Saint NameTheodoros, Stratelates : S00136
Theodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita : S00480
Saint Name in SourceΘ[εό]δορος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Images and objects - Sculpture/reliefs
Evidence not before600
Evidence not after1300
Activity not before600
Activity not after1300
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcDoliche
Dülük Baba Tepesi
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Doliche
Dülük Baba Tepesi
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
SourceThe inscription is on a votive plaque, broken into two pieces. The text runs along the edges of a low-relief carving of a cross, on its upper and right-hand branches. In the upper right corner of the plaque, there is another carving of a small cross, standing on four steps, which resembles crosses on coins issued by the emperor Heraclius (610-641), and carvings of crosses found on columns in Ephesos in the Justinianic Church of John the Evangelist (see: E00786, nos. 4-5).
The first part of the plaque was found in 2005, the second in 2008, during the excavations at Dülük Baba Tepesi, to the northwest of Gaziantep, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
Michael Blömer and Engelbert Winter published a photograph of the object in 2009, in the Turkish journal Kazı Sonuçları Toplantıları. The transcription, based on the photograph, was offered by the editors of Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum.
DiscussionThe editors rightly note that the inscription attests to the existence of the cult of Theodore, explicitly identified as Theodore Stratelates, in the territory of ancient Doliche. Unfortunately, they say nothing about the dating of the plaque. We suppose that it is very unlikely to predate the 7th c. As mentioned above, the carving of the cross potent on steps can be associated with images on the coins of Heraclius and subsequent emperors, thus implying a date in the 7th or later centuries. Also the cult of Theodore as Stratelates/'the Commander' is usually considered to be a middle Byzantine phenomenon. The saint was originally invoked simply as an unspecified Theodore or as Theodore Tiro (the Recruit). The name Stratelates emerges in the 8th and 9th c. (see: White 2013, XY; Papaconstantinou 2001, 112-113; Walter 1999; Oikonomides 1986).
Blömer, M., Winter, E., “Das Zentralheiligtum des Iupıter Dolichenus auf dem Dülük Baba Tepesi bei Doliche - Forschungen des Jahres 2008”, Kazı Sonuçları Toplantıları 31/1 (2009), 444.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 60, 1639.
For the cult of Theodore, see:
Oikonomides, N., "Le dédoublement de Saint Théodore et les villes d'Euchaita et d'Euchaneia", Analecta Bollandiana 104 (1986), 327-335.
Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbasides. L'apport des inscriptions et des papyrus grecs et coptes (Paris: CNRS Editions, 2001), 112-113.
Walter, Ch., "Theodore, archetype of the warrior saint", Revue des Études Byzantines 57 (1999), 163-220.
White, M., Military Saints in Byzantium and Rus, 900-1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).