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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

Greek graffiti on a marble balustrade, with invocations of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) and probably *John (presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042), *Michael (the Archangel, S00181), and *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Found in Aphrodisias (Caria, western Asia Minor), at the Temple/Church site. Probably 5th/6th c. or later.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements

Graffiti on fragments of a white marble balustrade:

[- - -] τ(οῦ) [- - -]
Θεοφύλακτος τ(οῦ)
̣Ρ̣Γ̣Λ̣Χ [- - -]

Γαιόργ̣ηος +
+ + Γεοργηίου Κ(ύρι)ε + βω(ήθι)

μ(ήτη)ρ [θ](εο)ῦ Μιχ(αὴλ) τ(οῦ) Πα
̣λ̣μα Κω(νσταντῖνος) τ(οῦ) ̣Β̣Τ̣Η

A: '[- - -] Theophylaktos [- - -].'
B: 'Georgios + + + son of Georgios. Lord, + help Geor(gios)!'
C: 'Joannes, Mother of God, Michael, son of Palmas (?), Konstantinos (?) Michael'

IAph2007 1.33. Interpretation and translation: Ch. Roueché.

Non Liturgical Activity


Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people


Fine graffiti on fragments of a white marble balustrade, on a polished surface at the upper edge. Found in Aphrodisias (Caria, west Asia Minor), at the Temple/Church site (the cathedral church). Letters height c. 0.05 cm.


Charlotte Roueché supposes that the balustrades were covered with graffiti, because they “surrounded areas of particular sanctity, or rather because they were particularly easily accessible, standing probably at waist height” (see ala2004, ch. VIII.13).

The Virgin Mary is certainly the addressee of one of the invocations. Whether other figures (Michael, John, George) are saints or supplicants is disputable. Roueché argues that though the mentioned characters are not called ἅγιοι they are invoked saints rather than supplicants.

Dating: 5th-6th c. or later: proposed by Charlotte Roueché. But the epithet μήτηρ θεοῦ (mother of God) may indicate that the graffiti come from the post-Iconoclastic period.


IAph2007 1.33.

Roueché, Ch. (ed.),
Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity. The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions including Texts from the Excavations at Aphrodisias conducted by Kenan T. Erim (Journal of Roman Studies Monograph 5, London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1989), no. 132.

Further Reading:
Roueché, Ch., Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity,electronic second edition (London, 2004), ch. VIII.13.


From: IAph2007 1.33.

Record Created By

Pawel Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00020John the BaptistἸωάννηςUncertain
S00033Mary, Mother of Christμήτηρ θεοῦCertain
S00042John, the Apostle and EvangelistἸωάννηςUncertain
S00181Michael, the ArchangelΜηχαήλUncertain
S00259George, soldier and martyr, and CompanionsΓαιόργ̣ηος, ΓεοργηίοςUncertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Pawel Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E00837 -