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by Archaeology Newsroom

Chian funerary inscriptions in Constantinople. Relationships, historical memory and maladies

The epigrams inscribed on two funeral stelae and a funeral slab of the mid-nineteenth century in the precinct of the Church of Panaghia Kafatiani in Constantinople, originally lay in the adjacent Church of Hagios Ioannis of the Chians,and provide important information on the history of the period, the relationship, and probable cause of death of the individuals to whom they refer. Thus, from the epigrams inscribed on the funerary stelae of Demetrios Skylitsis and Petros and Pavlos Rodokanakis, we draw valuable information on the kind of relationship, the historical fact of the Massacre of Chios Island, and the probable cause of death of the deceased. The epigrams on the funerary slab of Ioulia and Hypatia Psychari refer to the daughter and wife, respectively, of Misse (Monsieur) Yannis Psycharis, a confidant of the Sultan Abdul Mejid and representative of Chians in Constantinople. The date of death of Hypatia Psychari in particular, in combination with an earlier letter of her husband to the Elders of Chios, supply elucidating information on the historical visit of Abdul Mejid to Chios in June of 1850 and the accurate cause of Hypatia’s death. Needless to say that these epigrams verify or contradict various other historical sources.