Early Christianity in Asia Minor and Cyprus: From the Margins to the Mainstream 9789004410800, 9004410805

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Early Christianity in Asia Minor and Cyprus: From the Margins to the Mainstream
 9789004410800, 9004410805

Table of contents :
Early Christianity in Asia Minor and Cyprus: From the Margins to the Mainstream
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors
1 Between Paganism and Judaism: Early Christianity in Cappadocia
1 A Chronological Survey of the Evidence for Christians in Cappadocia—Harnack Updated
1.1 From the Origins of Christianity to Nerva
1.2 From Trajan to the Reign of Commodus
1.3 From the Severan Age to the Council of Nicaea
2 Jewish Presence in Cappadocia
3 Judaeo-Pagan Syncretism in Cappadocia
4 Conclusion
2 Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Sebastea and Armenia Minor
1 The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
2 The Passio of Saint Athenogenes of Pedachthoe
3 The Passio of Eustratius of Arauraka
4 Diocletian’s Persecution on the Euphrates Frontier
3 Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia
1 From Vine Dresser to Warrior: Saint Hieron as Patron Saint
2 Caves, Monks and Hermits
3 Heretics and Troglodytes
4 The Holy Land of Rocky Cappadocia
4 The Origins and Development of the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia
5 Faith and Verse: Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry
1 Early Christian Sepulchral Epigrams
2 Typical Christian Semantics
3 Convergences between Epigraphic and Literary Christian Language
4 Dissemination of Poetic Christian Language in Central Asia Minor
5 Early Christian Poetry and the Rise of Christianity in Asia Minor
6 Constantinople and Asia Minor: Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century
1 Introduction
2 Matters of Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century: A Brief Documentation
3 Did Canon 3 of Constantinople in 381 Make Any Change to Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction?
4 Conclusion
7 The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus
1 Introduction
2 The Introduction of Christianity
3 Sagalassus during the Roman Imperial Period: Neokoros and Proteia
4 The Fourth Century: An Age of Change
5 Christian Triumph?
6 The Sixth Century: The Age of Christianity
7 Conclusion
8 Inscribing Caria: The Perseverance of Epigraphic Traditions in Late Antiquity
1 Ancient Caria
2 Inscribing Temples in Ancient Caria
3 Diachronic Texts
4 Inscribed Temples in Late Antiquity
5 Conclusion
9 The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus: A Preliminary Study
1 Earlier Studies
2 The Christian Tradition on Cyprus
3 The Main Epigraphic Categories
4 Conclusions
Index of Sources
Index of Names
Index of Places
Index of Subjects

Citation preview

Early Christianity in Asia Minor and Cyprus

Early Christianity in Asia Minor (ecam) The subseries ‘Early Christianity in Asia Minor’, of which this is the third volume to be published, is part of the ajec series. It stands in the tradition of the work of Adolf von Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (4th ed., Leipzig, 1924). The volumes of ecam focus on the rise and expansion of Christianity in Asia Minor and endeavour to take into account relevant literary and non-literary evidence, paying special attention to epigraphical and archaeological material, and to document the current state of research. The first volume by Ulrich Huttner on Early Christianity in the Lycus Valley was published as ajec 85 in 2013. The second volume by Cilliers Breytenbach and Christiane Zimmermann on Early Christianity in Lycaonia and Adjacent Areas appeared as ajec 101 in 2018. The papers collected in the present volume deal with the rise and expansion of Christianity in different areas: in the east Anatolian provinces of Cappadocia and Armenia Minor, in the southwest Anatolian regions of Caria and Pisidia, and on the island of Cyprus. Monographs on early Christianity in Phrygia, in Galatia, in Bithynia and on the Hellespont, in Ionia, and along the lower Maeander are in preparation. Cilliers Breytenbach and Martin Goodman

Early Christianity in Asia Minor (ECAM) Editors Cilliers Breytenbach (Berlin), Martin Goodman (Oxford), Christoph Markschies (Berlin), Stephen Mitchell (Exeter)



Founding Editor Martin Hengel † (Tübingen) Executive Editors Cilliers Breytenbach (Berlin) Martin Goodman (Oxford) Editorial Board Lutz Doering (Münster) – Tal Ilan (Berlin) – Judith Lieu (Cambridge) AnneMarie Luijendijk (Princeton) – Tessa Rajak (Reading/Oxford) Sacha Stern (London) – Daniel R. Schwartz ( Jerusalem) Amram Tropper ( Jerusalem) – Christiane Zimmermann (Kiel)


The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/ajec

Early Christianity in Asia Minor and Cyprus From the Margins to the Mainstream Edited by

Stephen Mitchell Philipp Pilhofer


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Mitchell, Stephen, 1948– editor. | Pilhofer, Philipp, editor. Title: Early Christianity in Asia Minor and Cyprus : from the margins to  the mainstream / edited by Stephen Mitchell, Philipp Pilhofer. Description: Boston : Brill, 2019. | Series: Ancient Judaism and early  Christianity, 1871-6636 ; volume 109 | Includes bibliographical  references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2019025595 (print) | LCCN 2019025596 (ebook) |  ISBN 9789004410794 (hardback) | ISBN 9789004410800 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Church history—Primitive and early church, ca. 30–600. |  Turkey—Church history. | Cyprus—Church history. Classification: LCC BT185 .E27 2019 (print) | LCC BT185 (ebook) |  DDC 275.61/02—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019025595 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019025596

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: brill.com/brill-typeface. ISSN 1871-6636 ISBN 978-90-04-41079-4 (hardback) ISBN 978-90-04-41080-0 (e-book) Copyright 2019 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi, Brill Sense, Hotei Publishing, mentis Verlag, Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh and Wilhelm Fink Verlag. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Dedicated to Cilliers Breytenbach, the spiritus rector of Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae, on his sixty-fifth birthday

Contents Preface xi Abbreviations xii List of Figures xv Notes on Contributors xviii Introduction 1 Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer 1 Between Paganism and Judaism: Early Christianity in Cappadocia 13 Margherita Cassia 2 Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Sebastea and Armenia Minor 49 Stephen Mitchell 3 Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia 78 Gaetano Arena 4 The Origins and Development of the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia 109 Aude Busine 5 Faith and Verse: Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry 126 Christiane Zimmermann 6 Constantinople and Asia Minor: Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century 148 Turhan Kaçar 7 The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus 164 Peter Talloen



8 Inscribing Caria: The Perseverance of Epigraphic Traditions in Late Antiquity 202 Anna M. Sitz 9 The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus: A Preliminary Study 226 Daniela Summa Index of Sources 253 Index of Names 268 Index of Places 274 Index of Subjects 278

Preface On 22–23 June 2018, researchers specializing in the fields of early Christianity, ancient history, epigraphy and archaeology, met for a conference on ‘The Rise of Christianity in Asia Minor and on Cyprus’, under the auspices of research groups B-5-3 and B-5-4 of the Excellence Cluster 264 Topoi, Berlin. The meeting was held at Topoi Haus Mitte, the former mortuary of the Institute of Medical Jurisprudence, at the Humboldt University. We would like to thank all the participants, not only for their presentations and contributions to the discussions, but also for submitting annotated and expanded versions of their papers to a very tight schedule, which has made it possible to produce this volume within a year of the workshop taking place. We are also grateful to everyone who helped with the organization of the event: Jan Bertram, Leah Böttger, Ursula Müller, Birgit Nennstiel, Maya Prodanova, Ruti Ungar and Arianna Zischow. We could not have done without Matthias Müller (Berlin), who has acted as copy editor with his habitual precision, Alexander Städtler (Wernigerode), who has prepared the maps illustrating the introduction and Stephen Mitchell’s contribution, and Daniela Müller (Erlangen), who assisted us in general. Cilliers Breytenbach was the mastermind behind the conference, as he has been behind the whole Rise of Christianity project. We are privileged and delighted to be able to dedicate this volume to him in the year of his 65th birthday, marking his retirement from the Chair for the study of the New Testament at the Humboldt University. May the years of his retirement be long and fruitful! Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer

Berlin and Wittenberg, March 2019

Abbreviations Abbreviations of Greek patristic literature follow those of G.W.H. Lampe’s Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford, 1961), biblical and related texts (including Philo and Josephus) are abbreviated according to the guidelines set out in The sbl Handbook of Style (2nd ed., Atlanta, 2014), and abbreviations used for other ancient works are found in The Oxford Classical Dictionary (ed. S. Hornblower; 4th ed., Oxford, 2012). Additional abbreviations are listed below. ActaSS

