Current Epigraphy
ISSN: 1754-0909

17 September, 2008

A new (controversial) inscribed cup from Alexandria

Filed under: news — Tom Elliott @ 16:51

Wieland Willker, on his Textual Criticism bulletin board, has posted (and continues to update) pictures, comments and queries on an inscribed cup (rude pop-up advert there), allegedly excavated by Franck Goddio’s team from the harbor at Alexandria earlier this summer and now in Madrid for an exhibition. The post reacts to (and links to) a piece in Der Spiegel (2008-09-18) by Matthias Schulz, unfortunately titled “Heiliger Gral vom Nil,” wherein Klaus Hallof, André Bernand, Manfred Clauss and David Fabre are quoted in the context of the following question about the inscribed text appearing prominently on the cup (ΔΙΑΧΡΗΣΤΟΥΟΓΟΙΣΤΑΙΣ):

“DIA CHRESTOU OGOISTAIS”. Was bedeutet das?

Readers are invited to provide additional information or opinions in comments here.


  1. Antonio Lombatti, writing at Pseudoscienze cristiane antiche e medievali, thinks the inscription must be fake:

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 17 September, 2008 @ 17:06

  2. This artifact and inscription are being actively discussed on the ANE-2 list (archives here; look for subject line = Mysterious CRESTOU inscription) and the PAPY-L list (archives are closed, so you’ll have to subscribe to the list and establish a password before you can access them; multiple subject lines).

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 17 September, 2008 @ 20:05

  3. The terse Mission Report 2008 at the Goddio website makes no mention of this item. The Madrid exhibition in question is presumably Tesoros Sumergidos de Egipto (at the Matadero de Legazpi, now extended through 15 November 2008). I could find no mention of this item on the exhibition site either.

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 17 September, 2008 @ 20:46

  4. definitely a strange one … add to the ‘lack of mention’ list the fact that this doesn’t appear to be known to any other news source (despite being out for a couple of days); not even in other German sources. very, very, slow for this sort of thing. antonio lombatti is definitely right to suggest we need photos of the rest of the inscription and is probably right that it’s a fake (but how recent?) … it’s odd that there don’t seem to be any other photos of this available. it’s also odd that Goddio himself actually doesn’t seem to say anything about the find … did he actually find it? or was it some member of his team? let’s also hope that the story about searching for ‘the gold of the aztecs’ off the coast of Cuba isn’t covering for him actually looking for the remains of ‘atlantis’ which assorted Canadians of Russian descent were pursuing a while back (but ran out of money) … i wonder if FG is pals with Simcha Jacobovici …

    Comment by david meadows — 18 September, 2008 @ 02:35

  5. I’ve posted a general inquiry to the inscriptiones-l list, asking if any subscribers have additional first-hand information about this item. I’ve also written to the PR firm that manages press inquiries for Goddio, but have not had a response.

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 18 September, 2008 @ 14:09

  6. Wieland Wilker has been successful in getting an image of the back side of the cup, which displays the second part of the inscription (OGOISTAIS). He’s posted it, along with quotes from some of the on-going list discussions and emails on his Mysterious Crestou Inscription page (note: pop-up advertisement there).

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 18 September, 2008 @ 14:12

  7. The buzz is starting to spread about this item. Here’s a google search for OGOISTAIS or ΟΓΟΙΣΤΑΙΣ, which should turn up most relevant posts.

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 18 September, 2008 @ 14:51

  8. I shall attempt to maintain, at least for a while, a running (bibli|web)ography of news and comment on this possibly fake inscribed cup at , all the while hoping in vain that the media will stop using the bogus “holy grail” angle.

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 18 September, 2008 @ 16:08

  9. And now see Goddio holding the cup at

    Comment by Chuck Jones — 18 September, 2008 @ 18:17

  10. The Historica Classica piece Chuck points to glosses a piece at, whence the new photo and some more tid-bits concerning stratigraphy etc. I’ve added both, plus yet another papy-l subject line, to the rolling bibliography.

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 18 September, 2008 @ 18:41

  11. Hello everyone,

    I am Ramiro, publisher of the blog The post Chuck Jones is citing in comment #9 is an article from the Spanish newspaper stating that this cup might be the first written evidence of Christ’s existence, and promoting some exhibition in Madrid. By no means does it imply that I agree with the correctness of such news.

    Comment by Ramiro — 19 September, 2008 @ 09:47

  12. Hi Ramiro. Thanks for the clarification. Yesterday afternoon I added both your blog (re)post and the original El Mundo article to the running bibliography.

    Comment by Tom Elliott — 19 September, 2008 @ 14:42

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