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E01777: Fragmentary Greek inscription in red paint on a white marble plaque, probably referring to a saint. Found at Tyre (west Phoenicia). Probably late antique.

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posted on 2016-08-01, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Fragments of a white marble plaque with a painted inscription. Now in the archaeological stores, housing the finds from the necropolis in Tyre. There is no published detailed description of the whereabouts of the discovery, nor of the dimensions, except for the statement that all of the fragments are of the same thickness and some of them are conjoining. They were assembled and examined by Richard Lian. Partial transcription was offered by Jean-Paul Rey-Coquais in 1977, after a reexamination of the stone together with Richard Lian and Olivier Aurenche in 1968. Most of the text remains, however, untranscribed and it was published only in six photographs (I. Tyr 1, plate LIV). The fragment in photograph 1 was probably located at the beginning of the inscription, in its upper left corner, as its text begins with a cross and there are wide margins to the left of and above the letters. The order of the other fragments is uncertain.

The letters are painted in red. Very fine lettering.

Plate LIV, photograph 1: + ὁ ἅγιος [- - -]/'+ Saint [- - -]'

Text: I. Tyr 1, no. 218.

Other fragments are scarcely legible (see: images 1-6). Rey-Coquais says that the text on the left-hand fragment in photograph 2 can be combined with that on the left-hand fragment in photograph 4 to form the words: φιλόσοφος/'philosopher', or in a wider sense 'lover of wisdom', in line 1, and ἀγαπᾶν/'to love' in line 2. The fragments, however, do not conjoin, and their association is not certain. In our opinion line 2 of the left-hand fragment in photograph 2 is more likely to contain the phrase: [- - -]θη αγγ[- - -], which, for example, resembles a passage from the First Epistle to Timothy (3,16): ὅς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις/'(God) was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels'. The number of possible completions, deriving from the Scriptures and early Christian writings, is quite big, including these phrases: καὶ ὤφθη ἄγγελος κυρίου πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα/'And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman' (Judges 13:2); καὶ κατέλθωσιν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν πλήθη ἀγγέλων ἀναριθμήτων/'and uncountable hosts of angels descended to the earth' (the apocryphal Revelation of John 17:12), etc.

The editors give no overview of the possible contents of the whole inscription, but given the initial cross, and the occurrence of the epithet 'saint' (or 'holy'), we can assume that this was a Christian religious text that might have referred to a holy figure.

There is no way to certainly date the inscription, but the form of letters point to a fairly late period (perhaps 6th or 7th c.).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Saints, name wholly or largely lost : S01744 Unnamed angels (or name lost) : S00723

Image Caption 1

Photograph 1. From: I. Tyr 1, plate LIV.

Image Caption 2

Photograph 2. From: I. Tyr 1, plate LIV.

Image Caption 3

Photograph 3. From: I. Tyr 1, plate LIV.

Image Caption 4

Photograph 4. From: I. Tyr 1, plate LIV.

Image Caption 5

Photograph 5. From: I. Tyr 1, plate LIV.

Image Caption 6

Photograph 6. From: I. Tyr 1, plate LIV.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts Liturgical texts - Other Inscriptions - Graffiti


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Tyre Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



Edition: I. Tyr 1 – Rey-Coquais, J.-P. (ed.), Inscriptions grecques et latines découvertes dans les fouilles de Tyr (1963-1974), vol. 1: Inscriptions de la Nécropole (Bulletin du Musée de Beyrouth 29, Paris: Librairie d'Amérique et d'Orient A. Maisonnueve, 1977), no. 218 and plate LIV.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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