Acta Sanctorum: Quotquot Toto Orbe Coluntur (Antwerp and Brussels, 1643–1940) ala2004 C. Roueché (ed.), Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity: The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions (2nd ed., London, 2004), http://insaph.kcl.ac.uk/ ala2004 AnBoll Analecta Bollandiana AnCl L’Antiquité classique AnSt Anatolian Studies bch Bulletin de correspondance hellénique be Bulletin épigraphique, published in Revue des études grecques bhg F. Halkin (ed.), Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca, 3 vols. (3rd ed., Brus­ sels, 1957) bhl Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina Antiquae et Mediae Aetatis, 2 vols. (Brussels, 1898–1901) ccsg Corpus Christianorum: Series Graeca cil Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (Berlin, 1862–) F.Delphes 3/1 É. Bourguet (ed.), Fouilles de Delphes, vol. 3/1: Inscriptions de l’entrée du sanctuaire au trésor des Athéniens (Paris, 1929) fpg F.W.A. Mullach, Fragmenta Philosophorum Graecorum, 3 vols. (Paris, 1860–1881) gcs Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte gno W. Jaeger et al. (eds.), Gregorii Nysseni Opera (Leiden, 1921–) I.Amyzon J. Robert and L. Robert, Fouilles d’Amyzon en Carie, vol. 1: Exploration, histoire, monnaies et inscriptions (Paris, 1983) I.Ankara S. Mitchell and D. French (eds.), The Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Ankara (Ancyra), 2 vols., Vestigia (Munich, 2012–2019) IAphMcCabe D.F. McCabe, Aphrodisias Inscriptions: Texts and Lists, The Princeton Project on the Inscriptions of Anatolia (Princeton, 1991), see Packard Humanities Institute, Searchable Greek Inscriptions (Los Altos, Calif.), https://inscriptions.packhum.org

Abbreviations IAph2007


J. Reynolds, C. Roueché, and G. Bodard (eds.), Inscriptions of Aphrodisias (London, 2007), http://insaph.kcl.ac.uk/iaph2007 M. Guarducci (ed.), Inscriptiones Creticae, 4 vols. (Rome, 1935–1950) ic icg Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae, http://www.epigraph.topoi.org/ I.Eph H. Wankel et al. (eds.), Die Inschriften von Ephesos, 8 pts., Die Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien (Bonn, 1979–1984) ig Inscriptiones Graecae (Berlin, 1873–) igr R. Cagnat et al. (eds.), Inscriptiones Graecae ad Res Romana Pertinentes, 3 vols. (Paris, 1906–1927) D. Noy et al. (eds.), Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientis, 3 vols. (Tübingen, ijo 2004) Terence B. Mitford, The Inscriptions of Kourion (Philadelphia, 1971) I.Kourion I.Labraunda J. Crampa, Labraunda, vol. 3: The Greek Inscriptions, 2 pts. (Stockholm, 1969–1972) H. Dessau (ed.), Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, 3 vols. (Berlin, 1892–1916) ils imt Kaikos M. Barth and J. Stauber (eds.), Inschriften Mysia & Troas (Munich, 1993), see Packard Humanities Institute, Searchable Greek Inscriptions (Los Al­ tos, Calif.), https://inscriptions.packhum.org I.Mylasa W. Blümel (ed.), Die Inschriften von Mylasa, 2 vols., Die Inschriften grie­ chischer Städte aus Kleinasien (Bonn, 1987–1988) I.Paphos J.-B. Cayla, Les inscriptions de Paphos: La cité chypriote sous la domination lagide et à l’époque impériale, Travaux de la Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée 74 (Lyon, 2017) I.Perinthos M.H. Sayar, Perinthos-Herakleia (Marmara Ereğlisi) und Umgebung: Ge­ schichte, Testimonien, griechische und lateinische Inschriften, Denk­ schriften der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse 269 (Vienna, 1998) W. Blümel and R. Merkelbach (eds.), Die Inschriften von Priene, 2 pts., I.Priene Die Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien 69 (Bonn, 2014) I.Sagalassos A. Eich et al. (eds.), Die Inschriften von Sagalassos, Die Inschriften grie­ chischer Städte aus Kleinasien 70 (Bonn, 2018) I.Salamine J. Pouilloux, P. Roesch, and J.M. Marcillet-Jaubert (eds.), Salamine de Chypre, vol. 13: Testimonia Salaminia, pt. 2: Corpus épigraphique (Paris, 1987) Terence B. Mitford and I.K. Nicolaou, The Greek and Latin Inscriptions I.Salamis from Salamis (Nicosia, 1974) I.Stratonikeia M. Çetin Şahin (ed.), Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia, 3 pts., Die Inschrif­ ten griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien (Bonn, 1981–2010)

xiv I.Tyana

LCL lgpn lsj mama

Mansi npnf²

pg pgl pir² pl plre po P.Oxy. rdac reg rrmam 3

seg sgo StudPont 3


Abbreviations D. Berges and J. Nollé, Tyana: Archäologisch-historische Untersuchungen zum südwestlichen Kappadokien, 2 pts., Die Inschriften griechischer Städ‑ te aus Kleinasien 55 (Bonn, 2000) Loeb Classical Library P.M. Fraser et al. (eds.), A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (Oxford, 1987–) H.G. Liddell, R. Scott, H.S. Jones, and R. McKenzie, A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed. with revised supplement (Oxford, 1996) Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua, vol. 1: W.M. Calder (ed.), Eastern Phrygia (London, 1928) – vol. 3: J. Keil and A. Wilhelm (eds.), Denkmäler aus dem Rauhen Kilikien (Manchester, 1931) – vol. 11: P. Thonemann (ed.), Monuments from Phrygia and Lycaonia (London, 2012), http:// mama.csad.ox.ac.uk J.D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio, 53 vols. (Florence, 1759–1827) R. Schaff and H. Wace (eds.), A Select Library of the Nicene and PostNicene Fathers of the Christian Church, 2nd series, 14 vols. (New York, 1890–1900) Patrologia Graeca G.W.H. Lampe (ed.), A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford, 1961) Prosopographia Imperii Romani Saec. i. ii. iii., Editio Altera, 8 vols. (Berlin, 1933–2015) Patrologia Latina A.H.M. Jones, J.R. Martindale, and J. Morris (eds.), Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1971–1992) Patrologia Orientalis The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (London, 1898–) Report of the Department of Antiquities Cyprus Revue des études grecques D.H. French, Roman Roads and Milestones of Asia Minor, vol. 3: Mile­ stones, 9 pts., biaa Electronic Monographs (Ankara, 2012–2016), https:// biaa.ac.uk/publications/item/name/electronic-monographs Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum R. Merkelbach and J. Stauber (eds.), Steinepigramme aus dem grie­ chischen Osten, 5 vols. (Berlin, 1998–2004) J.G.C. Anderson, F. Cumont, and H. Grégoire (eds.), Studia Pontica, vol. 3/1: Recueil des inscriptions grecques et latines du Pont et de l’Armenie (Brussels, 1910) Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik

Figures 0.1 2.1 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5

3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 7.1 7.2

Asia Minor and Cyprus in late antiquity (map A. Städtler) 2 Armenia Minor and neighbouring regions (map A. Städtler) 50 Rocky Cappadocia (reproduced from N. Thierry, ‘Découvertes’, 657 sch. 1) 82 ‘Planimetric’ drawings of the iconographic cycles, Tokalı Kilise 1 (Göreme 7) (reproduced from C. Jolivet-Lévy, La Cappadoce médiévale, 281) 86 Fresco of St Hieron, Tokalı Kilise 1 (Göreme 7) (reproduced from C. Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 484 fig. 3) 87 Sketch of St Hieron, Tokalı Kilise 1 (Göreme 7) (reproduced from C. Jolivet-Lévy, La Cappadoce médiévale, 340) 87 ‘Planimetric’ drawings of the iconographic cycles, Çavuşin, Church of the Great Pigeonhouse (reproduced from C. Jolivet-Lévy, La Cappadoce médiévale, 293) 88 Fresco showing St Hieron, Çavuşin, Church of the Great Pigeonhouse (reproduced from C. Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 483 fig. 1) 90 Fresco of St Hieron, Saklı Kilise, Göreme 2a (reproduced from C. Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 493 fig. 5) 90 Fresco of St Hieron, Kılıçlar Kilise, Göreme 31 (photo courtesy of C. Jolivet-Lévy) 91 Sketch of the west side of the valley of Göreme (reproduced from N. Thierry, ‘Découvertes’, 661 sch. 3) 95 Section of cone no. 2 in the valley of Göreme (reproduced from N. Thierry, ‘Découvertes’, 664 sch. 4) 95 Altar dedicated to Zeus Gordios (drawing A. Busine, after L. Robert, Noms indigènes, 549 pl. vii) 113 Mount Argaeus surmounted by a god, with a temple (drawing A. Busine, after W. Wroth, Greek Coins, pl. xii.3) 116 Mount Argaeus on an altar (drawing A. Busine, after W. Wroth, Greek Coins, pl. xi.13) 116 Mount Argaeus under a draped seated figure (drawing A. Busine, after G. MacDonald, Greek Coins, pl. 62.25) 116 Map of Caesarea (map H. Brakmann, reproduced from Gain, ‘Kaisareia’, 1001–1002, Abb. 1) 118 Plan of the Upper Agora of Sagalassus (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 168 View of the Tychaeum from the north (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 169

