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E02588: Copper ring with a labelled depiction of *Paul the Apostle (S00008). Found at Umm er-Rasas/Kastron Mefaa, to the southeast of Madaba (Roman province of Arabia/Jordan). Probably 7th-8th c.

online resource
posted on 2017-03-21, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
A copper ring showing a bearded head and a cross to the right of it. The head is labelled:



Text: Piccirillo 1994, 267, no. 29.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Images and objects - Rings and seals


  • 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

Madaba Umm er-Rasas/Kastron Mefaa

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

Madaba Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Umm er-Rasas/Kastron Mefaa Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Private ownership of an image

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects



The ring was found in one of two tombs under the floor of the south section of the nave of the so-called 'Church of the Courtyard' ('Chiesa del Cortile', see Michel 2001, 394-396, no. 144d) which was built in a courtyard adjacent to the church of bishop Sergios, the so-called 'Church of the Niche', and the church of *Stephen the First Martyr (E02131). The tombs were placed against a barrier dividing our church from the north aisle of the Church of bishop Sergios. The head on the ring is identified as that of Paul the Apostle. It is probable that Paul was venerated in Umm er-Rasas in Church 9 (E02566) which lies in the centre of the so-called 'ecclesiastical complex', to the south of the churches of Stephen and of bishop Sergios. Based on ceramic finds, the construction of the 'Church of the Courtyard' is dated to a late phase of the existence of this ecclesiastical complex, probably the end of the Umayyad period. The building was abandoned at the end of the 8th or the beginning of the 9th c. It is, however, not clear, when the ring was made.


Edition: Piccirillo, M., "Le iscrizioni di Kastron Mefaa", in: Piccirillo, M., Alliata, E., Umm Al-Rasas (Mayfa'ah), vol. 1: Gli scavi del complesso di Santo Stefano (Jerusalem: Studium Biblicum Franciscum, 1994), 267, no. 29. Further reading: Piccirillo, M., "La chiesa di San Paolo a Umm al-Rasas - Kastron Mefaa", Liber Annuus 47 (1997), 390 (mentioned). For a description of the 'church of the courtyard', see: Michel, A., Les églises d'époque byzantine et umayyade de Jordanie (provinces d'Arabie et de Palestine), Ve-VIIIe siècle: typologie architecturale et aménagements liturgiques (avec catalogue des monuments; préface de Noël Duval; premessa di Michele Piccirillo) (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 2, Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 394-396, no. 144d. Piccirillo, M., "La chiesa del Cortile", Liber Annuus 41 (1991), 344-348. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 44, 1404.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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