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E02240: Greek inscription just possibly referring to a Saint *John (if so, presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042), and *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), as well as Christ. Found at Muṭā'iyyeh, to the west of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia). Probably 5th-6th c.

online resource
posted on 2017-01-11, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
+ Ἰωάν- + ἡ δίκαι (?)
νη+ς Χριστὲ, βω̣ύ- θι

1. possibly ΜΑΙΚΕ = Μα(ρία) καὶ instead of ΗΔΙΚΕ = ἡ δίκαι Littmann

'+ John. + Justice. Christ, help!' or: '+ John. + Mary and Christ, help!'

Text: IGLS 13/2, no. 9644.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 John the Evangelist : S00042 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

Ἰωάννης Ἰωάννης Μαρία

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 Muṭā'iyyeh

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Muṭā'iyyeh Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



Stone lintel, decorated with two carvings of crosses within circles. H. 0.26 m; W. 1.56 m. Letter height 0.065-0.095 m. Now lost. First seen and copied in 1901 by René Dussaud and Frédéric Macler during their survey in south Syria, and published by them with a drawing in their report in 1902. When revisited by the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria, it was set in an ancient house near Church 3, 'on the north side of the courtyard and east of the entrance.' Enno Littmann commented that the stone was probably in situ. Maurice Sartre and Annie Sartre-Fauriat did not record it during their survey of the region.


The inscription was edited without comments by René Dussaud and Frédéric Macler. Enno Littmann plausibly identified it as an apotropaic (protective) inscription set over a doorway of a private house. Its actual contents are unclear – it might refer to a certain Ioannes – an architect, owner of the house, or Saint John invoked as a protector. The second part mentions either 'justice' (dike) and Christ's help, or the Virgin Mary and Christ. The latter possibility was hypothetically suggested by Littmann, as the actual reading of the passage is not dubious (see the apparatus). The Sartres considered this interpretation as tempting, though requiring significant emendations. Pierre-Louis Gatier suggests that the inscription might mention an ekdikos (a representative of a church). Dating: The inscription, as most dated texts from the region, probably comes from the 5th or 6th c.


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. 9644. Littmann, E., Magie, D., 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), 53, no. 39. Dussaud, R., Macler, F., "Rapport sur une mission scientifique dans les régions désertiques de la Syrie moyenne", Nouvelles archives des missions scientifiques et littéraires 10 (1902), 688, no. 143.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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