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E02821: Floor-mosaic with a fragmentary Greek building inscription probably for a church (oikos) dedicated to *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Found at Ramot near the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus (Roman province of Palaestina I). Dated 762.

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posted on 18.05.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
ἐτελειώθη [τὸ πᾶν ἔργον]
τοῦ ἐνταῦ[θα οἶκου τοῦ μάρ]-
τυρος Γεωργ[ίου ἐπὶ Θεοδώ]-
ρου τοῦ ἁγιωτά[του πατριάρ]-
χου (καὶ) Θεοδώρου [πρεσβυτέ]-
ρου (καὶ) χωρ{ι}επισκό[που σπουδῇ]
(καὶ) προθυμυᾳ Στ[εφ(άνου) πρεσ]-
βυτέρου (καὶ) πάντω[ν τῶν οἰ]-
κύων αὐτοῦ ἐν μη(νὶ) Ἰ[ουνίῳ or Ἰ[ουλίῳ]
κ΄, ἰνδικ(τιῶνος) ιε΄, ἔτους κ(όσμ)ου [κτίσεως]
,ςσνδ΄

8-9. πάντω[ν τῶν οἰ]|κύων = οἰκείων Feissel, πάντω[ν συνοι]κύων Di Segni 1990 || 9. μη(νὶ) τ[οῦ - - -] or Ἰ[ουνίῳ] or Ἰ[ουλίῳ] Di Segni 1990, Ἰ[ανουαρίου] Feissel

'[The whole building of this house (oikos)] here of the martyr George was completed [under] the most holy patriarch Theodoros and Theodoros, [priest] and country bishop (chorepiskopos), [by the effort] and zeal of Stephanos the priest and all his household, on the 20th of the month of [June (or: July)] of the 15th indiction, in the year 6254 of [the creation] of the world.'

Text: CIIP 1/2, no. App. 12*. Translation: L. Di Segni, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E02821

Saint Name

George, soldier and martyr of Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259

Saint Name in Source

Γεώργιος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

762

Evidence not after

763

Activity not before

762

Activity not after

763

Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Jerusalem

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

Jerusalem Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Source

Floor mosaic panel framed by a tabula ansata. H. 1.25 m; W. max. c. 0.70 m (presumed original width c. 1.35 m). Letter height c. 0.08 m. Letters of black tesserae. The text is facing southeast. Set in the middle of the white floor mosaic of the northeast room of a probably ecclesiastical building, sited 1 km to the northeast of the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, near Ramot, on the track to Nebi Samwil. The building was excavated in May 1982 by the Department of Antiquities of Israel, and identified as a monastery. The structure is poorly preserved due to stone looting. First published by Leah Di Segni in 1990. Different completions were suggested by Denis Feissel in the Bulletin épigraphique in 2002 and partially accepted by Di Segni in her re-redition of the mosaic in the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae (2012).

Discussion

The inscription commemorates the 'completion' (that is probably a renovation) of a shrine of Saint George. Sadly, the name used to describe the sanctuary is lost. Di Segni hypothetically restores it as oikos, a term which has a very broad meaning; but other designations of chapels and churches could fit the lacuna. The mosaic certainly refers to the room, or the whole building, where it was found, but given its very poor state of preservation (even the dimensions of the room are not known), the archaeological context does not help to interpret the text. Based on the completion συνοικίων/'of inmates, members of the same community' in lines 8-9, the building was identified by the excavators as a monastery. However, Denis Feissel argued for a different restoration: 'of his household', apparently referring to a lay donor; this was subsequently accepted by Di Segni. In spite of this, the establishment is still believed to have been a monastery surrounded by a farmland managed by monks. The date, given in the last line, is computed according to the Alexandrine era of creation. Its year 6254 corresponds to 25 March AD 762 - 24 March AD 763. Therefore, if the name of the month specified in line 9 is June or July, the mosaic was laid in 762. If the name of the month is January (as argued by Feissel but rejected by Di Segni based on the length of the lacuna), the mosaic dates to early 763. In either case the inscription falls under the early Abbasid period. The excavators use the present case for a short discussion of survival of 'suburban monastery-farms' under the Abbasids, but given the doubtful character of the building their reasoning is insufficient.

Bibliography

Edition: Cotton, H.M., Di Segni, L., Eck, W., Isaac, B., Kushnir-Stein, A., Misgav, H., Price, J.J., Yardeni, A. and others (eds.), Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae: A Multi-Lingual Corpus of the Inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad, vol. 1, part 2: Jerusalem, nos. 705-1120 (Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2012), no. App. 12* (with further bibliography). Arav, R., Di Segni, L., Kloner, A., "An eighth century monastery near Jerusalem", Liber Annuus 40 (1990), 316-319 (ed. L. Di Segni). Further reading: Di Segni, L., "Christian epigraphy in the Holy Land: new discoveries", Aram 15 (2003), 247, 260. Gatier, P.-L., "Inscriptions grecques, mosaïques et églises des débuts de l'époque islamique au Proche-Orient (VIIe-VIIIe) siècles", in: A. Borrut, M. Debié, A. Papaconstantinou, D. Pieri, J.-P. Sodini (eds.), Le Proche-Orient de Justinien aux Abassides : peuplement et dynamiques spatiales : actes du colloque "Continuités de l'occupation entre les périodes byzantine et abbasside au Proche-Orient, VIIe-IXe siècles," Paris, 18-20 octobre 2007 (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 19, Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 12, 15-16 (for comments on the use of creation eras in late antique inscriptions). Madden A.M., Corpus of Byzantine Church Mosaic Pavements in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (Leuven - Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2014), 192, no. 280 (with further bibliography). Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1992), 650; (2012), 475. Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 754. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 40, 1481; 53, 1835.

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