I’m working with Prof. Philip Davies of Sheffield University and Dr. Margaret Barker on a discovery that I made a few years back of a cache of ancient metal codices. They are comprised of lead and of copper – it is one of the copper codices that brings me to you. We think that it has a possible origin in Alexandria at the beginning of the 1st millennium ad (the Bedouin who brought them to me said that his father found them in northern Egypt). It has an inscription in Greek along the top . . . we are seeking to find an expert who might help in determining what it says. Would you have the time and the knowledge to be able to help?
Who could resist? Photographs of a mysterious-looking copper notebook duly arrived. Strange sequences of Greek letters curled around depictions of a palm tree, a walled city, a crocodile and, oddly, Alexander the Great. Curiouser and curiouser! The three lines of Greek all turned out to be variants on the same two puzzling phrases: “. . . without grief, farewell! Abgar, also known as Eision . . .”. The name Abgar is pretty unusual; might he be attested elsewhere? Half an hour’s work in the library turned up the two phrases in their original context: a perfectly ordinary Roman tombstone from Madaba in Jordan, datable to ad 108/9, and currently on display in the Archaeological Museum in Amman. “For Selaman, excellent man, without grief, farewell! Abgar, also known as Eision, son of Monoath, built this tomb for his excellent son, in the third year of the province.” (here)
Elkington is a conman and the media is complying with this.