University of Oxford
E02965.jpg (48.77 kB)

E02965: Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription commemorating the foundation of a church of *John (presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042) in 544, and the laying-out of mosaics in 549/550. Found at Tell Skehef, to the east of Askalon and Gaza (Roman province of Palaestina I).

Download (48.77 kB)
online resource
posted on 2017-06-11, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
ὑπὲρ σωτηρίας
καὶ ἀντιλήμσεως
τῶν φιλοχρήστων
Βίκτωρος καὶ Ἰωάν-
νου πατρικ(ίου) ἐθημε-
λιόθη ὁ οἶκος τοῦ ἁγί-
ου Ἰωάννου ἔτου[ς]
δχ΄, μη(νὸς) Πανέμου
η΄, ἰνδηκτ(ιῶνος) ζ΄,
ἐψηφόθη τοῦ ἔ[τους]
ιχ΄, μη(νὸς) [- - -]

'As a vow for the salvation and succour of the Christ-loving Victor and Ioannes, the patrician, was this church (oikos) of Saint John founded in the year 604, on the 8th day of the month of Panemos, 7th indiction. It was paved with mosaics in the year 610, month [- - -].'

Text: CIIP 3, no. 2432. Translation: W. Ameling, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John, Apostle and Evangelist : S00042 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Ἰωάννης Ἰωάννης

Image Caption 1

From: CIIP 3, 371.

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Askalon Gaza Tell Shekef

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

Askalon Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Gaza Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Tell Shekef Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats Other lay individuals/ people


Large round mosaic panel framed by a square. Set in the middle of the floor of the narthex. Dimensions not specified. Black, yellow, red, and black tesserae on the outer squarish frame; blue background within the square; yellow leaves in four corners. The inner circle consists of four bands, respectively of yellow, black, red, and again black tesserae. Black letters in-between red guidelines on a yellow background. The church is a three-asiled basilica (13 m x 25 m). Only its west part was excavated in 1998/1999. The published preliminary report says that three mosaic inscriptions were found, but only the present one was edited in a photograph by Farah Mébarki, E. Villeneuve, and Sophie Laurant in 2001. In 2014 Walter Ameling offered a new edition with a transcription based on the photograph, saying that there was still 'no information on the two other [mosaics].'


The mosaic commemorates two phases of the construction of the church where it was found: first the laying of foundations in the year 604 of the era of nearby Gaza, which together with the daily date corresponds to 2 July AD 544, and the laying-out of floor-mosaics in the year 610 of the same era, that is AD 549/550. Based on the traces of letters in the lacuna in line 11 Ameling suggests that the lost name of the month, when the mosaics were completed, was Hyperberetaios, the last month of the year, which falls between 28 September and 27 October AD 550 in the calendar of Gaza. The church (termed oikos) was dedicated to an unspecified Saint John, presumably *John the Baptist or *John the Evangelist. Remarkably, one of the donors is also named Ioannes (= John). Therefore, the dedication of the church to a Saint John might be a sign of his devotion to a holy figure whom he considered his personal patron.


Edition: Ameling, W., Ecker, A., Hoyland, R. (eds.), Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, vol. 3: South Coast, 2161-2648: A Multi-Lingual Corpus of the Inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad (Berlin - Boston, Massachusetts: De Gruyter, 2014), no. 2432. Mébarki, F., Villeneuve, E., Laurant, S., "", Le Monde de la Bible 134 (2001), 62. Further reading: Saliou, C., "Gaza dans l'antiquité tardive: nouveaux documents épigraphiques", La Revue biblique 107 (2000) 395, 409 note 82 (mentioned). O'Sullivan, A., in: Jerusalem Post (8 March 1999). Reference works: Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 731.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager