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E04390: Syriac graffito possibly invoking *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Found at Katura in north Syria, near Qalat Semaan, to the northwest of Beroia/Aleppo. Probably late antique.

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posted on 20.11.2017, 00:00 by pnowakowski
ܓܝܘܪܓܐ
ܚܣܝܐ

'O George, the holy one!'

Text: Littman 1934, no. 21. Translation: E. Littmann.

History

Evidence ID

E04390

Saint Name

George, soldier and martyr of Diospolis/Lydda : S00259

Saint Name in Source

ܓܝܘܪܓـܐ

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements

Language

Syriac

Evidence not before

400

Evidence not after

700

Activity not before

400

Activity not after

700

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Beroia Katura Qal'at Sem'an

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

Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Katura Thabbora Thabbora Qal'at Sem'an Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Source

Scratched on the left-hand door-jamb of the doorway of a tower in the lower town. Dimensions: Line 1: 0.20 m; line 2: 0.25 m. Letter height 0.025 m. First recorded by the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria and published by Enno Littmann in 1934.

Discussion

The editor notes that the spelling of the name George is somewhat unusual. Normally, it appears in inscriptions as ܓܝܘܪܓܝ or ܓܝܘܪܓܝܣ. The epithet following the name could be given to saints, bishops, or important monks. Littmann suggests that in our case it may indicate that the author of the graffito invoked Saint George, the soldier and martyr of Diospolis/Lydda. Another possibility considered by Littmann is that our George is the abbot of the monastery of Aṭmā, a convent located near Deir Semaan, attested in AD 571, as Katura also lies in proximity of Deir Semaan, and that he himself was the author of our graffito. This is, however, rather unconvincing.

Bibliography

Edition: Littmann, E., Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-5 and 1909, division IV: Semitic Inscriptions, Section B: Syriac Inscriptions (Leiden: Brill, 1934), no. 21.

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