Site logo

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world


Greek epigram, probably from a dedicatory inscription in the church, commemorating the refurbishment of a church of *Michael (the Archangel, S00181) in 'Bothrepton', Constantinople, by a certain Terradios, probably in the 5th/6th c. Recorded in the 10th c. Greek Anthology.

Evidence ID

E00552

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions

Literary - Poems

Major author/Major anonymous work

Greek Anthology

Greek Anthology, Book 1 (Christian Epigrams), 9


Εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ ἀρχαγγέλου ἐν Βοθρέπτῳ

Καὶ τόδε σῶν καμάτων παναοίδιμον ἔργον ἐτύχθη,
Τερράδιε κλυτόμητι· σὺ γὰρ περικαλλέα νηὸν
ἀγγελικῆς στρατιῆς σημάντορος αὖτις ἔδειξας.


'On the church of the archangel in Bothrepton

Also this is a most renowned work of your labours, skilled Terradios. For you rendered once again splendid the church of the commander of the heavenly host.'


Text and translation: Paton and Tueller 2014; translation adapted.

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Non Liturgical Activity

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats

Source

The Greek Anthology is a collection of Greek epigrams from dating from the Archaic period to the 9th century AD. It was initially compiled by Meleager of Megara (100-90 BC), whose collection was edited and expanded by Philip of Thessalonica (under Nero), Agathias of Myrina (AD 567/8) and finally by Konstantinos Kephalas (c. AD 900).

The word epigram literally means an inscription. Although most Greek inscriptions were in prose, the word came to be specifically connected to those written in verse, and eventually to include poetic texts which were not necessarily inscribed. From the earliest period of Greek literature, epigrams were mostly sepulchral or dedicatory: they either memorialised the dead or marked the dedication of an object to a god.

Book 1 of the
Greek Anthology contains Christian epigrams from Late Antiquity to the 9th century. It was compiled c. 880-900, containing a considerable number of poems copied directly from monuments. The scholar responsible for the transcriptions may have been Gregorios Magistros, a colleague of Kephalas. Epigrams 1-17 and possibly others were taken down from inscriptions at Constantinople and two of them, namely No. 1 (inscription from the bema arch of St. Sophia) and No. 10 (inscription from the church of St. Polyeuktos) have been found in situ, thus confirming the accuracy of the entries in the Anthology.

Discussion

This epigram appears among a series of dedicatory epigrams from churches dedicated by emperors and patricians in Constantinople. It is one of several dedications to Michael the Archangel, attesting to the great popularity of his cult in the East Roman capital. Both the location of the church and its dedicant are difficult to identify, since both the toponym 'Bothrepton' and the name 'Terradios' are likely to have been distorted by erroneous copying. According to Janin, Bothrepton must be the miscopied name of sthenion, an important shrine of Michael, located at a coastal suburb on the Bosphorus (modern İstiniye) (Janin 1969, 347). Earlier editors of the Anthology (Beckby 1957) have given the name of the dedicant as Gennadios, identifying him as Patriarch Gennadios (458-471). The most recent edition of the text keeps it as Terradios (Paton and Tueller 2014). As a personal name, Terradios is close to Taetradius, which is attested in Gaul during Late Antiquity, but not in Constantinople. Like Bothrepton, Terradios could be a miscopied name.


Bibliography

Edition and Translation:
Paton, W.R., rev. Tueller, M.A., The Greek Anthology, Books 1-5, 2nd ed. (Loeb Classical Library; London, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).

Other editions:
Beckby, H., Anthologia Graeca (Munich: Ernst Heimeran Verlag, 1957).

Conca, F., Marzi, M., and Zanetto, G.,
Antologia Palatina. 3 vols. Vol. 1 (Classici Greci; Turin: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 2005).

Waltz, P.,
Anthologie Grecque (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1928).

Further reading on the Greek Anthology:
Cameron, A., The Greek Anthology: From Meleager to Planudes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).

Further reading:
Cline, R.
Ancient Angels: Conceptualizing Angeloi in the Roman Empire, Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2011, 158 ff.

Janin, R.,
Constantinople Byzantine - développement urbain et répertoire topographique. Vol. 4A (Archives de l'Orient chrétien; 2 ed.; Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines 1964).

Janin, R.,
La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. (2nd ed.; Paris, 1969).

Janin, R. "Les Sanctuaires Byzantins De Saint Michel."
Échos d’Orient 33 (1934): 28-52.


Record Created By

Efthymios Rizos

Date Last Modified

24/03/2020

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00181Michael, the Archangelἀγγελικῆς στρατιῆς σημάντωρCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Efthymios Rizos, Cult of Saints, E00552 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E00552