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E01797: Greek building inscriptions mentioning a saint *Theodore (presumably the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita, S00480) and *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023). Found at Kefr Antīn in north Syria, near Qalat Semaan, to the northwest of Beroia/Aleppo. Dated 523.

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posted on 09.08.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
For the layout of the inscriptions, see the attached image.

Inscription 1:

ΧΜΓ. ὁ ἅγιος Θεόδορος καὶ ὁ ἅγιος Σέργειος.

'ΧΜΓ. Saint Theodore and Saint Sergios!'

Inscription 2:

Κύριε, βωήθι τὸν δοῦλόν σου {Δαμι} Δαμιανὸν τὸν κτίσωντα τὸ κτίσμα τοῦτο, μη(νὸς) Λώου, ἰνδι(κτιῶνος) πρότης +

τοῦ αοφʹ (ἔτους) +

'Lord, help Thy servant, Damianos, who built this building (ktisma), in the month of Loös, the first indiction ! +'

'The 571st year.'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 392. Translation: W. Prentice; lightly adapted.

History

Evidence ID

E01797

Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023 Theodore Tiro, martyr of Amaseia (Helenopontus, north-eastern Asia Minor), ob. 306 : S00480

Saint Name in Source

Σέργειος Θεοδόρος

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

523

Evidence not after

523

Activity not before

523

Activity not after

523

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Beroia Kefr Antīn Qal'at Sem'an

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

Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Kefr Antīn Thabbora Thabbora Qal'at Sem'an Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Source

Two Greek inscriptions carved on the lintel of the doorway of a small building. Dimensions of the lintel: H. 0.59 m; W. c. 2 m. The stone is decorated in the middle with a carving of a square, c. 0.72 m broad. Inscription 1 is written to the left of the square. Inscription 2 runs around the square and along the bottom of the lintel. Letter height 0.035-0.05 m. Fine lettering. Found in situ, in the central area of the ruins of Kefr Antīn by the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria. First published with a drawing by William Prentice in 1922. Republished by René Mouterde and Louis Jalabert in 1939.

Discussion

The inscriptions commemorate the construction of the building on which they were displayed. The character of the building is not specified (ktisma), but almost certainly it was not a religious one. The identification of the saint Sergios, as the martyr of Rusafa, is certain, since he was omnipresent in Syria; Theodore is almost certainly the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita in Pontus, whose cult was widespread in Late Antiquity. Theodore and Sergios, both soldier martyrs, could readily share a dedication. The inscriptions have a very unusual layout. Inscription 1 begins with the ΧΜΓ symbol, which is usually expanded as Χριστὸς ὁ ἐκ Μαρίας γεννηθείς / 'Christ born of May' or Χριστός, Μιχαήλ, Γαβριήλ / 'Christ, Michael, Gabriel' or, cryptographically, ἅγειος ὁ θεός / 'God is holy' or θεὸς βοηθός / 'God is the helper', etc. The symbol is followed by an invocation of two popular saints: Theodore and Sergios, probably asked to protect the house and its owner. Inscription 2 is the proper building inscription, consisting of an invocation of God as the Lord, the name of the owner (Damianos), and the date, computed according to the era of Antioch (i.e. the Caesarian era). It corresponds to AD 523. Mouterde and Jalabert note that a certain Mar Damianos/Lord Damianos is attested in a Syriac inscription from the same village, published in Littmann 1934, 52-53, no. 61 (= E04394). If that Damianos was not the saint, he might have been the owner of our building.

Bibliography

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. 392. 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), 203, no. 1202. Further reading: Littman, E. (ed.), Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Division IV: Syriac Inscriptions, Section B: Northern Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1934), 52-53, no. 61. Trombley, F.R., Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529, vol. 2 (Leiden, New York, Cologne: Brill, 1994), 262. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 1, 517.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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