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E00837: Greek graffiti on a marble balustrade, with invocations of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) and probably *John (presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042), *Michael (the Archangel, S00181), and *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Found in Aphrodisias (Caria, western Asia Minor), at the Temple/Church site. Probably 5th/6th c. or later.

online resource
posted on 2015-11-04, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Graffiti on fragments of a white marble balustrade:

[- - -] τ(οῦ) [- - -]
Θεοφύλακτος τ(οῦ) ̣Ρ̣Γ̣Λ̣Χ [- - -]

Γαιόργ̣ηος +
+ + Γεοργηίου Κ(ύρι)ε + βω(ήθι)
Γεορ vacat

μ(ήτη)ρ [θ](εο)ῦ Μιχ(αὴλ) τ(οῦ) Πα̣λ̣μα Κω(νσταντῖνος) τ(οῦ) ̣Β̣Τ̣Η

A: '[- - -] Theophylaktos [- - -].'
B: 'Georgios + + + son of Georgios. Lord, + help Geor(gios)!'
C: 'Joannes, Mother of God, Michael, son of Palmas (?), Konstantinos (?) Michael'

Text: IAph2007 1.33. Interpretation and translation: Ch. Roueché.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, the Mother of Jesus : S00033 John the Evangelist : S00042 John the Baptist : S00020 Michael, the Archangel : S00181 George, martyr in Nicomedia or Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259

Saint Name in Source

μήτηρ θεοῦ Ἰωάννης Ἰωάννης Μηχαήλ Γαιόργ̣ηος, Γεοργηίος

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements



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)

Aphrodisias Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Fine graffiti on fragments of a white marble balustrade, on a polished surface at the upper edge. Found in Aphrodisias (Caria, west Asia Minor), at the Temple/Church site (the cathedral church). Letters height c. 0.05 cm.


Charlotte Roueché supposes that the balustrades were covered with graffiti, because they “surrounded areas of particular sanctity, or rather because they were particularly easily accessible, standing probably at waist height” (see ala2004, ch. VIII.13). The Virgin Mary is certainly the addressee of one of the invocations. Whether other figures (Michael, John, George) are saints or supplicants is disputable. Roueché argues that though the mentioned characters are not called ἅγιοι they are invoked saints rather than supplicants. Dating: 5th-6th c. or later: proposed by Charlotte Roueché. But the epithet μήτηρ θεοῦ (mother of God) may indicate that the graffiti come from the post-Iconoclastic period.


Edition: IAph2007 1.33. Roueché, Ch. (ed.), Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity. The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions including Texts from the Excavations at Aphrodisias conducted by Kenan T. Erim (Journal of Roman Studies Monograph 5, London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1989), no. 132. Further Reading: Roueché, Ch., Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity,electronic second edition (London, 2004), ch. VIII.13.