Saint NameGeorge, martyr in Nicomedia or Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259
Saint Name in SourceΓεώργιος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before558
Evidence not after558
Activity not before558
Activity not after558
Place of Evidence - RegionArabia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcBosra
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Bosra
Sakkaia / Maximianopolis
Sakkaia / Maximianopolis
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsConstruction of cult buildings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOfficials
Merchants and artisans
Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy
Other lay individuals/ people
SourceStone lintel. Decorated with a carving of a large circle containing a cross in the middle of the inscribed face. Dimensions unknown. There is no published description. Now lost.
Seen and copied by René Dussaud and Frédéric Macler during their survey in south Syria, and published by them in 1901 with a drawing. The actual find-spot and archaeological context are not described. Published anew by Maurice Sartre and Annie Sartre-Fauriat in 2011, based on the old drawing but with new interpretations.
DiscussionThe inscription certainly commemorates the construction of a sanctuary dedicated to the martyr George. The actual designation of the shrine (whether it was a martyrion, naos, ekklesia, etc.) is not specified.
The sanctuary was built 'by the hand' of a certain Sergios. His name is followed by a dubious word: Dussaud suggested that it was a reference to the carving of the inscription (by the hand of Sergios), and corrected the term to: ἐ[γρ]ά|<π>[φη]. The Sartres are reluctant to accept this emendation, and suppose that the word possibly refers to ancestors or some 'ancestral' issues.
Line 5 contains the name Georgios, followed by another dubious term. Dussaud believed that the term should be restored as κομοτροφεύς which he translated as 'long-haired' or 'letting his hair grow' ('qui a laissé croître sa chevelure'). In his opinion it was an epithet of Saint George, presumably deriving from a crest of horse hair, fixed to his helmet. The Satres offer a much more plausible explanation: the word probably denotes an official: Georgios, a village secretary (κομογραμματεύς), who contributed to the construction. The problem is, however, (as they themselves note) that this office is very well attested in Ptolemaic Egypt but so far has not appeared in Syria (let alone in late antique Syria).
Dating: the 453rd year of the era of the province of Arabia and the 6th indictional year together correspond to a very narrow period: 22nd March - 30th August AD 558.
Sartre, M., Sartre-Fauriat, A. (eds.), Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 13/2: Bostra (Supplément) et la plaine de la Nuqrah (BAH 194, Beirut: Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2011), no. 9739.
Brünnow, R.E., von Domaszewski, A., Die Provincia Arabia: auf Grund zweier in den Jahren 1897 und 1898 unternommenen Reisen und der Berichte früherer Reisender, vol. 3 (Strassburg: Trübner, 1909), 354.
Dussaud, R., Macler, F., Voyage archéologique au Safâ et dans le Djebel-ed-Drûz (Paris: , 1901), 206, no. 100.