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E01670: Greek inscription, commemorating the construction probably of a room or chapel, at a church dedicated to 'All Martyrs'. Found at Ḫarāb aš-Šams in the Limestone Massif (north Syria, between Antioch on the Orontes and Beroia/Aleppo). Probably late antique.

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posted on 27.06.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
ὁ Χρίστος βοήθεσον
Δαβιδος ὅτι αὐτὸς
κατὰ ἐκκλησίαν
πάντων μαρτύρων
ἔκτισεν τοῦτο

'Christ, help Davidos, because he himself built it at the church of All Martyrs.'

Text: Jarry 1967, no. 81 with corrections on pp. 206-207.

History

Evidence ID

E01670

Saint Name

All Saints : S01151 Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060

Saint Name in Source

πάντες μάρτυρες

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

350

Evidence not after

700

Activity not before

350

Activity not after

700

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Beroia Ḫarāb aš-Šams Antioch on the Orontes

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

Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Ḫarāb aš-Šams Thabbora Thabbora Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Source

A stone plaque, in form of a tabula ansata. H. 0.31 m; W. 0.65 m; letter height 0.03 m. Found and copied (squeeze) by Georges Tchalenko during World War II in Ḫarāb aš-Šams, to the north of Aleppo. Revisited by Tchalenko in 1963 (copy, photograph, squeeze). First published by Jacques Jarry in 1967, with permission of the Institut français de Beyrouth. Jarry noted that in 1963 the stone was weathered and scarcely legible, and only the recovery of the old squeeze allowed him to read the whole text. Under no. 81 he offers an imperfect edition of the inscription, which he corrects on pages 206-207 of the same paper.

Discussion

The inscription commemorates the construction of an unnamed structure at a church dedicated to 'All Martyrs'. Jarry notes that the text might have been translated from a Syriac original, as the syntax and grammar of the Greek version is very poor (the imperative form βοήθησον is followed by the name Davidos in the nominative case in line 2, and there is no article before the noun ἐκκλησία). Therefore, it is likely that another, parallel Syriac inscription was also set up at the site. Unfortunately, Jarry does not specify the precise findspot of the stone. Thus, we cannot say whether it was displayed, for example, over the entrance to a room in a church, or in another place. Ḫarāb aš-Šams is famous for its 4th c. three-aisled basilica, where a chamber, to the south of the apse, was identified as a martyr shrine (martyrion), see: Butler 1920, 322-325; Strube 1993, 34. But having no data about the archaeological context of the inscription published by Jarry, we are unable to say whether this is the church mentioned in our text.

Bibliography

Edition: Jarry, J., "Inscriptions arabes, syriaques et grecques du massif du Bélus en Syrie du nord [avec 42 planches]", Annales islamologiques 7 (1967), no. 81 + pp. 206-207. Further reading: Butler, H.C. (ed.), Syria, Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, division II: Ancient Architecture in Syria, part B: North Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1920), 322-325. Strube, Ch., Baudekoration im Nordsyrischen Kalksteinmassiv, vol. 1: Kapitell-, Tür- und Gesimsformen der Kirchen des 4. und 5. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. (Mainz: Zabern, 1993), 34.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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