Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Saint Name in SourceΘεοτόκος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Graffiti
Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after600
Activity not before400
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionAegean islands and Cyprus
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSalamis
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Salamis
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - MiraclesOther miracles with demons and demonic creatures
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesAristocrats
SourceInscription in brick-red paint in a medallion on a column in the colonnade of the South Portico of the gymnasium in Salamis/Constantina. Diameter of the medallion: 0,49 m; letter height 0.045-0.065 m. From the rim of the medallion extend streamers, making it look like the eclipsed sun.
The inscription was first recorded in 1955 during excavations by the Department of Antiquities, supervised by Andreas Dikigoropoulos and Vassos Karageorghis. The column later collapsed. Despite it being restored, the right-hand side of the inscription was lost. The text was partially transcribed and published by Arthur Megaw already in 1955 in the excavation report (lines 2-4), but the first complete edition was offered by Terence Bruce Mitford and Ino Nicolaou in The Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Salamis in 1974.
The adjacent column was inscribed in a similar manner, but that text is illegible.
DiscussionThe inscription is an invocation of Mary, Mother of Christ, as the God-Bearer (Θεοτόκος) on behalf of the count (comes) Konstantinos. The saint is asked to protect him from envy, probably from a curse by envious aristocrats or the so-called 'evil eye'. The first editors, Terence Bruce Mitford and Ino Nicolaou, supposed that Konstantinos was a Count of the East (Comes Orientis), residing in Antioch, as the province of Cyprus was within the diocese supervised by these high-ranking officials. The inscription resembles other common acclamations of Counts of the East, found on Cyprus, and is unlikely to have commemorated any peculiar involvement of the count in the life of the city (for example the restoration of the colonnade, where the inscription was found, as supposed by Megaw).
Dating: Mitford and Nicolaou dated the inscription to the 5th or 6th c., based on the letter forms. It is also probable that the inscription predates the 7th c. Arab raids, which were disastrous for the island.
Pouilloux, J., Roesch, P., Marcillet-Jaubert J. (eds.), Salamine de Chypre XIII Testimonia Salaminia 2. Corpus épigraphique (Paris: Diffusion de Boccard, 1987), no. 234.
Mitford, T.B., Nicolaou, I.K., The Greek and Latin inscriptions from Salamis (Nicosia: Published for the Republic of Cyprus by the Dept. of Antiquities, 1974), no. 56.
Megaw, A.H.S., "Archaeology in Cyprus, 1955", Archaeological Reports (JHS Supplement) 2 (1955), 44.
Bulletin épigraphique (1976), 751.