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E01791: Greek inscription commemorating the construction of a martyr shrine (oratory/eukterion or martyrion). Found at Rbē'a/Ar-Rbej near Chalkis (north Syria). Probably late antique.

online resource
posted on 2016-08-08, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Ἰωάν[νης - - - - - - - -] κτίσας ἐκ θε-
μελίω[ν - - - τὸ (?) εὐκτήριο]ν(?) τοῦ ἁγίου μ-
άρτυρ[ος - - - - - - -] ἐν μη(νὶ) Παν(έμου), ἰνδ(ικτιῶνος) θʹ.

2-3. Μ|αρτυρ[ίου] (?) Mouterde

'Ioannes [- - -] having built from the foundations [- - - this oratory (?)] of the holy martyr [- - -] in the month of Panemos, indiction 9.'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 334. Translation: W. Prentice, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anonymous martyrs : 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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Chalkis Rbē'a/Ar-Rbej

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

Chalkis Thabbora Thabbora Rbē'a/Ar-Rbej Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Two non-conjoining fragments. There is no published image. Fragment A: H. 0.38 m; W. 0.36 m; Th. 0.36 m. Broken and lost at the right-hand end. The inscription is carved in three bands, possibly in low-relief. Letter height 0.06-0.065 m. Found to the north of the village of Rbē'a/Ar-Rbej, by the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria 1899-1900. Copied by Enno Littmann. First published from Littmann's copy by William Prentice in 1908. Fragment B: H. 0.385 m; W. 0.60 m; Th. 0.30 m. Broken and lost at the left-hand end. The inscription is carved in low-relief in three bands. Letter height 0.075 m. Found at the village of Rbē'a/Ar-Rbej, in an unspecified location. First published by William Prentice in 1908 from his own copy. Prentice suggested that the two fragments might have belonged to the same lintel, but as some of the dimensions differ, and he was unsure whether the letters on Fragment A were in low-relief, he admitted that this hypothesis might be erroneous. Both fragments were republished in 1939 by René Mouterde and Louis Jalabert as probably from one lintel.


William Prentice believed that both fragments came from a building inscription for a martyr shrine, housing relics of a martyr, whose name is lost. Jalabert and Mouterde hypothesised that the saint could be actually called 'Martyrios', as the crucial passage in line 2-3 can be read τοῦ ἁγίου Μαρτυρ[ίου/'of Saint Martyrios' instead of τοῦ ἁγίου μάρτυρ[ος/'of the holy martyr ...'. Though possible, this hypothesis is not convincing, as the expression 'the holy martyr' was widely used in near eastern inscriptions with reference to saints. Dating: Unfortunately, the remnants of the dating formula with the name of the month and the indiction year cannot be converted into a precise date. Therefore, we can only place the text in the 5th or 6th c., 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. 334. Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 246, no. 307 and 247, no. 309.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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