ICG - Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae

Ancient inscription

A database of early Christian inscriptions from Asia Minor and Greece

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Database Publication and Citation

Part of the database has been published in open-access mode in Edition Topoi at http://repository.edition-topoi.org/collection/ICG.

The full bibliographical reference of the database is as follows:

Breytenbach, C., K. Hallof, U. Huttner, P. Hommel, S. Mitchell, J. M. Ogereau, M. Prodanova, E. Sironen, M. Veksina, and C. Zimmermann, eds. Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae (ICG): A Digital Collection of Greek Early Christian Inscriptions from Asia Minor and Greece. Berlin: Edition Topoi, 2016. Online at: http://repository.edition-topoi.org/collection/ICG.

The database should be abbreviated as ICG, and inscriptions referenced as follows, e.g., ICG 811.

Project Members

Project Directors: Cilliers Breytenbach, Klaus Hallof

Advisory Board: Stephen Mitchell, Erkki Sironen

Digital Editors: Ulrich Huttner, Julien Ogereau, Marina Veksina, Patrick Hommel, Maya Prodanova

Student Assistants: Inga Mergner, Patrick Hommel

Technical Development: Sebastian Kruse, Markus Konrad

Sponsor: TOPOI

Project description: http://www.topoi.org/project/b-5-3/


The development of the database has been sponsored by the Excellence Cluster 264 TOPOI since 2008. Its primary objective is to collect systematically and organise regionally all the known early Greek Christian inscriptions from Asia Minor and Greece dating approximately between the second and the fifth or sixth centuries AD. This database does not constitute a digital epigraphic corpus per se, nor is it intended to replace printed critical editions of the original texts. Rather, it is a repertory whose primary purpose is to record early Greek Christian epigraphic documents, and to assist researchers with the analysis and interpretation of the rise and expansion of Early Christianity in Asia Minor and Greece.

Each entry provides the original text and a translation of the inscription, succinct comments (as applicable), bibliographic references, as well as important information about the date, provenance, and place of keeping of the inscription. Furthermore, the database includes images and/or facsimiles (whenever available) of the epigraphic documents.

Selection Criteria

Is considered as Christian any inscription that: (1) was set up by or for someone who identifies him/herself as Christian (e.g., χρι/ηστιανός); (2) and/or presents easily recognisable Christian symbols (e.g., Greek/Latin crosses, Christograms, staurograms, nomina sacra, or signa such as ΙΧΘΥΣ or ΧΜΓ); (3) and/or contains specific Christian titles, offices or epithets (e.g., ἐπίσκοπος, πρεσβύτερος, διάκονος/διακόνισσα, δοῦλος/δούλη τοῦ Θεοῦ/Χριστοῦ), biblical citations or allusions, as well as words (e.g., κοιμητήριον, ἀνάστασις), formulae or acclamations (e.g., μνήμης +άριν for μ. χάριν, ζήσῃς ἐν θεῷ), maledictory formulae (e.g., πρὸς τὸν θεόν/ Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, δώσει λόγον τῷ θεῷ) that are typically used by Christians; (4) features names that are frequently (though not solely) attributed to Christians (e.g., Παῦλος, Κυριακός, Θέκλα, Κεφᾶς, Πέτρος, Ἀναστασία/ιος); (5) was set up in a Christian building (e.g., votives, acclamations, or building dedications). While some of the above-mentioned clues may not always represent conclusive evidence when found on their own, a combination of several of these increases the likelihood that the inscription is indeed Christian.

The editors intentionally adopted a more inclusive (rather than exclusive) approach in selecting and collecting the material. The database thus includes a number of documents that cannot be identified with certainty as Christian, or that were once thought to be Christian by earlier editors but which may no longer be so considered—in such cases, a concise discussion is generally included in the ‘Comments’ section, leaving the final decision to the user.

Development Status and Publications

The database contains so far over 4,100 entries. All of the Christian material from Lycaonia and Phrygia (ca.1,500 inscriptions) has already been entered. To date, about 2,000 inscriptions from Attica, Corinthia, Macedonia, the Peloponnese, and Thessalia have also been added to the database. Inscriptions from north and south Galatia, Thracia, Pisidia, Caria, Lydia, Ionia, and the Aegean islands are currently being processed. The entries are regularly corrected, supplemented, and updated, as required.

In addition, a number of publications based on the database are in preparation for the ECAM-ECGB series with Brill. For more information, see: ECAM-ECGB.

Search Function

The database allows simple searches of single terms, be they letter combinations or words, in the original (normalized) Greek (and sometimes Latin) texts and in the German or English translations and commentaries. The database also allows for more complex searches by combining various filters (‘Dating’, ‘Region’, etc.). For more information, please read the detailed instructions under the search tool bar on the inscription list page by clicking on the question mark sign (?).

Conditions of Use

The database is intended solely for scientific, non-commercial, and research purposes and adheres strictly to the German copyrights legislation.

Please abide by the 'Licence' and 'Conditions of Use' for using or reproducing photographic material.


Below is a succinct list of other helpful epigraphic databases or collections.