University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E05387: Fragmentary floor-mosaic with a Greek inscription commemorating the completion, or just paving, of a martyr shrine (martyrion). Found at Khirbet el-Bediyeh/Khirbat al-Biddīyah, neighbouring to the south-east with Ras ad-Dayr, near ancient Pella/Berenike/Philippeia and Gerasa/Jerash (Jordan/Roman province of Palaestina II). Dated, presumably 640-641.

online resource
posted on 2018-04-30, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[ἐπὶ - - - - - - - - - - ο]υ ἐπισκό(που) ἐτελι-
[ώθη ἡ ψήφωσις (?) τ]οῦ ἁγίου μαρτυ-
[ρίου - - - - - - - - - - - ]̣Λ̣Ο[- - -].CΟΥ
[- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ].ΟΥ
[- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ἐν τ]ῷ γψ΄ ἔ(τει)

1. in the lacuna, e.g. ἐπὶ followed by the name of the bishop and the epithet ὁσιώ(τατος) etc. Zellmann-Rohrer || 1-2. ἐτελη|[όθη (?) Nassar & al-Muheisen || 2. ἡ ψήφωσις (?) Di Segni || 4. ].Υ Nassar & al-Muheisen || 5. [- - -]θ΄, γψ΄ ἔ(τους) Nassar & al-Muheisen, τ]ῷ Zellmann-Rohrer, ἔ(τει) Zellmann-Rohrer

'[Under - - -] bishop was completed [the paving with mosaics (?)] of the holy martyr-shrine [- - - in] the year 703.'

Text: SEG 63, 1619 with hypothetical completions by M. Zellmann-Rohrer and L. Di Segni.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060 Saints, name lost or very partially preserved : S01744

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

Arabia Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Gerasa/Jerash Pella Ras ad-Dayr Khirbet el-Bediyeh

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

Gerasa/Jerash Sakkaia / Maximianopolis Σακκαια Sakkaia Saccaea Eaccaea Maximianopolis Shaqqa Schaqqa Shakka Pella Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Ras ad-Dayr Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Khirbet el-Bediyeh Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Right-hand end of a floor-mosaic panel. One can estimate that more than half of the inscription is lost. White letters on red/pinkish background, framed by white and grey/bluish lines. The panel with the inscription is additionally framed by a broad band of rosettes and panels showing birds and grapes. Dimensions unspecified. Set within the main carpet mosaic of the nave (5.65 m x 10.20 m), in front of the chancel screen of a three-aisled basilica at Khirbet el-Bediyeh/Khirbat al-Biddīyah (termed 'First Church' by the editors), excavated by Zeidoun al-Muheisen on behalf of the Yarmouk University between 1998 and 2003. The basilica (c. 17.40 m x c. 10.60 m) has an inscribed apse flanked by two rectangular pastophoria. The carpet mosaics of the nave and the aisles are decorated with geometric patterns (squares and diamonds) and panels with depictions of birds, grapes, etc. First published in 2013 by Mohammad Nassar and Zeidoun al-Muheisen. A revised edition of the text of the inscription is now offered in the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum.


The inscription commemorates the completion of a work in a martyr shrine - either the laying-out of a mosaic pavement (as argued by Leah Di Segni) or the completion of the entire building. The editors of the SEG, probably rightly suggest that lines 2 and 3 mention an unnamed martyr shrine: τ]οῦ ἁγίου μαρτυ|[ρίου. One can, however, also consider a restoration with the name of a martyr given in this place, e.g. ἐτελι|[ώθη ὁ οἶκος/τὸ ἔργον τ]οῦ ἁγίου μάρτυ|[ρος followed by his personal name. Dating: The inscription is dated to the 703rd year of an unspecified era, which Mohammad Nassar and Zeidoun al-Muheisen convert as AD 640, with no explanation. The editors of the SEG note that this is plausible, and the first editors must have assumed that the year was computed according to a Pompeian era starting in 63 BC, as Pompeian eras are frequent in this region. As the years of the Pompeian era overlap with two years of the Julian/Gregorian calendar, and no other dating system is used which would allows us to narrow down the date to a specific year, one should actually consider AD 640-641 as the date of the pavement.


Edition: Nassar, M., al-Muheisen, Z., "Geometric Mosaic Ornament at Khirbet el-Bediyeh, Jordan", Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 53 (2013), 591-609. Reference works: Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 63, 1619.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity