After the Umayyad conquest of the wider Levant – modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel/Palestine – around 636–8 (the latter the date of the capture of the city of Jerusalem), the traditional Byzantine institutions of the region began to shift under the influence of the region’s new rulers. Based in Damascus, the Umayyad caliphs gradually began an elaborate artistic and architectural programme, constructing mosques and other religious buildings – the Great Mosque in Damascus, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – as well as palaces in the desert, using artists trained in Byzantine mosaic and painting traditions.1 Text played a vital role in the decorative programmes of their ­buildings – an issue to which we will return shortly – as well as in the image chosen to symbolize the caliphate on coinage: after adopting a Byzantine-inspired figural programme for their coinage, the Umayyads eventually replaced the figures with Arabic text alone.2 This paper examines the effect of major changes in the political situation in the region on early Byzantine epigraphy, focusing on Greek inscriptions produced by Christians living under Umayyad rule, especially the numerous mosaic inscriptions which survive from the floors of churches, chapels and monasteries. This region, in this period, provides a fascinating case study of the strengths and, occasionally, the weaknesses of early Byzantine epigraphy as a system intended to transmit political, social, cultural and religious knowledge and meaning. By looking closely at the ways in which the verbal and visual elements of Byzantine inscriptions persisted as well as changed under the influence of Islam, as well as new linguistic (Arabic) and artistic (Umayyad) traditions, we may get a glimpse into the inner workings of the epigraphic system and its reflection of, and participation in, an ongoing dialogue between Christian communities in the Levant and their Umayyad neighbours and rulers.