Several sources have aided author Laurence Kant in piecing together and translating Avercius’s entire poem. The lines shown in red are copied from the extant remains of Avercius’s funerary monument; lines 1–3 and 20–22 match the few lines quoted a few years later in the funerary monument of a Christian man named Alexander. The bulk of the Greek poem is based heavily on versions recorded in medieval manuscripts of the bishop’s Life.
1As a citizen of a favored city I have had this monument made while alive in order that I might here have a prominent place for my body. My name is Avercius, a disciple of a holy shepherd, who pastures flocks of sheep on mountains and on plains, 5(and) who possesses huge eyes, which he casts down everywhere.
For he has taught me faithful writings [ – – – ], he who has sent me to Rome to gaze upon a kingdom and to see a golden-robed and golden-sandalled queen.
There I saw a people who had a radiant seal, 10and I saw the soil of Syria and many cities, including Nisibis, after I crossed over the Euphrates. Everywhere I had brethren while I had Paul in my carriage. Faith led me everywhere and everywhere served a fish from a spring as nourishment, (a fish) which was enormous and pure, (and) which a holy virgin grasped.
15And she (Faith) bestowed it among friends so that they could always eat it, as they had excellent wine and as they gave it in its mixed form with bread.
While present I, Avercius, said that these (words) were to be written here, when I was in fact in my seventy-second year.
Let everyone, who understands these (words) and who is in unison (with them), pray on his behalf.
20Absolutely do not let anyone put another person in my tomb.
If anyone does this, he or she will pay two thousand gold coins to the Roman treasury and one thousand gold coins to my eminent city of origin, Hierapolis.
(The square brackets indicate letters missing from the stone of the Alexander inscription. Letters inserted by the author are marked with angle brackets, and those the author believes are incorrect are enclosed in wavy brackets.)