ZOOR0022 Negev. Zoora. May 18, 363 CE. Sandstone tombstone, engraved and painted. Epitaph.


[no diplomatic]
Μνημεῖον Σίλθα Οὐα-
λεντίνου καὶ Κύρας
θυγατρός τετελευτηκότων ἐν ὁσιότη-
τι μετὰ καλοῦ ὀν-
όματος ἐν τῷ σεισμῷ ἐτῶν ληʹ ἔτους
σνηʹ μηνὸς Ἀρτε-
μισίου ηκʹ θάρσει
οὐδεὶς ἀθάνα-
Monument of Siltha, (daughter) of Valentinus, and of Kyra, (her) daughter, who have both died in holiness, having a good name, during the earthquake (at the age) of 38 years (Siltha's age), in (the) year 258, on (the) 28th (day) of (the) month Artemisios. Be of good cheer, no one (is) immortal.

The inscription provides the date as the 28th day of the month Artemisios in the year 258 according to the Era of the Province of Arabia, that is, May 18, 363 CE. The tombstone is one of about 700 discovered in Byzantine Zoora. The majority of the Greek tombstones from this location have been identified as Christian. The inscription contains numerous spelling and grammatical errors, and is recorded in a round alphabet which is well cut and aligned. The letters increase in size gradually from the beginning of the inscription to its end, and are engraved and painted red (aside from the first kappa on the second line). The age, year and month day numeral are demarkated with a wavy horizontal stroke above them. The month day numeral is inverted. There is a cross engraved both above and below the inscription. The author notes that the word "θυγατρός" is the only definite indication of kinship found in Ghor es-Safi. He suggests that the phrase "τελεθτηκότων ἐν ὁσιότητι" indicates that Siltha and Kyra led pious lives. The virtue of "ὁσιότης", piety or holiness, is mentioned in three other epitaphs from Ghor es-Safi. In this epitaph, as well as in zoor0023 and zoor0024, the cause of death is indicated to have been the earthquake, recorded by many ancient writers, which took place on May 18th, 363 CE. These three inscriptions are, so far as we know, the only epigraphical records of the date and occurrence of an earthquake in this region. The earthquake seems to have caused damage throughout most of Transjordan and Palestine, and in many accounts is seen to have been divine retribution for the Emperor Julian's attempt to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. A parallel to the common burial of a mother and daughter attested in this inscription is found in a fourth century CE epitaph from Cyrene which records the common burial of a mother and son after an earthquake. Similarly, the common burial of a father and son is also attested in a sixth century epitaph CE from Elusa, though their deaths were not attributed to an earthquake.


H: 54.5 cm.; W: 38.5 cm.; D: 07.5 cm. Letter Height: 1.1-2.5 cm.

363 CE to 363 CE

Zoora, Negev. An Naq, cemetery.
Found by local inhabitants in the northwest corner of the Bronze Age, Byzantine and Islamic cemetery in the An Naq neighborhood south of the Wadi al-Hasa, probably in secondary use in later graves.

Department of Antiquities of Jordan

cross (above the text)
cross (below the text)

Not available

('IIP-520', 'insc', '22')

('IIP-520', 'insc', '22')

    IIP-520 insc. 22 )

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The project can be cited as: Satlow, Michael L., ed. 2002 - . “Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine.” Brown University. https://doi.org/10.26300/PZ1D-ST89

This inscription can be cited as: "Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine," [inscription id],[today's date]. https:doi.org/10.26300/pz1d-st89