. AD. Bishops, lower clerics and monks named Georgios are attested in every region. In the same way, seventyeight Georgioi are attested within the late Roman and barbarian elites between 527 and 641 against five from 260 to 527 according to PLRE.46

The popularity of some saints, success of a few biblical names (Ioannes, Petros, Paulos, Stephanos) and the dropping of duo nomina and nomina gentilicia brought about an increasing standardisation and simplification of late antique names in Asia Minor and a progressive disappearance of local or regional names.47

(p.273) The fate of Menas is a good example of these onomastic changes: first attested in the Greek world, it became popular in central Anatolia and achieved celebrity in the person of the saint of that name who suffered martyrdom in early 4th-c. Egypt and whose cult spread throughout the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.48 Konon provides another relevant case: the name is well attested in Greece from the classical era, then migrated to western Asia Minor and became very popular in south-eastern Anatolia (Pisidia, Pamphylia, Isauria, Cilicia).49 We have already seen that Konon is, after Ioannes, the most frequent male name in the necropolis of Korykos. At the end of Antiquity, Konon followed an opposite path to Menas: Menas lost his local aspect and spread through the entire empire whereas Konon acquired a more regional character. Twenty-six clerics and monks named Konon can be identified, of whom twenty-four lived in 5th–6th-c. south-eastern Anatolia. PLRE also mentions nine instances of Konon, of whom three or four may be ascribed to the same area. The late and local fame of this name resulted from the cult of the saints Konon, three homonymous martyrs originating from and executed in, respectively, Magydos (Pamphylia), Bidana (Isauria) and Iconium (Lycaonia), and worshipped in around ten sanctuaries located from Pisidia to Cilicia. Due to an increasing, albeit local notoriety, Emperor Zeno (476–491), who himself originated from Isauria, decided to promote the village of Bidana where Saint Konon was martyred to city status.50

(p.274) The last example proves that Christianisation, far from levelling all particularism, gave birth to a new onomastic regionalism related to popular local cults. Yet investigating a saint’s name and following its expansion in Anatolia can be done only for a few names since most of the Anatolian saints had a geographically limited cult, often confined to a single city. Konon of Bidana is highly unusual in coming from a very humble background (he was a modest villager). Conversely the other martyrs most worshipped in Asia Minor had in common that they were soldier saints: Georgios, Theodoros, Sergios, Bakchos and Demetrios.51 At the end of Late Antiquity, before the Persian and Arab invasions of the 7th c. AD, inhabitants of the eastern Roman Empire, whatever their status and position, sought protection from soldier saints.


The onomastic patrimony of late antique Asia Minor underwent a twofold process of transformation and simplification but did not vanish. Granting Roman citizenship to provincial populations allowed the rapid diffusion and adoption of the Roman nomenclature by all free persons in Asia Minor. Instead of choosing names to set themselves off from their pagan neighbours, early Christians bore varied and common names, even though some ‘programmatic’ names were sometimes given to female members of the first Christian communities. Before Emperor Constantine seized absolute power the Roman name system only subsisted in a simpler form with duo nomina, while the return to patronymics caused the disappearance of nomina gentilicia in the 5th c. AD for ordinary people, a little later for the ruling class. If Christianity was authorised as early as AD 312 by Emperor Constantine, the new religion only actually influenced personal names from the 5th c. onwards as we have seen in the case of clerics and monks. Ecclesiastical and monastic milieus more and more favoured biblical, pious and ‘divine’ names, and many ordinary or theophoric names received a new religious flavour in connection with popular martyrs. As Late Antiquity was ending, the process of Christianisation of individual names deepened: it brought about a simplification in the method of designating the deceased on tombstones and a steady diminution of the stock of names, to such an extent that a few names came to be borne by more and more people. Notwithstanding a strong inclination towards powerful and comforting names, namely borrowed from famous and efficient martyrs, later Christianity did not erase every particularity in choosing names, and onomastic regionalisms could subsist if supported by famous saints. After the end of Late Antiquity, since sources and above all inscriptions underwent a sharp decline, studying onomastic trends is more difficult in Asia Minor, where in addition many saints remained local figures. However, as Christianity became the common religion of the Mediterranean world, it fostered a renewal of names (p.275) by disseminating Anatolian saints (and their names) abroad. The most famous example is probably Nikolaos, a legendary saint who was worshipped in Lycia and whose name was almost limited to this province in Late Antiquity. The spread of his cult encouraged the diffusion of the name throughout Europe: Christianity made a name universal.

Afterword: Some Case Studies Based on LGPN V. A–C

When this chapter was already completed, data from the third and final Asia Minor volume of LGPN were made available to me, and it would have been a pity to lose this opportunity to offer some new perspectives on names which are relevant to the study of onomastic trends and changes in late antique Asia Minor and to the influence of Christianisation in this region. Emphasis will be put on just a few ‘programmatic’ names, such as Domna and Domnos, Kyrilla and Kyrillos, and on biblical names, such as Paulos, Petros and Ioannes. In the case of Domna and Domnos, the three LPGN volumes dedicated to coastal and inner Asia Minor have collected 276 Domnai and ninety-six Domnoi. Domna is more frequent than Domnos, and the probability of a girl being named Domna as against a boy becoming Domnos was probably higher than 3:1, since male funerary inscriptions are more numerous than female. The geographic distribution of both names is more or less the same: most of the epigraphic evidence comes from the Anatolian plateau whereas Domna and Domnos are rare on any of the coasts of Asia Minor, even on the Aegean shore where the epigraphic documentation is huge. Domnos and Domna do not belong to the onomastic patrimony of the old, prestigious and deeply Hellenised cities located in this area. The invaluable onomastic inventory provided by LGPN testifies that these names were popular in central Anatolia, especially in Galatia (thirty-nine mentions) and above all in Phrygia (220 occurrences), two provinces gathering almost 70% of all Domnai and Domnoi listed by LGPN. Despite their regional (or indigenous) character, both names are attested throughout Asia Minor, but we can assume that individuals who bore such names and were buried outside the Anatolian plateau originated from Galatia or Phrygia. If the regional popularity of Domna and Domnos is indisputable, the religious flavour of such names is less certain since only about eighty attestations can be ascribed to the late antique and early Byzantine period and consequently are likely to relate to Christians. Thus one fifth of all Domnai and Domnoi were Christians, and probably in fact more, since the Christianisation process had already begun before Constantine. It is noteworthy that, despite the decline in Late Antiquity from the epigraphic peak reached during the High Empire, Domna and Domnos remained widespread among Anatolians who had become Christians, either because both names could be easily associated with Christianity or because they did not evoke any pagan deity. The onomastic situation of the couple Kyrilla/ Kyrillos is similar to the pair Domna/Domnos even if figures are lower: LGPN lists 177 Kyrillai and seventy-four Kyrilloi of whom 60% are attested in Galatia (p.276) or Phrygia, and almost one fifth belong to the later period. In other words, all these names were not openly Christian. As they were often borne by pagans in the first three centuries they could conceal a monotheistic faith, and their religious flavour explained why they were still popular even after the demise of paganism and the triumph of Christianity.

At first sight the study of biblical names such as Paulos, Petros or Ioannes is much simpler, since all these names were borne by Apostles, and Paul was additionally engaged in missionary activity in Asia Minor and established several Christian communities during his religious travels throughout the region. However, the onomastic picture given by the LGPN is more complex and each name requires a separate commentary. Paulos can be a misleading name as it was borne by pagans before and after the Apostle. The 320 Pauloi listed are evidenced in every part of Asia Minor. The onomastic dispersion proves that Paulos, a name borrowed from the Latin onomastic repertoire, had no obvious regional roots and was not supported by any local traditions. If we pay more attention to the geographical and chronological distribution of Paulos we can see a peculiar feature: in the deeply Hellenised regions of Bithynia, Mysia, Ionia, Lydia and Caria, about sixty Pauloi out of the seventy belong to the period prior to the 4th c., whereas in central Anatolia (Galatia, Cappadocia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, Pisidia) about a hundred out of 140 lived in Late Antiquity and early Byzantine times. In other words, Pauloi in western Asia Minor attest the onomastic and cultural influence of Rome, while Pauloi in Anatolia attest the process and progress of Christianisation. Some sixty Petroi and 290 Ioannai, by contrast, are known in Asia Minor, and both names are well attested on the southern coast and the plateau of Anatolia. They cannot be related to any previous Latin or Greek name: as elements in the Greek onomastic stock, they were Christian onomastic inventions and they expanded geographically and demographically as more regions and people converted to the new religion. Moreover, as no Petros or Ioannes can be ascribed to the period prior to Constantine, most of the people who bore such openly Christian names lived in a world already deeply evangelised.52


(*) I am very grateful to Robert Parker for his attentive perusal of this chapter and his valuable comments and corrections which allowed me to improve the text. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer for their useful suggestions.

(1) On the evangelisation of Asia Minor in the first three centuries of Christianity, see S. Mitchell, Anatolia. Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor, vol. 2: The Rise of the Church (Oxford, 1995), 3–51; P. Maraval, ‘La diversité de l’Orient chrétien’, in J.-M. Mayeur et al. (eds), Histoire du christianisme, 1. Le Nouveau Peuple (des origines à 250) (Paris, 2000), 509–29, in particular 518–27;

Proceedings of the British Academy, 222, 258–276, © The British Academy 2019. C. Trevett, ‘Asia Minor and Achaea’, in M. M. Mitchell and F. M. Young (eds), The Cambridge History of Christianity, 1. Origins to Constantine (Cambridge, 2006), 314–29; G. Fontana Elboj, Los orígenes del Cristianismo en Asia Menor (a. 70–135): textos e historia (Barcelona, 2015), 333–93 for the case of Ephesus.

(2) Recent overview by C. Brixhe, ‘The Personal Onomastics of Roman Phrygia’, in P. Thonemann (ed.), Roman Phrygia: Culture and Society (Cambridge, 2013), 55–69, especially 63–7.

(3) For instance, M. Adak, ‘Names, Ethnicity and Acculturation in the Pamphylian-Lycian Borderland’, in Personal Names in Ancient Anatolia, 63–78; A. Coşkun, ‘Histoire par les noms in Ancient Galatia’, ibid., 79–106; idem, ‘Intercultural Anthroponymy in Hellenistic and Roman Galatia’, Gephyra 9 (2012), 51–68.

(4) This is the case even though the New Testament authors were not trained in Greek rhetoric. On this point, even if his interest is confined to the Pauline epistles, see E. Randolph Richards, ‘Pauline Prescript and Greco-Roman Epistolary Conventions’, in S. E. Porter and A. W. Pitts (eds), Christian Origins and Greco-Roman Culture. Social and Literary Contexts for the New Testament (Leiden, 2013), 497–514, especially p. 513: ‘In short, we are unable to find any Pauline prescript that conformed to Greco-Roman convention. When one element conformed, the rest of the prescript did not. Often, none of the elements conformed.’

(5) N. Brox, ‘Frühchristentum als Minderheit in Kleinasien’, in P. Herz and J. Kobes (eds), Ethnische und religiöse Minderheiten in Kleinasien. Von der hellenistischen Antike bis in das byzantinische Mittelalter (Mainz, 1997), 77–97, esp. 77, 81 and 87. Although focusing on the Petrine epistles, the author considers that early Christians were clearly outnumbered by pagans everywhere in 2nd–3rd-c. Asia Minor.

(6) In Late Antiquity, following the pioneering philological researches conducted in Alexandria by Philo and Origen, Christian exegesis of biblical anthroponyms and toponyms was highlighted in Greek by Eusebius of Caesarea with his ‘archaeological’ Onomasticon (or more properly On the Place-Names in the Holy Scriptures) and the Interpretation of the Ethnological Terms in the Hebrew Scriptures (according to the title given to a lost and shadowy treatise by D. S. Wallace-Hadrill, Eusebius of Caesarea, London, 1960, 203), and in Latin by Jerome with the Liber interpretationis Hebraicorum nominum and the Hebraicae quaestiones in libro Geneseos. As an introduction to this literature mingling exegesis and names, see M. Amsler, Etymology and Grammatical Discourse in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, PA, 1989), 82–99.

(7) W. A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul, 2nd edn (New Haven, CT, 2003), 55–73. See also E. Arens, Asia Menor en tiempos de Pablo, Lucas y Juan. Aspectos sociales y económicos para la comprensión del Nuevo Testamento (Córdoba, 1995).

(8) Both missions in Asia Minor are described in Acts 13.13–14, 26 and 15. 40–16.11. For the historical and geographic frame of evangelised regions, see E. J. Schnabel, Urchristliche Mission (Wuppertal, 2002), 1011–24, 1043–76 and 1146–93.

(9) F. Caraffa and G. Morelli (eds), Bibliotheca Sanctorum, 13 vols (Rome, 1962–1970), passim.

(10) See the overall study, even though an update is needed, by A. Ferrua, ‘L’epigrafia cristiana prima di Costantino’, in Atti del IX Congresso internazionale di archeologia cristiana, I. I Monumenti cristiani precostantiniani (Vatican City, 1978), 583–613; a useful addendum has been given by C. Carletti, ‘Nascita e sviluppo del formulario epigrafico cristiano: prassi e ideologia’, in I. Di Stefano Manzella (ed.), Le iscrizioni dei cristiani in Vaticano. Materiali e contributi scientifici per una mostra epigrafica (Vatican City, 1997), 143–64.

(11) A list of the early Christian inscriptions of Anatolia can be found in S. Destephen, ‘La christianisation de l’Asie Mineure jusqu’à Constantin: le témoignage de l’épigraphie’, in H. Inglebert, S. Destephen and B. Dumézil (eds), Le problème de la christianisation du monde antique (Paris, 2010), 159–94, esp. 177–90. A further dozen Christian epitaphs of Ephesus have been rightly assigned to the 2nd–3rd c. by N. Zimmermann, ‘Das Sieben-Schläfer-Zömeterium in Ephesos. Neue Forschungen zu Baugeschichte und Ausstattung eines ungewöhnlichen Bestattungskomplexes’, Jahreshefte 80 (2011), 365–407, esp. 393–402. On the spread of Marci Aurelii throughout the Greek-speaking provinces and the practical necessity for individuals of adding an idionym and patronym in order to avoid confusion, see Rizakis, ‘La diffusion des processus d’adaptation onomastique: les Aurelii dans les provinces orientales de l’Empire’, esp. 258–60. The baseline, albeit debatable, study is J. G. Keenan, ‘The Names Flavius and Aurelius as Status Designations in Later Egypt’, ZPE 11 (1973), 33–63, and 13 (1974), 283–304.

(12) In descending order of frequency: thirty-six instances of Alexandros, eighteen Zotikos, eighteen Trophimos (twenty-three if we add names deriving from trophim-), sixteen Auxanon, fourteen Eutyches (or twenty-four including names formed from the root eutych-), thirteen Asklepiades (or twenty-one names with askl-), nine Kyrillos (fifteen with names deriving from kyr-). By comparison, thirteen individuals have names beginning or ending with theo-, twenty-four with the root men- and twelve with artem-.

(13) Including the derived forms from Tatia: Tata, Tatarion, Tatas, Tatiana, Tatias, Tation, Tatis.

(14) Here are the individual names formed from the root theos: Theotimos, Theophilos, Theodoros, Theodotos, Theodoulos, Timotheos; from the root kyrios: Kyriakes, Kyriakos, Kyrillos; from the root dominus: Domnillos, Domnos, Morodomnos (?).

(15) See also the seminal study of I. Kajanto, Onomastics Studies in the Early Christian Inscriptions of Rome and Carthage (Helsinki, 1963).

(16) The use, at least oral, of some Anatolian languages is attested up to the High Empire. For instance, while the Apostles Paul and Barnabas travelled in the small city of Lystra, the local crowd shouted in Lycaonian after the completion of a miracle. See Acts 14.11. But according to the great linguist G. Neumann, ‘Kleinasien’, in G. Neumann and J. Untermann (eds), Die Sprachen im römischen Reich der Kaiserzeit (Bonn, 1980), 167–85, at 178–9, Lycaonian here means the Lycaonian dialect of Greek, and so on with other local languages that supposedly survived, except Phrygian. However, a somewhat different view has been taken by S. Mitchell, Anatolia: Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor, vol. 1: The Celts and the Impact of Roman Rule (Oxford, 1993), 171–6.

(17) See LGPN V.C, s.v.

(18) At the time of writing, i.e. 2016, the Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien collection, edited since 1972 by the University of Cologne, encompasses seventy-five volumes. They mainly deal with cities located on the Aegean and Propontic coast. Recent volumes have begun to collect inscriptions from cities of southern Asia Minor (Side, Perge, Anazarbus) and central Anatolia (Selge, Arykanda, Pisidian Antioch, Tyana, Kibyra, Philomelium, etc.).

