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E02618: Capital with labelled images of *George (soldier and martyr, S00259), and *Isidoros (probably the soldier and martyr of Chios, S00425). Found at 'Aqaba, probably originally displayed in an ancient church in 'Aila at the north end of the Gulf of 'Aqaba (Jordan/Roman province of Palaestina III). Probably 6th-8th c. or later.

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posted on 28.03.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
The capital was seen in 1914 in a modern house at 'Aqaba by Charles Leonard Woolley and Thomas Edward Lawrence. They provide us with the following description: 'The other is a similar capital, having on each of the two worked sides a half-length figure of a saint. The cutting and drawing of these are utterly conventional; the saints are alike, even in the mutilations that their faces have since suffered, so that it is fortunate that each bears his name in Greek cut into the edge of the capital above him; one is St. George and the other St. Isidore. At their bravest they were only very poor things. It is certainly the capital of a doorway or of a chancel-arch, and as certainly must have come from one of the Byzantine churches of Aila.' The capital was said to have been found 'with the remains of the walls of a small building, in some palm gardens at the north-east corner of the beach. Just to the west of this spot is the ruin-mound pointed out today by all the people of Akaba as the site of ancient Aila.'

To the best of our knowledge there is no published photograph or drawing of the capital, and the inscription has not been transcribed.

It is likely that the capital comes from the same church where *Theodore and *Longinos were venerated, see: E02617. The Isidoros on our capital is almost certainly Isidoros, martyr of Chios, who, like George, Theodore and Longinos, was well-known as a soldier saint.

History

Evidence ID

E02618

Saint Name

George, soldier and martyr of Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259 Isidore, martyr of Chios, ob. 249/251 : S00425 Isidōros, martyr in Egypt, ob. 250/1 : S00229

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements Images and objects - Sculpture/reliefs

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

500

Evidence not after

800

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

800

Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

'Aila/'Aqaba

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

'Aila/'Aqaba Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Public display of an image

Discussion

Similar painted images of soldier saints were found in Avdat/Oboda in the central Negev desert (see E04164).

Bibliography

Edition: Woolley, C.L., Lawrence, T.E., The Wilderness of Zin. Archaeological Report (Palestine Exploration Fund 3, London: Harrison and Sons, 1914), 129. Further reading: Michel, A., Les églises d'époque byzantine et umayyade de Jordanie (provinces d'Arabie et de Palestine), Ve-VIIIe siècle: typologie architecturale et aménagements liturgiques (avec catalogue des monuments; préface de Noël Duval; premessa di Michele Piccirillo) (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 2, Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 420. Figueras, P., "Monks and monasteries in the Negev desert", Liber Annuus 45 (1995), 405. Saller, S.J., Bagatti, B., The town of Nebo (Khirbet El-Mekhayyat): with a brief survey of other Christian monuments in Transjordan (Jerusalem: Franciscan Press, 1949), 233, no. 135.

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