Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Saint Name in SourceΘεοτόκος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements
Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before500
Evidence not after750
Activity not before500
Activity not after750
Place of Evidence - RegionSyria with Phoenicia
Syria with Phoenicia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcḤimṣ/Emesa
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Ḥimṣ/Emesa
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - lesser clergy
SourceThe inscriptions are carved on three faces of two squarish capitals, reportedly brought from Liftāya to Ḥadīde where they were reused in the gateway of a roadside inn (khan). Inscription A is on the left side of the left-hand capital. Inscriptions B is on the front face of the left-hand capital and C on the right-hand capital. For their layout, see the enclosed image. Letter height 0.06 m. There is no published description.
First recorded by René Dussaud and described (with an imperfect transcription) in 1897. Revisited and copied by René Mouterde, and published by him in 1959.
DiscussionBoth published copies suggest that the text of these inscriptions can be corrupted. Fragment B certainly comes from an invocation of Mary but it is not clear whether the saint was really addressed on behalf of the local community (λαός) as conjectured by Mouterde. Fragment C contains an invocation with a request for help for a presbyter Ioannes but we cannot say whether it was also addressed to the saint.
It is not unlikely that the church, where the capitals were originally situated, was dedicated to Mary, though the inscriptions do not explicitly say so.
Dating: the forms of letters and the formulas used in these invocations suggest a considerably late date, probably the 6th or 7th c.
Jalabert, L., Mouterde, R., Mondésert, C., Les inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 5: Émésène (BAH 66, Paris: P. Guethner, 1959), no. 2649 (with a drawing).
Dussaud, R., "Voyage en Syrie", Revue archéologique (1897), 357.