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E02083: Fragmentary Greek inscription invoking mercy, probably of the God of *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023). Found at Umm es-Surab, to the southeast of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia). Probably late 5th or 6th c.

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posted on 07.12.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
[- - - ὁ θεὸς τοῦ ἁγίου] Σεργίου, ἐλέ(ησον)
[- - -]ΕΞΕΛΕΚΤΑΣ +

'[- - - O God of Saint] Sergios, have mercy! [- - -]'

Text: I. Jordanie 5/1, no. 62.

History

Evidence ID

E02083

Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023

Saint Name in Source

Σέργιος

Image Caption 1

Photograph. From: I. Jordanie 5/1, 63.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

489

Evidence not after

600

Activity not before

489

Activity not after

600

Place of Evidence - Region

Arabia Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Umm es-Surab

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Umm es-Surab Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

Stone block. Broken and lost at the top and left-hand end. H. 0.22 m; W. 0.955 m. Letter height 0.08-0.09 m. Found above a doorway in the west sector of the courtyard in front of the main church of the village (presumed to be dedicated to Saints Sergios and Bakchos and discussed in E02079). A preliminary transcription was published in 2000 by Annie Sartre-Fauriat. The proper first edition, by Nabil Bader, followed in 2009, based on an examination of the stone and a photograph.

Discussion

The inscription certainly contains an invocation of mercy. As the name Sergios is in the genitive case, we can assume that the saint was not invoked directly, but that the request was addressed to 'the God of Saint Sergios'. The editor, probably rightly, supposes that the church where the inscription was found was dedicated to Saints Sergios and Bakchos, as a lintel with a relevant dedicatory inscription was found over the main doorway of the building (see E02079). It seems, however, that in our inscription Sergios was mentioned without his companion. The contents of the preserved line 2 are not clear. As for the date, we can suggest the late 5th or 6th c., as the lintel inscription mentioned above commemorates the construction of the church in AD 489. This was also the time when the cult of Sergios was rapidly spreading in the East, as evidenced by other building inscriptions.

Bibliography

Edition: Bader, N. (ed.), Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 21: Inscriptions de la Jordanie, part 5: La Jordanie du Nord-Est, fasc. 1 (Beirut: Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2009), no. 62. Further reading: Sartre-Fauriat, A., "Georges, Serge, Élie et quelques autres saints connus et inédits de la province d'Arabie", in: Fr. Prévot (ed.), Romanité et cité chrétienne. Permances et mutations. Intégration et exclusion du Ier au VIe siècle. Mélanges en l'honneur d'Yvette Duval (Paris: De Boccard, 2000), 303-304, note 60. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 50, 1518; 50, 1545.

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