Site logo

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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

Large marble block with a Greek inscription labelling it as a 'weight of (a church) of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Found at Caesarea Maritima (Roman province of Palaestina I). Probably late antique.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Inscribed objects

Images and objects - Other portable objects (metalwork, ivory, etc.)

Greyish marble block with blue veins. H. 0.28 m; W. 0.45; Th. 0.21-0.23 m. Weight: c. 70 kg. Broken at the right-hand end and bottom. The front face bears a Greek inscription in fine carving, letter height c. 0.036-0.047 m. The back face was probably covered by plaster. Now in the Kibbutz Sdot Yam Museum.

First published by K. Kleopas in 1920, who, however, misread line 2. The stone caught the attention of Kenneth Holum in the 1980s. Holum took a new photograph and discussed the object, first himself and then with Clayton Lehmann. In March 2010 the stone was revisited by Walter Ameling who offered a new edition in the
Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae Palaestinae.


+ τάλαντον
τῆς ἁγίας Μαρίας

2. ὁσίας Μαρίας Kleopas

'+ The weight of the Holy Mary.'

CIIP 2, no. 1751.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)


The editors interpret the stone as a weight that was used in a church dedicated to Mary. The church was presumably sited in Caesarea Maritima.

The editors note that, although stone weights were commonly in use in antiquity, they are unaware of one this large (our block weighs c. 70 kg); it is indeed hard to imagine how such a massive weight could have been used.

For a bronze balance-scale of a church of *Sergios, found at Daphne near Antioch-on-the-Orontes, see E01821, and for a large balance scale inscribed with invocations of Christ or the God of Saint *George, found at Dor (Tanturah) bay north of Caesarea, see
Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae 2, no. 2143 (our E03496).


Ameling, W., Cotton, H.M., Eck, W., and others, Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae: A Multi-Lingual Corpus of the Inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad, vol. 2: Caesarea and the Middle Coast 1121-2160 (Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2011), no. 1751 (with further bibliography).

Lehmann, C.M., and Holum, K.G.,
The Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Caesarea Maritima (The Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima Excavation Reports 5; Boston, Mass.: The American Schools of Oriental Research, 2000), no. 114.

McLean, B., "", The Ancient World 30 (1999), 3-28 no. 195.

Holum, K., "", in: R. Curtis (ed.), Studia Pompeiana & classica in honor of Wilhelmina F. Jashemski, vol. 2 (New Rochelle, N.Y : A.D. Caratzas 1989), 99-100.

N.D.L.R., "Bulletin: Palestine",
La Revue biblique 29 (1920), 316.

Kleopas, K., "", Nea Sion 15 (1920), 145, no. 6.

Reference works:
Bulletin épigraphique (2002), 470.

Chroniques d'épigraphie byzantine, 714.

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 61, 1423.


From: CIIP 2, 636.

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΜαρίαCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E02871 -