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E01180: Greek invocation of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), as the God-Bearer, asked to 'steer' a city. Found at Mytilene (Lesbos). Possibly late antique or later.

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posted on 10.03.2016, 00:00 by pnowakowski
+ Θεοτό-
κ(αι) πρόστα κ(αὶ) κυ-
βέρνησων
τὴν πόλιν ταύτη(ν)

1-2. Θεοτό|κ(αι) = Θεοτό|κ(ε) the word is abbreviated in the same way as κ(αὶ), so the ending -αι is expected || πρόστα = πρόστηθι Papageorgiu

'+ O God-Bearer (Theotokos), command and steer this city!'

Text: Papageorgiu 1900, no. 40.

History

Evidence ID

E01180

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

Θεοτόκος

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

431

Evidence not after

1300

Activity not before

431

Activity not after

1300

Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Lesbos Mytilene

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

Lesbos Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia Mytilene Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

A large white plaque, found in March 1895 by Petros Papageorgiu, director of the Gymnasium of Mitilini, at the site of a house at Mytilene, next to a fragment of the epitaph for a bishop.

Discussion

The inscription is an invocation of Mary as the God-Bearer. The saint is asked to 'steer' (κυβερνάω) a city, apparently Mytilene itself. The verb κυβερνάω has obvious maritime connotations and was probably chosen because Mytilene was located on the island of Lesbos and the inhabitants were often engaged in maritime business. The inscription certainly postdates 431, as the title God-Bearer (Θεοτόκος) became popular only after the council of Ephesos, held in that year, but it may actually be of a much later date.

Bibliography

Edition: Grégoire, H (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 151. Papageorgiou, P., Unedierte Inschriften von Mytilene (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1900), no. 40. Further reading: Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 376.

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