University of Oxford
E02920.jpg (27.43 kB)

E02920: Greek graffito on a clay bowl, possibly marking its ownership by a church of a *Theodore (probably either the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita, S00480, or a martyr of Philadelphia/Amman, S01215). Found at Caesarea Maritima (Roman province of Palaestina I). Late antique.

Download (27.43 kB)
online resource
posted on 2017-06-04, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Fragment of the base of a clay bowl (probably Cypriot Red Slip Ware). Dimensions not specified. A fragmentary inscription runs on the outer wall, around the centre of the base, clockwise. Letter height 15-22 mm. The letters were cut after the firing. The first three letters are significantly deeper than the rest.

Found at Caesarea in unspecified circumstances. Now at Beth Shemesh, at a storage facility of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Examined in March 2010 by Avner Ecker and first published by him in the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae in 2012. A different interpretation was offered by Leah Di Segni in SEG 61.



Ecker's interpretation:

Ἀγήου Θεοδό[- - -]/'(Property) of Agias son of Theod[- - -].'

Di Segni's interpretation:

ἁγήου Θεοδό[ρου]/'(Property of the church/monastery) of Saint Theodore.'

Text: CIIP 2, no. 1785; further comments by L. Di Segni in SEG 61, 1423.


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

Θεόδο[ρος] Θεόδο[ρος]

Image Caption 1

From: CIIP 2, 654.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, 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

Caesarea Maritima

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

Caesarea Maritima Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects



Avner Ecker, the first editor of the graffito, interpreted it as an ordinary owner's inscription by one Agias. He noted that 'though tempting, the reading Hagios (Saint) is unlikely.' As justification he cites 141 occurrences of the name 'Agias' in the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (though this total number refers to various periods and regions, none of them being Palestine or even Syria). Furthermore, Avner wondered whether the inscription could have been written by two different hands, and, therefore, whether the bowl had two different owners, i.e. Agias and Theodoros/Theodosios/Theodotos, etc, or if the inscription describes one owner by his personal name and patronym. In her comments to Avner's edition, Leah Di Segni suggests a 'simpler interpretation': ἁγήου Θεοδό[ρου]/'(Property) of Saint Theodore'. She points out that the bowl could have belonged to a church or a monastery dedicated to Saint Theodore, and, though so far we have no evidence for a shrine of any saint bearing this name in Caesarea, she refers to 16 sanctuaries of Saint Theodore that have been recorded in Palestine and Arabia. The precise identity of the saint, if he is really named in the inscription, is not clear. Theodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita in Pontus/northeast Anatolia (S00480), or Theodoros, a martyr of Amman in Jordan/Roman province of Arabia ($01215) are both possibilities. The more intuitive solution is, however, that the bowl was marked with the name of its owner, as suggested by Avner. Di Segni has argued also for two other occurrences of saints' names on bowls, see E02844 and E02852 (both unconvincing).


Edition: Ameling, W., Cotton, H.M., Eck, W., and others, Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae: A Multi-Lingual Corpus of the Inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad, vol. 2: Caesarea and the Middle Coast 1121-2160 (Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2011), no. 1785. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 61, 1423.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager