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E02082: Greek building inscription probably for a memorial shrine (memorion) of *Sergios and *Bakchos (soldiers and martyrs of Rusafa and Barbalissos, S00023; S00079). Found at Ghaṣm, to the northeast of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia). Dated 593/594.

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posted on 2016-12-06, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ μεμόριον διαφέρον τοῖς
ἁγίο<ι>ς μάρτυσι Σεργίου
καὶ Βάχχου, γε[ν]̣ό̣μ[ε]̣ν̣ο<ν> ἔτους υπη΄

1. μεμόριον διαφέρον Sartre, μεμώριον διαφέρων Butler's copy || 2. μάρτυσι Sartre, ΜΑΡΤΤCΙ Butler's copy, μάρτ[υ]<ρ>σι Littmann || 3. γε[ν]̣ό̣μ[ε]̣ν̣ο<ν> ἔτους υπη΄ Sartre, ΓΕΝΟΜ[- -]ΤΩΕΤΥΠΗ Buler's copy, γενομ[έν(ου)] τῶ ἔτ<ι> Littmann

'(This) memorial shrine (memorion) belonging to the holy martyrs Sergios and Bakchos was completed (?) in the year 488.'

Text: IGLS 13/2, no. 9703.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023 Bakchos, martyr in Barbalissos (Syria), ob. c. 303-311 : S00079

Saint Name in Source

Σέργιος Βάχχος

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

Arabia Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Ghaṣm

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

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

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings


Large stone lintel. H. 0.30 m; W. 1.485 m. Letter height 0.07 m. When recorded, it was reused as a manger in a courtyard, near a house situated to the northeast of the local mosque. Partially covered by a yellowish substance, making the reading difficult. Found by the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria and copied by Howard Butler. His copy was forwarded to Enno Littmann and Duane Reed Stuart, who published it in 1921. Revisited by Maurice Sartre and copied anew in 1982. Republished by Sartre in 2011.


This lintel inscription commemorates the construction of a structure named a memorion and 'belonging' to the saints Sergios and Bakchos. Interestingly, the two saints are mentioned together, while normally Saint Sergios was venerated alone in the the East. The names of the saints are given in the genitive case, while the term 'martyrs' is in the dative. Maurice Sartre notes that the term memorion is normally used in the Hauran to name Christian tombs, and that the term diapheron/'belonging to' is often used with reference to burial places owned by churches in Korykos (Cilicia) and Tyre. He concludes that our memorion was likewise a tomb, private or collective, that 'belonged to a community dedicated to both martyrs: Sergios and Bakchos'. A completely different opinion was expressed by Littmann who wrote that although 'memorion is regularly used with the meaning of tomb (...) this cannot be its meaning here.' He concludes that we probably have here a 'memorial chapel' or a 'shrine' of the two martyrs, where their relics were venerated, or less likely a cenotaph. We find Littmann's explanation more convincing, also in the light of a similar inscription from Umm es-Surab (see E02079). Butler identified our memorion with a ruined building with an apse, situated in the east section of the village, close to the find-spot of the inscription. Having examined the structure, Sartre doubts that it was a Christian shrine and suggests that the building was of a pre-Christian date. Dating: the date, the year 488, is computed according to the era of the province of Arabia and corresponds to AD 593/594.


Edition: Sartre, M., Sartre-Fauriat, A. (eds.), Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 13/2: Bostra (Supplément) et la plaine de la Nuqrah (BAH 194, Beirut: Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2011), no. 9703. Littmann, E., Stuart, D.R., (eds.), Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-5 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section A: Southern Syria (Leiden: Brill, 1921), 278, no. 619. Further reading: Key Fowden, E., The Barbarian Plain: St. Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley, Calif.; London: University of California Press, 1999), 109-110. 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), 303, note 59.

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