Fragment of the upper arm of a bronze cross-shaped object, possiby a reliquary, with two discs on top. L. 0.045 m. Decorated with an engraving of the bust of a male saint and a label. Now in the British Museum, London. Acquired in 1883. Provenance: Hierapolis-Bambyke.
First published by Ormonde Maddock Dalton in 1901. Republished by Louis Jalabert and René Mouterde in 1929.
ὁ ἅγηος Χ-
'Saint Chrysogonos (?)'
Text: IGLS 1, no. 251.
Saint NameChrysogonos, martyr of Aquileia, venerated in Rome, ob. c. 303-305 : S00911
Saint Name in SourceΧρυοχος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Inscribed objects
Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.)
Images and objects - Representative images
Archaeological and architectural - Extant reliquaries and related fixtures
Evidence not before500
Evidence not after1300
Activity not before500
Activity not after1300
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcHierapolis Euphratensis
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Hierapolis Euphratensis
Cult Activities - RelicsTransfer/presence of relics from distant countries
Reliquary – privately owned
Cult Activities - Cult Related ObjectsCrosses
DiscussionDalton, Jalabert, and Mouterde hypothetically identified this saint as Chrysogonos, martyr of Aquileia (northeast Italy) under Diocletian, venerated mostly in Rome, in Trastevere. We must note, however, that the inscription does not mention the proper name, Χρυσόγονος, but reads χρυοχον, which is a form very close to the term χρυσοχόος/'goldsmith'. Thus one can wonder, whether the occupation of the saint is mentioned here, and the name was given elsewhere, on another, now lost, part of the object. If, however, this saint is really Chrysogonos, the occurrence of his cult in the East is a noteworthy fact. This may be due to his 6th c. hagiography, which made him a figure related to saints from the Balkan peninsula and the Danube region, for example teacher of Saint Anastasia (venerated in the southeast Aegean Islands, see: E01290, E01297), and of the virgins Agape, Chione, and Eirene, martyrs in Thessalonike (S00206).
For a similar cross, also published by Dalton and found at Hierapolis-Bambyke, with a scarcely legible inscription, see: Dalton 1901, 114, no. 578 (no transcription).
Dating: Dalton placed the object in the chapter titled 'the 6th c. and later', giving no arguments. The same dating is offered by Jalabert and Mouterde.
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 1: Commagène et Cyrrhestique (BAH 12, Paris: P. Geuthner, 1929), no. 251.
Dalton, O.M., Catalogue of early Christian Antiquities and Objects from the Christian East in the Department of British and Mediaeval Antiquities and Ethnography of the British Museum (London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1901), 114, no. 574.