Saint NameUnnamed saints (or name lost) : S00518
Saint Name in Sourceἅγιοι
Image Caption 1Photograph. From: I. Jordanie 5/1, 95.
Image Caption 2Drawing. From: Prentice 1921, 147.
Image Caption 3Drawing. From: Schumacher 1897, 161.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before450
Evidence not after700
Activity not before450
Activity not after700
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 - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
SourceA 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.
DiscussionDifferent 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.
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.
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.