I'd like to ask experts in Greek to verify a translation from this mosaic from Jerash

Mosaic fragment

This one is a cropped and rotated version of an original image from here

English translation:

Lord the God the Holy of Kosmas and of Damianos. Have mercy on the way (path) of Dagisteon (Dagisteos) and receive this offering.

Thank you.


Thanks to @Alessio I've managed to reach the book which has this iscription commented on page 246. The authors call Dagistheus mentioned above as "one of Justinian's less successful generals".

  • Tribunus, the title has a wide range, as the Wikipedia article shows in the opening sentence, The Latin dictionary(Smith) says it can mean chieftain, too. – Hugh Feb 16 '17 at 16:00

Your translation is close!

Here is a letter for letter transcription of the image, except there is a line over "ΘΣ" in the second line:


This is:

Κύριε ὁ θ(εὸ)ς τοῦ ἁγίου Κοσμᾶ κ(αὶ) Δαμιανοῦ, ἐλέησον τὸν τριβοῦνον Δαγίσθεον καὶ πρόσδεξε τὴν αὐτοῦ προσφοράν.

The translation becomes straightforward now:

O Lord, God of saint[s] Cosmas and Damian, have mercy on the tribune Dagistheos and receive his offering.

A few notes:

  1. As noted in the comments, "πρόσδεξε" is probably a form of "προσδέξαι." This form is attested in later Greek, particularly in the Middle East.
  2. "ΘΣ" (with a line) is an abbreviation for "θεὸς"
  3. "Ȣ" is a ligature for "ου"
  4. "Ϗ" alone is an abbreviation for "καὶ" (not abbreviated consistently, for spacing reasons)
  5. The author uses a so-called "lunate sigma" (like our "C")
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  • 1
    Three minutes later than you; trying to track Dagis or Dagistheos the tribune's name. – Hugh Feb 16 '17 at 15:13
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    "δέξει" as in the future 2nd person singular? It seems strange to say "You will receive his gift" – brianpck Feb 16 '17 at 15:40
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    If you want to use the real character in your answer, here it is, so you can copy and paste: U+03F9 ‹Ϲ› \N{GREEK CAPITAL LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOL} – TRiG Feb 16 '17 at 16:04
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    I'm guessing you're right that ΠΡΟΣΔΕΞΕ is for impv. πρόσδεξαι, since αι merged into ε in Koine. – TKR Feb 16 '17 at 19:21
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    For completeness, you could find the text of this inscription here: epigraphy.packhum.org/text/305238?hs=200-209, from C.H. Kraeling, Gerasa: City of the Decapolis. An Account Embodying the Record of a Joint Excavation Conducted by Yale University and the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (1928-1930), and Yale University and the American Schools of Oriental Research (1930-1931, 1933-1934), New Haven [Conn.] 1938, n. 311. – ALE Feb 16 '17 at 22:26


The symbol at the end of line two is a (genitive) OY digraph. The 'K' as you show is KAI. TPIBOYNON is probably the loan word Tribunus from Latin; the long 'u' has been transliterated as 'ou'.


O Lord, the God of Saint Cosmas and Damian, have mercy on Tribune Dagistheon, and accept his offering. Ξ

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    Great answer--I think you're right that it's a ξ, not a χ: any idea why it's not προσδέξαι? – brianpck Feb 16 '17 at 14:55
  • Thanks for your answer. Especially for the hint on tribunus from Latin. Did you mean this kind of [Tribune] (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribune) ? If we assume it was build in the end of 3rd - beginning of 4th century AD, does it make sense for this context? – hypers Feb 16 '17 at 15:21
  • @brianpck The loanword Tribounon, and the Genitive Kosma from Cosmas and the Name Dagistheos (Dagon is God?) suggest a polyglot, multiracial, mixed culture. IMO prosdexe sounds like a Latin imperative, or less probably a Greek active aorist pl. imperative ending, tacked onto the Greek verb stem "graciously receive." – Hugh Feb 16 '17 at 15:41
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    Such loanwords were actually very common in the Byzantine empire, and I don't see anything outlandish with leaving a foreign name undeclined: Jerash was almost definitely polyglot, but not with Latin. It was introduced to Greek with the conquest of Alexander the Great. I would be pretty surprised if this was hybrid "Latin-Greek" speak, especially since in all likelihood this area did not speak Latin at all. – brianpck Feb 16 '17 at 15:53
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    @Hugh I think TKR is on the right track in his comment to my answer, that this is a result of Koine pronunciation. – brianpck Feb 16 '17 at 19:55

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