Saint NameZakchaios, martyr at Antioch : S00795
Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518
Saint Name in SourceΖαχέος, Ἀχέος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before504
Evidence not after505
Activity not before504
Activity not after505
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcAntioch on the Orontes
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Antioch on the Orontes
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
SourceA stone lintel. H. 0.79 m; W. 2.97 m; letter height 0.04-0.06 m. The inscription is written under a carving of three discs in low relief (probably a Trinitarian symbol, given the contents of the text).
The right-hand side was first published by Fyodor Uspensky in 1902, reportedly from a squeeze made by Henri Pognon, and assigned to a village in the territory of Beroia/Aleppo. Republished by Louis Jalabert and René Mouterde in IGLS 1, no. 209.
The left-hand side was first published by Victor Chapot in 1902, after an examination of the stone that was found, he said, in the village 'Kefer Nebo', in a wall of a monastery.
The two fragments were for the first time combined by William Prentice and a complete edition was offered by him in 1922 in Publications of the Princeton University of archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, vol. 3B (republished by Louis Jalabert and René Mouterde in IGLS 2, no. 378).
Prentice noted that the stone, a large lintel, was recorded by the Princeton Expedition in situ, in the centre of the village Kapernabou 'at the south wall of a large ancient building', probably a house or an inn.
DiscussionThe inscription contains a typical Syriac protective text, usually displayed on buildings. Its spelling is, however, very poor. What catches the attention is the reference to a certain saint in line 2. Uspensky read his name as Ζαχέου, which, he suggested, was a genitive form of a variant spelling of the name Ζακχαῖος (Zakchaios, Zacchaeus). Prentice read the name as Ἀχέου, but admitted that he might have omitted the letter Ζ while copying the text and that he was happy to accept Uspensky's reading. Prentice also supposed that the name was given here in the dative form (with the incorrect ending -ου instead of the regular -ῳ), and that a vow, made to Saint Zakchaios, was meant here. It is, however, much more probable that the name is in the regular genitive form and the intercession (εὐχή) of Saint Zakchaios is recorded.
A certain Zakchaios, martyr of Antioch, is mentioned in the Syriac martyrology on 3 October (see: E01562). Since the find-spot of the inscription is situated close to this important city, we can assume that this saint is invoked here.
Dating: The 533th year, given in line 2 is apparently of the era of Antioch, and corresponds to AD 504/505. The numbers of the date are inverted, which is usual in Greek Syrian inscriptions.
Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 378
Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section B: Northern Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1922), 186-187, no. 1173.
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 1: Commagène et Cyrrhestique (BAH 12, Paris: Librairie orientaliste P. Geuthner, 1929), no. 209 (only the right-hand side of line 2; after Uspensky).
Uspensky, F., "", Izvestiya russkago arkheologicheskago institutα v Konstantinopole 7 (1902), 164 (only the right-hand side of line 2).
Chapot, V., “Antiquités de la Syrie du Nord”, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 26 (1902), 181, no. 24 (only the left-hand side).
Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, II, Les deux Phénicies et et les deux Syries", Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949), 100, note 6.
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 3/2: Antioche (suite). Antiochène: nos. 989-1242 (BAH 51, Paris: P. Geuthner, 1953), 683 (addendum).
Prentice, W., "[Review:] Louis Jalabert et Rene Mouterde, S. J. Inscriptions Grecques et Latines de la Syrie", The American Journal of Philology 51/1 (1930), 89.
For a description of the building, see:
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), 297.