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E02590: Floor-mosaics with three Greek building inscriptions, invoking the God of Theodore (probably *Theodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita, S00480; or possibly *Theodoros, martyr of Amman in Arabia, S01215), and other martyrs whose names are lost. Found reportedly at Suf, to the north of Gerasa/Jerash, within the probable territory of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia/Jordan). Dated 505.

online resource
posted on 2017-03-22, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Inscription 1.

Framed mosaic panel. H. 0.30 m; W. 1.86 m. Letter height 0.07-0.08 m. White letters on red background. White and black frame.

+ Κ(ύρι)ε ὁ θ(εὸ)ς τοῦ ἁγίου Θεοδώρου, βοήθι πᾶσιν τοῖς
κατοικοῦσιν τήνδε τὴν κώμην δι' οὗ ἐπόρ-
γησαν τὰ ἀναλόματα τῶν τεχνιτῶ<ν> (καὶ) τοὺς ἐργάτας

2-3. ἐπόργησαν = ὑπούργησαν Feissel in BE (1994), 659, ἐπόρ|γησαν = ἐπορίσαν Gatier & Villeneuve

'+ O Lord, God of Saint Theodoros, help all the inhabitants of this village, because they contributed to the salaries of the artisans and the workers.'

Text: Gatier & Villeneuve 1993, no. 1.

Inscription 2:

Fragmentary mosaic panel. H. 0.58 m; W. 0.70 m. Letter height 0.11 m. The frame is lost. It is not clear whether the panel is complete on top and bottom. White letters on red background.

[- - - ἐκ θεμελί]̣ων (καὶ) ἐψηφώθη τ[ὸ - - -]
[- - - τοῦ ἁ]γίου (καὶ) ἐνδόξου μ[άρτυρος - - -]
[- - - ὑπὲρ σωτηρί]α̣ς Ἐλπιδίου Ἀννου [- - -]
[- - -] Ι (καὶ) ἀναπαύσεως [- - -]
[- - - τοῦ . . . ἔτους τῆς ἐπαρ]χίας, μηνὸς Λ̣ώου [- - -]

3. Ἐλπιδίου Ἀννου or Ἐλπιδ(ίου) Ἰουάννου Gatier and Villeneuve

'[- - - from the] foundations and was paved the [- - - of the] holy and glorious martyr [- - - as a vow for the] salvation of Elpidos, son do Annes (?) [- - -] and for the repose [- - - in the ... year of the] province, in the month of Loos [- - -].'

Text: Gatier & Villeneuve 1993, no. 2.

Inscription 3:

Fragmentary framed mosaic panel. H. 0.55 m; W. 1.23 m. Letter height 0.04-0.09 m. Red letters on white background, black frame.

[- - - μετὰ (?) τῶ]̣ν ἁγίων μαρτύρων τῶν Σὺ εὐαρεστη-
[σάντων - - -]ν κ(αὶ) τῶν ὑμῶν τοῦτον ἐγιρόντων
[- - - τ]ῶν ἐν Χ(ριστ)ῷ προαναπαυσομένων κ(αὶ)
[- - - δὸς] ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτημάτων ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρί-
[σεως - - - ἐ]πισκόπ(ου), ἐν ἔτει τϙθ΄, μη(νὶ) Δύστρο(υ), χρ(όνων) γ̣ι΄ ἰνδι(κτιῶνος). +

2. ὑμῶν or <οἶκ>ον Feissel

'[- - - with the] holy martyrs who pleased you [- - -] and your (?) who built this [- - -] those who found the repose in Christ and [- - - give] the remission of sins on the Day of Judgement [- - -] of bishop, in the year 399, in the month of Dystros, in the times of the 13th indiction. +'

Text: Gatier & Villeneuve 1993, no. 3.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Theodore Tiro, martyr of Amaseia (Helenopontus, north-eastern Asia Minor), ob. 306 : S00480 Theodoros, Ioulianos/Julianus, Euboulos, Malkamon, Mokimos, and Salomone/Salamanes, martyrs of Philadelphia/Amman (province of Arabia/Jordan), ob. c. 303 :

Saint Name in Source

Θεόδωρος Θεόδωρος

Image Caption 1

Inscription 1. From: Piccirillo 1992, 315.

Image Caption 3

Inscription 2. From: Piccirillo 1992, 315.

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 Gerasa/Jerash Suf

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Gerasa/Jerash Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Suf Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Peasants Other lay individuals/ people Merchants and artisans


The inscriptions were illegally acquired by dealers of antiquities in the late 1980s, reportedly from a 'ruined Byzantine church' near the village of Suf, and seized by the police in 1990. Now in the stores of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan in Amman. Anne Michel notes that Suf was visited in the early 19th c. (1817/1818) by Charles Leonard Irby and James Mangles, who recorded there ruins of a church and an inscribed altar. It is, however, not clear, if they refer to the find-spot of our panels. The panels were first studied and published with photographs and drawings in 1993 by Pierre-Louis Gatier and François Villeneuve. A photograph of Inscriptions 3 and a drawing of Inscription 1 were also published by Michele Piccirillo in 1992 (with no transcription).


It is possible that all these mosaic panels come from one sanctuary, seemingly a martyr shrine (martyrion) or an oratory (eukterion) dedicated to Saint Theodore. The editors, Gatier and Villeneuve, do not name the village where they could have been originally set, but Piccirillo notes that they were reportedly found near Suf, sited to the north of Gerasa/Jerash, and this affiliation is repeated by Anne Michel. The dating formulas in Inscriptions 2 and 3 use the era of the province of Arabia which, as rightly noted by Gatier and Villeneuve, suggests that the village lay within the territory of Bostra. Inscription 3 contains an era year date (399), an indiction year (13), and a reference to the month of Dystros, which together correspond to the period from 15th February to 21st March AD 505. Inscription 1 says that the sanctuary was built from the offerings of villagers, while Inscription 2 suggests that there was also at least one individual donor who contributed significantly to the costs. The saint, to whom the shrine was dedicated, was probably Theodore, the soldier and martyr venerated in Euchaita in north Asia Minor, whose cult was widely spread in the east, or, less probably, he may have been a homonymous local martyr of nearby Philadelphia/Amman (see E02395).


Edition: Gatier, P.-L., Villeneuve, F., "Nouvelles mosaïques inscrites de Jordanie", Syria 70 (1993), 3-11, nos. 1-3. Photographs Piccirillo, M., The Mosaics of Jordan (Amman, Jordan : American Center of Oriental Research, 1992 [2008, 3rd ed.]), 315, nos. 650 and 651. Further reading: Irby, C.L., Mangles, J., Travels in Egypt and Nubia, Syria and Asia Minor during the Years 1817 and 1818 (London: T. White and Co., 1823), 308 (for a description of the site). 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), 424. Reference works: L’Année épigraphique (1993) [1996], 1639. Bulletin épigraphique (1994), 659. Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 842. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 43, 1043; 45, 2028-2031.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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