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E02600: Greek inscription probably invoking the intercession of unnamed saints. Found at Umm al-Jimāl, to the southwest of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia/Jordan). Probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 24.03.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
+ Χ(ριστ)έ, εὐχῆς ἁγ(ίω)ν, φ(ύ)<λ>(α)ξ(ο)ν ἡμᾶς

Χ(ριστ)έ εὐχή σ(οι). ἁγ(ίασο)ν Littmann, θεὸ]ς ἁγν(έ), Waddington

'+ O Christ, through the intercessions of saints, protect us!'

Text: I. Jordanie 5/1, no. 111, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E02600

Saint Name

Unnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518

Saint Name in Source

ἅγιοι

Image Caption 1

Photograph. From: I. Jordanie 5/1, 95.

Image Caption 2

Drawing. From: Prentice 1921, 147.

Image Caption 3

Drawing. From: Schumacher 1897, 161.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

450

Evidence not after

700

Activity not before

450

Activity not after

700

Place of Evidence - Region

Arabia Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Umm al-Jimāl

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Umm al-Jimāl Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

A complete basalt block. H. 0.31 m; W. 1.515 m; Th. 0.39 m. Letter height 0.11-0.12 m. Traces of red paint in the letters. The narrow face bears a carving of a cross. The inscription is engraved on the long face. Found in the north wall of a tower (probably of a monastery, see: E02614) with other inscribed blocks bearing an invocation of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, an acclamation of the Cross, and an acclamation of Christ as the Emmanuel. First recorded and copied by William John Bankes, during his journeys in the Mediterranean between 1815 and 1820. However, his transcription remained unknown until published by Nabil Bader in 2009. Revisited by William Waddington before 1870, by Gottlieb Schumacher in 1894, and by Enno Littman during the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria (1904/1905 and 1909), who took their own independent copies. As the left-hand end of the block was covered by another wall, it was only Littman who first offered a complete text. Recently seen and photographed by Nabil Bader.

Discussion

Different editors read the inscription differently. Waddington and Schumacher, who could not see the complete text, as well as Littmann, supposed that the abbreviation ΑΓΝ stood for a term referring to the purity or sanctity of God and read the sentence as 'O pure (ἁγνέ) God, guard us!' (Waddington) or 'O Christ, a vow to Thee; sanctify (ἁγίασον), guard us!' (Littmann). However, Nabil Bader argues that the inscription mentions the intercession of unnamed saints, which seems plausible, as the formula εὐχαῖς ἁγίων (here spelt probably εὐχῆς ἁγ(ίω)ν) appears frequently in Greek inscriptions in the East.

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. 111. 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), 147-148, no. 254. Schumacher, G., "Das südliche Basan", Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 20 (1897), 161, no. 69. Waddington, W.H., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Libraires-Éditeurs, 1870), no. 2068A. Further reading: Meimaris, Y., Sacred names, saints, martyrs and church officials in the Greek inscriptions and papyri pertaining to the Christian Church of Palestine (Athens: National Hellenic Research Foundation, Center for Greek and Roman Antiquity, 1986), 17, no. 11. Piccirillo, M., Chiese e mosaici di Madaba (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1989), 59.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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