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E01805: Greek building inscriptions from a church dedicated to *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023). Found at Dār Qīta between Antioch-on-the-Orontes and Beroia/Aleppo (north Syria). Dated 537 and 567.

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posted on 11.08.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Inscription 1:

Stone lintel from the west doorway of the church situated in the southeast part of Dār Qīta in Jebel Barisha. The inscription is below a moulded band. Dimensions of the inscribed field: H. 0.16 m; W. 1.60 m; letter height 0.03-0.05 m.

First published by Seymour de Ricci in 1907, from a copy by the Belgian consul in Aleppo Gio Gosche (in office: 1695-1703). Gosche sent his copies of inscriptions to Gisbert Cuper (professor of history and rhetoric at Deventer, and later a politician, based in the Hague: 1644-1716), where they were included in his collection of manuscripts (for this collection, see: de Ricci 1907, 281). In the 20th c. the inscription was revisited by a number of scholars: the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria (copied by Enno Littmann and William Prentice; a squeeze); the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria; Froment, a French officer stationed in Syria and mapping the Syrian interior; and René Mouterde. Republished in 1903 and in 1920 by Howard Butler, and in 1908 and in 1922 by William Prentice, based on his own copy and squeeze, and by Jalabert and Mouterde in 1939 (based on Mouterde's copy).

Α + Ω. εἷς θεὸς (καὶ) ὁ Χριστὸς (καὶ) τὸ Ἅγιο(ν) Πνεῦμα· βοήθη. +
μη(νὸς) Δεσίου, ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) ει΄, τοῦ επφ΄ ἔτους. τοῦ ἁγίου Σεργίου.

1. βοήθη Prentice after the second examination of the stone in 1905, βοήθησ(ον) Prentice and Mouterde

'Α + Ω. (There is one) God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. Help (us)! + In the month of Desios, indiction 15, of the 585th year. (The church) of Saint Sergios.'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 545. Translation: W. Prentice, lightly adapted.

This is the building inscription for the church. The date, the year 585, is given according to the era of Antioch (i.e. the Caesarian era), which corresponds to AD 537 (given the month, also included in the dating formula). Line 2 says that the church was dedicated to the martyr Sergios, a very popular figure, venerated in nearby Resafa.

Inscription 2:

Stone lintel from the doorway of the baptistery of the church of Sergios at Dār Qīta. H. 0.175 m; W. 1.82 m. Small letters, badly weathered.

Found by the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria 1899-1900, and copied by William Prentice (with a partial squeeze). Revisited by the Princeton Expedition to Syria and by René Mouterde. Republished by Mouterede and Jalabert in 1939.

+ ἀνενεόθη ἡ πύλη ἐπὶ τοῦ εὐσεβ(εστάτου) ἡμ(ῶ)ν βασιλ(έως) Ἰουστίνου (καὶ) τοῦ ἁγιοτά(του) πα(τριάρχου) Ἀνασ-
τασίου, ὑπ(ὸ) τῷ εὐ̣λ̣ο̣γ(ητῷ) Ἰωάννῃ (καὶ) Σεργίου, ̣Δ̣ανου, Βάχχου, Ῥαμλυς (?) πρ(εσβυτέρων), τ(οῦ) ̣ε̣ιχʹ ἔτο(υς),
ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) ιεʹ.

1. ὑπ(ὸ) τῶ εὐ̣λ̣ο̣γ(ητῷ) Ἰωάννη (i.e. genitive forms), ὑπ(ὸ) τῷ εὐ̣λ̣ο̣γ(ητῷ) Ἰωάννῃ Prentice || 2. μ(ηνὸς) <Δ>ύσ<τ>ρ(ου) Witkowski instead of Ῥαμλυς (?) πρ(εσβυτέρων) || 3. ̣ε̣ιχʹ Prentice, γ.λ.χʹ Mouterde (but he notes that this date is not coherent with the indiction year and the patriarchate of Anastasios)

'+ This door was renewed under our most pious king Justin, and the most holy patriarch Anastasios, by the blessed (?) Ioannes, Sergios, Danos, Bakchos, Rhamlys, being presbyters (?), in the 615th year, indiction 15.'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 546. Translation: W. Prentice, lightly adapted.

The inscription commemorates the renovation of the door of the baptistery of our church of Sergios. It offers us the names of the presbyters involved in the maintenance of this village sanctuary. Remarkably, two of them bear the names Sergios and Bakchos, probably as a sign of devotion of their parents to this pair of saints. The church itself was, however, dedicated to Sergios alone.

It is possible that some of the donors are mentioned in Syriac inscriptions from the area; see Prentice 1908, 81. Prentice also speculated that Ioannes might have been a periodeutes (an itinerary presbyter), as his name is distinguished by the epithet εὐλογητός/'blessed', but this is implausible.

Dating: the era year date is scarcely legible. Based on the indiction year and the reference to Anastasios, the patriarch of Antioch under the emperor Justin II, it was established by Prentice as the year 615 according to the era of Antioch, which corresponds to AD 567, exactly 30 years after the construction of the church.

Inscription 3:

Reportedly some graffiti were found at the church. Based on this, the shrine was interpreted as a local pilgrimage centre.

History

Evidence ID

E01805

Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023 Bakchos, martyr in Barbalissos (Syria), ob. c. 303-311 : S00079

Saint Name in Source

Σέργιος

Image Caption 1

Inscription 1: De Ricci's edition with comments by Cuper. From: de Ricci 1907, 284.

Image Caption 2

Inscription 1: Drawing. From: Prentice 1922, 126.

Image Caption 3

Inscription 2: Majuscule edition. From: Prentice 1922, 126.

Image Caption 4

Plan of the site. From: Prentice 1908, 119.

Image Caption 5

Portal with Inscription 1. Photo by H.C. Butler. From: Archaeological Archives, accessed August 11, 2016, http://vrc.princeton.edu/archives/items/show/9296.

Image Caption 6

Portal with Inscription 1. Photo by Ross Burns.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Inscriptions - Graffiti Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

537

Evidence not after

567

Activity not before

537

Activity not after

567

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes Beroia Dār Qīta

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Dār Qīta Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous protection - of people and their property Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Bibliography

Edition: Inscription 1: Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 545. 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), 185, fig. 191 (a photograph). 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), 125, no. 1086 (with a drawing). Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 80, no. 61 (with a drawing). Butler, H.C., Architecture and other Arts (Publications of an American Archæological Expedition to Syria in 1899–1900 2, New York: Century, 1903), 203. de Ricci, S., "Inscriptions grecques et latines de Syrie copiées en 1700 ", Revue Archéologique (1907)/2, 284 and 289, no. 20 (only the right-hand part of the inscription). Inscription 2: Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 545. 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), 126, no. 1088 (with a drawing). 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), 184-186. Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 80, no. 62. Further reading: Butler, H.C., Architecture and other Arts (Publications of an American Archæological Expedition to Syria in 1899–1900 2, New York: Century, 1903), 203 (photograph of the building). 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), 684 (addendum). Key Fowden, E., The Barbarian Plain: St. Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley, Calif.; London: University of California Press, 1999), 116. Milson, D., "The Syrian technites Markianos Kyris († 425 C.E.)", Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 119 (2003), 159-182. Scheck, F.R., Odenthal, J., Syrien - Hochkulturen zwischen Mittelmeer und Arabischer Wüste (Köln: DuMont Reiseverlag, 1998), 302. Tchalenko, G., Eglises de village de la Syrie du nord, vol. 2 (Paris: Librairie orientaliste P. Geuthner, 1980), 60-64. Tchalenko, G., Eglises de village de la Syrie du nord, vol. 1 (Paris: Librairie orientaliste P. Geuthner, 1979), figs 299-312. Trombley, F.R., Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529, vol. 2 (Leiden, New York, Cologne: Brill, 1994), 269. Witkowski, S., "Epigraphische Studien zu den griechischen Inschriften Syrien", Mélanges Maspero, vol. 2 (Mémoires publiés par les membres de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire 67, Le Caire: Impr. de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 1934), 189-190. For Butler's photographs from Dār Qīta, see: http://vrc.princeton.edu/archives/items/show/9287 and the following items. For other photographs, see: Emma Loosley, “Dar Qita,” Architecture and Asceticism, accessed August 11, 2016, http://architectureandasceticism.exeter.ac.uk/items/show/226. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 52, 1967; 53, 1785.

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