xvi 7.3


Reverse of a civic bronze coin depicting the Tychaeum dating to the reign of Claudius ii (photo courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group, https://www.cngcoins.com) 170 7.4 The marble statue group of Dionysus and satyr from the western corner aedicula of the Antonine Nymphaeum (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 171 7.5 The base with the text of the astragalos-oracle found near the north-west city gate (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 172 7.6 The half-column with the dedicatory inscription of the Hagnai Theai sanctuary and the εἷς θεός formula (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 177 7.7 The emblema of the mosaic floor of the Neon Library (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 178 7.8 Burnt floor and fill deposits in the lower floor of the Market Building (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 179 7.9 The ἀγαθὴ τύχη inscription on the north pillar of the south-east gate of Claudius (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 181 7.10 The statue of Asclepius from the Antonine Nymphaeum (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 183 7.11 Round, relief decorated flask representing Dionysus standing between Ares and Aphrodite, with rabbits feeding on vines emanating from a cantharoid crater underneath, found at the potters’ workshop east of the Neon Library and dated to the fifth century ad (inv. SA2013LE-129-210) (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 186 7.12 Plan of the basilica installed in the forecourt of the Bouleuterion at Sagalassus (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 188 7.13 Michaelitai acclamation on the pedestal of the south-east honorific column of the Upper Agora (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 191 7.14 Plan of the stadium with Basilicas E1 and G (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 192 7.15 A terracotta figurine of a warrior on horseback, found in a sixth-century workshop near the south-west gate of Claudius (inv. SA2010CG-102-162) (© Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project) 195 8.1 Euromus, inscription in Carian on a spring house (photo A.M. Sitz) 204 8.2 Caria and its sphere (map A.M. Sitz) 204 8.3 Plan of Labraunda (courtesy of O. Henry, Labraunda Excavation) 207 8.4 Gerga, Building 1 (identified as a temple by W. Held) (reproduced from W. Held, Gergakome, Abb. 18, Bau i) 211 8.5 I.Labraunda 137 (courtesy of O. Henry, Labraunda Excavation) 214 8.6 I.Labraunda 137 (photo courtesy of O. Henry, Labraunda Excavation) 215



8.7 Lagina, Temple of Hecate, plantae pedum and kyrie boethi graffiti on the stylobate (photo A.M. Sitz) 216 8.8 Aphrodisias, door lintel of main entrance to the temple and, later, the church, inscribed dedication partially erased (photo A.M. Sitz) 219 8.9 Euromus, spring house used as a hagiasma in an extramural chapel (photo A.M. Sitz) 221 9.1 Map of ancient Cyprus (map A. Karnava) 227 9.2 Inscribed fragment from the Paphian area of Toumballos (reproduced from F. Giudice, ‘Nea Paphos’, 87 fig. 21) 230 9.3 Squeeze of block bearing the name of Paul, Monastery of Saint Barnabas (reproduced from T.B. Mitford, Byzantion 20 [1950], 106 fig. 1) 231 9.4 Funerary cippus with staurograms, Archaeological Museum of Larnaka (inv. μλα 1331) (photo T. Galanopoulos, with kind permission of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities) 233 9.5 Floor mosaic commissioned by a bishop Spyridon, Agios Spyridon Basilica, Trimithus (reproduced from D. Michaelides, Cypriot Mosaics, 72 fig. 38) 235 9.6 Inscription from the gymnasium of Salamis mentioning the basileis and Eustorgios (reproduced from T.B. Mitford and I.K. Nicolaou, I.Salamis 43, pl. x.3) 239 9.7 Reused statue-base and column bearing acclamations for Eustorgios in the Paphus theatre (reproduced from J.R. Green and E.W. Handley, ‘Eustorgis in Paphos’, 202 fig. 4) 240 9.8 Reused column with acclamation for Eustorgios in the Chrysopolitissa Basilica, Paphus (photo T. Galanopoulos, with kind permission of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities) 240 9.9 Floor mosaic mentioning Eustolios in the so-called complex of Eustolios, Curium (photo T. Galanopoulos, with kind permission of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities) 242 9.10 Floor mosaic representing Ktisis in the so-called complex of Eustolios, Curium (photo T. Galanopoulos, with kind permission of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities) 243

Notes on Contributors Gaetano Arena PhD, Rome, 1997, is Associate Professor of Roman History at Catania University (Italy), Department of Educational Sciences. His research covers social, economic and cultural history in the Mediterranean world and the Near East, especially Asia Minor, with a special emphasis on the history of medicine. He is the author of Città di Panfilia e Pisidia sotto il dominio romano: Continuità struttu­ rali e cambiamenti funzionali (Catania, 2005), Inter eximia naturae dona: Il silfio cirenaico fra Ellenismo e Tarda Antichità (Rome, 2008), Il farmaco e l’unguento: La produzione di Priene fra Ellenismo e Impero (Rome, 2013), Marcello di Side: Gli imperatori adottivi e il potere della medicina (Rome, 2016; with Margherita Cassia), Comunità di villaggio nell’Anatolia romana: Il dossier epigrafico degli Xenoi Tekmoreioi (Rome, 2017). Aude Busine is Professor of Ancient History at the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium). She is interested in the cultural and religious history of the late antique Roman East and is currently working on the links between hagiography and cult. She has published Les Sept Sages de la Grèce antique (Paris, 2002), Paroles d’Apollon: Pratiques et traditions oraculaires dans l’Antiquité tardive (Leiden, 2005) and Religious Practices and Christianization of the Late Antique City (Leiden, 2015). Margherita Cassia PhD, Rome, 1997, is Associate Professor of Roman History at Catania University (Italy), Department of Humanities. Her interests cover the social and intellectual history of the eastern Roman Empire, in geographical contexts that range from Malta and Sicily to Asia Minor. She is the author of Cappadocia romana: Strutture urbane e strutture agrarie alla periferia dell’Impero (Catania, 2004), La piaga e la cura: Poveri e ammalati, medici e monaci nell’Anatolia rurale tardoantica (Rome, 2009), Andromaco di Creta: Medicina e potere nella Roma neroniana (Rome, 2012), Fra biografia e cronografia: Storici cappadoci nell’età dei Costantinidi (Rome, 2014), Marcello di Side: Gli imperatori adottivi e il potere della medicina (Rome, 2016; with Gaetano Arena). Turhan Kaçar PhD in Ancient History, Swansea University, 2000, Associate Professor at Ba­ likesir University 2004, Professor at Pamukkale University Denizli 2009, has been Professor of Ancient History at Istanbul Medeniyet University (Turkey)

Notes on Contributors


since 2015 and a member of the Turkish Institute of Archaeology. His research focuses on late antiquity and early Christianity. He is the author of Geç Antikçağ’da Hıristiyanlık/Christianity in Late Antiquity (Istanbul, 2009) and his translations into Turkish include Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity (Istanbul, 2000 and 2016), and Stephen Mitchell, A History of the Later Roman Empire (Ankara, 2016). He has edited Byzantion’dan Constantinopolis’e İstanbul Kuşatmaları/​From Byzantium to Constantinople, Sieges of Istanbul (Istanbul, 2017; with Murat Arslan), and Geç Antik Çağ’da Lykos Vadisi ve Çevresi/​The Lykos Valley and Neighbourhood in Late Antiquity (Istanbul, 2018; with Celal Şimşek). Stephen Mitchell is a Fellow of the British Academy, Emeritus Professor of Hellenistic Culture at the University of Exeter (uk) and Chairman of the British Institute at Ankara. He holds an honorary doctorate in Theology at the Humboldt University, Berlin, and has been a research associate of successive Topoi groups investigating the spread of early Christianity in Asia Minor, Greece and the Balkans. He is the author of Anatolia: Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor (2 vols.; Oxford, 1993), A History of the Later Roman Empire, ad 285–641 (2nd ed., Chichester, 2015), and The Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Ankara (Ancyra) (2 vols.; Munich, 2012 and 2019). Philipp Pilhofer Dr. theol., Berlin, 2017, is a research assistant at the chair of Ancient Christianity at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), having been a stipendiary doctoral fellow with the Excellence Cluster 264 Topoi from 2013 to 2016 and a visiting scholar of the Hardt Foundation, Vandœuvres/Geneva, in 2016. He is the author of Das frühe Christentum im kilikisch-isaurischen Bergland: Die Christen der Kalykadnos-Region in den ersten fünf Jahrhunderten (Berlin, 2018). His critical edition of the Greek text of the martyrdom of Konon from Bidana (Isauria) with a German translation and commentary will appear shortly. Anna M. Sitz completed her PhD in 2017 at the University of Pennsylvania (usa) and is a research associate at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) in research group sfb 933, which focuses on the material aspects of texts in historical societies. Her publications explore new approaches to epigraphic material from Cappadocia, Syria and Aphrodisias, and she currently leads a sub-project at the Labraunda Excavation (Turkey) focused on the Christianization of the ancient sanctuary.


