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E02782: Painted Greek inscriptions (dipinti) found in the sanctuary of *Lot (Old Testament patriarch, S01234) at Deir 'Ain 'Abata near Zoara/modern Ghor es-Safi on the southeast shore of the Dead Sea (Jordan/Roman province of Palaestina III). Probably 6th-7th c.

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posted on 2017-05-09, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Inscription 1:

Sandstone block with an inscription painted in red. Found in the rubble, in the north aisle. H. 0.34 m; W. 0.44 m; Th. 0.204 m. Letter height 0.023-0.032 m. The inscription predates the layer of plaster, laid on the edges.

+ ̣ἅ[γιε] ̣Λώτ, μν̣ή-
σθητι τ̣ῶν δούλων
σου Σωζομενοῦ
καὶ Μεγαλ̣ή̣σ̣ω̣ν̣ο̣ς (?)
καὶ Οὐλπι[ανο]̣ῦ

'+ O Saint Lot, remember your servants, Sozomenos, and Megaleson (?), and Ulpianos!'

Text: Politis 2012, 412-413, no. 13 [ed. and translation Y. Meimaris & K.I. Kritikakou-Nikolaropoulou].

The inscription was the first piece of evidence found by the excavators (in 1990) that allowed them to identify the site with the shrine of Lot depicted on the Mosaic Map of Madaba (see: $E02524). In addition, this and the following texts show that Lot was addressed as saint (ἅγιος) by supplicants seeking his help at the shrine.

It is plausible that Sozomenos, mentioned in line 3, is the abbot who occurs in a dedicatory mosaic from the church (see E02664, Mosaic 4), dated 605 or 607.

Inscription 2:

Sandstone slab from the northeast wall of the choir of the church. Still in situ. H. 0.28 m; W. 0.60 m. Broken and lost in the upper left-hand corner. The face bears a scarcely legible inscription painted in red.

+ ̣ἅ[γιε Λώτ, μνήσθ]-
ηθι [- - -]
̣ΑΚΑΙ[- - -]Ν
[- - -]

'+ Saint Lot, remember [- - -]!'

Text: Politis 2012, 413-414, no. 15 [ed. and translation Y. Meimaris & K.I. Kritikakou-Nikolaropoulou].

Inscription 3:

The inscription is painted red on a column drum, from the colonnade between the north aisle and the nave. Circumference of the drum 1.28 m; diameter 0.40 m; H. 0.39 m. Letter height 0.016-0.022 m. Scarcely legible.

ἅγ̣ι̣ε, ̣β[οή]-
θησον [Μη]-
νᾶ [- - -]
Κ[- - -]
Ν[- - -]

'+ O Saint, help Menas [- - -]!'

Text: Politis 2012, 414, no. 16 [ed. and translation Y. Meimaris & K.I. Kritikakou-Nikolaropoulou].

The invocation is probably on behalf of several supplicants.

Meimaris and Kritikakou-Nikolaropoulou mention three more scarcely legible painted inscriptions, that were found at the sanctuary. As they are not relevant for the present study, we do not reproduce them here. For the text, see Politis 2012, 413-414, nos. 14 (red paint), 17 (red paint), 18 (written in charcoal). For a plaster fragments with two letters in charcoal, see Politis 2012, 416, no. 4.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Lot, Old Testament Patriarch and nephew of Abraham : S01234

Saint Name in Source


Image Caption 1

Inscription 1. From: Politis 2010, 5.

Image Caption 2

Inscription 2. From: Politis 2012, 413.

Image Caption 3

Inscription 3. From: Politis 2012, 414.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Deir 'Ain Abata Zoara

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

Deir 'Ain Abata Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Zoara Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Foreigners (including Barbarians) Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


For a description of the site, see: E02664. For stone inscriptions from the site, see: E02665. For graffiti from the site, see: E02666.


Edition: Politis. K.D. (ed.), Sanctuary of Lot at Deir 'Ain 'Abata: Excavations 1988-2003 (Amman: Jordan Distribution Agency, 2012), 393-417 (Greek inscriptions). We are very grateful to Konstantinos Politis for generously providing a copy of this publication, and to Alan Walmsley and Carol Palmer, the director of the British Institute in Amman (CBRL), for additional help. Further reading: Politis, K.D., "Excavations at the Monastery of Saint Lot at Deir ‘Ain ‘Abata", Liber Annuus 41 (1991), 517-518. Politis, K.D. "The Sanctuary of Agios Lot, the City of Zoara and the Zared River", in: Piccirillo, M., Alliata, E. (eds.), The Madaba Map Centenary 1897–1997: Travelling Through the Byzantine Umayyad Period. Proceedings of the International Conference Held in Amman, 7.–9. April 1997 (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1999), 225-227. Politis, K.D., "The Monastery of Aghios Lot at Deir 'Ain 'Abata in Jordan”, in: Daim, F., Drauschke, J. (eds.), Byzanz – Das Römerreich im Mittelalter (Mainz: Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, 2010), 155-180. Politis, K.D., "The sanctuary of Lot at 'Ain 'Abata in Jordan", in: L.D. Chrupcała (ed.), Christ is here! Studies in Biblical and Christian Archaeology in Memory of Michele Piccirillo, ofm (SBF Collectio Maior 52, Milan: Edizioni Terra Santa, 2012), 355-382. See also: Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2015), 721. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 58, 1779; 42, 1483; 62, 1698-1716.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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