(19) MAMA counts eleven volumes published between 1928 and 2013, first by the University of Manchester and then by the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies in London. They gather Greek, Latin and Byzantine inscriptions and some uninscribed monuments which were photographed, drawn or squeezed by the members of several epigraphic expeditions conducted in Anatolia from the 1920s to the 1950s. The collection of inscriptions was nearly systematic only for eastern Phrygia, parts of Pisidia and Lycaonia.

(20) V. Beševliev, Spätgriechische und spätlateinische Inschriften aus Bulgarien (Berlin, 1964); A. C. Bandy, The Greek Christian Inscriptions of Crete (Athens, 1970); D. Feissel, Recueil des inscriptions chrétiennes du Macédoine du iiie au vie siècle (Paris, 1983); E. Sironen, The Late Roman and Early Byzantine Inscriptions of Athens and Attica. An Edition with Appendices on Scripts, Sepulchral Formulae and Occupations (Helsinki, 1997); G. Kiourtzian, Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes des Cyclades, de la fin du iiie au viie siècle après J.-C. (Paris, 2000). For an overview of the late inscriptions see S. Mitchell, ‘The Christian Epigraphy in Late Antiquity’, in K. Bolle et al., The Epigraphic Cultures of Late Antiquity (Stuttgart, 2017), 271–86, esp. 273.

(21) H. Grégoire, Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d’Asie Mineure (Paris, 1922).

(22) A. Mandouze (ed.), PCBE, 1. Afrique (303–533) (Paris, 1982); C. Pietri and L. Pietri (eds), PCBE, 2. Italie (313–604), 2 vols (Rome, 1999–2000); L. Pietri and M. Heijmans (eds), PCBE, 4. La Gaule chrétienne (314–614), 2 vols (Paris, 2013). Vol. 5, dedicated to the Iberian Peninsula and directed by Prof. Josep Vilella Masana, will be published by the University of Barcelona. Another volume on Illyricum, i.e. the late Roman Danubian and Balkanic provinces, is planned by the University of Lille.

(23) S. Destephen, PCBE, 3. Diocèse d’Asie (325–641) (Paris, 2008); idem, PCBE, 6. Diocèse du Pont (314–641), in preparation.

(24) See I. Kajanto, ‘Sopravvivenza dei nomi teoforici nell’età cristiana’, AArchHung 41 (1989), 159–68; idem, ‘Roman Nomenclature during the Late Empire’, in Le iscrizioni dei cristiani in Vaticano, 103–11. Secularisation of pagan culture may also explain the frequent mention of pagan deities in Greek Christian poetry of the 6th c.: I. G. Galli Calderini, ‘L’epigramma greco tardoantico: tradizione e innovazione’, Vichiana 16 (1987), 103–34, esp. 113. On individual names formed from the Anatolian theonym Men in the High Empire, see A. Coşkun, ‘Theophore Personennamen in Westkleinasien. Neue Überlegungen auf der Grundlage des Lexikon of Greek Personal Names, vol. V.A’, EpigAnat 44 (2011), 153–62, esp. 158–9.

(25) The most frequent names formed from theos in descending order of frequency: Theodoros (half of all), Theodosios, Theosebios, Theodoulos, Theophilos, Dorotheos, Theoktistos, Philotheos, Theon, Theodoretos, Theoprepios, etc.

(26) Mainly borrowed from a few Apostles (Andreas, Ioannes, Paulos, Petros) and the ‘protomartyr’ Stephanos.

(27) E.g. Agapetos, Akakios, Anastasios, Athanasios, Elpidios, Epiphanios, Eusebios, Gregorios, Hesychios, Makarios, Sophronios, etc.

(28) The proportion of clerics in Asia Minor, bishops excluded, with ‘divine’, biblical and pious names: 17% in the 4th c. (forty-one out of 241), 30% in the 5th (eighty-four out of 279), 49% in the 6th (122 out of 249), and 42.5% in the 7th (seventeen out of forty). As with bishops, the small number of ecclesiastics attested in Asia Minor during the first half of the 7th c. makes statistics more or less inoperative.

