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E02207: Greek building inscription for a martyr shrine (martyrion) of an unnamed saint. Found at Umm az-Zeitūn, to the north of Bostra and Dionysias (Roman province of Arabia). Probably 6th-7th c.

online resource
posted on 2017-01-03, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ις Οὐάλ-
εντος οἰ-
σεν τὸ μ-

1-2. Ἀνατόλ|ις the Sartres Waddington Bankes, [Ἀ]νατόλ|ις Kirchhoff Burckhardt || 3-4. Ε . . . . . | . . . . . . Waddington

'Anatolis, son of Valens, constructed the martyr shrine (martyrion).'

Text: IGLS 15/2, no. 455.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed martyrs (or name lost) : S00060

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 Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Bosra Dionysias Umm az-Zeitūn

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Dionysias Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Umm az-Zeitūn Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans


Stone block. H. 0.57 m; W. 0.59 m; Th. 0.045 m. The inscription was originally complete but at some point before Waddington's visit in the 1860s lines 3 and 4 were re-carved as a gaming board, and thus completely destroyed. The missing lines are, however, reliably recorded. The stone was first recorded and copied by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss traveller in the Levant, originating from a merchant family. Burckhardt saw it in the spring of 1812, during his journey from Aleppo to Damascus, and in 1822 published a transcription without any translation or comments. He just noted that the text was carved 'on a stone lying on the ground near the temple'. The village was revisited by William John Bankes, during his journeys in the Mediterranean between 1815 and 1820 (for his work in the Near East, see the comments in E02194 and Lewis, Sartre-Fauriat & Sartre 1996, and Sartre-Fauriat 2004, 132). Bankes saw the inscription reportedly 'lying in a niche', but his copy remained unknown until published by Lewis and the Satres. Hence, Adolf Kirchhoff, republishing the inscription in the fourth volume of the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, used only the edition by Burckhardt. In the 1860s the slab was revisited and read anew by William Waddington, and published by him in 1870. The village was recently surveyed by Annie Sartre-Fauriat and Maurice Sartre who saw the stone on the ground in a niche of the temple of the imperial cult ('kalybe'). They offer a new edition (2014), based on their photograph and the earlier editions.


The inscription commemorates the construction of a martyr shrine (a church or a chapel) dedicated to one or more martyrs. Sadly, their names were not specified. It is not clear whether Anatolios, the man mentioned as the builder of the sanctuary, was a donor or an artisan. Dating: the Sartres suggest that the lettering is from a comparatively late period, probably the 6th/7th c.


Edition: Sartre-Fauriat, A., Sartre, M., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 15/2: Le plateau du Trachôn et ses bordures (BAH 204, Beyrouth: Institut Français du Proche-Orient, 2014), no. 455. Waddington, W.H., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Libraires-Éditeurs, 1870), no. 2548. Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, no. 8841. Burckhardt, J.L., Travels in Syria and the Holy Land (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1822), 220. Further reading: Lewis, N.N., Sartre-Fauriat, A., Sartre, M., "William John Bankes. Travaux en Syrie d'un voyageur oublié", Syria 73 (1996), 57-95. Sartre-Fauriat, A., Les voyages dans le Hawran (Syrie du Sud) de William John Bankes (1816 et 1818) (Pessac: Ausonius; Beirut: Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2004), 128.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity