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E04533: Greek inscription on a bronze cross, asking *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) to give repose to a deceased person. Found at Shiloh near Sebaste (Samaria, Roman province of Palaestina I). Probably mid-5th – early 6th c.

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posted on 29.12.2017, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
On the vertical arm of the cross:

+ ἁγ-
ία Μ-
αρί(α),
ἀνά-
πα-
υσ-
ον

On the horizontal arm of the cross:

Ἀνιανόν +

‘+ O Holy Mary, give repose to Anianos!’

Text: SEG 62, 1693.

History

Evidence ID

E04533

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source

Μαρία

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.) Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

450

Evidence not after

550

Activity not before

450

Activity not after

550

Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Sebaste Shiloh

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

Sebaste Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Shiloh Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Ex-votos Crosses

Source

The inscription is on a bronze cross. The arms of the cross also bear holes at their ends. The cross was found in the debris of the so-called Later Northern Church at Shiloh. The church houses two inscribed floor-mosaics (SEG 61, 1691-1692, cf. Madden 2014, no. 184) which, however, do not specify its dedication. One of them records the completion of the floor-mosaic in the north aisle under the presbyter Delmatios, the other invokes God as the Lord to accept an offering (presumably the same mosaic pavement). The inscription on the cross was first published by Leah Di Segni in 2012.

Discussion

The cross was apparently a votive offering for the repose of the Anianios mentioned in the inscription. Remarkably, it is not God who is invoked to grant repose to Anianos but solely the Virgin Mary (here named Holy Mary/Hagia Maria). Therefore, this is an interesting record of a belief that saints (or at least some particular saints) could act independently, and not only by interceding with God. We can compare this request with similar cases where Mary and God (E04401), and Thekla and God (EXXXX) are invoked as equal partners.

Bibliography

Edition: Di Segni, L., "Greek inscriptions from the Late Northern Church at Shiloh", in: N. Carmin, E. Levin, C. Ebert, M. Gugenheim (eds.), Christians and Christianity, vol. 3: Churches and Monasteries in Samaria and Northern Judea (Judea and Samaria Publications 15, Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 2012), 219-222, no. 3 Further reading: Madden A.M., Corpus of Byzantine Church Mosaic Pavements in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (Leuven - Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2014), 127 no. 184. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 62, 1693.

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