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E01692: Fragmentary Greek building inscription for a church just possibly dedicated to a certain *Andrew (possibly the Apostle, S00288). Found at Dreyb al-Wawi (Khirbet al-Wawi), near Chalkis and Beroia/Aleppo (north Syria). Dated 539.

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posted on 05.07.2016, 00:00 by dlambert
[+ εὐκτήρ(ιον) (?)] εκτέθ- κου δ κ' ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) β΄ το[ῦ]
[η τὸ ε]ὐρὺ (?) ἔτους νω΄. ἐ<γ>ρά-
[τοῦ ἁγί]ου Ἀν- φι χιρ<ὶ> Ἰωάνν(ου)
[δρέα (?) μη(νὶ)] Ξανθί- Ἰακοῦ[β]ος (καὶ) Τιμω[- - -]

1. [+ εὐκτήρ(ιον)] or [+ πρόθυρ(ον)] or [+ μαρτύρ(ιον)] Mouterde || 1-2. perhaps ἐκτίσθ|[η]

'[This] spacious (?) [oratory (?)] of Saint Andrew (?) was completed on the 24th (day) [of the month] of Xanthikos, 2nd indiction, the year 850. (The inscription) was carved by the hand of Ioannes. Iakoubos and Timo[- - -].'

Text: Mouterde & Poidebard 1945, 206, no. 36.

History

Evidence ID

E01692

Saint Name

Andrew, the Apostle : S00288 Andreas Stratelates, martyr under Maximian : S00763

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

538

Evidence not after

539

Activity not before

538

Activity not after

539

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Chalkis Beroia Dreyb al-Wawi

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

Chalkis Thabbora Thabbora Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Dreyb al-Wawi Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of church/altar dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans Other lay individuals/ people

Source

Two fragments of a basalt lintel. Fragment A: H. 0.53 m; W. 1.12 m. Fragment B: H. 0.54 m; W. 0.57 m. Found before 1945 at the north gate of the main church at Dreyb al-Wawi (Khirbet al-Wawi) by René Mouterde.

Discussion

The inscription is very fragmentarily preserved, especially its left-hand side, presumably containing the name of the holy patron of the sanctuary. Therefore, the completions by Mouterde can be taken only as exemplary ones. In his comments, Mouterde admitted that the first word of the inscription, which should be the designation of the shrine, need not be 'oratory' (eukterion), as reconstructed in the text. His other suggestions: 'martyrion' and 'portico' are, however, equally hypothetical. Likewise, the restoration of the name of the patron saint, Andrew, is based only on a very ambiguous sequence of letters ΟΥΑΝ. The inscription can, therefore, hardly be accepted as a reliable attestation of the cult of saints in north Syria. Probably the reconstruction of the whole left-hand fragment of the inscription is erroneous and needs a new edition. Dating: the month of Xanthikos of the 850th year of the Seleucid era corresponds to April AD 539. This contradicts the dating by the indictional year, as the 2nd indiction, mentioned in line 1, ended on 31st August AD 538.

Bibliography

Edition: Mouterde, R., Poidebard, A., Le limes de Chalcis: organisation de la steppe en haute Syrie romaine: documents aériens et épigraphiques (Paris: P. Geuthner 1945), 206, no. 36. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1946-1947), 204.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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