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E01896: Fragmentary Greek inscription possibly referring to a saint *Kosmas. Found at Deir Nawa, to the east of Apamea on the Orontes and Ḥamāh/Amathe (central Syria). Probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 2016-10-05, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Fragmentary stone (H. 0.18 m; original H. c. 0.40 m; W. 1.235 m), broken and lost on all sides, reused upside down as a lintel in a house situated to the west of the Great Church at Deir Nawa. On its face there was a carving of a cross within a square with the letters Α and Ω, but only the lower arm of the cross and the letters are preserved. To the left of the square there is an ornament and a low-relief inscription (letter height 0.125-0.145 m):

Κοσμᾶ/'of Kosmas'


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kosmas and Damianos, brothers, physician martyrs in Syria, ob. 285/287 : S00385 Kosmas, martyr of the area of Sekizlar (north Syria), ob. 110/111 : S01005

Saint Name in Source

Κοσμᾶς Κοσμᾶς

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 Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Apamea on the Orontes Ḥamāh Deir Nawa

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

Apamea on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Ḥamāh Thabbora Thabbora Deir Nawa Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings


First recorded by the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria and published in 1922 by William Prentice, from a copy by Enno Littmann. Republished in 1955 by René Mouterde, based on the earlier edition.


William Prentice noted that this was 'doubtless' a lintel which could have come from a church or an oratory dedicated to *Kosmas and Damianos, martyrs and holy physicians (S00385), widely venerated in Syria (for example in the nearby cities of Apamea and Ḥamāh/Amathe, see: Peña 2000, 27). The shape of the stone and its characteristic decorations do suggest that this was once an element of a doorway, but the mentioned Kosmas is not necessarily the physician saint. We could have here the name of a donor or a founder of a building; and, even if the inscription does refer to a saint Kosmas, it is just possible that Kosmas, a local martyr of Sekizlar (near Manbij and al-Bab in north Syria) is the man referred to. This Kosmas apparently died under the emperor Trajan, and is attested by a single Syriac inscription (see: E01968). The very partial state of preservation of our text, however, does not allow for any certainty. See also E04563.


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. 1956. Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Publications of the Princeton University of archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section B: Northern Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1922), 18, no. 844. Further reading: Peña, I., Lieux de pèlerinage en Syrie (Milan: Franciscan Printing Press, 2000), 27.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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