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E01964: Greek inscription, just possibly naming a gateway or church after *Thomas (probably the Apostle, S00199). Found at Tamak, to the east of Apamea on the Orontes and Ḥamāh/Amathe (central Syria). Probably 6th c. or later.

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posted on 2016-10-28, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
The inscription takes the form of two cross-shaped monograms which probably can be read as:

[- - - πυλ]ὼν Θωμᾶ.
ἰ<ν>δ(ικτιῶνος) ιβʹ

'[- - -] the gateway (?) of Thomas. 12th indiction.'

Text: IGLS 4, no. 1960.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thomas, the Apostle : S00199 Thomas (unspecified) : S00842

Saint Name in Source


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 Tamak

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

Apamea on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Ḥamāh Thabbora Thabbora Tamak Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Gates, bridges and roads


Right-hand end of a probable lintel. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.565 m; W. 0.33 m. The inscription is in low-relief. Reused in the courtyard of a modern house. Seen and copied by Enno Littman. First published by William Prentice in 1922, after Littmann's copy. Republished by René Mouterde in 1955.


Prentice suggests that the first, damaged, monogram can be expanded as πυλών/'gateway'. The second monogram consists of the letters Θ, Ω, Μ, Α which can stand either for the name Thomas (in the genitive case) or for the abbreviated phrase: θ(εὸς) μ(έγιστος) Α Ω/'The all-mighty God, Α and Ω'. If the first interpretation is correct, the inscription might name a church, or just a gateway, dedicated to a saint Thomas, probably the Apostle. Dating: the dating formula of our inscription is partially lost and one cannot compute a date based only on the indiction year given in line 2. However, cross-shaped monograms are unlikely to predate the reign of the emperor Justin I.


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. 1960. 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), 13, no. 833.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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