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E01431: Fragmentary Greek dedicatory inscription, commemorating an offering to God and *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), probably the construction of the building on which the inscription was displayed. Found at Constantina/Tella (north Mesopotamia/Osroene). Probably 5th-6th c.

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posted on 2016-06-02, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[- - -]ε Δέσποτα πάντων καὶ τοῦ καρποφορο[ῦντος - - -]
[- - - πρ]ο<σ>δέξαι, Κύριε, + τὸ προσενηχθὲν [- - -]
[- - -]ι τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν καὶ τῷ πρ(ωτ)ομάρ[τυρι - - -]
[- - - το]ῦ ὁσιω[τ(άτου) καὶ] ἁγιωτ(άτου) ἐπισκ(όπου) Σεργίου ΜΟ‖L/[- - -]

2. 2. πρ]ο<σ>δέξαι SEG, οε, δέξαι Canali de Rossi Puchstein || 4. ΣΕΡΓΙΟΥ ΜΟ‖L/[ drawing || Σεργίου [ἰνδ. ἢ ἒτους Canali De Rossi

'[- - -] Master of everything and of the donor [- - -] accept, o Lord, the offering [- - -] for our God and the First Martyr [- - - under (?)] the most [pious and] most holy bishop Sergios [- - -]'

Text: I. Estremo Oriente, no. 39.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

Image Caption 1

From: Humann & Puchstein 1890, no. 4.

Type of Evidence

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


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region


Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Constantina/Tella Edessa Edessa Ἔδεσσα Edessa

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


A stone slab from a lintel, broken and lost at both ends. There is no description of the object, but a drawing and a transcription were published in 1890 by Otto Puchstein. The text is written in two columns, separated by a cross within a circle. Seen and copied in 1882 in the ruins of Constantina/Tella by Puchstein. The new edition by Filippo Canali de Rossi is based on Puchstein's drawing.


Lintel inscriptions usually commemorated the completion of the buildings on which they were placed. Therefore, we can assume that also our text commemorated the construction of a church or a charitable institution dedicated to Stephen as the First Martyr. Bishop Sergios, mentioned in line 4, is otherwise unattested. Puchstein dated the inscription to the late 4th or later centuries, as he supposed that the last line contained a dating formula, specifying the year of the indiction cycle, and this is unlikely to occur in the earlier period. Canali De Rossi ascribed the object to the second half of the 4th c. Though he gave no arguments, he was apparently following Puchstein's dating. Puchstein's suggestion is, however, not convincing as not only the indiction cycle, but also the Seleucid era was used in dated inscriptions from Constantina/Tella. Actually a mid-5th or even 6th c. date is more probable, as among lintels found at the site there are many more that look exactly like our inscription. One of them is dated probably 456 (year 786 of the Seleucid era). It labelled a collective tomb for foreigners (I. Estermo Oriente, no. 41), and another, broadly dated to the 5th c. also referred to the construction of a tomb (I. Estremo Oriente, no. 42). It is plausible that all these stones come from the same workshop, active in the mid-5th-6th c.


Edition: Canali De Rossi, F., Iscrizioni dello estremo oriente greco: un repertorio (Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien 65, Bonn: Habelt, 2004), no. 39. Humann, K., Puchstein, O., Reisen in Kleinasien und Nordsyrien (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 1890), 404, no. 4. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 54, 1576.

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