Deddeh village houses an interesting sarcophagus, located in the southern courtyard of the church of Mar Mtanios.
Crafted from local limestone, the sarcophagus of Deddeh reflects a funeral iconography widely used starting the 6th century BC up until the late 5th century AD, known as burial Klinai (couches in Greek), where a couch or a banquet with a reclining figure is represented on the monument.
Studies have been made around the use of banquets in burial practices and several theories have been suggested: the banquet function may have provided a resting place for the corpse, but it is also representational, both in the sense that it often represent furniture in another medium and in the sense that it convey something about the deceased, in its reference to the world of elite banqueting or symposia, or to funerary rituals, and/or to luxury itself.
In the case of Deddeh sarcophagus, it contains a Greek inscription, topped with a frame featuring a bas-relief of two figures, one of them reclining on a banquet. It may have been designated to a child based on its measurements.
The inscription states the following: "Ζαδακων Καστόρωνος ἔκτισεν τὸν τόπον" - "Zadakon, son of Kastoron of the Tissnton region".
Above the inscription, the frame (right side) depicts a man with a flat body lying on the floor line, resting on his left arm, probably reclining on a pillow. His right arm is directed towards the other character (left side). The second character could be a woman, but unfortunately the figure is degraded to be able to specify the person.
St. Anthony's Church is believed to have been built around the 13th century AD, based on the murals that represent figures of saints, as well as a cross that reflect the art of that century.
The church is characterized by two communicating naves, separated by two pointed arches.
The restoration of the murals will be implemented by a team of Italian and Lebanese conservators, restorers, architects, and archaeologists.This project is supported by ALIPH with the financial assistance of the Principality of Monaco.
Tour Operator & Tour Guide
BAAL, Volume 12, 2008, Zeina Fani
BULLETIN EPIGRAPHIQUE 2005-2015 SYRIE, PHENICIE, PALESTINE, ARABIE par Denis FEISSEL et Pierre-Louis GATIER
The sarcophagus with the inscription and the bas-relief frame
The Church of St. Anthony
One of the frescoes, showing the figure of a saint