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E04572: Greek inscriptions on a water basin, recording the names of *Paul (probably the Apostle, S00008), and *Gregorios (possibly Gregory of Nazianzus, S00837). Found at Antioch of Pisidia (west central Asia Minor). Probably 7th c. or later.

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posted on 10.01.2018, 00:00 by pnowakowski, Bryan
On a stone water basin:

A: [Φ]ωνὴ Κ(υρί)ου ἐπὴ τõν ὑδά[των]

'The voice of the Lord is upon the waters.'

B: Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χ(ριστὸ)ς νηκᾷ

'Jesus Christ conquers!'

C: ὁ ἅγηος Παῦλος

'Saint Paul'

D: ὁ ἅγηος Γρηγόρηος

'Saint Gregory'

Text: Mitchell & Öztürk 1998, 215 = SEG 48, 1520.

In addition, an earlier edition records yet another inscription on the same basin:

βοίθη, Κύριε, Δημήτριον (?) τὸν δοῦ[λον]

'Help, O Lord, Demetrios, (your?) servant!'

Text: Pace 1916-1920 [1921], 55, no. 43.

History

Evidence ID

E04572

Saint Name

Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Gregory 'the Theologian', bishop of Nazianzos, ob. 390 : S00837

Saint Name in Source

Παῦλος Γρηγόρηος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

600

Evidence not after

1300

Activity not before

600

Activity not after

1300

Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antiochia of Pisidia

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

Antiochia of Pisidia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Source

The inscriptions are on a stone water basin, made from a reused Roman altar. H. 0.85 m. The top and the shaft have roughly octagonal sections measuring respectively 0.84 m x 0.84 m and 0.68 m x 0.68 m. Letters of poor quality. Letter height c. 0.02-0.03 m. Inscription A is on top of the basin. Inscription B is on the front face of the shaft. Inscription C is on the left, and D on the right side of the shaft. Decorated with a relief of two winged beasts flanking a cross, of a Maltese cross, of a rosette, and of a Latin cross. Another carving shows a cross on top of a globe, beneath an arch, and one more Maltese cross. The basin was first published by William Calder in 1912, from a copy by Prodromos, his Greek servant, taken in 1911. Calder notes that the basin was kept in the baths at Yalowadj (Υalvaç), and offers an incomplete edition (Inscriptions B and C). When revisited by Biagio Pace in 1914, the stone was still in the same location ('nel bagno del mercato [Bazár Hammám]'). Pace's edition offers approximate dimensions and complete transcriptions. The basin is now in the Υalvaç Museum. In 1998 it was republished with a photograph by Stephen Mitchell and Jean Öztürk, with the aid of Mehmet Taşlıalan. Taşlıalan notes that in spite of the earliest records by Calder, the basin is said to have been originally found at the so-called 'large basilica' at Pisidian Antioch (see below).

Discussion

The basin could be a votive offering of a certain Demetrios, if the name is read correctly by Pace. Calder identified the basin as a baptismal font, and suggested that it came from a certain church of Paul the Apostle, built to commemorate Paul's visit to Antioch. He hypothetically dated the construction of that presumed church to the late 4th or 5th c. Taşlıalan suggests that the basin gives the names of the patron saint (Paul) of the church which owned it, and that it was the large three-aisled basilica with a narthex and a forecourt, sited at the western edge of Antioch. This sanctuary was one of the largest churches in Anatolia, and is believed to have been almost certainly the seat of the metropolitan bishop of Antioch. Its nave and aisles were decorated with floor-mosaics. One of them mentions bishop Optimos, identified with a participant of the Council of Constantinople 381. Thus, the second half of the 4th c. is the presumed date of the foundation of the church (for a description, see Mitchell & Öztürk 1998, 210-217). Mitchell and Öztürk only partly accept Taşlıalan's supposition. They acknowledge that the inscription proves that Paul's links with Antioch were remembered, and that he must have received some cult at the basilica, but they argue that the church was not necessarily dedicated to him. Dating: Despite the apparently early date of the church, the basin is stylistically dated by Mitchell and Öztürk to the 7th or later centuries. Indeed, a later date is much more plausible, if the Gregory mentioned in Inscription D was Gregory of Nazianzus.

Bibliography

Edition: Öztürk, J., S. Mitchell, "Three churches at Antioch", in: S. Mitchell, M. Waelkens, Pisidian Antioch. The Site and Its Monuments (London: Duckworth, 1998), 215. Pace, B., "Antiochia di Pisidia", Annuario della Scuola Archeologica di Atene e delle Missioni Italiane in Oriente 3 (1916-1920) [1921], 55, no. 43. (54-60) Calder, W.M., "Colonia Caesareia Antiocheia", The Journal of Roman Studies 2 (1912), 98, no. 29. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 48, 1518, 1520.

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