The tomb inscription of Flavia Sophe

This artifact is an interesting piece. It is a tomb inscription of a woman by the name of Flavia Sophe. This stone dates back to the third century and what is written by her husband, is quite beautiful. A really good example of Valentinian poetry. There is writing on the front and back of the stone (what is pictured is the front). This particular translation comes from the book Valentinian Christianity: Texts and Translations by Geoffrey S. Smith, which takes it from the Peter Lampe’s book From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries.

Yearning for the fatherly light, my sister and wife, Sophe,
Anointed in the baths of Christ with perfume unfading, pure,
You were eager to behold the divine countenances of the eternities,
The great angel of the mighty council, the true Son,
Processing [into] the bridal chamber and ascending into the fatherly chambers
Undefiled and [. . . you were crowned].

She experienced no common end of life, this woman who died;
She died, yet she lives, and sees the truly unfading light;
She lives among those who live, but she died to those who are in reality dead.
Earth, why are you amazed by a corpse of this sort? Are you afraid?

Andrew Phillip Smith did his own version of the front inscription, using a few translations and came up with this particular verse:

You were filled with longing for the father’s light,
My sister, my spouse, my Sophe.
Now, anointed with holy immortal chrism in the baths of Christ,
Be quick to view the divine faces of the aeons,
The great angel of the great council, the true Son.
You made your way into the bridal chamber and made an undying ascent
Into the breast of the Father.

You can visit his blog at:

Published by bP

A gnostic wanderer

%d bloggers like this: