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E01319: Fragmentary Greek inscription mentioning *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092). Found near Lapethos/Lapta (northern Cyprus). Probably 6th c., once implausibly dated to 1st c.

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posted on 29.04.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
μάρτυρος Θέκλης μνήσ[θητι]

perhaps [ὁ θ(εὸ)ς τῆς ἁγίας καὶ ἐνδόξης πρωτο]μάρτυρος Θέκλης, μνήσ[θητι - - -]

'Remember the martyr Thekla'

Text: Sittig 1914, 2-3.

History

Evidence ID

E01319

Saint Name

Thekla, follower of Apostle Paul : S00092

Saint Name in Source

Θέκλα

Image Caption 1

Squeeze; from Sittig 1914, 3.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

1

Evidence not after

600

Activity not before

1

Activity not after

600

Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Lapethos

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

Lapethos Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

A white marble slab, broken and lost on the right- and left-hand side. H. 0,085 m; W. 0,37 m; Th. 0,093 m, letter height 0.03-0.033 m. First recorded in February of 1914 by Ernst Sittig, close to the northern wall of a modern church dedicated to St Menas near Lapethos/Lapta, by the road from Kerynia/Girne to Myrtou/Çamlıbel. Sittig made a squeeze and the inscription was first moved to the church, and then to the Cyprus Archaeological Museum in Nikosia.

Discussion

The inscription mentions the name of Thekla, follower of *Paul the Apostle and the first female martyr, in the genitive form. The editors completed the text as a command to remember Thekla, probably addressed to the reader. This is strange, as normally, one would expect the formula μνήσθητι/'remember' to appear in an invocation of a saint. Perhaps the preserved line was a part of a longer prayer, for example: [ὁ θ(εὸ)ς τῆς ἁγίας καὶ ἐνδόξης πρωτο]μάρτυρος Θέκλης, μνήσ[θητι - - -]/'[O God of the holy and glorious first] martyr Thekla, reme[mber (name of the supplicant)]!' Terence Bruce Mitford identified the object as an "architectural inscription", he must have supposed that it came from a church dedicated to Thekla. The main site of the cult of Thekla was Seleukeia/Seleucia in Isauria, southern Asia Minor, located just opposite the northern shore of Cyprus. Dating: Terence Bruce Mitford dated the inscription to the 6th c., based on the forms of letters. Sittig implausibly argued that the inscription was carved in the second half of the 1st c. AD: δεικνύει ὅτι δεῖ τὴν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ εὑρεθεῖσαν (...) ἐπιγραφὴν νὰ θῶμεν εἰς τὸ δεύτερον ἥμισυ τοῦ πρώτου μΧ αἰῶνος, as he claimed that the lettering was identical to that of an inscription from Lapethos, erected in honour of the emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37), and as in the inscription of the proconsul Paulos, believed to have been the governor of Cyprus Sergius Paulus, mentioned in the Acts (13,6-12).

Bibliography

Edition: Sittig, E., “Ἡ ἁγία Θέκλα”, Εφημερίς αρχαιολογική (1914), 2-3. Further reading: Halkin, F., "L'Egypte, Chypre, la Crète et les autres îles grecques. La Grèce continentale et les pays balkaniques. L'Italie et la Sycylie", Analecta Bollandiana 70 (1952), 118. Mitford, T.B., "Some new inscriptions from early Christian Cyprus", Byzantion 20 (1950), 170.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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