2,300-year-old inscription proves existence of temple of Apollo on Bulgaria’s St Ivan Island

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An ancient inscription has been found that proves that there was a sanctuary and temple dedicated to the Greek god Apollo on the island of St Ivan off Sozopol on Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea coast, according to an announcement by dig team head Professor Kazimir Popkonstantinov.

2,300-year-old inscription proves existence of temple of Apollo on Bulgaria’s St Ivan Island
The stone inscription decree provides evidence about the cordial relations between Apollonia Pontika
(today’s Sozopol in Bulgaria) and Herakleia Pontika (today’s Karadeniz Eregli in Turkey)
[Credit: Archaeologia Bulgarica NGO & Journal]

The 2,300-year-old inscription was found on a fragment of marble which had been built into the flooring of the early Byzantine monastery and church on St Ivan (Greek Hagios Ioannis) Island.




The announcement said that in spite of the conviction of archaeologists for many years that there had been a temple of Apollo on the island, so far there had been no proof.

The five-line inscription is evidence that long before the construction of the early Christian church and the monastery in the fifth century, there had been a great sanctuary at the site, Popkonstantinov said.

View of the Early Byzantine church remains on the island of St. Ivan
[Credit: Archaeologia Bulgarica NGO & Journal]

The inscription is a 3rd century BC decree of the Assembly of Apollonia Pontika enumerates the contributions of the “wonderful and virtuous citizens” sent by “the always friendly and well-disposed towards our people Herakleia [Pontika]”, and proposes that they be granted the highest possible honours.




Unfortunately, the list of the honours and privileges in question were described in the lost part of the inscription.

“This was the first written proof of the links between the two ancient cities,” Popkonstantinov added.

Source: The Sofia Globe [October 22, 2018]