Saint NameKosmas, martyr of the area of Sekizlar (north Syria), ob. 110/111 : S01005
Saint Name in Sourceܩܙܡܐ
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before300
Evidence not after750
Activity not before300
Activity not after750
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcSekizlar
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Sekizlar
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - unspecified
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsConstruction of cult buildings
SourceA stone stele. H. 0.32 m; W. 0.66 m; Th. 0.42 m. Letter height 0.04-0.07 m. When recorded it was reused as the base of a pillar in a stable.
Seen and copied by Jacques Jarry in 1963 (while he was a member of the 1963 expedition led by Georges Tchalenko), and published in 1967.
DiscussionThe inscription mentions an otherwise unattested martyr Kosmas. His martyrdom is dated according to the Seleucid era. Its year, read by Jarry as 442 (for his comments on the legibility of each sign of this number, see: his p. 158), corresponds to AD 110/111, therefore the reign of the emperor Trajan. A reference to the exact date of the martyrdom of a saint is an uncommon feature in inscriptions.
Though the inscription reads literally that it was erected 'in memory' of Kosmas, it is very unlikely to be an epitaph for this martyr. Jarry notes that this Syriac formula might be used in the sense of 'for the glory' of the saint, as a Syriac inscription from Dahes (Jarry 1967, no. 19) records the construction of a church 'in memory of Christ' (i.e. 'for the glory of Christ'). Our inscription is therefore also likely to celebrate the completion of a similar undertaking.
Dating: The date given in line 4 almost certainly does not refer to the carving of the inscription. According to Jarry the letter forms suggest that the text is contemporary to the Syriac inscription from Dahes mentioned above, which means that it probably dates to the late antique period.
Jarry, J., “Inscriptions arabes, syriaques et grecques du massif du Bélus en Syrie du nord”, Annales islamologiques 7 (1967), 157, no. 32.
Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 27.