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E01789: Greek inscription commemorating the construction of a martyr shrine (martyrion) of *Dometios (probably the monk and martyr of Syria under Julian, S00414). Found at Mu'Allaḳ near Chalkis (north Syria). Probably late antique.

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posted on 2016-08-07, 00:00 authored by erizos
[+ τὰ χαρίσ]ματ<α> τοῦ ἁγίου ̣Δ̣ο̣μ̣ε-
[τίου λόγῳ π]ο̣λλά- κις <ἀ>είρα<ς>, ἔκτισα
[νῦν τὸ] μαρτύρ- ω + α ην τοῦτω· ἥτις
[ἐμοὶ πε]ρ<ι>ωικί[ς]· εὔξῃ ὑπὲρ
[- - - σω]τ(ηρίας) (?) [(καὶ)] Μ- αρία ἡ γυνὴ
[(καὶ) - - -]ρου υ[ἱοῦ] (?) αὐτοῦ. +

1. [+ τὰ χαρίσ]ματ<α> or [δωρή]ματ<α> (?) Mouterde, ματ̣υ . Mouterde's copy, ΜΑΤ̣V Littmann's copy || ̣Δ̣ο̣μ̣ε- Mouterde's copy, ̣ΔΟ̣ΘΕ- Littmann's copy || 2. ]ο̣λλα- Mouterde's copy, ΩΙ̣C̣ΟΑ Littmann's copy | <ἀ>είρα<ς> Mouterde, λειρα Mouterde's copy, ἐν or ἐπὶ πέτρᾳ Prentice, ̣ΛΕΤΡΑ Littmann's copy || 3. [νῦν τὸ] μαρτύρην τοῦτω Mouterde, μάρτυρ (sic!) ἦν τούτων Prentice || 4. ἐμοὶ πε]ρ<ι>ωικί[ς] Mouterde, ̣ια̣ρ̣χωικι Mouterde's copy, ἀπ]αρχῶ<ν> εὐ<χ>ηὴ ὑπέρ Prentice, ̣ΙΑ̣Ρ̣ΧΩΚΙ Littmann's copy || 5. [- - - σω]τ(ηρίας) (?) [(καὶ)] Μ- Mouterde, [- - -]τ. Μ- Mouterde's copy, [- - -]Ε + ϞΜ- Littmann's copy

'+ Having glorified (?) [the grace (?)] of Saint Dometios [in speeches (sermons?)], [now] I built this martyr shrine (martyrion). How splendid a neighborhood [for me]! May (the reader) pray for [- - - - the] salvation [and (?)] Maria, (my?) wife, [and (?) - - -]ros, his (= my?) [son (?)]. +'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 274.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Dometios, monk and martyr of Syria, ob. 363 : S00414

Saint Name in Source


Image Caption 1

Transcription of Mouterde's copy. From: IGLS 2, 156.

Image Caption 2

Littmann's copy. From: Prentice 1908, 266.

Type of Evidence

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


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Chalkis Mu'Allaḳ

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

Chalkis Thabbora Thabbora Mu'Allaḳ Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Ecclesiastics – unspecified Other lay individuals/ people


A fallen lintel. Broken and lost at the left-hand end. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.45 m; W. 1.32 m (1.27 m when revisited in 1935; originally probably 1.67 m); Th. 0.33 m. Decorated in the centre with a carving of a cross within a square. There are circles in the upper corners of the square and the letters Α and Ω in the lower corners. The inscription is set out in two columns, to the right and to the left of the square. The right-hand column is completely preserved: W. 0.66 m; letter height 0.045-0.07 m. There is no published image. Found by the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria 1899-1900. First published in 1908 by William Prentice, from a copy by Enno Littmann. Revisited by René Mouterde in 1935 and republished by Mouterde and Louis Jalabert in 1939.


The inscription is badly preserved and, despite two independent attempts to read it directly from the stone, several passages were still not clear and had to be interpreted by the editors. Above we offer the hypothetical reconstruction of the text by Mouterde. Its phrasing is, however, quite unusual, when compared with other building inscriptions for martyr shrines, and the completions in lines 2 and 4-6 seem implausible. It is, however, almost certain that the inscription commemorated the construction of a martyr shrine (martyrion), dedicated probably to a Saint Dometios. The shrine is mentioned in line 3, and though William Prentice interpreted this passage as referring to a witness of the undertaking (μάρτυρ (sic!) ἦν τούτων / 'I was the witness to these'), his reasoning is unjustified and grammatically incorrect, and in this case it is the restoration by Mouterde, one should follow. Prentice did not recognise the name of the saint, given at the end of line 1. Mouterde read it as Dometios and identified this figure as the martyr under the emperor Julian, whose story is recounted by John Malalas (S00877). Modern scholars believe that the legend about his martyrdom is late, and that the same figure had been venerated in earlier times as a monk and miraculous healer of hip pain, dwelling in a cave near Cyrrhus (S00414). He is probably the same holy physician, whose sanctuary is described by Gregory of Tours as one of the significant healing centres in Syria (see: E00652). Anyway, the name Dometios is quite frequent in the near Eastern inscriptions (see: E01689; E01696). Mouterde believed that this martyr shrine was built close to a villa or a farm owned by the founder, but this supposition is based only on the tentative reconstruction of lines 3-4: ἥτις [ἐμοὶ πε]ρ<ι>ωικί[ς]/'How splendid a neighborhood [ for me]!'. It is also possible that a burial ad sanctos is meant here. For a similar declaration, see: E01002. Dating: unfortunately, since this inscription lacks a dating formula, we can only broadly date it to the late antique period, based on the contents.


Edition: Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 274. Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 265, no. 334.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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