This Theban stela was erected for a deacon named George and dates from the Coptic period. The word ‘deacon’ derives from the Greek word diakonos, meaning ‘servant’. The inscription on the stela is written in the Sahidic dialect, and is brief and succinct: ‘Oh God of the universe, our Lord Jesus Christ, who comes to try the living and the dead, have mercy on the soul of the blessed George, the deacon and scribe. Give him peace, together with all Your saints. Amen. He died on the 12th Payni of the 6th indiction, year 438 after Diocletian’. The Coptic calendar began with the ‘age of the martyrs’, which started with Emperor Diocletian’s ascent to the throne in 284. The Pharaonic names were used for the months. The years were counted in the fifteen-year cycles (indictions) of the Byzantine taxation system. The entry means that we can convert the date of George’s death to AD 6 June 722 according to the Gregorian calendar.


  • Title: Stela of George
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 0722
  • Location: Thebe, Egypte
  • Physical Dimensions: w22.5 x h47.7 cm
  • Datering: 722 AD, Koptische Periode
  • Afmetingen: 47,7 x 22,5 cm
  • Type: stela
  • External Link: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Medium: marble

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