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E01681: Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription probably from north Syria, commemorating the construction of a church with a baptistery and a martyr shrine (martyrion). Exact provenance unknown. Possibly of the second half of the 4th c.

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posted on 2016-06-30, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ἐπὶ τοῦ ε[ὐλ]̣αβεστάτου ἐπισκόπου Μαρκέλ-
λου ἐν ἡμ[έρα]ις Παλλαδίου καὶ Εὐσεβίου τῶν
τιμιωτάτων πρεσβυτέρων ἡ ἐκλησία
[σ]̣ὺ̣ν τῷ φωτιστηρίῳ καὶ τοῦ μαρτυρίου
μετὰ πάσης ἐπικοσμήσεως ἐκ θεμελίων
ἐκτίσθησαν σπουδῇ Εὐφρασίου διακόνου
καὶ οἰκονόμου καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν διακόνων

4. καὶ τῷ φωτιστηρίῳ Rey Coquais || [σ]ὺν τῷ φωτιστηρίῳ Jarry

'Under the most pious bishop Markellos, in the days of Palladios and Eusebios, the most venerable presbyters, the church, with the baptistery, and the martyr shrine (martyrion) with all the embellishments were built from foundations by the efforts of the deacon and steward (oikonomos) Euphrasios, and the other deacons.'

Text: Jarry 1985, 113, no. 13.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060

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

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Ḥūarte Tell Minis Apamea on the Orontes

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

Ḥūarte Thabbora Thabbora Tell Minis Thabbora Thabbora Apamea on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Floor-mosaic panel. Seen, photographed and copied by Jacques Jarry in the antiquities market before 1985. There is no published description. A photograph was republished by Pauline Donceel-Voûte in 1988 [1991]. Provenance unknown, probably north Syria. In 1987 Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais noted that the sanctuary, described in the inscription, resembles that of Ḥūarte, to the north of Apamea on the Orontes, see: E01624. Jean Paul Rey-Coquais offered an altered restoration of the word lost at the beginning of line 4. However, having examined the shape of other letters in this inscriptions (especially Α and Κ) we see it rather implausible and retain the original restoration by Jarry.


The inscription commemorates the construction of a church with a baptistery and a martyr shrine, probably a chapel or chamber adjacent to the apse, connected with one of the aisles. The name of the martyr, venerated there, is not specified. In the Bulletin épigraphique Denis Feissel suggests that the bishop, mentioned in line 1, might be Markellos of Apamea, a vigorous opponent of the local pagan religions, credited with the destruction of the temple of Zeus-Belos (see: Busine 2013), and killed by the crowd in c. 389, during the attempted demolition of another pagan sanctuary. He was later himself venerated as a martyr, and praised by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Church history (see: EXXXXX, ch. 5.22).


Edition: Donceel-Voûte, P., Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban. Décor, archéologie et liturgie (Publications d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie de l’Université catholique de Louvain 69, Louvain-La-Neuve: Département d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 1988), 470, fig. 447 (photograph), cf. 171, note 17. Jarry, J., "Nouveaux documents grecs et latins de Syrie du Nord et de Palmyrene", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 60 (1985), 113. Further reading: Rey-Coquais, J.-P., "Épigraphie", [in:] P. and M.T. Canivet, J. Lassus (eds.), Ḥūarte. Sanctuaire chrétien d’Apamène (IVe-VIe s.) (Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1987), 50, note 10. For the destruction of the temple of Zeus-Belos in Apamea, see: Busine, A., "From stones to myth: temple destruction and civic identity in the late antique Roman East", Journal of Late Antiquity 6 (2013), 325-346. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (1987), 501. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 35, 1528; 37, 1461.

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