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E01778: Greek inscription on a lintel, invoking the protection of the Trinity for a house, through the intercession of a saint, probably *Zakchaios (martyr of Antioch, S00795). Found at Kapernabou, to the east of Antioch-on-the-Orontes (Syria). Dated 504/505.

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posted on 02.08.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
δόξα Πατρὶ κὴ Οἱοῦ κὴ Ἁγίου {ου} Πνεύ[μ(ατος)]
Κύριη, φύλαξον τὴν ἴσοδ[ον ἡμῶν κὴ τὴν ἔξοδον, δ]ιὰ εὐχῆς τοῦ ἁγίου Ἀχέου (?). ἔτους γνφ΄

1. κὴ Ἁγίου {ου} Πνεύ[μ(ατος)] Prentice, κὴ Ἁγίου {ουι} [Πνεύματος. ἀμήν] Chapot || 2. δ]ιὰ εὐχῆς Jalabert & Mouterde in IGLS 2 Prentice, [ὑπὲρ] ̣εὐχῆς Jalabert & Mouterde in IGLS 1 Uspensky || ἴσοδ[ον ἡμῶν κὴ τὴν ἔξοδον Jalabert & Mouterde in IGLS 2 Prentice, τὴν ἴσοδ[ον καὶ τὴν ἔξοδον] Chapot || Ἀχέου (?) Jalabert & Mouterde in IGLS 2 Prentice, Ζαχέου = Ζακχαίου Uspensky

'Glory to Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Lord, guard [our] coming in [and (our) going out], through the intercession of Saint akchaios (?). In the year 533.'

Text: Prentice 1922, 186, no. 1173. Translation: W. Prentice, lightly altered.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Zakchaios, martyr at Antioch : S00795 Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518

Saint Name in Source

Ζαχέος, Ἀχέος

Type of Evidence

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



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes Beroia Kapernabou

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Kapernabou Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



A 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.


The 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.


Edition: 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). Further reading: 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.

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