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E04001: Floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription, possibly labelling a lost image of *Elijah (Old Testament prophet, S00217). Found in a monastic complex at Hit (Ḥeiṭ) in the Yarmouk Valley, on the east side of Wadi Alan, near Dion/Tell al-Achari (Roman province of Arabia). Probably 5th-6th c.

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posted on 2017-09-11, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Ἠλίας ἅγιος

ΔΘΥC = [ΙΧ]ΘΥC (?) or much less probably a date Gatier

'... Elijah, saint.'

Text: SEG 59, 1726.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Elijah, Old Testament prophet : S00217

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Images and objects - Wall paintings and mosaics Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Arabia Arabia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hit (Ḥeiṭ) in the Yarmouk Valley Dion

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

Hit (Ḥeiṭ) in the Yarmouk Valley Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Dion Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Public display of an image

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - abbots Officials Other lay individuals/ people


Floor mosaic lacking a frame. Dimensions not specified. Set in the floor of the choir, to the north of its main mosaic, near the north wall. Line 1: red letters; line 2: black letters. Probably restored in Antiquity. Found in a one-aisled, 'semi rock-cut' church, one of the churches in a monastic complex at Hit in south Syria, in the Yarmouk Valley, housing a total of five mosaic inscriptions. First published by Pierre-Louis Gatier in 2009 with permission of Director-General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria, from photographs by Widad Khoury. Based on the contents of other mosaic inscriptions, Gatier distinguished four phases of the existence of the church. The present inscription probably belongs to the earliest phase, but was presumably restored at a later point (the 'third stage', dating to the 6th c.).


The inscription is supposed to have labelled an image of Elijah, probably the Old Testament prophet, displayed on the north wall of the choir (now lost). Elijah, seen by early Christians as a precursor of the monastic movement, would fit the monastic character of the complex. Gatier adds that the church could have been built near a cave, possibly venerated as a temporary dwelling of Elijah. None of the preserved inscriptions contains an intelligible dating formula. The main building inscription (SEG 59, 1727) is set at the east end of the nave, in front of the choir. It says that the church (hagia ekklesia) was paved under bishop Kasiseos, identified by Gatier as a bishop of Dion rather than of Hippos or Adraha. Three presbyters are mentioned as supervisors, and Afthonios, former magistrianos /agens in rebus, and Abraamios and Ioannes as donors. Another inscription from the choir (SEG 59, 1729), mentions Petros, presbyter and abbot (archimandrites).


Edition: Gatier, P.-L., "Mosaïques inscrites de Hit (Syrie du Sud)", Tempora. Annales d'histoire et archéologie (Université Saint-Joseph, Beyrouth) 18 (2007-2009), 64-65, no. 5. Further reading: For a description of the site, see: Al-Muhammad, Q., "[Discovery of a church at Hit in the Hauran, an example of ancient ecclesiastical architecture [in Arabic]", Al-Athar 4 (September/October 2002), 38-41. Reference works: Bulletin épigraphique (2010), 611. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 59, 1726.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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