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E01795: Greek inscription possibly referring to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Burdj Sbinneh/Borg Sbinne near Chalkis and Beroia/Aleppo (north Syria). Probably late antique.

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posted on 2016-08-09, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ΜηSρια

'Ma+ria'

Text: IGLS 2, no. 342.

History

Evidence ID

E01795

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

Μηρία

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements

Language

  • Greek

Evidence not before

431

Evidence not after

750

Activity not before

431

Activity not after

750

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Beroia Chalkis Burdj Sbinneh/Borg Sbinne

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

Beroia Thabbora Thabbora Chalkis Thabbora Thabbora Burdj Sbinneh/Borg Sbinne Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Altar

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

A basalt block. Moulded at the top and bottom of all sides, resembling a statue base or an altar. H. c. '3 feet'; W. c. '1.5 foot'; Th. c. '1.5 foot'. The inscription is engraved on one of the faces. H. 0.11 m; W. 0.40 m. Fine lettering. There is no published image. Found by the American Archaeological Expedition to Syria 1899-1900 at Burdj Sbinneh/Borg Sbinne. First published by William Prentice in 1908, from his own copy. Republished by René Mouterde and Louis Jalabert in 1939.

Discussion

Prentice believed that the inscription contained the name Μαρία/'Mary', possibly referring to Mary, Mother of Christ, or a homonymous supplicant. He was, however, unsure about the meaning of the sign inserted in the middle of the word, which he printed as 'S' and described as possibly a cross or the Greek letter rho (perhaps a christogram). Dating: there is no reliable way to date this inscription. If it really refers to the Virgin Mary, it probably dates to the later 5th or the 6th c. as her cult became popular only after the council of Ephesos 431.

Bibliography

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. 342. Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 251, no. 316.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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