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E00908: Fragmentary Greek building inscription for a church dedicated to a saint whose name is lost (possibly *George, soldier and martyr, S00259). Found near Akmonia (Phrygia, west central Asia Minor). Late antique.

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posted on 28.11.2015, 00:00 by Bryan
+ ὑπὲρ εὐ[χῆς κὲ σω]τηρήας κ[ὲ ἀφέσεως] τõν ἁμαρ[τιῶν - - -]οντος
π[ρεσβ(υτέρου) κὲ - - -]του ὐκοδ[όμου τοῦ κτίσαν]τος
τὸν [οἶκον τοῦ] ἁγίου Γ[- - -]

1. Αὐξάν]οντος Ramsay || 2. π[ρεσβ(υτέρου) κὲ - - -]του ὐκοδ[όμου τοῦ κτίσαν]τος Feissel (in a letter dated 17.09.2016), π[ρεσβ(υτέρου) κὲ παντὸς] τοῦ ὐκοδ[ομήμα]τος Ramsay || 3. τὸν [οἶκον τοῦ] ἁγίου Γ[- - -] Feissel (ibidem), τõν [λαῶν (?) τοῦ] ἁγίου Τ[ρύφωνος?] or Γ[εωργίου?] Ramsay

'As a vo[w and for the salv]ation and [remission] of sin[s of - - -]on, p[resb(yter), and - - ] archit[ect (?) who bui]lt the [church] of Saint [- - -].'

Text: Ramsay 1897, 564, no. 458, substantially modified.

History

Evidence ID

E00908

Saint Name

Saints, name wholly or largely lost : S01744 George, martyr in Nicomedia or Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259 Tryphōn, martyr of Phrygia (ob. c. 250) : S00439

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

400

Evidence not after

650

Activity not before

400

Activity not after

650

Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Akmōnia

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Akmōnia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Vow

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Merchants and artisans

Source

A slab, found by William Ramsay in 1883 in Susuz-Keui, near ancient Akmonia (Phrygia, central Asia Minor). We present the text with restorations kindly suggested to us by Denis Feissel.

Discussion

William Ramsay, the first editor, suggested that this fragmentary inscription recorded a vow, probably made by a representative (perhaps a presbyter) on behalf of a body, called the οἰκοδόμημα of a saint, the name of the saint being lost. Ramsay reconstructed the name of the representative as Auxanon, but Sylvain Destephen rightly notices that other options are also possible. In lines 2 and 3 Ramsay completed the whole name of the body as 'οἰκοδόμημα of the people of Saint Tryphon (or George)' / οἰκοδόμημα τῶν λαῶν τοῦ ἁγίου Τρύφωνος (or Γεωργίου). Although he does not say it explicitly, he must have had in mind a parallel expression from an inscription from Hellespontus which reads: ὑπερὶ εὐχῆς τῶν | χωρίων καὶ τοῦ | λαοῦ τοῦ ἁγίου Τρύ|φωνος κ.τ.λ. (see E00733). However, a far better completion was advised to us by Denis Feissel who reconstructed lines 2 and 3 as: π[ρεσβ(υτέρου) κὲ - - -]του ὐκοδ[όμου τοῦ κτίσαν]τος | τὸν [οἶκον τοῦ] ἁγίου Γ[- - -] / 'p[resb(yter), and - - ] archit[ect (?) who bui]lt the [church] of Saint [- - -]'. It is probable that the damaged word ΥΚΟΔ which caught Ramsay's attention is not the name of a body, but of the function of one of the people involved in the construction of a church (possibly named οἶκος in line 3). Ramsay's copy allows for the restoration of this function as οἰκοδόμος / builder, architect, but one can also wonder whether the last letter, Δ, could be mistaken for Ν. In this case we could identify the function of that man as οἰκονόμος / oeconomus, a post likely to appear in building inscriptions. As we have no photograph of the stone, we cannot verify this possibility. The name of the eponymous saint was almost completely illegible. Ramsay was able to record only faint traces of the first letter, which he interpreted as Τ or Γ. On this basis he conjecturally identified the saint as Tryphon or George, but of course any other saint, whose name begins with one of these letters, is possible. Dating: 5th-7th c. Suggested by Ramsay, based on monumental inscriptions from Gaul (sic!) with a similar initial cross. The dating to the 5th-7th c. is, however, plausible, in the light of other Phrygian inscriptions recording churches dedicated to saints.

Bibliography

Edition: Ramsay, W.M., Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, vol. 1, part 2: West and West-Central Phrygia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897), 564, no. 458. Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae database, no. 1000: http://www.epigraph.topoi.org/ica/icamainapp/inscription/show/1000 Further reading: Destephen, S., Prosopographie du Diocese d'Asie (325-641) (Prosopographie chrétienne du Bas-Empire 3, Paris: Association des amis du centre d'histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2008), Auxanôn (?) 6. Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 91. Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua VI, List no. 151.

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