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E01947: Fragmentary Greek inscription commemorating possibly the construction of a martyr shrine (martyrion). Found at Salamiye (ancient Salamias), to the northeast of Ḥimṣ/Emesa (northwest Phoenicia). Probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 2016-10-19, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[ἐν ὀνόματι Πατρὸς] κ(αὶ) Υἱοῦ κ(αὶ) Ἁγί(ου) Πν(εύματος) ἀνῆλθ(ε) μ[αρτύριον (?) τοῦ ἁγίου (?) - - -]

1. ἀνῆλθ(ε) μ[αρτύριον (?) τοῦ ἁγίου (?) Mouterde Prentice, perhaps: ἀνῆλθ(ε) μ[ηνὶ - - -, cf. IGLS 4, no. 1423.

'[In the name of Father] and Son and Holy Spirit was erected [this martyr shrine (martyrion) of Saint - - - (?)].'

Text: IGLS 5, no. 2532. Translation: W. Prentice.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060 Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023 Kyrikos, 3rd c. child martyr in Tarsus, son of *Julitta : S00007

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

Ḥimṣ/Emesa Salamias

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

Ḥimṣ/Emesa Thabbora Thabbora Salamias Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings


Stone lintel, reused in a house at the entrance to a courtyard, in the west sector of the town. Broken and lost on bottom and at both ends. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.18 m; W. 1.40 m. Decorated with a low-relief carving of a disc framed by a square with loops at its corners. Letter height 0.12 m; letters in low-relief. Seen and copied by Enno Littman and William Prentice, and published in 1908. Republished in 1959 by René Mouterde, after the first edition. In 2002 Jean-Claude Decourt did not find the stone during his survey of the site.


Prentice considered the inscription as a text possibly commemorating the construction of a martyr shrine. We must note that although the cult of at least two martyrs is indeed attested in Salamias (Sergios: E01680; E01946; Kyrikos: E01945), the inscription is too fragmentary to safely judge on its contents. The word μαρτύριον, as reconstructed by the editor, based just on a single letter, lacks the article τό. Also, a survey of other Syriac inscriptions shows that the term ἀνῆλθε was quite frequently used in reference to the construction of ὑπέρθυρα/'lintels' (see: IGLS 4, nos. 1663, 1785, 1843; I. Gerasa, no. 300) rather than other structures. The verb could be also directly followed by a dating formula, see: IGLS 4, no. 1423: ἐν ὀνόματι θεοῦ καὶ Χριστο[ῦ ἀν]<ῆ>λ<θ>εν μηνὶ Ἀρτεμισίου ιʹ τοῦ ϛ<λ>ʹ/'In the name of God and Christ (the lintel) was erected/raised on the 10th (day) of the month of Artemisios, the year [-]36'. Perhaps the letter Μ in our inscription likewise belonged to the designation of a month. Jean-Claude Decourt shares our doubts that the restoration of the term martyrion in the lacuna was incorrect.


Edition: Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), no. 2532. Prentice, W.K. (ed.), Greek and Latin Inscriptions (Publications of an American archaeological expedition to Syria in 1899-1900 3, New York: Century 1908), 243, no. 301 (from a copy and photograph by Enno Littmann; with a drawing). Further reading: Decourt, J.-Cl., "Inscriptions grecques de Salamya/Salamias", in: P.-L. Gatier, B. Geyer, M.-O. Rousset (eds.), Entre nomades et sédentaires. Prospections en Syrie du Nord et en Jordanie du Sud (Travaux de la Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée 55; Conquête de la steppe 3, Lyon: Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée, 2010), 109-125. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2011), 600. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graceum 60, 1687.

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