Saint NameKyrikos, 3rd c. child martyr in Tarsus, son of *Julitta : S00007
Saint Name in SourceΚύρικος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Graffiti
Evidence not before400
Evidence not after700
Activity not before400
Activity not after700
Place of Evidence - RegionAegean islands and Cyprus
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcDelos
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Delos
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - lesser clergy
SourceA marble plaque in the pavement in the nave of the basilica sited to the south of the monument of Tritopatores Pyrrakidon, on a surface above the monument, excavated by Hatzfeld and Dugas in 1909 (see: Holleaux, M., "Rapport sur les travaux exécutés dans l'île de Délos par l'École française d'Athènes pendant l'année 1909", Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1910), 312). The plaque is located in the centre of the western part of the nave.
First mentioned by Pierre Roussel in 1916 (as referring to Saint *Kyriakos, and not *Kyrikos). Seen and copied (a squeeze) by Anastasios Orlandos in 1936, revisited by Pierre Roussel and Marcel Launey in 1937. Georges Kiourtzian says that currently only a right-hand fragment is preserved: H. 0.59 m; W. 0.27 m; Th. 0.04 m; letter height 0.02-0.03 m.
DiscussionAnastasios Orlandos, the editor of the inscription, identified it as "a souvenir of a pilgrimage" (ἐνθύμημα), carved by a person visiting the churc: the deacon Ioannes, who describes himself as a servant of the holy martyr Kyrikos, almost certainly the 3rd c. child martyr of Tarsos (Cilicia, southeastern Asia Minor), son of the martyr Julitta.
Based on this graffito Orlandos identified Kyrikos as the patron saint to whom the basilica was dedicated. This was accepted by Kiourtzian (2000, 51), but questioned by Bernard Flusin (2002, 251) and Michel-Yves Perrin (2002, 485). Though archaeologists frequently rely on graffiti when they identify the dedication of sanctuaries, we must note that not always it was the patron saint of a church, whom pilgrims invoked in inscribed prayers. Sometimes they addressed other figures venerated in the shrine (see: E01257), it is also possible that Ioannes served as a deacon in a church of Kyrikos in his homeland, and therefore, introduced him as his patron.
Furthermore, the position of this graffito is unusual (exposed in the centre of the floor, while most pilgrim graffiti are scratched on walls, near or in rooms with reliquaries), and the sanctuary lacks other pilgrim inscriptions. For these reasons, one can wonder whether Ioannes was really a pilgrim.
Orlandos stylistically dated the decorations of the basilica to the 5th c. (probably its earlier half), see: Orlandos 1936, 82. The inscription was probably carved later, but seemingly before the 8th c., when Delos was abandoned. The exodus could have started already in the mid-6th c. as no sculptures and coins later than this date have been found on the island (see: Orlandos 1936, 70). In later times the island became a refuge for pirates, so the graffito is unlikely to date from this period. Delos was resettled by the Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, but only in the 14th c.
Kiourtzian, G., Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes des Cyclades, de la fin du IIIe au VIIIe siècle après J.-C., (Travaux et mémoires du Centre de recherche d'histoire et civilisation de Byzance. Monographies 12, Paris: De Boccard, 2000), no. 6.
Inscriptions de Délos, vol. 7/2: textes divers, listes et catalogues, fragments divers postérieurs a 166 av. J.-C. (nos 2529-2879), P. Roussel, M. Launey (eds.) (Paris: H. Champion, 1937), no. 2584.
Orlandos, A.K., "Délos chrétienne", Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 60 (1936), 82.
Roussel, P., Délos colonie athénienne (Bibliothèque des écoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome 111, Paris: Fontemoing & cie, E. de Boccard , 1916), 340, note 4 (mentioned).
Feissel, D., "Inscriptions byzantines de Ténos", Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 104/1 (1980), 505, note 60.
Flusin, B., "Review: G. Kiourtzian, Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes des Cyclades, etc.", Revue des études byzantines 60 (2002), 250-251.
Halkin, F., "L'Egypte, Chypre, la Crète et les autres îles grecques. La Grèce continentale et les pays balkaniques. L'Italie et la Sycylie", Analecta Bollandiana 70 (1952), 122.
Kiourtzian, G., "Pietas insulariorum", [in:] Eupsychia: mélanges offerts à Hélène Ahrweiler, vol. 2 (Série Byzantina Sorbonensia 16, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 367, 373.
Perrin M.-Y., "Review in Bulletin critique: G. Kiourtzian, Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes des Cyclades, etc.", Antiquité Tardive: revue internationale d'histoire et d'archéologie 10 (2003), 485.
Bulletin épigraphique (1938), 260.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 50, 731.