Saint NameMannis : S00611
Menas, soldier and martyr Abu Mena : S00073
Saint Name in SourceΜάννις
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements
Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before450
Evidence not after535
Activity not before450
Activity not after535
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcIkonion
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Ikonion
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - lesser clergy
Other lay individuals/ people
SourceThe inscription is on a column seen in a mosque at Ikonion (Lykaonia, central Asia Minor) by William Ramsay. There is no description.
DiscussionThe inscription commemorates the offering of a column by a deacon to a church of a certain Saint Mannis in Ikonion. The deacon says that his grandfather Pouplios/Publius (or his father, if the name is to be read Nesios Pouplios, none of which is properly a praenomen) was a presbyter in Isauropolis (Isaura Nova, modern Dorla): a nearby place in the same province. The deacon must have moved to Ikonion, otherwise he too would have indicated his home.
Saint Mannis, the dedicatee, is an otherwise unattested saint, probably a local martyr, as the name is quite distinct and characteristic of Lycaonia. But Ramsay, the editor of the inscription, believed that the name, and the saint behind it, represented a continuity from a pre-Christian Anatolian divinity, and that 'Mannis' was an alternative native spelling of the name of Saint *Menas, the famous Anatolian martyr of Egyptian origin (S00073). He commented: “The old Anatolian divine name Mannis is to be regarded as a byform (native) of Manes, and both as the original from which the Greek name of the god Men was formed. The intention was to impart Greek form and meaning to an Anatolian name, and when the Greek-speaking church invented the Christianised form of the native god as Menas, the local belief in Lycaonia still clung to the Anatolian form Mannis, and spoke of the saint by the familiar name, which the people had been accustomed to apply to the god.”
Dating: Probably 5th or earlier 6th c.: suggested by William Ramsay (1883), who noted that the name Isauroupolis was used in the acts of early councils, e.g. in the acts of the council of Chalcedon (451), and in Hierocles' Synecdemus (c. 535), but never later. In his later paper Ramsay (1918) adds that a date at the beginning of the 5th c. is even more probable, because of the use of the Roman praenomen Pouplios/Publius by the father and the disuse by the son of Latin nomenclature.
Ramsay, W.M., "The utilisation of old epigraphic copies", The Journal of Hellenic Studies 38 (1918), 151-152.
Ramsay, W.M., "Unedited inscriptions of Asia Minor", Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 7 (1883), no. 41.
Delehaye, H., Les origines du culte des martyrs (Bruxelles : Société des Bollandistes, 1912), 191-192.
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), Môès, Nèsios 2.
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), 65, note 14; 89.
Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 388.