Greek Inscription In The Baths Of Hammat Gader, 42 AH / 662-63 CE

Islamic Awareness

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First Composed: 13th January 2007

Last Updated: 19th March 2007


Assalamu-ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

(a)

(b)

(c)

Figure: (a) Greek Inscription from the time of Caliph Mu‘āwiya in the baths of Hammat Gader. (b) The drawing of the inscription and (c) its contents.

Date

42 AH / 662-63 CE.

The date is specified in unusual detail, mentioning the day, month and year. This is likely to be the same day when the plaque was ceremonially fixed in place to commemorate the renewal of the thermae.

Script

Greek. The average height of each letter is approximately 3 cm.

Contents

The translation of the inscription is:

  1. In the days of the servant of God Muʿāwiya (abdalla Maavia), the commander
  2. of the faithful (amēra almoumenēn) the hot baths of the
  3. people there were saved and rebuilt
  4. by ʿAbd Allāh son of Abū Hāshim (Abouasemou), the
  5. governor, on the fifth of the month of December,
  6. on the second day (of the week), in the 6th year of the indiction,
  7. in the year 726 of the colony, according to the Arabs (kata Arabas) the 42nd year,
  8. for the healing of the sick, under the care of Ioannes,
  9. the official of Gadara.

Comments

Hammat Gader (el-Hammeh) lies about 7 km east of the southern end of the Sea of Galilee. The valley of Hammat Gader is famous for naturally cold and hot springs known for their therapeutic powers. These once filled the large and small pools of an early Byzantine spa, supplying it with hot and cold waters.

This Greek inscription from the time of Muʿāwiya refers to the restoration of the baths. This was written by a Christian who had the sign of cross engraved in the beginning of the inscription. It is perhaps the earliest purely Greek inscription in Palestine with a hijra date.

Location

Hammat Gader, Golan (Syria).

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References

[1] Y. Hirschfeld & G. Solar, "The Roman Thermae At Hammat Gader: Preliminary Report Of Three Seasons Of Excavations", Israel Exploration Journal, 1981, Volume 31, pp. 203-205.

[2] J. Green & Y. Tsafrir, "Greek Inscriptions From Hammat Gader: A Poem By The Empress Eudocia And Two Building Inscriptions", Israel Exploration Journal, 1982, Volume 32, pp. 94-96.

[3] I. Hasson, "Remarques Sur L'inscription De L'époque De Mu‘āwiya À Hammat Gader", Israel Exploration Journal, 1982, Volume 32, pp. 97-101.

[4] J. Blau, "The Transcription Of Arabic Words And Names In The Inscription Of Mu‘āwiya From Hammat Gader", Israel Exploration Journal, 1982, Volume 32, p. 102.

[5] Y. Hirschfeld, The Roman Baths Of Hammat Gader (Final Report), 1997, Israel Exploration Society: Jerusalem, pp. 237-240.

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