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E02629: Greek inscriptions carved on a quarry-face, mentioning the financial supervisor of a church dedicated to *John (presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042), probably in Bostra. Found at a limestone quarry sited c. 4 km to the southwest of Qaṣr al-Ḥallābāt and c. 40 km to the south of Bostra (Jordan/Roman province of Arabia). Probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 30.03.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Inscription 1:

Dimensions of the inscribed field: H. 0.35 m; W. 2.44 m. Letter height 0.09-0.11 m.

+ ἐν τῷ ̣καμ[. . .] τούτῳ μνησθε
Θεόδωρος ὁ διάκ(ονος) (καὶ) ἐπιμελητής

'+ In this [- - -] remember the deacon and supervisor (epimeletes) Theodoros!'

Inscription 2:

Dimensions of the inscribed field: W. 1.65 m. Letter height 0.12-0.14 m.

+ Θεοδώρου, ἐπιμελητοῦ ἁγ(ίου)
Ἰωάννου, τοῦ κυαίστορος·
Κ(ύρι)ε, σύνπραξον· ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) θ΄,
μη(νὶ) Μαΐου

'+ Of Theodoros, the supervisor (epimeletes) of Saint John, the quaestor. O Lord, help! In the 9th indiction, in the month of May.'

Text: Gatier 1995, 399.

History

Evidence ID

E02629

Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 John, Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source

Ἰωάννης Ἰωάννης

Image Caption 1

Inscription 1. From: Gatier 1995, 399.

Image Caption 2

Inscription 2. From: Gatier 1995, 400.

Type of Evidence

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

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 Qaṣr al-Ḥallābāt

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Qaṣr al-Ḥallābāt Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Officials Merchants and artisans Other lay individuals/ people

Source

The inscriptions were carved on rock faces at a limestone quarry located c. 4 km to the southwest of Qaṣr al-Ḥallābāt. The site lies c. 40 km to the south of Bostra. The rocks also bear other Greek and Arabic inscriptions, which do not mention any saints; hence we do not discuss them here. The collection was published by Pierre-Louis Gatier in 1995 with photographs. Gatier was notified about the site by Jean Marcillet-Jaubert, and examined the texts together with Ghazi Bisheh and François Villeneuve, who are the authors of the photographs.

Discussion

Both inscription probably mention the same person: a certain Theodoros who was a deacon, held the post of financial supervisor of a church (epimeletes), and was a quaestor. Gatier, the first editor, wonders whether the term quaestor, which is mentioned immediately after the name of the saint, could be the epithet of that figure (one Saint John the Quaestor), but he rightly concludes that we have no basis to suppose that a holy figure bearing such an epithet has ever existed. It is much more probable that the saint mentioned is either *John the Baptist or *John the Evangelist. The title quaestor refers to Theodoros. It denotes a municipal office and suggests that the church of John was located in Bostra which became a Roman colony in the early 3rd c. It is likely that our Theodoros was commissioned with bringing limestone blocks, possibly for the extension or refurbishment of his church, or for the construction of some secular civic buildings. Other inscriptions from the quarry mention Sergios, son of Kastrikios, and Zenon, son of Prophyrios, a chief architect. Gatier guessed that they were all involved in the same undertaking, as the quarry was apparently not heavily used. Based on the presence of carved crosses and the use of a Latin term for a municipal office, Gatier broadly dates the texts to the 5th-7th c.

Bibliography

Edition: Gatier, P.-L., "Inscriptions grecques des carrières de Hallabat", in: A. Hadidi (ed.), Studies in History and Archaeology of Jordan, vol. 5 (Amman: Department of Antiquities, 1995), 399-402. Further reading: Sodini, J.-P., "Marble and stoneworking in Byzantium, seventh-fifteenth centuries", in: A.E. Laiou (ed.), The Economic History of Byzantium. From Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, vol. 1 (Washington: , 2002), 153 (mentioned). Reference works: Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 867. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 45, 1985-1986.

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