Saint NameUnnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060
Dasios, soldier martyr in Durostorum : S00187
Image Caption 1Drawing; from: IGLS 5, no. 2614.
Image Caption 2Drawing; from: Lammens 1901.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before539
Evidence not after539
Activity not before539
Activity not after539
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcḤimṣ/Emesa
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Ḥimṣ/Emesa
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsVow
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesWomen
Cult Activities - RelicsTransfer/presence of relics from distant countries
Construction of cult building to contain relics
SourceTwo fragments of a lintel, decorated with a carving of a cross within a circle.
Seen and copied in August of 1898 by Henri Lammens, a Jesuit and scholar of Arabic studies based in Beirut. When recorded, the fragments were reused in a wall of a field. Brought to and stored in a local inn (khan). Revisited by Sébastien Ronzevalle, a Jesuit and scholar of historical geography, archaeology, and Semitic epigraphy, likewise based in Beirut, who offered an improved reading of Fragment 2.
DiscussionThis fragmentary inscription commemorates the construction of a martyr shrine (martyrion), possibly as a vow made by a woman, Leontis, for the salvation or repose of her son, Leontios.
Henri Lammens, the first editor, did not identify the stone as originally displayed at a place of cult of a martyr, as he expanded the abbreviated word ΜΑΡ in line 1 as the name Μάρκος/'Mark' instead of μαρτύριον/'martyrion'. The latter option is, however, much more plausible, as is prudently pointed out by René Mouterde, the editor of Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie.
However, at the same time Mouterde interpreted the word written on Fragment 2 as a personal name, preferably of an artisan ('the work of Dorostoros'). But Louis Robert argued that Δωροστορον/'Dorostoron' is much more likely to be a Greek rendering of the Latin toponym Durostorum in the Roman province of Moesia II (modern Silistra in Bulgaria). The presence of the name of such a remote city in a near eastern religious inscription is difficult to explain, but, based on the contents of Fragment 1, Robert suggested that our sanctuary housed the relics of a martyr, brought to the territory of Emesa from the Danube region (see: Robert 1960, 354-356; BE (1961), 782). Durostorum was renowned for the cult of the martyr *Dasios (see: E00365), and his name could fill the lacuna at the beginning of line 2. Though this reconstruction is really tempting, it is still hypothetical, and therefore we put it only in the apparatus.
Dating: the inscription is dated according to the Seleucid era (the year 850), which, together with the indiction year date, corresponds to AD 539.
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), no. 2614.
Lammens, H., “Le pays des Nosairis. Itinéraire et notes archéologiques”, Le musée belge: revue de philologie classique 4 (1900), 301, nos. 37-38.
Leclercq, H., "Nosairis", Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et liturgie, vol. 12/2 (Paris: Librarie Letouzey et Ané, 1936), col. 1623.
Robert, L., "Recherches épigraphiques", Revue des études anciennes 62 (1960), 354-356.
Bulletin épigraphique (1961), 782.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 20, 384.