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E02759: Fragmentary Greek inscription, probably mentioning a tomb and possibly a saint (holy ascetic?) whose name is lost. Found near the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem (Roman province of Palaestina I). Probably late antique.

online resource
posted on 2017-05-02, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
The text as read from the photograph:

[- - -] ̣ṢΤΗΔ̣Ε[- - -]
[- - -] ̣ἐν τῇ θήκῃ [- - -]
[- - -]Α τοῦ ἁγίου Α.[- - -]
[- - -]C ' σώματος τοῦ ΒΑ[- - -]
[- - -]σαντος ΤΑC̣T[- - -]
[- - -]ΥΡΙΟ̣Υ [- - -]

'[- - -] in the tomb [- - -] of Saint A[- - -] body [- - -].'

Di Segni's hypothetical restoration:

[- - -] τήδε [- - -]
[- - -] ἐν τῇ θήκῃ [λείψα(?)]-
[ν]α τοῦ ἁγίου α̣ὐ(τοῦ) [π(ατ)]-
[ρ(ὸ)]ς (?) σώματος τοῦ βα[στ]-
[ά]σαντος τὰ στ̣ί̣γ̣μ̣α[τα (?)]
[τοῦ Κ]υρίο̣υ [ἡμῶν Ἰ(ησο)ῦ Χ(ριστο)ῦ]

3. ΑΥ or ΑΤ perhaps ἀτ[ελε]σ(τάτου) Di Segni || 4. alternatively [πρε]σ(βυτέρου) or Di Segni || 6. alternatively τοῦ μαρτ]υρίου Di Segni

'[- - -] here (or: this) [- - -] in this tomb the remains (?) of the body of the same (?) saintly father (?) who endured the stigmata (?) of our Lord Jesus Christ [- - -] (or: of the martyrdom [- - -]).'

Text: CIIP 1/2, no. 1009. Translation: L. Di Segni.

Feissel's hypothetical restoration:

[- - -] τήδε [- - -]
[- - -] ἐν τῇ θήκῃ [λείψα(?)]-
[ν]α τοῦ ἁγίου α̣ὐ[τῆ]-
ς σώματος τοῦ βα[σ]-
[τά]σαντος τὰ στ̣ί̣γ̣μ̣α-
[τα τοῦ Κ]υρίου

'[- - -] here (or: this) [- - -] in this tomb the remains (?) of her holy body, which endured the stigmata of the Lord.'

Text: BE (2012), 473. Translation: P. Nowakowski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Unnamed ascetics (or name lost) : S00117

Type of Evidence

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


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Jerusalem Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Ceremonies at burial of a saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified Reliquary – institutionally owned


Fragment of a limestone slab. Broken and lost on all sides. H. 0.43 m; W. 0.645 m; Th. 0.08 m. Letter height 0.05-0.055 m. Very fine lettering. Found at Et-Tur, near the Mount of Olives, close to the Seven Arches Hotel ('in the compound of el-Qa'da of the Sisters of Zion'). First published by Leah Di Segni in 2012, with a photograph. A different restoration and interpretation was suggested by Denis Feissel in Bulletin épigraphique (2012), 473.


The editor identified the inscription as an epitaph for a holy man, and suggested a hypothetical restoration which we find implausible. Therefore, the basis for our comments is the lacunose transcription rather than the restored continuous text. The inscription is in unusually fine lettering, and thus must come from a text of considerable importance, commissioned by a wealthy person or institution (the quality of lettering is certainly uncharacteristic of epitaphs). Line 3, however, certainly mentions something that lies in a tomb or casket (theke). In line 3 there appears the epithet hagios/'holy' followed by two letters which Di Segni interprets as AY or ΑΤ, but actually it is impossible to identify the second letter. It could equally be ΑΝ, ΑΗ, ΑΙ or any other sequence containing a letter with a vertical stroke. An interesting solution, would be the restoration of the name of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, Anastasis, frequently appearing in epitaphs of the clergy from Jerusalem, but this is excluded by the masculine or neutral gender of the article and epithet preceding the lost word. Line 4: according to Di Segni, one should read here, and in the following line 5, a description of a body which 'endured the stigmata of the Lord', that is a reference to ascetic practices, or to symbolic crucifixion with Christ (and modelled on Galatians 6:17: ἐγὼ γὰρ τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματί μου βαστάζω/'for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus'). But actually, since only the very tops of the letters survive at the end of line 5, which could be read in many different ways, it is very uncertain whether we can reconstruct here ΣΤΙΓΜ. The division of words in this passage could be different, and we think that it is more plausible that the passage describes the body of Christ, perhaps with the expression σώματος τοῦ βα[σιλέως]/'of the body of the King/Lord'. And perhaps one should even read ines 4-5 as τοῦ ἁγίου ἅι[μα|το]ς (καὶ) σώματος τοῦ βα[σιλέως. Denis Feissel, however, in Bulletin épigraphique (2012), 473 supports Di Segni's interpretation and offers and altered reading of lines 3-6, pointing out that the epitaph could have been composed for a holy woman, not a monk: τοῦ ἁγίου α̣ὐ[τῆ]|ς σώματος τοῦ βα[σ|τά]σαντος τὰ στ̣ί̣γ̣μ̣α|[τα τοῦ Κ]υρίου/'of her holy body, which endured the stigmata of the Lord.'


Edition: Cotton, H.M., Di Segni, L., Eck, W., Isaac, B., Kushnir-Stein, A., Misgav, H., Price, J.J., Yardeni, A. and others (eds.), Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae: A Multi-Lingual Corpus of the Inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad, vol. 1, part 2: Jerusalem, nos. 705-1120 (Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2012), no. 1009. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2012), 473.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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