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E01256: A dipinto in Greek, of the 7th/9th c., in the basilica of *Demetrios (martyr of Thessalonike, S00761) in Thessalonike (south Balkans/Greece), invokes the protection of the God of *Demetrios on behalf of a guild of artisans or merchants.

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posted on 09.04.2016, 00:00 by erizos
Ὁ Θ(εὸ)ς τοῦ ἁγή-
ου Δημητρήο[υ]
πλύθυνον τὸν [π-]
όρον τον καναβ[ά-]
δον ἥνα πάντε-
ς μετὰ πάντον χ-
έρομεν ὑ ἐκ γέν-
ους ἠς τὴν [hole] διακο-
νήαν τοῦ Θ(εο)ῦ
Τημᾶται [........] Θ(εὸ)ς

‘God of Saint Demetrius, increase the income (?) of the canvas-makers (?), so that all we members of the association may prosper together with everyone in the service of God. God is honoured [….]’

Text: Soteriou 1952 (modified by E. Rizos).
Translation: E. Rizos

History

Evidence ID

E01256

Saint Name

Demetrios, martyr in Thessalonike, ob. 304-311 : S00761

Saint Name in Source

Δημήτρηος

Image Caption 1

A 7th/9th-century Greek dipinto in the basilica of *Demetrios (Soteriou 1952)

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

600

Evidence not after

900

Activity not before

600

Activity not after

900

Place of Evidence - Region

Balkans including Greece

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Thessalonike

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

Thessalonike Drizypera Δριζύπερα Drizypera Büyük Karıştıran

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans

Discussion

This dipinto was written with black paint on the mortar of a pillar of the north colonnade of the nave. It was recorded by Soteriou, but is no longer extant. Soteriou dated it to the 15th century, assuming that the dedicants were a late Byzantine aristocratic family. However, the text is clearly much earlier, as one can deduce both from the style of the letters and the wording. The formula ὁ θεὸς τοῦ ἁγίου (...) is a frequent form of invocation of the help of God by the intercession of a saint in inscriptions, papyri, and texts from the 6th to 9th centuries. The text must postdate the conflagration which damaged the basilica in the early 7th century. The dedicants are described as the ]όρος τον καναβ[ά]δον = ]όρος τῶν καναβάδων. This very probably refers to a guild of artisans or merchants producing or selling hemp products, like canvas cloth or ropes. It is an interesting case of a professional guild making a dedication/invocation, and requesting blessings on behalf of its members (cf. E01029). The verb πληθύνω/plethyno ('to increase') is often used with reference to the abundance of crops (cf. SEG 44,775,781 = SEG 50, 1014,1017; SEG 34,944; SEG 44,761; Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Caesarea Maritima, 129, 130). Here it is used with the obscure word [_]όρος which can be tentatively reconstructed as πόρος ('revenue/income') in the sense of increasing the revenue of the trade. The group is described by the term γένος/genos ('race, group, fellowship'). In a spirit of corporate solidarity, the dipinto requests prosperity and unity for all the members of the guild: ἥνα πάντες μετὰ πάντον χέρομεν ὑ ἐκ γένους ἠς τὴν διακονήαν τοῦ Θ(εο)ῦ= ἵνα πάντες μετὰ πάντων χαίρωμεν οἱ ἐκ γένους εἰς τὴν διακονίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ('so that all we fellows may prosper together with everyone in the service of God).

Bibliography

Edition: G. Soteriou, M. Soteriou, Ἡ βασιλικὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Δημητρίου Θεσσαλονίκης, Βιβλιοθήκη τῆς ἐν Ἀθήναις Ἀρχαιολογικῆς Ἑταιρείας, 34, Athens, 1952, 234. Further reading: Lehmann, C.M., and Holum, K.G., The Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Caesarea Maritima (The Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima Excavation Reports 5; Boston, Mass.: The American Schools of Oriental Research, 2000).

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