Shiloh - Northern Church (Late)

Inscription number: 
1
Selected bibliography: 
194-195
184-186, figs. 31-33 (phs., drs.)
219-220, no. 1 (dr.) (ed. pr.)
127, no. 184
Abbreviation for Journals and Series
Epigraphical corpora: 

SEG 62 (2012): 1691

Inscription type: 
building
Location: 

In the mosaic floor, at the eastern end of the northern aisle.

Physical description : 

Four-line inscription framed in a tabula ansata 145 cm long (195 cm including the handles) and 56 cm wide. The tabula ansata is inserted in a space devoid of the scales and leaves decoration, at the end of the carpet, and is flanked by four leaves of the same pattern. The characters, 11-12 cm high, are traced in red tesserae on a white background; the frame is black, as are the rows of tesserae that separate the lines. The letters belong to the round alphabet. Notable are the narrow omicron and theta: the omicron is double pointed. Only an abbreviation mark, a stigma, is used, but its shape varies from the usual S-shape to an inverted S or a twisted one. Judging by the appearance of the characters, the inscription can be tentatively dated to the second half of the fifth century or the beginning of the sixth. The grammar and spelling of the script are faulty, an indication that whoever dictated the inscription was not familiar with literary Greek. The text begins with a cross.

Text: 

☩ Ἐπὴ τῷ εὐλαβεστ(άτῳ)

Δελματήῳ πρεσβητ(έρῳ)

(καὶ) θεωτημήτῳ ἐγέν-

ετω τὼ ἔργων τοῦτο.

Translation: 

Under the most pious and honoured by God priest, Dalmatius, this work was done.

Apparatus: 

L.1 ἐπ<ί> is mistakenly constructed with dative instead of the required genitive;  l.2 Δ<α>λματι<ί>ω or rather, in the genitive, Δ<α>λματ<ίου> πρεσβ<υ>τ(έρου);  l.3 θε<ο>τ<ι>μήτῳ;  l.4 Ω for Ο.

Commentary: 

The work mentioned in the inscription is obviously the mosaic floor of the northern aisle, for this inscription, together with Inscription no. 2 that is part of the same message, faces the end wall. The fact that the dedicatory inscription was located here indicates that this floor was not laid at the same time as the one in the main hall; for in this case, the inscription would have been located in the nave. The church possibly began functioning before being entirely paved in mosaic, and the offerings of visitors paid for the mosaic of the northern aisle—and perhaps also for the addition of the rooms on the northern and southern sides of the building.

Summary: 

Four-line building inscription within a tabula ansata, in the mosaic floor at the eastern end of the northern aisle.

Contents
Actions: 
the work was done
Ecclesiastical titles: 
presbyter
Epithets of clergy/monks: 
most reverent (eulabestatos)
honoured by God (theotemetos)
Personal names: 
Dalmatius
Epigraphical Abbreviations: 
stigmas