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E01036: Inscribed stone reliquary with relics of *Zechariah (probably the father of John the Baptist, S00597). Found near Seleukeia/Seleucia ad Calycadnum (Isauria, southern Asia Minor). Probably 5th/6th c.

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posted on 30.12.2015, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Inscribed stone reliquary, resembling a small sarcophagus. H. 0.135 m; W. 0.15 m; Th. 0.105 m. One of its sides has a hole, presumably for gaining closer contact with the relic. The interior is lined with lead. Fragmentary relics were found inside, enclosed in a small lead box. Gilbert Dagron notes that this kind of reliquary is well attested in Cilicia and Syria. The object was found by the inhabitants of the village Çaltı-Bozkır. Now in the Museum in Silifke. In 2009 re-edited with a good photograph by Ayşe Aydın (which is by mistake tagged editio princeps in the SEG, for earlier editions, see Eyice 1979 and I. Cilicia, no. 9).

The inscription reads:

ὁ ἅγιος
Ζαχαρίας

'Saint Zechariah'

Text: I. Cilicia, no. 9.

History

Evidence ID

E01036

Saint Name

Zechariah, father of John the Baptist : S00597 Zechariah, Old Testament Prophet : S00283

Saint Name in Source

Ζαχαρίας Ζαχαρίας

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Archaeological and architectural - Extant reliquaries and related fixtures

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

Seleucia ad Calycadnum

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

Seleucia ad Calycadnum Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult Activities - Relics

Reliquary – institutionally owned

Discussion

Although reliquaries of this form are quite common in the region around Syria, they are rarely inscribed. This label is a very simple one, it mentions only the name of the saint, whose relics were kept inside. The Zechariah concerned was probably the father of John the Baptist, identified by an early Christian tradition with an innocent priest murdered at the Temple in Jerusalem (see Matthew 23:35), but could, possibly, be the Old Testament Prophet Zechariah.

Bibliography

Edition: Aydın, A., "[in Turkish: Märtyrer, Heilige und Reliquienkult im kilikisch-isaurischen Raum]", Olba 17 (2009), 72, 82. I. Cilicia = Dagron, G., Feissel, D. (eds.), Inscriptions de Cilicie, (Paris: De Boccard, 1987), no. 9. Hagel, St., Tomaschitz, K., (eds.), Repertorium der westkilikischen Inschriften (Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse 265, Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris 22, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1998), no. ÇaB 1. Tabula Imperii Byzantini 5, s.v. Çaltı(2). Eyice, S., "Rölik mahfazaları hakkında bir kitap ve bu münasebetle Anadolu'dan bazı Rölik mahfayalar", Istanbul Üniversitesi Edbiyat Fakültesi, Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı 8 (1979), 57-94. Further reading: Mietke, G., "Monumentalisierung christilcher Heiliger in Kilikien in frühbyzantinischer Zeit", Olba 17 (2009), 120. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 37, 1330; 59, 1598.

Usage metrics

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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