[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.
Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Saint Name in SourceΘεοτώκος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before431
Evidence not after750
Activity not before431
Activity not after750
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcApamea on the Orontes
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Apamea on the Orontes
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
SourceStone 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.
DiscussionThe 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.
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.
Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 14.