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E01887: Greek inscription invoking *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), as the God-Bearer and perhaps as the mother of saved Christians. Found at Qaṣr el-Mouḥarram near Apamea on the Orontes (central Syria). Probably 6th c.

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posted on 2016-10-03, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ θεὸν ἐ<κ σ>οῦ σαρκο- θέντα,
+ Θεότοκε παρθένε, αὐ[τὴ]
σωθέντος [μῆτερ]

1. θεὸν ἐξοῦ von Oppenheim's copy || 3. ὁ <φ>ονε[υθείς] (?) or [μῆτερ] Θ(εο)ῦ σαρκοθέντος Lucas

'+ (We venerate) God, incarnated from you. + O God-Bearer (Theotokos), Virgin, you, who are also [the mother] of the saved one.'

Text: IGLS 4, no. 1816.

History

Evidence ID

E01887

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

Θεοτόκος

Image Caption 1

Majuscule edition (Fragment 1). From: Lucas 1905, 38.

Image Caption 2

Drawing (Fragment 2). From: Lucas 1905, 38.

Image Caption 3

Drawing of both fragments. From: Lassus 1935-1936, 150.

Type of Evidence

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

Language

  • Greek

Evidence not before

500

Evidence not after

750

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

750

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Apamea on the Orontes Qaṣr el-Mouḥarram

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

Apamea on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Qaṣr el-Mouḥarram Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Towns, villages, districts and fortresses

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

The inscription is on two fragments of a lintel. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.69 m; W. 0.72 m and 1.18 m. Fragment 2 is decorated with a carving of a cross within a circle, surrounded by foliage. Originally published in 1905 as two different texts (as possibly to be combined together) by Hans Lucas (based on a copy by Max von Oppenheim). Rediscovered by Jean Lassus in the 1930s, c. 60 m to the north of Tower C at Qaṣr el-Mouḥarram. The edition by René Mouterde (1955) follows those of the earlier editors.

Discussion

The inscription invokes Mary as the Mother of God (Theotokos). Its phrasing is unique: Mary is named here as the mother of the 'incarnated' (σαρκωθείς) God and, if the hypothetical completion of the inscription is correct, also the mother of all saved Christians. The text was certainly displayed over a doorway, but unfortunately, we do not know its exact location. Perhaps the lintel was part of the fortifications at Qaṣr el-Mouḥarram, as were two other stones inscribed with invocations of Mary (see: E01885 and E01886); if so, it is part of a group of inscriptions where the name of Mary is associated with towers and fortifications (cf. E01885; E01886; E01891; E01895; E01898). This interesting practice probably derives from the metaphorical description of Mary as the Tower of David and the Ivory Tower. The expressions were originally used in the Song of Solomon and were known in our region, as evidenced, for example, by an inscription from Nawa (see: IGLS 4, no. 1948). Dating: The inscription must be more or less contemporary to the nearby lintel, dated 551 (E01885), if it was situated within the same complex of fortifications.

Bibliography

Edition: Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, Cl., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 4: Laodicée, Apamène (BAH 61, Paris: Librairie orientalise Paul Geuthner, 1955), no. 1816. Lassus, J., Inventaire archéologique de la région au nord-est de Hama, vol. 1: Text (Documents d'Études Orientales 4, Damascus: Institut français de Damas, [1935-1936?]), 150, no. 86, fig. 162. Lucas, H., "Griechische und lateinische Inschriften aus Syrien, Mesopotamien und Kleinasien", Byzantinische Zeitschrift 14 (1905), 38, nos. 41-42 (from a copy by Max von Oppenheim). Further reading: Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 14.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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