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E02144: Greek inscription labelling a tomb (memorion) as the property of a monastery of *Kyrikos (probably the child martyr of Tarsus, S00007). Found at Bostra (Roman province of Arabia). Probably late 5th or 6th c.

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posted on 18.12.2016, 00:00 by Bryan
+ ὑπὲρ ἀναπα-
ύσ(εως) τῶν κεκοιμ(ημένων).
μεμόρ(ιον) διάφερ(ον)
τῷ μοναστηρ(ίῳ)
τοῦ ἁγί(ου) Κυρίκου
κανονικ(ῆς) Γη-
ωργίας Μα̣ρ-
̣τυρίου

The original reading by Waddington was proved by Littmann and Sartre to have been erroneous and hence we do not reproduce it here.

'+ As a vow for the repose of those who have entered into rest. Tomb belonging to the monastery of Saint Kyrikos. (Tomb) of a canonica, Georgia, daughter of Martyrios.'

Text: IGLS 13/1, no. 9283. Translation: E. Littmann, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E02144

Saint Name

Kyrikos, 3rd c. child martyr in Tarsus, son of *Julitta : S00007

Saint Name in Source

Κύρικος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Funerary inscriptions

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

480

Evidence not after

800

Activity not before

480

Activity not after

800

Place of Evidence - Region

Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Vow

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Source

Rectangular basalt block. H. 1.00 m; W. 0.60 m; Th. 0.12-0.31 m. Letter height 0.045-0.06 m. When recorded, it was reused in a wall of a mosque in the northeast sector of the city, in the second room of the mosque, to the right of the central north entrance. First seen and copied by William Waddington in the 1860s and published by him in 1870. Revisited by the Princeton Expedition to Syria and republished with a drawing by Enno Littmann in 1921. Maurice Sartre saw and photographed the inscription and made a squeeze in the 1970s. His new edition followed in 1982.

Discussion

The inscription is the label of a tomb owned by a monastery named after Saint Kyrikos. For similar labels of tomb belonging to religious institutions named after saints, see the inscriptions from Diokaisareia (E01045), Seleukeia (E01035; E01037), and Korykos (E01061; E01062; E01063; E01064; E01065; E01068; E01070) in southeast Asia Minor, and from Tyre in Lebanon (E01697). The holy patron, Kyrikos, is probably the child martyr of Tarsos (known as Quiricus in Latin). Littmann was sceptical about this identification, as hagiographical tradition preserves stories of several holy figures bearing this name. However, the cult of Kyrikos of Tarsos and his mother Ioulitta/Julitta was very popular and widely spread in the East, and it is likely that this saint is meant here. The first editor, William Waddington, was unable to read the word memorion/'tomb' at the beginning of line 3. Consequently, he did not correctly identify the nature of our inscription and believed that it recorded 'a vow for the repose of martyrs': ὑπὲρ ἀναπαύσ(εως) τῶν κεκοιμ(η)μέ(νων) μαρ(τύρων). Waddington also did not understand the last word in lines 7-8. Instead of the name of the father of the deceased woman (Martyrios), he saw there a corrupted form of the word 'martyr' in the genitive case, while admitting that he was unable to explain such a 'strange' ending. Georgia, the deceased canonica, was almost certainly affiliated to the said monastery. Sartre suggests that she was a nun. Littmann preferred a more general interpretation, saying that canonicae were 'women who devoted themselves to the service of the church, whether as deaconesses or as members of religious orders.'

Bibliography

Edition: Sartre, M. (ed.), Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 13/1: Bostra: nos. 9001 à 9472 (BAH 13, Paris: Librairie orientaliste P. Geuthner, 1982), no. 9283. Littmann, E., Magie, D., Stuart, D.R., (eds.), Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-5 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section A: Southern Syria (Leiden: Brill, 1921), 259, no. 575. Waddington, W.H., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Libraires-Éditeurs, 1870), no. 1920. 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), 304, note 66; 308.

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