Israel, Hamat Gadar, inscription of the Empress Eudocia's poem about the Hamat Gader baths
Israel, Hamat Gadar, inscription of the Empress Eudocia's poem about the Hamat Gader baths, 5th Century AD
The Hamat Gader Poem inscribed on the baths at Hamat Gader was very short, and can be included here, as evidence of her hexameter writing style. The poem was inscribed so visitors could read it as they went into the pool.
I have seen many wonders in my life, countless,
But who, noble Clibanus, however many his mouths, could proclaim
Your might, when born a worthless mortal? But rather
It is right for you to be called a new fiery ocean,
Paean and parent, provider of sweet streams.
From you the thousandfold swell is born, one here, one there,
On this side boiling-hot, on that side in turn icy-cold and tepid.
Into fountains four-fold four you pour out your beauty.
Indian and Matrona, Repentius, holy Elijah,
Antoninus the Good, Dewy Galatia, and
Hygieia herself, warm baths both large and small,
Pearl, ancient Clibanus, Indian and other
Matrona, Strong, Nun, and the Patriarch's.
For those in pain your powerful might is always everlasting.
But I will sing of a god, renowned for wisdom
For the benefit of speaking mortals.
The inscription of the poem
The line "Of the Empress Eudocia" flanked by two crosses is set above the poem. This title line was added after the carving of the main inscription, making room for some doubt whether the poem was indeed authored by Eudocia. Clibanus is the name given to the source of the hot water. After praising his qualities and those of his many springs ("the thousandfold swell"), the poem enumerates "four-fold four", thus sixteen different parts of the bath complex, fourteen of which bear a name; these names include Hygieia (the pagan goddess of health), a whole range of pagan personal names, "holy Elijah" referring to the prophet, and two refer to Christians Ė a nun and a patriarch.
Greek Inscriptions from Ḥammat Gader: A Poem by the Empress Eudocia and Two Building Inscriptions Author(s): JUDITH GREEN and YORAM TSAFRIR
Source: Israel Exploration Journal, Vol. 32, No. 2/3 (1982), pp. 77-96