(29) The issue of chronology and rhythm of Christianisation has aroused many debates, particularly among papyrologists: R. S. Bagnall, ‘Religious Conversion and Onomastic Change in Early Byzantine Egypt’, BASP 19 (1982), 105–24, particularly 120–1 (precocious); E. Wipszyska, ‘La valeur de l’onomastique pour l’histoire de la chritianisation de l’Égypte. À propos d’une étude de R. S. Bagnall’, ZPE 69 (1987), 173–81 (late); J.-M. Carrié, ‘Le nombre des chrétiens en Égypte selon les données papyrologiques’, in Le problème de la christianisation, 147–57 (neutral). The assumption of a rapid conversion of Egyptians to Christianity has also been recently supported on the base of magical texts by W. M. Shandruk, ‘Christian Use of Magic in Late Antique Egypt’, Journal of Early Christian Studies 20 (2012), 31–57, in particular 42–6. However the Egyptian pattern cannot be imposed on any other Roman province without caution and reservation.

(30) The proportion of biblical names for all clerics of Asia Minor: 4.5% in the 4th c. (thirty-one out of 649), 13% in the 5th (123 out of 955), 26% in the 6th (166 out of 637) and 28% in the 7th (twenty-five out of eighty-nine). For the case study of Rome, see H. Solin, ‘Le transformazioni dei nomi personali tra antichità e medioevo’, in F. De Rubeis and W. Pohl (eds), Le scritture dai monasteri (Rome, 2003), 15–45, esp. 24–5 on the biblical names used by clerics; F. De Rubeis, ‘Le epigrafi fra tarda antichità e primo medioevo’, in P. Delogu and S. Gasparri (eds), Le trasformazioni del V secolo. L’Italia, i barbari e l’Occidente romano (Turnhout, 2010), 705–30, esp. 717–24 on socially distinctive funerary and epigraphic habits between the 4th and the 6th c.

(31) Kajanto, ‘Late Single Name System’; idem, ‘Onomastica romana alle soglie del medioevo’, in D. Kremer (ed.), Dictionnaire historique des noms de famille romans (Tübingen, 1990), 59–66, esp. 63–4; H. Castritius, ‘Das römische Namensystem: von der Dreinamigkeit zur Einnamigkeit?’, in D. Geuenich, W. Haubrichs and J. Jarnut (eds), Nomen et gens. Zur historischen Aussagekraft frühmittelalterlicher Personennamen (Berlin and New York, 1997), 30–40, esp. 36–7. The last author shows that a single name was used as a ‘diacritic’ name throughout Roman history, and in Late Antiquity duo nomina were limited to administrative and military elites. This situation could explain why single names were so frequent among clerics and ordinary people. The fact that all the characters of the Bible bore a single name may have accentuated this onomastic trend among Christians.

(32) The only attested case of an Anatolian bishop with tria nomina is Markos Ioulios Eugenios. A former councillor, he married a woman of the senatorial order, joined the governor of Pisidia’s staff, and finally became bishop of Laodikeia Kekaumene, an episcopal see located in the same province. Personal (or familial?) inclination towards a brilliant (and too mundane?) past may explain this ‘onomastic coquetry’. His long funerary inscription, edited in MAMA I. 170, has spawned an extensive bibliography, of which the main titles are listed and discussed in PCBE, 3, 281–3, s.v. Eugenios 1. The fact that bishops could mention their duo or tria nomina seemed so unusual to late antique authors that Eusebius of Caesarea himself excerpted from a list of subscriptions to a synodal letter written at the end of the 2nd c. the names of two bishops, one signed as ‘Aurelius Quirinus, martyr’ and the other as ‘Aelius Publius Iulius, bishop of the colony of Develtum in Thrace’. See Eusebius of Caesarea, HE 5.19.3.

(33) The success of biblical names is also late in the Roman West. See the brief update by H.-I. Marrou, ‘Problèmes généraux de l’onomastique chrétienne’, in Onomastique latine, 431–4.

(34) On Meiros, a name broadly disseminated across Phrygia, see Zgusta, KP, 308, § 890.

(35) J. R. Martindale, PLRE, 3. AD 527–641, 2 vols (Cambridge, 1991).

(36) On the popularity of Ioannes, in particular in Rome, see H. Solin, ‘Problèmes [?] de l’onomastique du Bas-Empire’, in J. Desmulliez and C. Hoët-van Cauwenberghe (eds), Le monde romain à travers l’épigraphie: méthodes et pratiques (Villeneuve d’Ascq, 2005), 271–93, esp. 275–7 and 282–3.

(37) The general trend towards onomastic concentration did not initially affect the late Roman ruling class which, under Christian influences, adopted varied series of devout names as signs of personal piety. See Laniado, ‘Polyonymie’, esp. 42–8.

(38) See particularly the recent online database: http://www.epigraph.topoi.org.

(39) On the history of Korykos’ necropolis, see A. Machatschek, Die Nekropolen und Grabmäler im Gebiet von Elaiussa Sebaste und Korykos im rauhen Kilikien (Vienna, 1967), 21 and 25–6.

(40) MAMA III was edited by J. Keil and A. Wilhelm, Denkmäler aus dem Rauhen Kilikien (Manchester, 1931). On the social distribution of the people buried in Korykos, see J. A. Gurewitsch, ‘Aus der Wirtschaftsgeschichte einer oströmischen Stadt. Die Nekropole der kilikischen Stadt Korykos’, Bibliotheca Classica Orientalis 1 (1956), 17–18; F. Tinnefeld, Die frühbyzantinische Gesellschaft (Munich, 1977), 216–18; J.-P. Sodini, ‘L’artisanat urbain à l’époque paléochrétienne (ive–viie s.)’, Ktèma 4 (1979), 71–119; F. R. Trombley, ‘Korykos in Cilicia Trachis: the Economy of a Small Coastal City in Late Antiquity (saec. v–vi)—a précis’, Ancient History Bulletin 1 (1987), 16–23; S. Hübner, Der Klerus in der Gesellschaft des spätantiken Kleinasiens (Stuttgart, 2005), 81–120; H.-W. Drexhage, ‘Wirtschaft und Handel Westkilikiens in römischer und frühbyzantinischer Zeit (1.-6. Jahrhundert n. Chr.). 2: Handwerk und Gewerbe sowie Handel’, Marburger Beiträge zur antiken Handels-, Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte 30 (2012), 139–74 (non vidi).

(41) The same imbalance appears on inscriptions related to other religious groups. The 259 inscriptions collected by W. Ameling, Inscriptions Judaicae Orientis (IJO), 2. Kleinasien (Tübingen, 2004), total 481 men and eighty-six women. However, if we exclude public documents where women are scarcely mentioned (decrees, donations, inscriptions of places) and examine the 108 Jewish epitaphs found in Asia Minor as far as they are not too fragmentary, gender imbalance decreases: 191 men to seventythree women. Here too, the abandon of nomina gentilicia and the return to patronymic names favoured male names.

(42) The number of women is higher in the African, Italian and Gallic volumes of the PCBE since they incorporated laywomen who played an active role in church history. However, if we list only abbesses, virgins, nuns, deaconesses and widows, who represent the different forms of consecrated life which were legally recognised by later State and Church, religious women represent only 2 or 3% of all recorded individuals. For instance, in the Italian case, which is the most fully documented, PCBE 2 collected about 4,420 persons, among whom are 1,430 laymen and 360 laywomen. Nuns, deaconesses, virgins and widows total only 132 entries whereas the volume gathers 2,470 clerics and monks. Carrying out an overall study of female monasticism in Late Antiquity seems almost impossible beyond the schematic and theoretical overviews given by patristic sources.

(43) MAMA III. 201–780. The cosmopolitanism of Korykos partly contributed to such diversity in names: see D. Feissel, ‘Inscriptions of Early Byzantium and the Continuity of Ancient Onomastics’, in J. Davies and J. J. Wilkes (eds), Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences (Oxford, 2012), 1–14, in particular 7–8.

(44) MAMA III. 205, 222, 237, 262, 295, 344, 440, 448, 607, 679, 684, 758. The last epitaph belongs to a Samaritan woman. Within IJO 2, Jewish inscriptions of Korykos appear as numbers 232 to 243. See also M. H. Williams, ‘The Jews of Corycus. A Neglected Diasporan Community from Roman Times’, Journal of Jewish Studies 25 (1994), 274–86 (updated and completed with a brief epigraphic appendice in ead., Jews in a Graeco-Roman Environment, Tübingen, 2013, 237–50). On cultural exchanges between indigenous Anatolians, Greeks and Jews in the region, see two case studies presented by C. López-Ruiz, ‘Mopsos and Cultural Exchange between Greeks and Locals in Cilicia’, in U. Drill and C. Walde (eds), Antike Mythen. Medien, Transformationen und Konstruktionen (Berlin and New York, 2009), 487–501; S. Durugönül and A. Mörel, ‘Nachweis des Judentums im Rauhen Kilikien und seine Beziehungen zum Heidentum’, IstMitt 62 (2012), 303–22.

(45) For instance, M. B. Walbank, ‘Where Have all the Names Gone? The Christian Community in Corinth in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Eras’, in S. J. Friesen, D. N. Schowalter and J. C. Walters (eds), Corinth in Context. Comparative Studies on Religion and Society (Leiden and London, 2010), 257–323, esp. 293–4 and 297. See also the overview by D. Feissel, ‘Inscriptions of Early Byzantium’, 7–8.

(46) A. H. M. Jones, J. R. Martindale and J. Morris, PLRE, 1. AD 260–395, 2. AD 395–527 (Cambridge, 1971–1980), passim.

(47) Regional situations must also be taken into account, as in Syria studied by F. R. Trombley, ‘Christian Demography in the territorium of Antioch (4th–5th c.): Observations on the Epigraphy’, in I. Sandwell and J. Huskinson (eds), Culture and Society in Later Roman Antioch (Oxford, 2004), 59–85, esp. 67–8. The author has shown that the onomastic turning point occurred from the late 4th to the 5th c., causing classical Greek names to vanish and allowing the rise of Oriental and Semitic names. In the case of Egypt, papyrological documentation is so abundant that it allows in-depth surveys to be conducted, as for example by G. R. Ruffini, A Prosopography of Byzantine Aphrodito (Durham, 2011). This study has identified around 4,130 individuals (and some 160 anonymous persons) distributed among 950 names between the 5th and the 7th c. The stock of names is extremely large for Late Antiquity, and the ten most frequent names disclose a fair measure of cultural diversity: biblical names (250 instances of Ioannes, seventy-three Iosephios, sixty-six Abraam), Roman names (234 Bictor), Greek names adapted to local realities (160 Apollos, 111 Hermaouos, sixty-six Kollouthos), indigenous names (168 Phoibammon, eighty-four Psaios), and ‘foreign’ names (seventy-five Menas). On the cultural diversity of female names in late antique Egypt, see also M. R. Hasitzka, ‘Frauennamen in der Spätantike’, in H. Froschauer and H. Harrauer (eds), Emanzipation am Nil. Frauenleben und Frauenrecht in den Papyri (Vienna, 2015), 75–82.

(48) Absent from the first volume of PLRE, Menas appears only nine times in volume 2 and forty-six times in volume 3. Out of a total of fifty-five individuals, thirty-seven can be ascribed to Egypt. As papyrological documents have been taken into account more carefully in volume 3, Egyptians are more represented for the last period in PLRE. On the origin and spread of Menas in Anatolia, see Zgusta, KP, 319, § 900.

(49) My survey is based upon the major epigraphic collections (Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien, MAMA, TAM and SEG). The completion of LGPN will provide a more precise knowledge of the chronological and geographic expansion of the name Konon across Asia Minor.

(50) S. Destephen, ‘Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure’, in J.-P. Caillet et al. (eds), Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (Paris, 2015), 59–116, in particular 80 on the law enacted by Emperor Zeno and transmitted in an abbreviated version by CJ I. 3. 35 (36). 3. Sanctuaries dedicated to saint Konon are attested in Barata (Lycaonia), Ariassos (Pamphylia), Laodikeia Kekaumene (Pisidia), the Lamos valley and Korykos (Cilicia), and lastly in Adrassos, Papirion, Leontopolis and Olba (all places located in Isauria). Literary, epigraphic and archaeological references are mentioned in the same paper (89, 91, 93, 102, 106 and 108). The case of Konon has already been mentioned by D. Feissel, ‘Inscriptions of Early Byzantium’, 8.

(51) S. Destephen, ‘Martyrs locaux’, 77.

(52) C. Breytenbach, ‘What’s in the Name Paul? On Early Christian Inscriptions from Lycaonia’, in P.-G. Klumbies and D. S. Du Toit (eds), Paulus: Werk und Wirkung. Festschrift für Andreas Lindemann zum 70. Geburtstag (Tübingen, 2013), 463–77, has made a sound case for the use of the name Paul by Christians of Lycaonia before Constantine. See also C. Breytenbach and C. Zimmermann, Early Christianity in Lycaonia and Adjacent Areas: from Paul to Amphilochius of Iconium (Leiden and Boston, MA, 2018), 89–91, who assume that the quite frequent use of the name Paul in this region should be related to the New Testament tradition of the Apostle’s missions in the area.