Notes on Contributors

Daniela Summa is a senior researcher attached to the project Inscriptiones Graecae at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Germany). She has published the corpus of inscriptions of Eastern Locris (IG IX 1², 5, Berlin, 2011). Currently, she is responsible for editing the corpus of inscriptions from Cyprus. Her research draws on Greek epigraphy as a historical and literary source, focusing on the editing of documents, as well as the history of classical scholarship. Peter Talloen PhD, Leuven, 2003 (Belgium), has been a participant in the archaeological excavations at Sagalassus (south-west Turkey) since 1995. His doctoral research focused on religious practice in the ancient region of Pisidia from the Hellenistic to the early Byzantine period. These interests were developed further during postdoctoral fellowships in Ankara (2011–2012) and Istanbul (2012–2013), with special emphasis on the Christianization of space and material culture in Pisidia. Since 2019 he is Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Süleyman Demirel University, Isparta (Turkey). He is the author of Cult in Pisidia: Religious Practice in Southwestern Asia Minor from Alexander the Great to the Rise of Christianity (Turnhout, 2015). Christiane Zimmermann Dr. phil. in Classics, Munich, 1991, Dr. theol. habil., Berlin, 2006, is Professor of the History, Theology and Literature of the New Testament at the University of Kiel (Germany). She works on New Testament theology and the history of early Christianity. Her publications include Die Namen des Vaters: Studien zu ausgewählten neutestamentlichen Gottesbezeichnungen vor ihrem jüdischen und paganen Sprachhorizont (Leiden, 2007), Gott und seine Söhne: Das Gottesbild des Galaterbriefs (Neukirchen-Vluyn, 2013). Together with Cilliers Breytenbach she is the author of Early Christianity in Lycaonia and Adjacent Areas: From Paul to Amphilochius of Iconium (Leiden, 2018).

Introduction Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer This volume publishes the papers from the third of a series of conferences which have formed part of the Topoi programme in Berlin, organized by members of the research group B-5-3 ‘Authorization of Early Christian Knowledge Claims in Asia Minor and Greece’ and B-5-4 ‘Places and Authorities of the Christianization of Knowledge’.1 The main purpose of this research is to study the rise and expansion of Christianity in Asia Minor, Greece and the southern Balkans, following the trail blazed by Adolf Harnack’s classic work, Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums.2 The published outputs of the project have taken three forms. The contemporary documentary evidence for early Christianity, that is the inscriptions, has been collected in a database, Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae (icg), which now covers much of Asia Minor, Greece and the southern Balkans and has been accessible to all the project associates.3 A simplified version of this data­ base was published in 2016 under a Creative Commons license as a digital repository in the Berlin Topoi edition, and a revised second edition is planned for 2020.4 The second category of publication is a series of monographs devoted to the study of the emergence of Christianity on a regional basis. Two volumes have appeared so far, dealing respectively with the Lycus valley in south-west Phrygia and the inner Anatolian region of Lycaonia, both published by Brill in the series Early Christianity in Asia Minor.5 Closely related to these is the volume on Rugged Cilicia and Isauria by Philipp Pilhofer, published in another series.6 Further volumes on Galatia and Phrygia in Asia Minor, and on Attica and Corinthia in Greece, are in active preparation.

1  See http://www.topoi.org/project/b-5-3 and http://www.topoi.org/project/b-5-4. 2  Cf. Breytenbach, ‘Rise and Expansion’. 3  See Breytenbach and Ogereau, ‘Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae (icg)’. The database is publicly available at http://www.epigraph.topoi.org. 4  C. Breytenbach, K. Hallof, U. Huttner, J. Krumm, S. Mitchell, J.M. Ogereau, E. Sironen, M. Veksina, and C. Zimmermann (eds.), Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae (icg): A Digital Collection of Early Christian Greek Inscriptions from Asia Minor and Greece (Berlin, 2016), online at http://repository.edition-topoi.org/collection/ICG (doi: 10.17171/1-8). 5  Huttner, Lycus Valley; Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia. 6  Pilhofer, Das frühe Christentum im kilikisch-isaurischen Bergland.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_002


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In addition to these monographs, the contributions to a series of international conferences and workshops are being published in a further series of volumes. Papers from the first and second workshops, held respectively in October 2015 and in June 2017, appeared in 2018.7 Publication of the majority of the contributions to the second workshop on ‘The Rise of Early Christianity in Greece and the Southern Balkans’, held in June 2017, is imminent.8 The present volume collects the papers read at the third workshop on ‘The Rise of Early Christianity in Asia Minor and on Cyprus’ in June 2018. The papers presented here are concerned with the emergence of Christianity in areas that are not covered in the completed or planned volumes of the monograph series. The largest group of them concerns the east Anatolian provinces of Cappadocia and Armenia Minor, extending to the river Euphrates. The other papers deal with the often controversial role of Constantinople in episcopal elections in Asia Minor, and with aspects of developing Christianity in the south-west Anatolian regions of Caria and Pisidia, and on the island of Cyprus.

Figure 0.1 Asia Minor and Cyprus in late antiquity map a. städtler 7  Breytenbach and Ogereau, Authority and Identity. 8  The papers will appear in Breytenbach, Ancient Corinth.



Eastern Anatolia in the Roman and late Roman periods remains for the most part archaeological terra incognita. Even modest grave inscriptions are very scarce in comparison with the epigraphical richness of the central Anatolian regions of Lycaonia, Phrygia and Galatia. Investigation of early Christianity in Cappadocia and the north-eastern Anatolian Pontic and Armenian provinces accordingly relies heavily on Christian written sources, notably the region’s hagiography. Margherita Cassia, taking Harnack’s survey as a starting point, provides an analysis of the very disparate sources of information about early Christianity in Cappadocia before the Council of Nicaea in 325, emphasizing the complementary roles of pagan cults and Judaism, which competed for the attention of men and women in the same arena as emerging Christianity. Three of the papers in the volume, by Stephen Mitchell, Gaetano Arena and Aude Busine, take accounts of Christian martyrdoms as starting points for investigating both the historical realities and the religious and social implications of these saints’ lives throughout late antiquity. The enormous output of Cappadocia’s three great theological writers of the later fourth century—Basil of Caesarea, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and their contemporary Gregory of Nazianzus—compensates in some measure for the dearth of other source material. Apart from their letters, sermons (many of which honour the memory of saints and martyrs), and theological treatises, Gregory of Nazianzus also left a large legacy of Christian poetry, which has previously attracted remarkably little attention in the study of fourth-century Greek literature, and which is presented in Christiane Zimmermann’s paper. Turning from the east Anatolian provinces to Turkey’s western and Medi­ terranean regions, Turhan Kaçar examines the role of the bishops of Constan­ tinople in episcopal elections across Asia Minor in the fourth century. Their political influence expanded alongside the rapidly growing power and status of the new imperial capital. It is evident that the authority of the see of Constantinople was not yet securely established during the fourth century, as the boundaries of the respective patriarchates of Constantinople and Antioch were ill-defined, and depended as much on the personalities and political engagement of individual bishops as on institutional hierarchies. The topic is particularly important for Asia Minor, as Christianity was dominated here by the episcopal church, with monasticism playing only a subordinate role.9 Nevertheless, it is hard to make direct connections between the actions of the church authorities in Constantinople, and realities at the local provincial level. The fourth-century church was driven by doctrinal disputes and intense factional competition, which were the main subject of the church histories 9  As observed by Bowersock, ‘Christianization’, 8.


