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E02193: Poorly carved Greek inscription, just possibly invoking the blessing of *Elijah (Old Testament prophet, S00217) as a prophet and intercessor. Found at Deir al-Jūwānī/Deir Dāmī to the northeast of Damatha/Damath el-Alya and to the northwest of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia). Probably late antique.

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posted on 02.01.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Littmann's edition (after a copy by David Magie):

ἅγιε Ἠλία, προφότη
καὶ πρέσβευ, εὖ ποῖε ἡμ-
ῶ(ν). Αυμος δοῦλος
+ οἱ λοιπ<οί> + Μ<α>λιχαθο<ς>
+ Μολι̣μ(ος)
+ Θωμᾶς ἐπ̣ο(ίησεν)

'O holy Elijah, prophet and intercessor, bless us! Aumos, a servant; + the others + Malichathos, + Molimos. Thomas constructed (it).'

Text: Littmann and others 1921, 442, no. 801(5). Translation: E. Littmann, lightly modified.

A new reading by the Sartres:

Θ + Α ̣ΥΘΜΑΙΑΠΡΟΦΕΤΗ
ΩΜΑC
ΕΠΙCΚΑΙΠΡΕCΒΕΥΕΥΠΟ̣ΙΗΜ
ΠΤ ΩΝΑΥΜΟCΔΟΥΛΟC + ΜΑ
ΛΙΘ
+ ΟΛΜΟΠC + ΜΑΛΙΧΑΘΙΟΥ

Text: IGLS 15/2, no. 314. For their interpretation of these letters, see the discussion.

History

Evidence ID

E02193

Saint Name

Elijah, Old Testament prophet : S00217

Saint Name in Source

Ἠλίας

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

450

Evidence not after

800

Activity not before

450

Activity not after

800

Place of Evidence - Region

Arabia Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Deir al-Jūwānī/Deir Dāmī

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Deir al-Jūwānī/Deir Dāmī Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Source

Stone lintel. Dimensions: H. 0.32 m; W. 1.23 m. Letter height 0.03-0.06 m. Decorated with a carving of a sunken circle in the upper left-hand quarter of the inscribed face. Poorly carved letters in highly irregular lines. For the layout of the text, see the enclosed photograph and drawings. First copied by William Ewing (reportedly 'in a wall of a house') and published in 1895 by Wright and Souter as a drawing, with only a very fragmentary transcription. The village was revisited by the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria and a new copy was taken by David Magie. When recorded by Magie, the stone was set above a doorway of a ruined house, in the south-east sector of the village. A new edition, based on Magie's copy, was published by Enno Littmann in 1921. The inscription was recently seen by Annie Sartre-Fauriat and Maurice Sartre, who made a photograph, and offered a new transcription in 2014.

Discussion

Due to the poor carving and irregular placement of letters on the stone, the meaning of this inscription is not clear. We offer two transcriptions: that of Littmann and that of the Sartres who were sceptical about Littmann's readings. The Sartres, however, admit that their own transcription makes little sense and do not attempt to translate it. The first editors, Wright and Souter, offered little but a drawing. They pointed out that the inscription might refer to an envoy or an intercessor (πρεσβευτής), a servant (δοῦλος), and a man named Μοαιμος. It was Littmann who suggested that lines 1-3 might contain an invocation of the blessing of the Prophet Elijah, addressed as an efficient intercessor, followed by the names of supplicants whom the Sartres thought to have been members of a clan or tribe deriving its name from a certain Malichathios or Malichathos ('the others of Malichathos'), and possibly the name of a donor or artisan (Thomas). The Sartres comment that the reading of the name of the Prophet Elijah (Greek: Ἠλίας) in line 1 is rather implausible. The exact date of this inscription is unknown, but it is likely to come from the late antique period.

Bibliography

Edition: Sartre-Fauriat, A., Sartre, M., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 15/2: Le plateau du Trachôn et ses bordures (BAH 204, Beyrouth: Institut Français du Proche-Orient, 2014), no. 314. 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), 442, no. 801(5). Wright, A.G., Souter, A. (from copies by W. Ewing), "Greek and other inscriptions collected in the Hauran", Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 27 (1895), 145, no. 79b. Further reading: Trombley, F.R., Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529, vol. 2, (Leiden - New York - Cologne: Brill, 1994), 372 (an English translation).

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