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Old Russian Graffito Inscription in the Abbey of Saint-Gilles, South of France

Abstract : The abbey of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard near Arles in the south of France was one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites in medieval Europe.Recent archaeological investigation has shown that construction of the abbey church, one of the most significant Romanesque pilgrimage churches in southern France, began ca. 1170/1180. The lower church (crypt) with the tomb of St. Giles (Lat. ) and some of the walls of the upper church belong to that period.A well-preserved Cyrillic graffi to was discovered on a pier of the upper church, close to the spot where the tomb of St. Giles is located in the crypt below. The text contains a prayer with a common formula: ‘Lord, help your servant Semko, son of Ninoslav.’ Palaeographic and linguistic analysis shows that the graffi to is of Russian origin. It was probably made at some time between 1180 and 1250 by a pilgrim travelling from Russia to Santiago de Compostela, and it is the most geographically remote Old Russian graffi to inscription discovered so far in western Europe
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Contributor : Vanessa Ernst-Maillet <>
Submitted on : Friday, January 16, 2015 - 10:44:28 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 10:22:02 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01104117, version 1



Anne-Sophie Brun, Andreas Hartmann-Virnich, Estelle Ingrand-Varenne, Savva Mikheev. Old Russian Graffito Inscription in the Abbey of Saint-Gilles, South of France. Slověne, 2014, 3 (2), pp.110-129. ⟨halshs-01104117⟩



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