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E01676: Fragmentary Greek inscription commemorating the construction of a martyr shrine (martyrion) at Khirbet et-Tîn in the territory of Ḥimṣ/Emesa (northwest Phoenicia), just possibly for relics of *Dasios (martyr of Durostorum, on the Lower Danube, S00187). Dated 539.

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posted on 28.06.2016, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Fragment 1:

ἐ̣θ[ε]μελίωσα μαρ(τύριον) (?)
[τοῦ ἁγίου - - -]ου Λε[ό]ντις υἱοῦ Λεοντίου
[εὐχὴν (?) μη(νὶ) Ξανδ]ικ(οῦ) τοῦ νω΄ ἰνδ(ικτιῶν)ου γ΄

1. perhaps + ἐν ὀνόματι Κ(υρίο)υ or χάριτι τοῦ θ(εο)ῦ Lammens || Μάρκος Lammens || 2. perhaps [τοῦ ἁγίου Δασί]ου || 1-3. ἐθ[εμ]ελίωσα Μάρ(κος) | [υἱὸς τ]οῦ Λε[ό]ντις υἱοῦ Λεοντίου | [μηνὶ Ξανθ]ίκ[ου] το[ῦ ἔτους] νω΄ἰνδικ(τιώνος) γ΄Lammens

'[- - -] I, Leontis (?), built from foundations the martyr shrine (martyrion) (?) of Saint [- - -]os as a vow (?) on behalf of my son Leontios. In the month of Xanthikos, the year 850, the 3rd indiction.'

Fragment 2:

+ Δω-
ροστ-
όρου
Β γ + λ

+ Δω|ροστ|όρου | β(οηθοῦντος) Lammens

'+ Of Dorostoron'.

Text: IGLS V, no. 2614.

History

Evidence ID

E01676

Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060 Dasios, soldier martyr in Durostorum : S00187

Image Caption 1

Drawing; from: IGLS 5, no. 2614.

Image Caption 2

Drawing; from: Lammens 1901.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

539

Evidence not after

539

Activity not before

539

Activity not after

539

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Ḥimṣ/Emesa Khirbet et-tîn

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

Ḥimṣ/Emesa Thabbora Thabbora Khirbet et-tîn Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Vow

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children

Cult Activities - Relics

Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries Construction of cult building to contain relics

Source

Two 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.

Discussion

This 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.

Bibliography

Edition: 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. Further reading: 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. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1961), 782. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 20, 384.

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