Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Graffiti
Evidence not before550
Evidence not after700
Activity not before550
Activity not after700
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcXanthos
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Xanthos
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsCultic confraternities
SourceGraffito from the Letoon in Xanthos (Lycia, southern Asia Minor), on a stone block at the door of the temple's cella.
DiscussionThe graffito is an acclamation for the good fortune of the 'Marianoi', an otherwise unattested group, probably venerating *Mary (the Mother of Jesus) or deriving its name from a church dedicated to the saint, or from a district called after the church.
The editors dated this graffito to a period prior to the 7th c. when the Letoon was destroyed. One can, however, suppose that it comes already from the mid-6th c. because of its similarity to the inscriptions of the 'Michaelitai' guild from Sagalassos. Their inscriptions, almost identical in form, were cut on pieces of architecture and pottery and read: 'Long live the Michaelitai in the entire city and (her) territory' (νικᾷ ἡ τύχη Μιχαιλιτῶν κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν κὲ χώραν, see E00917).
Perhaps both 'Michaelitai' and 'Marianoi' were associations concerned with the cult of their saints. But, nevertheless, these names are puzzling. The formula νικᾷ ἡ τύχη is also characteristic of circus factions rather than pious brotherhoods, and implies some kind of rivalry.
Hansen, E., Le Roy, Ch., "Au Létôon de Xanthos: Les deux temples de Léto", Revue Archéologique (1976), 336.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 26, 1447.