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E01992: Greek building inscription for an unnamed martyr shrine (martyrion). Found at Aere (modern Al-Sanamayn) to the northwest of Bostra (Hauran, south Syria/north Roman province of Arabia). Probably the 6th c.

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posted on 2016-11-09, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ἐπὶ Βλαρίου ἐπισκόπου
[κατε]τέθη ὁ θεμέλιος
τοῦ ἁγίου μα[ρτυ]ρίου

3. τοῦ ἁγίου μα[ρτυ]ρίου Sartre-Fauriat Donceel-Voûte, τοῦ ἁγίου Μα[κα]ρίου Halkin Devreesse Abel

'Under bishop Blarios were laid the foundations of the holy martyr shrine (martyrion).'

Text: Abel 1905, 224 with completions by P. Donceel-Voûte.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Arabia Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Aere

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Aere Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Basalt lintel found near a building in the north part of the village. Decorated with three carvings of crosses within circles. Seen and copied in 1904 by Félix-Marie Abel. Now lost. The building, identified as a martyr shrine in our inscription, was probably a three-aisled basilica with a tripartite apse with a synthronon, probably flanked by 'sacristies'. Sadly, only remnants of the apse and the choir survived and were accessible, as the site of the sanctuary was reportedly partially occupied by a modern building. So far neither the building nor the lintel have been rediscovered by later surveyors.


Abel, who found and published the inscription, restored its line 3 as τοῦ ἁγίου Μα[κα]ρίου, suggesting that the church was dedicated to a certain saint Makarios, possibly Makarios, bishop of Jerusalem (312-335) or Makarios, bishop of Petra who attended the council of Sardica in 343. This completion was accepted by Robert Devressee and Francois Halkin who put that Makarios on their lists of saints of the province of Arabia. A different, and more plausible, restoration was suggested by Pauline Donceel-Voûte. She believes that line 3 mentions simply an unnamed martyr shrine (martyrion) and not the name Makarios. Donceel-Voûte's idea was found convincing by Annie Sartre-Fauriat. Dating: Based on the description of the shape of the church Donceel-Voûte dates the building, and therefore also our inscription, to the early 6th century. Abel hypothesised that the church could have been constructed in the late 5th/early 6th c.


Edition: Abel, F.-M., "Une église à Es-Sanamein", Oriens Christianus 5 (1905), 222-226. Further reading: Devreesse, R., Le patriarcat d'Antioche depuis la paix de l'Église jusqu'à la conquête arabe (Paris: J. Gabalda et cie, 1945), 225, note 3. Donceel-Voûte, P., Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban. Décor, archéologie et liturgie (Publications d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie de l’Université catholique de Louvain 69, Louvain-La-Neuve: Département d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 1988), 288, note 1. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, III, La province d'Arabie", Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949), 107. Sartre-Fauriat, A., "Georges, Serge, Élie et quelques autres saints connus et inédits de la province d'Arabie", in: Fr. Prévot (ed.), Romanité et cité chrétienne. Permances et mutations. Intégration et exclusion du Ier au VIe siècle. Mélanges en l'honneur d'Yvette Duval (Paris: De Boccard, 2000), 300. Reference works: Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 837. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 40, 1540bis; 50, 1518; 50, 1543.

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