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Pilgrim Boat

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Pilgrim Boat
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Photo Comments

View of a drawing of a ship and associated inscription. The block that this is found on measures 25 x 12 in. [0.65 x 0.31 m.] and is located near the Chapel of St. Vartan and the Armenian Martyrs in the lower Armenian section of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

This is a representation of a Byzantine sailing ship. The bow is to the left and the stern, and two stearing rudders to the right. The mast, and sail, seem to have been lowered.

According to M. Broshi the Latin inscription reads: "DOMINE IVIVS, ‘Lord, we have gone.’" He thinks it might be an allusion to the Latin version of Psalm 121:1. Apparently some Christian pilgrim was giving thanks for a safe arrival.

On the other hand Murphy-O’Connor reads the inscription as DD M NOMINUS "the gift of Marcus Nominus."

The inscription probably dates to about A.D. 330 – just after Constantine destroyed the old temple of Hadrian - but before the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was completed.

Broshi, Magen. "Excavations in the Holy Sepulchre in the Chapel of St. Vartan and the Armenian Martyrs." Pp. 118–22 in Ancient Churches Revealed, ed. by Yoram Tsafrir. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993.  To view for possible purchase Click Here.

Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome. The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700. Fourth edition, revised and expanded. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 55.