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E02614: Four balconies with T-shaped stone blocks inscribed with crosses and the names of the Archangels *Gabriel (S00192), *Raphael (S00481), *Michael (S00181), and *Ouriel (S00770). On a tower at Umm al-Jimāl, to the southwest of Bostra (Roman province of Arabia/Jordan). Probably 5th-7th c.

online resource
posted on 2017-03-27, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Inscription 1: on the east side of the tower.

Γαβ- + ριήλ

'Gab- + riel'

Inscription 2: on the south side of the tower.

Ραφ- + αήλ

'Raph- + ael'

Inscription 3: on the west side of the tower.

Μιχ- + αήλ

'Mich- + ael'

Inscription 4: on the north side of the tower.

Οὐρ- + ιήλ

'Our- + iel'

Text: I. Jordanie 5/1, nos. 105-108.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181 Raphaēl, the Archangel : S00481 Ouriel, the Archangel : S00770 Gabriel, the Archangel : S00192

Saint Name in Source

Μιχαήλ Ῥαφαήλ Οὐριήλ Γαβριήλ

Image Caption 1

Inscription 1. From: I. Jordanie 5/1, 91.

Image Caption 2

Inscription 2. From: I. Jordanie 5/1, 91.

Image Caption 3

Inscription 3. From: I. Jordanie 5/1, 92.

Image Caption 4

Inscription 4 (photograph by Bader). From: I. Jordanie 5/1, 92.

Image Caption 5

Inscription 4 (drawing by Littmann). From: Littmann 1921, 145.

Image Caption 6

Inscription 4 (drawing by Schumacher). From: Schumacher 1897, 160.

Image Caption 7

Drawing of the fort/monastery with the tower. From: Schumacher 1897, 160.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements


  • 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

Umm al-Jimāl Bosra

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

Umm al-Jimāl Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community


The inscriptions are carved on T-shaped stones set in balconies projecting from four walls of a tower of a building in the south sector of Umm al-Jimāl, facing the four cardinal directions, c. 8 m above the ground. H. c. 0.50 m; W. c. 0.70 m. The building was reportedly termed 'barracks' by the locals and Littmann suggested that it was originally the fort of the city ('castellum'), later converted to a monastery (this is the same building from which comes the block discussed under E02600). Inscriptions 1 and 4 were first seen by William Waddington and published by him in 1870. Inscription 4 was republished by Gottlieb Schumacher in 1897 with his own independent drawing. All four stones were then seen during the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Syria by Enno Littmann and published by him with drawings in 1921. The most recent edition is that by Nabil Bader (2009). During his visit to Umm al-Jimāl, he noted that the balconies with Inscription 1 and 2 had collapsed and that the stones are now lost. Bader saw Inscription 3 and 4 (which he photographed). In his edition he also used an unpublished copy of Inscription 2 by Jean Marcillet-Jaubert.


The inscriptions mention the names of the four Archangels. As they were carved on four sides of a tower facing the four cardinal directions, Littmann suggested that they echo the descriptions of the Four Archangels surrounding the throne of God, present in Hebrew apocalyptic writings. The throne of God, says Littmann, is always there described as facing east, with Michael facing south, Ouriel north, Gabriel east, and Raphael west. Only Gabriel and Ouriel on our tower face the same directions. The names of the Archangels were presumably carved onto the tower to protect it. Waddington, who saw only two inscriptions, supposed that the names of the other Archangels were omitted.


Edition: Bader, N. (ed.), Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 21: Inscriptions de la Jordanie, part 5: La Jordanie du Nord-Est, fasc. 1(Beirut: Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2009), nos. 105-108. 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), 143-145, nos. 245-248. Schumacher, G., "Das südliche Basan", Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 20 (1897), 160 (Inscription 4). Waddington, W.H., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie (Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Libraires-Éditeurs, 1870), nos. 2068Aa and Ca (Inscription 1 and 4). Further reading: Piccirillo, M., Chiese e mosaici di Madaba (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1989), 58-59.

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