+ ἔτους ϙωʹ (or: ϛωʹ), μηνὸς [- - -].
'In the year 890 (or: 806), month [- - -]. The gateway (pyle) of Sergios.'
Text: IGLS 4, no. 1970.
Saint NameSergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023
Saint Name in SourceΣέργιος
Image Caption 1Drawing. From: Prentice 1922, 9.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before494
Evidence not after579
Activity not before494
Activity not after579
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria 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 - Places Named after Saint
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsConstruction of cult buildings
SourceFragment, presumably of a lintel. Reused in the doorway of a modern house near a ruined mosque in the south sector of Sbā'/Sabbā'. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.23 m; W. 1.05 m. Letters in low-relief. Letter height 0.05-0.07 m. The stone was decorated with low-relief carving, remnants of which were still visible on its face. To the right of the inscription there was a depiction of birds, probably under a wreath. A row of three crosses appears to the left of the inscription.
Recorded by the Princeton Expedition to Syria and copied by Enno Littmann. First published in 1922 with a drawing by William Prentice. Republished in 1955 by René Mouterde, based on the earlier edition.
DiscussionThe first editor, William Prentice, identified this inscription as 'doubtless the lintel of a doorway in a church of St. Sergius'. Mouterde was more careful in his judgment, saying that the meaning of the inscription was ambiguous.
Both editors were unsure how to read the dating formula. The year, apparently computed according to the Seleucid era, was probably either ϙωʹ (890) or ϛωʹ (806). These dates correspond respectively to AD 578/579 and 494/495. Prentice stated that the late 6th c. date is more probable. If his supposition that the inscription comes from a church of Sergios is correct, this would be another argument for the later dating, as dedications to Sergios appear in dated Syriac inscriptions almost exclusively in the 6th c.
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. 1970.
Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Publications of the Princeton University of archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section B: Northern Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1922), 9, no. 823.