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of late antiquity, written in the mid fifth-century by Socrates, Sozomen and Philostorgius, but these sources tell us very little about the depth and extent of Christianization in the bishoprics of Asia Minor. The view from the centre of power reveals leading clerical figures but gives fewer insights into their followers and congregations. The remaining papers are based on epigraphic and archaeological evidence. Peter Talloen, who has published a major monograph on the pagan cults of the ancient region of Pisidia,10 and is preparing a companion volume on early Christianity in the region, provides a detailed analysis of the evidence for Christianization at the Pisidian metropolis of Sagalassus. Sagalassus has been subject to more intensive and rigorous investigation than any other ancient site in the interior of ancient Turkey, and archaeology here plays a role in the enquiry to a degree that is currently out of reach in other ancient cities. Anna Sitz’s study of the survival of inscriptions through late antiquity from pagan sanctuaries in Caria, examines the ways in which inscriptions of secular or explicitly pagan origin were received in an increasingly Christian environment. Finally, Daniela Summa, in the context of her work for the Berlin Academy’s Inscriptiones Graecae project on the inscriptions of Cyprus, provides an over­view of the island’s Christian epigraphy between the third and seventh centuries. Taken together, these papers draw on a wide spectrum of sources. In the forefront are the complex literary traditions, all of which raise important metho­ dological problems, but they also include inscriptions, and an aspect particular to Cappadocia, the artistic and epigraphic evidence from the rock churches of the Göreme and Nevşehir region, which dates from the tenth and later centuries, but without doubt indicates a continuous and unbroken tradition with the Christianization of Cappadocia in late antiquity. One of the reasons for bringing together the contributions in this volume is precisely the contrast between this kaleidoscope of source material, and the surviving information about the early Christian centuries in most of central Anatolia—Phrygia and Lycaonia, as well to a lesser extent in Isauria and Galatia—where the most abundant and important information at a regional level comes from the fune­ rary epigraphy. This contrast poses the important question, whether the abundance of Christian inscriptions shows that the populations of central Anatolia were more profoundly Christianized and at an earlier period than those of the western and southern Asia Minor provinces, or of Cappadocia and Pontus to the east, or whether this was due to other cultural factors, including the 10  Talloen, Cult in Pisidia.



abundant funerary epigraphy of central Asia Minor, and has more to do with patterns of epigraphic commemoration than with Christianity per se. The answers that emerge from the papers here point to a variety of explanations. Epigraphically, Christianity was a less visible phenomenon in most of western Asia Minor, which preserved the institutions and social structures of Graeco-Roman city life, than in the central regions of Anatolia.11 Talloen’s ana­ lysis based on the systematic excavation of Sagalassus, the Pisidian metropolis, suggests that Christianity there was scarcely discernible before the fourth century. Even during the fifth century, when the influence of Christianity pervaded the public life of much of the eastern empire, and despite some specific signs of local conflict and competition between pagans and Christians, the excavated areas of the Sagalassus city centre create the impression of a largely secular space at least until the sixth century. It is interesting to note that another recent paper by specialists from the Sagalassus team also concludes that many aspects of the lives of the people of Sagalassus were not determined by their religious allegiance.12 However, we cannot generalize from the example of one middle-sized city to all the other urban centres of the region. Phrygian Hierapolis, a city of similar size and less than 150 km distant from Sagalassus, presented both a strong Christian presence and plentiful signs of thriving paganism from the second to the fifth centuries.13 The sensational discovery of a fifth-century basilica constructed around the presumed tomb of the apostle Philip, confirms the written traditions that Hierapolis had an influential Christian population from the second century, and that the city was a major Christian centre of late antiquity.14 The secularity of Sagalassus clearly contrasted with the pronounced religiosity of Hierapolis. The spread of Christianity was a complex historical process, and its impact took many forms. At least in the period from 200 to 400, and even later in cities such as Sagalassus, it may be helpful to think of Christianity in all its manifestations, including church building, ecclesiastical organization and the spread of new funerary rites, as a highly successful new cult, competing with the corresponding institutions, buildings, benefactions and rituals of pagan worship. Christianity’s domination and ultimate success, made much more likely by imperial support, came at different periods, city by city and region by region, aided or impeded by local circumstances. The survival and endurance 11  Cf. Mitchell, ‘Christian Epigraphy’. 12  Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’. 13  See the papers by Francesco D’Andria and his colleagues on Hierapolis in late antiquity in Kaçar and Şimşek, Lykos Valley, 235–340, and D’Andria, ‘Ploutonion’. 14  Fully treated by Huttner, Lycus Valley. Huttner was able to take account of the first reports of the discovery of the basilica associated with Philip’s tomb. See D’Andria, ‘Il santuario’.


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of paganism in public and private contexts was equally complex and variable.15 Within the confines of many Asia Minor cities, which harboured vital traditions of civic patriotism rooted in local history and mythology, the juxtaposition of Christians and pagans inevitably generated competition, which might be alleviated by mediation, as appears to have happened in fifth-century Saga­ lassus, or climaxed in conflicts. However, this model of competition between Christianity and paganism in the civic cultures of western Asia Minor should not necessarily be applied to eastern and northern Anatolia, or to the central regions. Here, city institutions, which had provided the framework for Graeco-Roman paganism, were less influential. Most people lived in villages, or in small towns that had only acquired the trappings of Graeco-Roman urban culture very superficially.16 The estates, villages and small towns of inner Anatolia have produced almost all the early epigraphic evidence for Christianity in Asia Minor before Constantine.17 In Phrygia and Lycaonia, Christian communities appear to emerge from the ground up during the later second and third centuries, almost organically, from a matrix of pagan religiosity and local cults, which are also abundantly attested by contemporary inscriptions. There is little evidence for outright conflict between pagans and Christians. The overriding presumption in most modern studies of the historical expansion of Christianity is that the religion was primarily an urban phenomenon, and that pagan beliefs tended to endure empire-wide in the countryside. Undeniably, there are important testimonies to the survival and strength of rural paganism in Anatolia, including the much-discussed mission of John of Ephesus in the time of Justinian, which claimed to have brought an end to paganism’s rural support in a substantial part of western Anatolia, including the suppression of a major pagan centre in the mountain range of Messogis north of Tralles, between the Cayster and Maeander rivers.18 However, it is a mistake to assume that the accounts of John’s activities depict the situation across the 15  See Jones, Between Pagan and Christian, and id., ‘Geography of Paganism’. 16  For central Anatolia, see Mitchell, Anatolia, 1.165–197; 2.11–51. Marek, Land of a Thousand Gods, places less emphasis than Mitchell on the contrast between civic/urban and rural culture, but Marek has some fine pages on rural life in Pontus et Bithynia. For Phrygia, opting out of the structures of civic life, see Thonemann, ‘Phrygia’. The non-urban settlements of western Asia Minor are the subject of Schuler, Ländliche Siedlungen. 17  Cf. Destephen, ‘La christianisation’. 18  Leppin, ‘Skeptische Anmerkungen’, argues that John of Ephesus’s mission was largely a literary construct of Justinianic propaganda. However, the historiographical arguments for this interpretation of the evidence are far from decisive. Many of the contributors to Ameling, Christianisierung Kleinasiens, and to Inglebert, Destephen, and Dumézil, Le problème de la christianisation, as well as the earlier studies cited by Leppin, ‘Skeptische



entirety of Asia Minor. Evidence for paganism in most of the centre and east of Anatolia simply does not loom large outside the stylized confrontations between saints and demonic forces in Christian hagiographic literature.19 The papers relating to eastern Asia Minor suggest that while civic centres and bishoprics unquestionably played their role in the Christianization of Asia Minor, the rural areas were not necessarily pagan strongholds. This also appears to have been the case in the mountainous south-east areas of Isauria and Rugged Cilicia, which are not directly treated in this volume. The pheno­ menon is exemplified by the Christianization of the rural Calycadnus region of sou­thern Asia Minor, which occupies a bridging position between Caria and Pisidia in south-west Anatolia, and Cappadocia to the east, as well as the neighbouring island of Cyprus. While there are several larger coastal cities, including the important harbour of Corycus, the mountainous hinterlands of Rugged Cilicia and Isauria were less densely settled. Nonetheless, as many as twenty local martyr cults have been identified in the villages and small cities of the highlands, shedding a light on pre-Constantinian Christian persecution in these rural areas.20 Subsequently, these martyr cults became the focal points for the construction of local Christian identities. One example is Conon from Bidana, who became the apostle and martyr-hero of the whole region, and who is painted as an unpretentious Christian convert from a small village who preached in the local indigenous language. He acted as a ‘Leitbild’ for rural non-urban Christianity. The Christianization of rural areas is revealed by another fact: the province of Isauria sent more bishops to the Council of Nicaea in 325 than any other province in Asia Minor, some from larger cities such as Seleucia, metropolis of Isauria, or Laranda, the earlier centre of the Lycaonian koinon.21 But the majority were from smaller settlements in the mountains, and there were four or five chorepiskopoi (country bishops), who did not have a city as their seat.22 Basil of Caesarea referred to the Isaurian bishoprics as micro-cities and mother Anmerkungen’, 52 n. 14, discuss the so-called mission of John of Ephesus and assume its essential historicity. 19  The model for these was Gregory of Nyssa’s almost completely unhistorical Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus (most recent edition by Maraval, Éloge). Bremmer, ‘Paganism’, offers four case-studies, but concludes, ‘There was no longer an organized pagan clergy to put up a fight against advancing Christianity’. 20  See Pilhofer, Das frühe Christentum im kilikisch-isaurischen Bergland, 136–155. 21  Christianity in the northern parts of Isauria, which overlapped in those times with Lyca­ onia, are surveyed in detail by Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 166–214. 22  Additionally, the metropolis of the province, Seleucia, was not mentioned as first and most important bishopric, but behind other bishoprics like Claudiopolis in the hinterland. This again shows that the institutional hierarchy was not yet well defined.


