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E01966: Greek building inscription just possibly for a church dedicated to a saint *Kosmas. Found at Umm Hartaine to the east of Apamea on the Orontes and Ḥamāh/Amathe (central Syria). Probably 5th-7th c.

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posted on 2016-10-28, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Two conjoining and one loose fragment of a lintel. Dimensions of the first two fragments: H. 0.53 m; W. 1.82 m; of the third fragment: H. 0.36 m; W. 0.72 m. The inscription is divided into three phrases, the first is written within a frame, the other two have the form of monograms. The first two phrases are probably invocations of Jesus and the Son of God. The last one was expanded by William Prentice as Κοσμᾶ/'Of Kosmas'. If so, our inscription could commemorate the construction of a church dedicated to Kosmas/Cosmas, a physician martyr in Syria and brother of Damianos (S00385). This interpretation is, of course, disputable, as the actual meaning of the last monogram is not clear and the figure is apparently not named ἅγιος/'saint'. Also Kosmas was usually venerated together with his brother and his individual cult seems unlikely.

Another possibility is that we have here the name of the donor or founder of a building.

If the inscription does refer to a saint Kosmas, it is possible that Kosmas, a local martyr of Sekizlar (near Manbij and al-Bab in north Syria) is the saint mentioned here. This Kosmas apparently died under the emperor Trajan and is attested by a single Syriac inscription (see: $E01968).

See also $E04563.


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 Umm Hartayn

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

Apamea on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Ḥamāh Thabbora Thabbora Umm Hartayn Thabbora Thabbora

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings


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. 1919. 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), 22, no. 857.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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