Saint NameSergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023
George, soldier and martyr of Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before600
Evidence not after700
Activity not before600
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 - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsVow
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
SourceStone slab, reused over the doorway of a stable. The inscription is framed by a tabula ansata. Poor lettering. Damaged at the left-hand end. There is no published description.
Seen by Maurice Dunand and published by him with a drawing in 1939. As far as we know there is no other edition (the inscription will be republished in IGLS 16/1, no. 408).
DiscussionThe inscription is known only through a very unreliable drawing, and thus we cannot be sure that the readings offered by Maurice Dunand, the first, and so far the only editor, are correct. Dunand argued that the inscription commemorated the construction of a shrine dedicated to Sergios, soldier and martyr of Rusafa, by a certain Barekos (or Barechos), son of Theodoros (who apparently also appears in another building inscription from the site: Dunand's no. 244), and probably one more person.
The most intriguing feature of the text is the term used to denote the saint's shrine, according to Dunand: magaron. The term in the form magaron and megaron was often used by pagans to name halls, palaces, but also tombs, sanctuaries, and sacrificial pits (specifically of Demeter), however its occurrence as a designation of a sanctuary of a Christian martyr seems to be unparalleled. Louis Robert and other scholars commenting on this text accepted Dunand's reading, as the word is indeed clearly visible in the drawing, but unless we have a photograph of the stone, we cannot be sure whether the term was not confused with martyrion or memorion. Maurice Sartre refers to it as an 'oratory' in his list of sanctuaries of Saint Sergios.
The name of the saint, to whom the sanctuary was dedicated, is partially lost (line 2). Dunand restored it as Sergios, and this restoration was unequivocally accepted by later scholars, including Robert and Sartre. However, in 1999 Elisabeth Key Fowden rightly noted that the lacuna could equally well accommodate the name Georgios, and that Saint George is mentioned in another inscription in the same village, dated 652 (see E02659). But, she concludes, 'unless the village possessed two churches dedicated to S. George, Dunand's interpretation was justified.'
IGLS 16/1, no. 408 (forthcoming).
Dunand, M., "Nouvelles inscriptions du Djebel Druze et du Hauran", Mélanges syriens offerts à monsieur René Dussaud: secrétaire perpétuel de l'Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, par ses amis et ses élèves (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), 559, no. 245.
Aigrain, R., "Sur quelques inscriptions d'églises de l'époque byzantine", Orientalia Christiana Periodica 13 (1947), 22-24.
Devreesse, R., Le patriarcat d'Antioche depuis la paix de l'Église jusqu'à la conquête arabe (Paris: J. Gabalda et cie, 1945), 235.
Key Fowden, E., The Barbarian Plain: St. Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley, Calif.; London: University of California Press, 1999), 108.
Mouterde, R., Poidebard, A., "A propos de Saint Serge. Aviation et épigraphie", Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949), 112.
Sartre, M. (ed.), Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 13/1: Bostra: nos. 9001 à 9472 (BAH 13, Paris: Librairie orientaliste P. Geuthner, 1982), 197, note 3.
Bulletin épigraphique (1940), 189; (1948), 11.