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villages, which served as episcopal seats by long tradition.23 The rural areas, some of them with a long tradition of anchorite occupation, were remote, but not too far away from the next city. Thus they constituted ideal spots for monastic centres like Alahan.24 The papers in this volume concerning Cappadocia and Armenia Minor, which bordered on the Pontic provinces, concern regions where civic organization was even more thinly spread than in central and south-east Anatolia. Most of Cappadocia and Pontus was divided into large estates and seigneu­rial domains, and the few cities, mostly founded by the Romans in the early years of province formation in eastern Anatolia, remained small islands in large rural territories. There was also a strong Roman military presence both in the provincial cities and in the Euphrates frontier garrisons.25 Inscriptions were much rarer than in central or western Anatolia. Probably a lower percentage of the population was literate, a significant part of the rural population still used indigenous languages, notably Armenian in Armenia Minor, and the custom and habit of inscribing monuments was much less entrenched. Even so, preConstantinian Christian epitaphs resembling those found in Phrygia and Lyca­ onia occur in the northern Pontic provinces in the territories of Amisus and Neoclaudiopolis,26 and in the Lycus valley.27 As is well known, Pliny’s famous letter about Christians in Pontus and Bithynia, which appears to relate to the Pontic part of the double province, mentions the presence of Christians both in the cities and in the countryside.28 The third chapter of the Testament of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste which appears to be a genuine martyr document of the Great Persecution of 303, refers to Christians and Christian clergy living in villages around the Pontic city of Zela, and on the eastern Roman frontier at Zimara in Armenia Minor,29 a situation which appears to replicate the pattern of rural Christianity observable in Phrygia and Lycaonia. The Cappadocian Fathers of the late fourth century, above all the abundant letters of Basil, pre­ sent a remarkable panorama of society in Cappadocia and Pontus, but say very 23  Bas. ep. 190.1 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 2.142): μικροπολιτείαις ἤτοι μητροκωμίαις … ἐκ παλαι­ οῦ ἐπισκόπων θρόνον ἐχούσαις. 24  See Pilhofer, Das frühe Christentum im kilikisch-isaurischen Bergland, 168–170 and 251–255. 25  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, provides a definitive account of the latter. 26  Destephen, ‘La christianisation’, 190 nos. 272 (StudPont 3.11), 273 (StudPont 3.15), and 274 (StudPont 3.72). 27  StudPont 3.20. See Belke, ‘Christianisierung’, 63–64; Marek, Pontus et Bithynia, 121–122. 28  Pliny, ep. 10.96.9: Neque civitates tantum, sed vicos etiam atque agros superstitionis istius contagio pervagata est; quae videtur sisti et corrigi posse. For an interesting new discussion of this famous letter, see Corke-Webster, ‘Trouble in Pontus’. 29  See the paper of S. Mitchell in this volume.



little about pagans.30 Already when Julian passed through Cappadocia in 362, en route to Antioch, he despaired of finding pagans in the province, where he had lived himself in teenage exile.31 Taken as a whole this evidence is at least consistent with a picture of rural regions that already had substantial Christian minorities before 300 and became profoundly Christian in the second half of the fourth century. It appears that the conditions for the emergence of Christianity were more favourable in rural central and eastern Anatolia than in the cities of the west and south.32 This regional difference remained apparent in late antiquity, when the populations of all parts of Asia Minor were now in great majority Christian. It is striking not only that Christian epitaphs and other inscriptions occur less frequently in the formerly heavily Hellenized areas of western Asia Minor, but the evidence for the cult of saints in these regions, whether attested by inscriptions or other evidence, is also relatively sparse.33 It is tempting to see this as evidence for relatively lukewarm Christianity in western Asia Minor, a phenomenon well documented in the populations of the western Roman Empire during the fourth and fifth centuries, but relatively under-investigated in the Greek East.34 The term ‘Christian’ covered a wide spectrum of beliefs, and a wide spectrum of commitment to Christian belief. The implicit contrast between a superficial Christianity in the West and a profound Christianity in central and eastern Anatolia is a healthy reminder of the problems that are contained in the definitions of the term ‘Christian’.35 Both the formulaic information found in funerary epigraphs and the trials, and confrontations between pagan persecutors and Christian martyrs which are related in the saints’ lives presented 30  For Basil’s few references to pagans see Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.67–73; Métivier, La Cappadoce, 171; Jones, ‘Geography of Paganism’, 16, and Gain, ‘La christianisation’, 234. 31  Julian, ep. 78 to the philosopher Aristoxenus of Tyana; further Bringmann, ‘Kaiser Julian’, 26–27. 32  Contra Bowersock, ‘Christianization’, 2: ‘Accordingly, as a space for the spread of Chris­ tianity, Asia Minor was not noticeably hospitable outside the hellenized cities of the west.’ 33  The epigraphic evidence for saints in Asia Minor has been treated comprehensively by Nowakowski, Inscribing the Saints. The full range of source material is surveyed in detail by Destephen, ‘Martyrs locaux’. Contrast the 59 testimonia that Destephen has collected from the western and southern provinces of Asia, Hellespontus, Lydia, Caria, Lycia and Pamphylia with 213 from the other Anatolian provinces. 34  The issue is discussed in relation to the Roman West in several of the papers collected in Inglebert, Destephen, and Dumézil, Le problème de la christianisation, but in only one that deals with the Greek East, namely the situation that confronted John Chrysostom at Antioch: Soler, ‘Les “demi-chrétiens” d’Antioche’. 35  See Leppin, ‘Christianisierungen’; Ameling, ‘Einführung’, xviii–xix.


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ideals rather than realities. The relatively neutral approach of an archaeologist dealing with the discoveries from an excavation may not aim to uncover layers of theological complexity in the evidence, but the sensitive interpretation of a community’s material culture can perhaps provide a surer approach to the complexities and ambiguities faced by real societies and individuals in an age of religious transition.36 We hope that the combination of approaches and methodologies to be found in this volume bring us closer to understanding the extent to which Asia Minor and Cyprus became Christian in late antiquity, and the historical and historiographical processes which led to this profound religious change. Bibliography Ameling, W. (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Stu­ dien 87 (Bonn, 2017). Ameling, W., ‘Einführung’, in id. (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), xi–xxii. Belke, K., ‘Zur Christianisierung des nördlichen Kleinasiens in frühbyzantinischer Zeit’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 61–77. Bowersock, G.W., ‘Christianization as Concept and Asia Minor as Space’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 1–9. Bremmer, J., ‘Paganism in the Hagiography of Asia Minor’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 33–48. Breytenbach, C., ‘The Rise and Expansion of Christianity in Asia Minor: First Steps towards a New Harnack’, Early Christianity 2 (2011), 547–552. Breytenbach, C. (ed.), Christianity in Ancient Corinth and on the Peloponnese, Novum Testamentum Supplements (forthcoming). Breytenbach, C., and J.M. Ogereau, ‘Inscriptiones Christianae Graecae (icg) 1.0: An Online Database and Repository of Early Christian Greek Inscriptions from Asia Minor and Greece’, Early Christianity 8 (2017), 409–419.

36  See Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’, 191: ‘Such items [sc. mass-produced pottery with both Christian and pagan motifs] confirm that conversion often did not mean the total abandonment of long-standing beliefs, customs and practices, especially not of those connected to everyday life, but rather their reinterpretation and sometimes even integration into the worship of Christ.’ For the general point and a specific case, see Jacobs, ‘Archaeology’.



