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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


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


Fragmentary Greek inscription with the name of a saint, possibly *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), possibly labelling a relief with her bust. Found at Refāde/Sitt er-Rum, between Antioch-on-the-Orontes and Beroia/Aleppo. Probably late antique.

Evidence ID

E01801

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

Images and objects - Sculpture/reliefs

+ ἁγί̣α ̣Μ[αρία (?) - - -]

'+ Holy [Mary (?) - - -]'

Text:
IGLS 2, no. 429.

Use of Images

Public display of an image
Private ownership of an image

Non Liturgical Activity

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Source

A stone lintel in a house with a portico, situated in the southwest sector of the town of Refāde, near a tower. There is no published image. For a description of the site, see: Butler 1920, 257-258 and figs. 271-272.

Seen and copied by William Prentice. First published by Prentice in 1922. Republished by René Mouterde and Louis Jalabert in 1939. Prentice says that 'the inscription is incised upon the outer rim of a disk of unusual form'. Letter height 0.04-0.05 m. The initial cross is described as being at the top of the disk, with the preserved part of the inscription occupying the upper right-hand quarter. Within the disk, is a ring with a rope or braid pattern, and within it a hole, 0.36 m in diameter, that almost certainly once contained a sculpted bust of the saint. It is possible that the sculpture was deliberately destroyed.


Discussion

The inscription probably labelled a depiction of a female saint, whose name possibly began with Μ. If so, Mary is the most probable candidate - for a similar (painted) depiction of Mary within a circle, see: E01761. Prentice, however, noted that he was sure only about the first three letters, and admitted that his suggested reconstruction might be erroneous.

Dating: The inscription probably dates to Late Antiquity, probably to the pre-Iconoclastic period.


Bibliography

Edition:
Mouterde, R., Jalabert, L., Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 2: Chalcidique et Antiochène: nos 257-698 (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1939), no. 429.

Prentice, W.K. (ed.),
Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, Division III: Greek and Latin Inscriptions, Section B: Northern Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1922), 165, no. 1149.

For a description of the site, see:
Butler, H.C. (ed.), Syria, Publications of the Princeton University Archaeological Expeditions to Syria in 1904-1905 and 1909, division II: Ancient Architecture in Syria, part B: North Syria (Leyden: E.J. Brill, 1920), 257-258, figs. 271-272.


Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified

24/10/2017

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristUncertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01801 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E01801