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A Red-figure Kylix with an Inscription fromTauric Chersonesos

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The kylix published here was found during excavations in the north-eastern part of Chersonesos, it belongs to a group of red-figure vessels bearing Dionysiac motifs and dates from the first half of the 4th century BC. On the inside of the vessel there is a scratched inscription which reads: γεμόνας καλς. The graffito is also dated to the 4th century BC on the basis of the palaeography used. The noun γεμόνα can be interpreted in two ways. If this is a female personal name (which has so far not been recorded in the epigraphy of the North Pontic region) the inscription should be interpreted as one denoting possession ‐ “(the bowl) of beautiful Hagemona”. If it is the epiklesis of a deity, then it should most probably be associated with the supreme goddess of Chersonesos ‐ Parthenos. In this case the inscription published here would be of a religious nature and provide new confirmation of the close link between the cult of Parthenos in Chersonesos and the cult of Artemis. The cult of Artemis Hagemona was well known in various regions of the Greek world. In Chersonesos the epiklesis γεμόνα could denote various aspects of the worship of Parthenos. The goddess could figure as the leader of the first settlers and the protectress of the city, as the patron of girls and women and finally as the leader of nymphs, about whose shrine situated in the Chersonesos acropolis Pomponius Mela informs us (II, 3).***

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