Breytenbach, C., and J.M. Ogereau (eds.), Authority and Identity in Emerging Chris­ tianities in Asia Minor and Greece, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 103 (Lei­ den, 2018). Breytenbach, C., and C. Zimmermann, Early Christianity in Lycaonia and Adjacent Areas: From Paul to Amphilochius of Iconium, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 101/Early Christianity in Asia Minor 2 (Leiden, 2018). Bringmann, K., ‘Kaiser Julian auf der Reise durch Kleinasien’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 21–32. Corke-Webster, J., ‘Trouble in Pontus: The Pliny-Trajan Correspondence on Christians Reconsidered’, Transactions of the American Philological Association 147 (2017), 371–411. Courtonne, Y., Saint Basile: Lettres, 3 vols., Collection des universités de France (Paris, 1957–1966). D’Andria, F., ‘Il santuario e la tomba dell’Apostolo Filippo a Hierapolis di Frigia’, Ren­ diconti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia 84 (2011–2012), 3–52. D’Andria, F., ‘The Ploutonion of Hierapolis in Light of Recent Research (2013–2017)’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 31 (2018), 90–129. Destephen, S., ‘La christianisation de l’Asie Mineure jusqu’à Constantin: Le témoignage de l’épigraphie’, in H. Inglebert, S. Destephen, and B. Dumézil (eds.), Le problème de la christianisation du monde antique (Paris, 2010), 159–194. Destephen, S., ‘Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure’, in J.-P. Caillet et al. (eds.), Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (ive–viie siécle) (Paris, 2015), 59–116. Gain, B., ‘La christianisation de la Cappadoce: De l’opinion reçue à la réalité’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Stu­ dien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 229–249. Huttner, U., Early Christianity in the Lycus Valley, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 85/Early Christianity in Asia Minor 1 (Leiden, 2013). Inglebert, H., S. Destephen, and B. Dumézil (eds.), Le problème de la christianisation du monde antique (Paris, 2010). Jacobs, I., ‘Archaeology as an Alternative Source for Late Antique Christianity: The Example of Building and Termination Deposits’, in R. Haensch and P. van Rummel (eds.), Himmelwärts und erdverbunden? Religiöse und wirtschaftliche Aspekte spät­ antike Lebensrealität (forthcoming). Jacobs, I., and M. Waelkens, ‘“Christians do not differ from other people”: The Downto-Earth Religious Stance of Late Antique Sagalassos (Pisidia)’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 175–199. Jones, C.P., Between Pagan and Christian (Cambridge, Mass., 2014). Jones, C.P., ‘The Geography of Paganism’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 11–20.


Mitchell and Pilhofer

Kaçar, T., and C. Şimşek (eds.), The Lykos Valley and Neighbourhood in Late Antiquity (Istanbul, 2018). Leppin, H., ‘Christianisierungen im Römischen Reich: Überlegungen zum Begriff und zur Phasenbildung’, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 16 (2012), 247–278. Leppin, H., ‘Skeptische Anmerkungen zur Mission des Johannes von Ephesos in Klein­ asien’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 49–59. Maraval, P., Grégoire de Nysse: Éloge de Grégoire le Thaumaturge, Sources chrétiennes 573 (Paris, 2014). Marek, C., Pontus et Bithynia: Die römischen Provinzen im Norden Kleinasiens (Mainz, 2003). Marek, C., In the Land of a Thousand Gods: A History of Asia Minor in the Ancient World (Princeton, 2016); trans. of Geschichte Kleinasiens in der Antike (Munich, 2010). Métivier, S., La Cappadoce (ive–vie siècle): Une histoire provinciale de l’Empire romain d’Orient (Paris, 2005). Mitchell, S., Anatolia: Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1993). Mitchell, S., ‘The Christian Epigraphy of Asia Minor in Late Antiquity’, in K. Bolle, C. Machado, and C. Witschel (eds.), The Epigraphic Cultures of Late Antiquity, Hei­ delberger althistorische Beiträge und epigraphische Studien 60 (Stuttgart, 2017), 271–286. Mitford, Timothy B., East of Asia Minor, 2 vols. (Oxford, 2018). Nowakowski, P., Inscribing the Saints in Late Antique Anatolia (Warsaw, 2018). Pilhofer, Ph., Das frühe Christentum im kilikisch-isaurischen Bergland: Die Christen der Kalykadnos-Region in den ersten fünf Jahrhunderten, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 184 (Berlin, 2018). Schuler, C., Ländliche Siedlungen und Gemeinden im hellenistischen und römischen Kleinasien, Vestigia 50 (Munich, 1998). Soler, E., ‘Les “demi-chrétiens” d’Antioche: La pédagogie de l’exclusivisme chrétien et ses ressorts dans la prédication chrysostomienne’, in H. Inglebert, S. Destephen, and B. Dumézil (eds.), Le problème de la christianisation du monde antique (Paris, 2010), 281–292. Talloen, P., Cult in Pisidia: Religious Practice in Southwestern Asia Minor from Alexander the Great to the Rise of Christianity, Studies in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology 10 (Turnhout, 2015). Thonemann, P., ‘Phrygia: An Anarchist History, 950 bc–ad 100’, in id. (ed.), Roman Phrygia: Culture and Society (Oxford, 2013), 1–48.

Chapter 1

Between Paganism and Judaism: Early Christianity in Cappadocia Margherita Cassia The aim of the present essay is to update and, where possible, integrate new evidence for the propagation of the Christian message in a remote region of Asia Minor, Cappadocia, during the first three centuries of the Roman Empire.1 In his monumental and now classic monograph on Anatolia, Stephen Mitchell has justly insisted on the difficulty of finding epigraphical testimo­ nia for the evangelization of Cappadocia before the fourth century ad: ‘in Cappadocia … despite unimpeachable evidence for Christian communities at Caesarea and elsewhere by the early third century, this “Land ohne Inschriften” has produced hardly a document to their presence’.2 The sole epigraphical document that he cautiously linked to an early Christian presence in Cappadocia was an epitaph found at Caesarea, whose format, however, belongs not to the Cappadocian but rather to the Phrygian tradition: Παπύλος ἁμαξάρχης | Φρὺξ ὥρᾳ Καππαδο|κῶν δύσμορος | ἐνθάδε κεῖται∙ || ὃς ἂν κακῶς πυήσι | τῷ τάφῳ ἔστη αὐτῷ | πὸς τὸν Θεόν.3 Nevertheless, Cappadocia, ‘land without inscriptions’, gave birth in the fourth century to the three Cappadocian Fathers. How should the evidential and chronological gap be bridged? To make an attempt to respond, at least in 1  A rather ‘resizing’ view of the evidence for the evangelization of Cappadocia has prevailed in recent work, e.g. Moreschini, I Padri Cappadoci, 5, who makes reference only to Acts, the First Letter of Peter, and the Ad Scapulam of Tertullian. 2  Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.38. 3  b ch 33 (1909), 67–68 no. 46 (understand ἔσται and πρός in ll. 6 and 7); on which cf. Kirsten, ‘Cappadocia’, 881: ‘in Caesarea ist die Grabinschrift eines Phrygers mit der aus Phrygien bekannten “krypto-christl.” Formel ἔσται αὐτῷ πρὸς τὸν θεόν gefunden worden’. On this formula, considered sure evidence of Christianity, cf. Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics, 514–515. The noun ἁμαξάρχης, ‘driver of wagons’ (cf. lsj, s.v.: ‘prob. official of the imperial transport service’), cannot be considered a hapax, since it occurs in another epigraphical text found in northern Phrygia (Ilica): Haspels, Highlands, 349 no. 132 (Αὐρ. Παπας Ἀπολλωνίου | ἁμαξάρχης κὲ Ξευνα σύν|βιος μνήμης χάριν ἔνθα | τέθεικαν κὲ Διὶ Βροντῶντι || εὐχήν· Αὐρ. Ὀνήσιμος Παπ|ας κόσμησε). According to Henri Grégoire, another inscription, coming from the same cemetery of Cae­ sarea, ‘peut être chrétienne’ (bch 33 [1909], 68 no. 47): Ἑορτή | καὶ Νίκη | Χάρητι | χρηστῷ || θρέψαντι (cf. French, Inscriptions, no. 23, who has proposed a dating to the 2nd/3rd cent. ad).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_003



part, to this question it is useful to begin with the literary sources, the starting point more than a century ago for Adolf von Harnack in Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten. The choice of his title Mission und Ausbreitung was certainly not a casual decision but rather was intended to emphasize the intentionality and extent of a very specific project. Can we be certain, however, that Christianity at its roots was always and everywhere set upon obliterating the religious bedrock or substrata in the regions in which it emerged, and did it impose itself pervasively in Cappadocia even since the first imperial age? Harnack’s study of the Christianization of Asia Minor represents a milestone in the study of the spread of Christianity during the first three centuries of the Roman Empire. The fourth book in his second volume (‘Die Verbreitung der christlichen Religion’) is dedicated to a systematic review divided into three chronological phases—respectively communities attested in the first century, communities attested up to 180, and communities existing in 325 at the time of the Council of Nicaea—in the course of which he accounted for the expansion of the new religion in individual provinces of Asia Minor. However, as Cilliers Breytenbach and Christiane Zimmermann have observed, Harnack’s work, though undoubtedly ‘a magisterial work’, based on ‘a geographical approach, mapping the rise and expansion of early Christianity’, remains ‘only an inventory’.4 Benoît Gain in a recent contribution has also emphasized the necessity of revising Harnack’s approach and rethinking different aspects of the phenomenon of Christianization in Cappadocia, including examination of other religions, the cult of the martyrs, converted laity, ecclesiastics, and heresies as true and proper parameters for measuring the real intensity and spread of the gospel in the region from 313 to the sixth century. He argues that we should reject the widespread view that half of the Cappadocian population had become Christian by the fourth century, since there is much evidence ‘d’une christiani­ sation insuffisante’.5 In order to investigate the origins of this supposedly ‘insufficient Chris­ tianity’, we should first reconsider the stages of the spread of the new religion in Cappadocia according to Harnack’s chronological stages, not taken into account by Gain himself (§ 1). It also appears advisable, or even necessary, to 4  Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 2, cf. 127. The sections dedicated to early Chris­ tianity by Kirsten, ‘Cappadocia’, 880–882 (‘5. Ausbreitung des Christentums’), and Teja, ‘Kap­padokien’, 1120–1124 (‘v. Die Christianisierung’), are both substantially based on the information already registered and discussed by Harnack. 5  Gain, ‘La christianisation’, 249.

