[- - -]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.
Saint NameStephen, the First Martyr : S00030
Image Caption 1From: Humann & Puchstein 1890, no. 4.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before350
Evidence not after600
Activity not before350
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionMesopotamia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcConstantina/Tella
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Constantina/Tella
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - unspecified
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsBequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
SourceA 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.
DiscussionLintel 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.
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.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 54, 1576.