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E03578: Greek inscription with the name of 'saint *Ouaros/Varos' (possibly the soldier and martyr of Egypt, S01212 or martyr in Egypt imported to Palestine by Cleopatra, 02514)). Precise find-spot unknown (the region of Hebron), often wrongly ascribed to Khirbet Suweikeh near Ramallah, to the northwest of Jerusalem (Samaria, Roman province of Palaestina I). Probably 6th-7th c.

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posted on 18.08.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
[- - - τ]οῦ ἁγίου Οὐάρου [- - -]

'[- - -] of Saint Varos [- - -]'

Text: CIIP IV/2, no. 3975.

History

Evidence ID

E03578

Saint Name

Varos, soldier and martyr in Egypt under Galerius (ob. c. 307) : S01212 Varos and Kleopatra, martyrs of Palestine : S02514

Saint Name in Source

Οὐάρος Οὐάρος

Image Caption 1

Inscribed face of the cornice. From: Milik 1960, Pl. XXXII c.

Image Caption 2

Back face of the cornice. From: Milik 1960, Pl. XXXII d.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

500

Evidence not after

700

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

700

Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Jerusalem Ramallah Tell en-Naṣbeh Khirbet Suweikeh

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

Jerusalem Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Ramallah Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Tell en-Naṣbeh Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Khirbet Suweikeh Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Source

Fragment of a moulded marble cornice. H. 0.135 m; W. 0.23 m. Letter height 0.025 m. High quality lettering. Based on the photograph it is difficult to judge if the right-hand margin is preserved. First mentioned in 1960 by Józef Tadeusz Milik, as a parallel evidence for the cult of Saints Varus, following his description of a church at the village of Khirbet Suweikeh (sited in the Judean Hills, near Ramallah, to the west of Tell en-Naṣbeh, in Wadi Duweit). By mistake first ascribed to this village by Asher Ovadiah. Milik, however, says that the he had bought the fragment, originating probably from the region of Hebron. A transcription was also offered by Yiannis Meimaris in 1986, and this was partially reprinted by Andrew Madden in 2014. The most recent and accurate edition is now by Walter Ameling in CIIP IV/2.

Discussion

The inscription may refer to a shrine (martyrion?) or a church dedicated to Saint Varus. Milik and Meimaris identify him as Ouaros/Varus, a martyr of Egypt under the emperor Galerius, reputedly buried at Sire/Sirim near Mount Tabor in Palestine (see Meimaris 1986, 136). In the 1990s, another church, probably dedicated to the same Varus, was found at Khilda in the western suburbs of Amman/Philadelphia (province of Arabia, see E02382). That building was dated AD 687. There is, however, no reliable way to date our inscription. Meimaris places it in the 7th c., giving no arguments.

Bibliography

Edition: CIIP IV/2 3975. Madden A.M., Corpus of Byzantine Church Mosaic Pavements in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (Leuven - Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2014), 129, no. 187. 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), 136, no. 719 (with puzzling references to SEG 8, 7-8, not mentioning the inscription). Milik, J.T., "Notes d'épigraphie et de topographie palestiniennes", Revue biblique 67 (1960), 579 note 2, and Pl. XXXII c-d. Further reading: Avi-Yonah, M., "Mosaic pavements in Palestine", Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine 3 (1933), no. 244. Schick, R., The Christian Communities of Palestine from Byzantine to Islamic Rule: A Historical and Archaeological Study (Studies in late antiquity and early Islam 2, Princeton, N.J: Darwin Press, 1995), 384. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 44, 1418 (mentioned).

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