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E01893: Greek building inscription with a prayer addressed to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found probably at er-Rouḥaiye, to the east of Apamea on the Orontes and Ḥamāh/Amathe (central Syria). Probably later 5th-7th c.

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posted on 05.10.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
[ἔτ(ους) -ʹ, -ʹ Δ]ύστρου, ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) εʹ. ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς κ(αὶ) σωτ[ηρίας]
[- - -]ρου τῶν Γαδδ- ανα κ(αὶ) Μάρθα ΝΤ[- - -]
[- - -]ας αὐτοῦ· Θεοτώ- κε, πρόσδεξε Χ[- - -].


'[In the year -, - of the month] of Dystros, 5th indiction. As a vow and for the salvation of [- - -]ros, sons of the Gaddanas, and of Marthas (?) [- - -] his. O God-Bearer (Theotokos), accept [- - -].'

Text: IGLS 4, no. 1881bis.

History

Evidence ID

E01893

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

Θεοτώκος

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

431

Evidence not after

750

Activity not before

431

Activity not after

750

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Apamea on the Orontes Ḥamāh er-Rouḥaiye

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

Apamea on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Ḥamāh Thabbora Thabbora er-Rouḥaiye Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Source

Stone lintel. Decorated with a carving of a cross consisting of four letters Γ, framed by a square. There is no published description and image. First published in 1955 by René Mouterde from a copy by Jean Lauffray. Reportedly found at 'Er-Rhāyel', a placed identified by Mouterde as er-Rouḥaiye near Apamea and Ḥamāh/Amathe.

Discussion

The inscription commemorates the fulfillment of a vow. Its object was apparently the construction of the building on which the inscription was displayed, probably a church dedicated to Mary, as an offering to her is mentioned in the partially preserved line 3. The identity of the donors is not clear. Mouterde supposed that οἱ Γαδδανα, occurring in line 2, were probably members of a local tribe. Their names were probably mentioned in the lacuna preceding this expression. The presumed reference to a tribal group is followed probably by the Syriac male name Marthas (and not the female Martha; cf. SEG 26,1545; IGLS 1, no. 111, 174; IGLS 2, no. 480). Ignacio Peña suggested that the dedicants might have been children of a certain Gaddanas and Martha, but the first name is otherwise unattested and the second name is not the correct genitive form of the name Martha. Dating: unfortunately, the dating formula at the beginning of line 1 is partially lost. However, as Mary is named here Θεοτόκος/'the God-Bearer', the inscription is likely to postdate the council of Ephesos 431 which contributed to the spreading of her cult under this name. A date in the 6th or 7th is probable.

Bibliography

Edition: Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, Cl., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 4: Laodicée, Apamène (BAH 61, Paris: Librairie orientalise Paul Geuthner, 1955), no. 1881bis. Further reading: Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 14.

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