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E00709: Greek inscription from Anazarbos (Cilicia, south-eastern Asia Minor) with a poem commemorating the restoration of a picture of *Menas (probably the soldier and martyr of Abu Mena, S00073) perhaps in the apse of a local church, funded by an unnamed emperor. Probably 6th c.

online resource
posted on 2015-09-12, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
In four lines of hexameters:

+ Μηνᾶς ὑψικέλευ|θε τεὸν πολυπίδ[α]|κα μαζόν
σῶζε πο̣[ρ]|ὼν ναέτηισιν ἔχει[ν] | εὐπάρθενον ἥβη[ν]· |
δωτίναις βασιλήισι | ἔχεις πεφυλαγμέ|νον εἶδος
ἁψῖδος | στροφάλιγγι Φι|λαγριάδεσσι με|ρίμναις (ivy leaf)

Φιλαγρίου ἰν|λουστρίου (ivy leaf)

3-4. πο̣[ρ]|ὼν Halkin, Hamdi Sayar, Dagron & Marcillet-Jaubert, πα[ρ]|ὼν Merkelbach & Stauber Robert Gough

'+ Heavenly Menas, keep this multiple fountain (literally: your many-fountained breast), granting the inhabitants to have youthful vigour. Thanks to imperial largesse, your image is secured on the circle of the apse by the efforts of Philagrios. (Poem) by Philagrios, of illustris rank.'

Text: I. Anazarbos, no. 58. Trans. E. Rizos, P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Menas, soldier and martyr Abu Mena : S00073

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Anazarba Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Commissioning/producing an image

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats Monarchs and their family Other lay individuals/ people


The inscription was reused in the masonry of the northern gate entrance in Anavarza. H. 1.40 m; W. 0.63 m; letter height 0.06 – 0.048 m.


The poem commemorates the renovation of a picture of a certain Menas, probably in the apse of a local church. If it refers to the rock-cut church in the upper city, it can be dated to the period after 516 when the church was founded. Another explanation is that the picture was located in a large building with a fountain providing water for the town (see Gough 1952, 133-134). Though the mentioned Menas is not called ἅγιος/'saint', it is rather unlikely that he is the Anatolian deity Men, as the inscription is Christian (it begins with a cross). Michael Gough, Reinhold Merkelbach and Josef Stauber identified this Menas as the famous Egyptian martyr, though a homonymous local victim of persecutions may also be in question. The renovation was funded by an unnamed emperor and supervised by a certain Philagrios of illustris rank. Philagrios might be the same person who constructed a stoa in Keramos (PLRE 2, Philagrius 4; for the building inscription see: SGO 01/10/02; I. Keramos 66; Varınlıoğlu, E., “The missing fragment of I.K. 30 (Keramos), no. 66”, Epigraphica Anatolica 25 (1995), 93-94; Lebek, W.D., “Dichterisches über den Menschenfreund Philagrios aus Kermaos (I.K. 30, 66)”, Epigraphica Anatolica 27 (1996), 151-156; but contra CEByz, 533). The reference to the "many-fountained breast of Menas" is by no means unambiguous but may be to a local rounded crag with a spring providing fresh water (see Gough 1952, 133).


Edition: I. Anazarbos 58 Steinepigramme aus dem griechischen Osten, no. 19/17/05 Dagron, G., Marcillet-Jaubert, J., “Inscriptions de Cilicie et d'Isaurie”, Belleten Türk Tarih Kurumu 42 (1978), 379 Gough M., “Anazarbus”, Anatolian Studies 2 (1952), no. 4a PLRE 2, Philagrius 4. Further Reading: Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 107. Halkin, F., “Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure”, Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 346-347 Halkin, F., “L'inscription métrique d'Anazarbe en l'honneur de Saint Ménas”, Byzantion 23 (1953), 239-243 Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1954), 238. Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 533 Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 12, 545a

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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