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E01021: Fragmentary Greek inscription with a poem invoking an unnamed female martyr and virgin, very possibly *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092). Found near Tyana (Cappadocia, central Asia Minor). Probably 5th/6th c.

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posted on 27.12.2015, 00:00 by pnowakowski
In hexameter verses:

+ μάρτυς, ἀπεχθήρασα λέχος ζυγίων [ὑμεναίων,]
νοῦσον καὶ μερόπων κακίην β[˘ ˘ –́ ˘ ˘ –́ ˘]
τηλόθι που στεφάνοιο τεοῦ [δυνάμει (?) ἀπέλαυνε]

3. δυνάμει (?) Feissel (in a letter dated 17.09.2016)

'+ O martyr who hated the wedding bed, [- - - drive] away the illness, and the evil of the mortals [- - - by the power (?)] of your crown.'

Text: I. Tyana , no. 100.

History

Evidence ID

E01021

Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060 Thekla, follower of Apostle Paul : S00092

Image Caption 1

Photograph. From: I. Tyana 2, Tafel 117.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

400

Evidence not after

600

Activity not before

400

Activity not after

600

Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tyana

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

Tyana Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Healing diseases and disabilities

Source

Two conjoining marble plaques, found in a field at Kalay Göl/Direktaş (near ancient Tyana, Cappadocia, eastern Asia Minor). H. 0.27 m; W. 0.78 m; Th. 0.07 m; letter height 0.035 m. Kept in a private house in Bahçeli, Zağer Mahalle. Photographed by Dietrich Berges.

Discussion

The inscription offers us a poem consisting of three hexameter verses, praising an undefiled female martyr and asking her to repel sickness and evil away probably by the power of her martyr crown. Reinhold Merkelbach and Josef Stauber plausibly suppose that the invoked martyr is Thekla, given that she was the most popular female martyr in Anatolia, and that the hagiographical writings on her life stress her devotion to virginity and open rejection of marriage. They believe that the poem was composed by a person seeking for healing, which implies that, if the inscription was found in situ, a healing shrine of Thekla was located near Tyana. Tyana was one of the most prominent cities in Cappadocia, the capital of the province of Cappadocia Secunda (after its creation by the emperor Valens in 372) and the rival city of Kaisareia/Caesarea. Dating: probably 5th-6th c. (based on the contents and the metre).

Bibliography

Edition: Die Inschriften vonTyana, no. 100 (after Berges' photograph). Steinepigramme aus dem Griechischen Osten III, no. 13/07/06. Further reading: 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), 101.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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