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E02659: Greek inscription commemorating the laying of the foundations of a church (naos) of *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Found at Kafr/Kapra between Bostra and Mushannaf (Jordan/Roman province of Arabia). Dated 652.

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posted on 2017-04-04, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[+] χάριτι τῆς ἁγίας ζωοπ(οιοῦ) Τρ(ι)άδ(ος)
ἐτέθησαν τὰ θημέλια τοῦ ἁ[γίου] ναο[ῦ]
μάρτ(υρος) Γεωργίου τῇ δευτέρᾳ τῆς ἑβδ(ομάδος) τῇ ν-
[ου]μ(η)ν(ίᾳ) ἐσ[χά]τ[ῃ] Ἀπ(ριλίου), χρ(όνοις) ι΄ [ἰν]δ(ικτιῶνος), ἔτ(ους) φμζ΄· ἐκ καμ(άτων) Βαρέ[χ]ου +

1. [ἐν] χάριτι Wright Brünnow Domaszewski || 4. ἐκ καμ(άτων) Βαρέ[χ]ου Brünnow Domaszewski Dussaud, Βαρέκου Meimaris and others, ἐκ Καμβαρέκου Wright

'[+] Through the grace of the Holy and Life-Giving Trinity were laid the foundations of the holy church (naos) of the martyr George on the second day of the week (= Monday), on (the day) of the new moon, on the last (day) of April (?), in the times of the 11th indiction, the year 547. By the toils of Barechos. +'

Text: Brünnow & Domaszewski 1909, 360, lightly modified. Translation: P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

George, soldier and martyr of Diospolis, ob. c. 303 : S00259

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

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 Kafr/Kapra

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

Bosra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Kafr/Kapra Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of church/altar dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Stone slab, seen in a cattle shed by William Ewing. The inscription is framed by a tabula ansata. There is no published description. First published by Wright and Souter from Ewing's drawing in 1895. Their transcription is, however, very fragmentary, and hence we do not reproduce it here. Important emendations were offered by Maurice Dunand and Charles Clermont-Ganneau, and we follow the text including those changes, offered by Brünnow and Domaszewski in their list of dated inscriptions from the province of Arabia (with a lightly altered line 1). Pierre-Louis Gatier (2011, 10, note 35) is, however, skeptical about the accuracy of Ewing's copy, which makes also the correctness of later editions questionable. The inscription will be republished in IGLS 16/1, no. 406.


The inscription commemorates the beginning of the construction of a church (termed naos) dedicated to Saint George. The undertaking was financed by one Barechos, almost certainly Barechos, son of Theodoros, who appears in the dedicatory inscription for another church and one more building inscription found in the same village (see E02658). Dating: the inscription is dated according to the era of the province of Arabia. Its year 547 and the last day of the month of April correspond to 30th April AD 652, that is in the early Umayyad period. Remarkably, the dating formula features an unusual reference to the day of the 'new moon' (perhaps this is the result of the presence of Muslims in the region, using the lunar calendar with the new moon being the first day of each month), and the second day of the (Christian) week: Monday. Wright and Souter in their translation wrote that the church was begun 'on the Monday following (his [i.e. Saint George's] festival)'. Their conclusion is based on the fact that George is normally venerated on 23rd of April, so the construction started exactly a week after the feast. One must, however, remember that we do not know if the feast of George was celebrated on that day in Kafar.


Edition: IGLS 16/1, no. 406 (forthcoming). Meimaris, Y.E., Kritikakou, K., Bougia, P., Chronological Systems in Roman-Byzantine Palestine and Arabia. The Evidence of the Dated Greek Inscriptions (Meletēmata 17, Athens: Kentron Hellēnikēs kai Rōmaikēs Archaiotētos, Ethnikon Hydryma Ereunōn, 1992), 299, no. 513. Brünnow, R.E., von Domaszewski, A., Die Provincia Arabia: auf Grund zweier in den Jahren 1897 und 1898 unternommenen Reisen und der Berichte früherer Reisender, vol. 3 (Strassburg: Trübner, 1909), 360. Wright A.G., Souter, A., "Greek and other inscriptions collected in the Hauran", Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement (1895), 277, no. 153 (from a copy by W. Ewing). Further reading: Clermont-Ganneau, Ch., "Zeus Saphathènos et les nouvelles inscriptions grecques du Haurân", Études d'archéologie orientale 2 (1897), 34. 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), 653. Gatier, P.-L., "Inscriptions grecques, mosaïques et églises des débuts de l'époque islamique au Proche-Orient (VIIe-VIIIe) siècles", in: A. Borrut, M. Debié, A. Papaconstantinou, D. Pieri, J.-P. Sodini (eds.), Le Proche-Orient de Justinien aux Abassides : peuplement et dynamiques spatiales : actes du colloque "Continuités de l'occupation entre les périodes byzantine et abbasside au Proche-Orient, VIIe-IXe siècles," Paris, 18-20 octobre 2007 (Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité tardive 19, Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 10. Key Fowden, E., The Barbarian Plain: St. Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley, Calif.; London: University of California Press, 1999), 108-109.

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