Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Saint Name in SourceΜαρία
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements
Evidence not before500
Evidence not after600
Activity not before500
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcBeroia
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Beroia
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
SourceA stone panel from a balustrade (a chancel screen?) or a parapet. Dimensions of the panel: H. 0.80 m; W. 1.05 m. The inscription is in low-relief, on carved bands. H. 0.60 m; W. 0.86 m. H. of the first band: 0.11 m.
Found, standing upright, in the ruins of Mektebeh by the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria 1899-1900. Copied by William Prentice. First published by Prentice in 1908. Republished by René Mouterde and Louis Jalabert in 1939.
DiscussionThe inscription invokes the help of Mary for four men, probably donors of the chancel screen on which the inscription was displayed (if the purpose of the plaque was correctly identified). For another invocation of Mary from Mektebeh, see: E01792. The character of these inscriptions (fine architectural elements) suggests that a church dedicated to Mary was constructed here.
Prentice commented that the name Μηκιμας/Mekimas was probably a Greek rendering of the Palmyrene-Nabataean name מקימה, which is also spellt מקם in Safaïtic. The last name, Ἁσσουβος, is the Greek transcription of the Arabic name Ḥassūb.
Prentice believed that this inscription should be interpreted together with bi- and trilingual texts, found in this area of Syria (in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic), and noted that the presence of Arabic-speaking people was epigraphically attested in the region already in AD 512. We must remember, however, that no justified conclusions concerning the ethnic identity of the mentioned people can be drawn, based only on the names they bore.
Dating: based on the forms of the letters, Prentice dated the inscription to the 6th c.
Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 340.
Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 249, no. 314.