Saint NameMichael, the Archangel : S00181
Gabriel, the Archangel : S00192
Saint Name in SourceΜιχαήλ
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before450
Evidence not after1300
Activity not before450
Activity not after1300
Place of Evidence - RegionAegean islands and Cyprus
Aegean islands and Cyprus
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcLesbos
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Lesbos
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
SourceFragment of a white marble plaque, found and copied (with a squeeze) at Mitylene (Lesbos) in October 1899, by Petros Papageorgiu, director of the Gymnasium of Mitilini. H. c. 0.3 m; W. c. 0.3 m. It was said to have been brought there from the nearby town of Thermi.
DiscussionThe purpose of this inscription is not obvious and its phrasing is unusual. It begins with a noun in the accusative form, which was completed by Papageorgiu as φιλανθροπία / 'philanthropy' or 'magnanimity'. If so, we can suppose that we are dealing with an acclamation of the magnanimity of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, or a dedication to their magnanimity (as in late antique Greek the dative case was being gradually superseded by the accusative). However, Anastasios Orlandos (1948) preferred to read the first word simply as ὅροι/'boundaries' and identified the text as a regular boundary stone inscription. This reading was accepted by Georgios Dimitrokallis (1972).
Though this inscription does not say so explicitly, boundary stones were usually bestowed upon sanctuaries by emperors.
The inscription is not precisely datable, but invocations of Archangels are characteristic of the late 5th and later centuries.
Grégoire, H (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 154.
Papageorgiou, P., Unedierte Inschriften von Mytilene (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1900), no. 41.
Charitonidis, S., Παλαιοχριστιανικὴ τοπογραφία τῆς Λέσβου, Archaiologikon Deltion 23 (1968), 12, note 9.
Dimitrokallis, G., Συμβολαὶ εἰς τὴν μελέτην τῶν βυζαντινῶν μνημείων Νάξου, vol. 1 (Athens: 1972), 75, note 85 (mentioned).
Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie. Supplément", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 340.
Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 376.
Orlandos, A.K., "Παλαιοχριστιανικὰ λείψανα τῆς Ῥόδου", Ἀρχεῖον τῶν βυζαντινῶν μνημείων τῆς Ἑλλάδος 6 (1948), 12, note 3.