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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


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


Painted Greek inscription with an invocation of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) as the God-Bearer, asked to protect a comes. Found in Salamis/Constantia (Cyprus). Probably 5th-6th c.

Evidence ID

E01321

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Graffiti

Inscriptions - Inscribed architectural elements

+
Κωνσταντῖνον
τὸν κόμ(ητα), τὸ τ[έκνον] (?)
τοῦ ὑπάτου, φύλ
̣α[ττε]
ἀφθόνος, ἁγία
Θεοτόκε (
leaf)
+

'+ O holy God-Bearer, protect from envy Konstantinos, count (
comes), [son (?)] of a consul! +'

Text:
Salamine de Chypre XIII, no. 234.

Non Liturgical Activity

Prayer/supplication/invocation
Saint as patron - of an individual

Miracles

Other miracles with demons and demonic creatures

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats
Officials

Source

Inscription in brick-red paint in a medallion on a column in the colonnade of the South Portico of the gymnasium in Salamis/Constantina. Diameter of the medallion: 0,49 m; letter height 0.045-0.065 m. From the rim of the medallion extend streamers, making it look like the eclipsed sun.

The inscription was first recorded in 1955 during excavations by the Department of Antiquities, supervised by Andreas Dikigoropoulos and Vassos Karageorghis. The column later collapsed. Despite it being restored, the right-hand side of the inscription was lost. The text was partially transcribed and published by Arthur Megaw already in 1955 in the excavation report (lines 2-4), but the first complete edition was offered by Terence Bruce Mitford and Ino Nicolaou in
The Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Salamis in 1974.

The adjacent column was inscribed in a similar manner, but that text is illegible.


Discussion

The inscription is an invocation of Mary, Mother of Christ, as the God-Bearer (Θεοτόκος) on behalf of the count (comes) Konstantinos. The saint is asked to protect him from envy, probably from a curse by envious aristocrats or the so-called 'evil eye'. The first editors, Terence Bruce Mitford and Ino Nicolaou, supposed that Konstantinos was a Count of the East (Comes Orientis), residing in Antioch, as the province of Cyprus was within the diocese supervised by these high-ranking officials. The inscription resembles other common acclamations of Counts of the East, found on Cyprus, and is unlikely to have commemorated any peculiar involvement of the count in the life of the city (for example the restoration of the colonnade, where the inscription was found, as supposed by Megaw).

Dating: Mitford and Nicolaou dated the inscription to the 5th or 6th c., based on the letter forms. It is also probable that the inscription predates the 7th c. Arab raids, which were disastrous for the island.


Bibliography

Edition:
Pouilloux, J., Roesch, P., Marcillet-Jaubert J. (eds.), Salamine de Chypre XIII Testimonia Salaminia 2. Corpus épigraphique (Paris: Diffusion de Boccard, 1987), no. 234.

Mitford, T.B., Nicolaou, I.K.,
The Greek and Latin inscriptions from Salamis (Nicosia: Published for the Republic of Cyprus by the Dept. of Antiquities, 1974), no. 56.

Further reading:
Megaw, A.H.S., "Archaeology in Cyprus, 1955", Archaeological Reports (JHS Supplement) 2 (1955), 44.

Reference works:
Bulletin épigraphique (1976), 751.


Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified

22/10/2017

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΘεοτόκοςCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01321 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E01321