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E01115: Carving of an inscribed cross, with an invocation of *Michael (the Archangel, S00181). Found in Ephesos (western Asia Minor). Probably late antique.

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posted on 2016-02-12, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
A marble plaque with carving of a cross with inscribed arms. In four sections of the plaque, delimited by the arms of the cross, there are carved grape vines, doves and ivy. Found in a private house; first published by Dieter Knibbe.


A (on the upper vertical arm of the cross):

ἅ[γι]|ε [Μι]|χαὴ|λ, βο|ήθη|σον | Μαρ|γαρ|ήτῃ.

B (on the horizontal arm of the cross):

νικᾷ ἡ τύχη τῆς πόληος. | Κ(υρίο)υ καλὰ σημε̣ῖα σ̣οι ̣ἆ̣ρ[ον]

C (on the lower vertical arm of the cross):

κὲ τοῦ|τον | τὸν | ἀ̣γῶ|ναν νικ|ᾷς κὲ | σ|τεφ|ανο|ῦσε· | ἔνβ|α, νίκα, πε|δά|ριν, | θεὸ|ν ̣ἔχ|ις με|τ' ἐσ|ο̣ῦ

σ|τεφ|ανο|ύσε = σ|τεφ|ανο|ῦσαι Engelmann, σ|τεφ|άνο|υς <ε> Knibbe || πέ|δα, | οἴν|οεο|ν σχ|ίς μέ | τέ σ|̣ο̣υ Knibbe || πε|δά|ριν = παιδάριον Engelmann || με|τ' ἐσ|ο̣ῦ Engelmann, μέ|τέ σ|̣ο̣υ Knibbe

'Saint Michael, help Margarites! Long live the city (literally: May the fortune of the city be victorious)! Take up the beautiful signs of the Lord, win this competition and be crowned with wreaths! Come in, win, child, God is with you!'

Text: Engelmann 1973.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements Images and objects - Sculpture/reliefs Literary - Magical texts and amulets 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)

Ephesus Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


We are grateful to Denis Feissel for providing us with a photograph of the inscription.


The inscription is an invocation of Michael the Archangel on behalf of a certain Margarites (and perhaps also on behalf of the whole city of Ephesos). Louis Robert notes that the second part of the invocation may refer to the Christian acclamation: ἐν τούτῳ νίκα, ‘In this conquer!’ (and its Latin equivalent ‘In hoc signo vinces’, ‘In this sign thou shalt conquer!’), originating from the story of Constantineʼs vision before the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The invocation ends with a sequence of short imperatives, which resembles formulas used in charms.


Editions: Die Inschriften von Ephesos, no. 1357. Engelmann, H., "Eine christliche Inschrift", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 10 (1973), 86. Knibbe, D., "Tyche und das Kreuz Christi als antithetische Bezugspunkte menschlichen Lebens in einer frühchristlichen Inschrift aus Ephesos", in: E.G. Braun (ed.), Festschrift für Fritz Eichler zum achtzigsten Geburtstag (Vienna: Selbstverlag [des Österreichischen Archäologischen Instituts], 1967), 96-102. For a photograph, see: Pillinger, R., Kersten, O., Krinzinger, F., Russo, O. (eds.), Efeso paleocristiana e bizantina = Frühchristliches und byzantinisches Ephesos: Referate des vom 22. bis 24. Februar 1996 im Historischen Institut beim Österreichischen Kulturinstitut in Rom durchgeführten internationalen Kongresses aus Anlass des 100-jährigen Jubiläums der österreichischen Ausgrabungen in Ephesos (Denkschriften: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 282, Archäologische Forschungen 3, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1999), Tafel 29, Fig. 72. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1973), 381.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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