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


remove the theological filters from Harnack’s historiographical theory, and take up an equidistant position from which to investigate the cultural interface, and more specifically the religious contacts, between paganism, Judaism, and Christianity, which were characteristic of Cappadocia in the early Roman Empire and created a space for the mission of Christianity that was as interesting as it was complex (§§ 2–3). 1

A Chronological Survey of the Evidence for Christians in Cappadocia—Harnack Updated

1.1 From the Origins of Christianity to Nerva The First Letter of Peter—perhaps dated to the second half of the first cen­tury—offers the first certain evidence that the Christian message was brought to Cappadocia, as well as to Pontus, Galatia, Asia, and Bithynia: Πέτρος ἀπόσ­ τολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καπ­παδοκίας, Ἀσίας, καὶ Βιθυνίας, κατὰ πρόγνωσιν θεοῦ πατρός, ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος, εἰς ὑπακοὴν καὶ ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πλη­ θυνθείη.6 Harnack initially records the letter as referring to unspecified places in Cappadocia; he notes later that this sparsely populated and largely rural province was not visited by Paul, and received no letters from him.7 He also refers to the Latin Passio Pauli of Pseudo-Linus and to the Greek Martyrium of Paul, where an Arion or Urion ‘the Cappadocian’ is described as leading servant of Nero.8 1.2 From Trajan to the Reign of Commodus Harnack considered three testimonia: (1) The acta of Justin the martyr and his companions, which have been variously dated between the age of Trajan and as late as 163–167 (the first years of the reign of Marcus Aurelius), mention Justin’s companion at his 6  1 Pet 1:1–2, cited by Eus. h.e. 3.1.2, with the anachronistic comment at h.e. 3.4.2 that Peter also spread the gospel of the New Testament to these regions. 7  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.73 (‘ungenannte cappadocische Orte’), 156, 162. 8  Ps.-Linus, Passio sancti Pauli apostoli 5 (Lipsius and Bonnet, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, 1.28.9–11): tunc Barnabas et Iustus et quidam Paulus et Arion Cappadocus et Festus Galatha, qui erant ministri Caesaris et ei iugiter assistebant, dixerunt Neroni …; A. Paul. 2 (ibid., 1.108.13– 110.1): καὶ ὁ Βαρσαβᾶς Ἰοῦστος ὁ πλατύπους καὶ Οὐρίων ὁ Καππάδοξ καὶ Φῆστος ὁ Γαλάτης οἱ πρῶτοι τοῦ Νέρωνος εἶπον· ‘Καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐκείνῳ στρατευόμεθα τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων.’ Cf. Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.33–34. Verrando, ‘Osservazioni’, dates the work of Pseudo-Linus to the late fifth or early sixth century; see, however, Bremmer, ‘Acts of Peter’, 14–20; Thomas, Acts of Peter, 52; Zwierlein, Petrus in Rom, 397.



trial, the imperial slave Εὐέλπιστος, born of Christian parents who lived in Cappadocia.9 (2) Tertullian’s Ad Scapulam, addressed to the proconsul of Africa in 212, recorded cruel persecution perpetrated by the provincial governor in Cappadocia between around 180 and 196 in the times of Commodus or soon after: ‘in Cappadocia, when Lucius Claudius Hieronymianus, affronted that his own wife had converted to this sect, had treated Christians with great cruelty and then, alone in his palace, had been laid low by the plague and was erupting with living worms, declared “let no one hear of this, lest Christian men rejoice or Christian wives take hope”. But afterwards, when he had recognized his error, in that he had compelled Christians to abandon their beliefs by torture, he died almost a Christian himself.’10 (3) Accounts of the famous rain miracle at Melitene, where legio xii Ful­ minata was stationed, during the war of Marcus Aurelius against the Quadi in ad 172 are preserved independently by Christian writers, including Tertullian11 and Eusebius,12 and pagan sources, including Cassius Dio.13 9  Acta Iustini B 4.3, 7 (Musurillo, Acts, 50): Ῥούστικος ἔπαρχος εἶπεν τῷ Εὐελπίστῳ· Σὺ δὲ τίς εἶ, Εὐέλπιστε; Εὐέλπιστος δοῦλος Καίσαρος ἀπεκρίνατο· Κἀγὼ Χριστιανός εἰμι, ἐλευθερωθεὶς ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ, καὶ τῆς αὐτῆς ἐλπίδος μετέχω χάριτι Χριστοῦ. … Εὐέλπιστος εἶπεν· Ἰουστίνου μὲν ἡδέως ἤκουον τῶν λόγων, παρὰ τῶν γονέων δὲ κἀγὼ παρείληφα Χριστιανὸς εἶναι. Ῥούστικος ἔπαρχος εἶπεν· Ποῦ εἰσιν οἱ γονεῖς σου; Εὐέλπιστος εἶπεν· Ἐν τῇ Καππαδοκίᾳ (cf. rec. A [ibid., 44]). See Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.163, cf. 36; Freudenberger, ‘Acta Iustini’, 27– 28; Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, 308; Ronchey, ‘Acta Iustini’, 55–57; Girgenti, Giustino martire, 151–152. 10  Tertullian, Ad Scapulam 3.5: Claudius Lucius Hieronymianus in Cappadocia, cum, indigne ferens uxorem suam ad hanc sectam transisse, Christianos crudeliter tractasset solusque in praetorio suo vastatus peste convivis vermicibus ebullisset, ‘Nemo sciat’, aiebat, ‘ne gaudeant Christiani aut spe Christianae’; postea cognito errore suo, quod tormentis quosdam a proposito suo excidere fecisset, paene Christianus decessit. He was a vir clarissimus and praeses; see pir² 2.888 (Claudius Hieronymianus); Thomasson, Laterculi praesidum, 1.272 no. 52; Rémy, Les fastes sénatoriaux, 302–303; Birley, Roman Government, 265 no. 40. See Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.63, 163; Sordi, Il cristianesimo e Roma, 215, 229; Speigl, Der römische Staat, 239. 11  Tertullian, Apologeticus 5.6; Ad Scapulam 4.6. 12  Eus. h.e. 5.5.1–6. On this passage see Huttner, Lycus Valley, 232–234, and Harnack, ‘Re­ genwunder’, 854, who also analyses the other sources including sha Marc. Aur. 24 and Sib. Or. 12:187–200. On the event see Ritterling, ‘Legio xii Fulminata’; Guey, ‘La date de la “pluie miraculeuse”’; Posener, ‘À propos de la “pluie miraculeuse”’; Teja, ‘Kappadokien’, 1121 n. 250. 13  For discussion of the story of the Egyptian magus Arnouphi, responsible according to a pagan tradition for the rain miracle, see Arena and Cassia, Marcello di Side, 201–202.

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


In addition to the evidence collected by Harnack, the hagiographical literature notes a centurion called Longinus, who was martyred at Caesarea in the first century ad (see also p. 30 below),14 and Romulus, who was martyred at Melitene under Trajan.15 Caesarea was also the place where Eupsychius was executed during the reign of Hadrian.16 1.3 From the Severan Age to the Council of Nicaea Harnack reviews a much larger body of testimonia for his final period: (1) As Eusebius of Caesarea mentions, when the strict bishop of Jerusalem, Narcissus, grew very old, God sent the Christians in the city a nocturnal vision exhorting them to choose Alexander, a foreigner who came ἐκ τῆς Καππαδοκῶν γῆς and who happened at that moment to be visiting the Holy Places; so Alexander was named the colleague of Narcissus.17 Alexander, the disciple of Pantenus, moreover, hosted a certain Clement (perhaps the famous Clement of Alexandria), who sought refuge in Cap­padocia from the persecution of Septimius Severus;18 some years later Alexander himself became a good friend of Origen.19 According to Har­ nack, this Alexander was bishop of Caesarea and the date of his transfer to Jerusalem was the second year of the reign of Caracalla, that is ad 212.20 (2) At the centre of the evidence for third-century Christianity in Cappado­ cia stands a letter written towards the end of 256 by Firmilian, bishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia from 230 to 268, and preserved in the correspondence of Cyprian. The bishop reasserted his position of denying the validity of baptisms conferred by heretics, spoke negatively of Pope Stephen, and confirmed the liveliness of the Cappadocian church in the

14  b hg 988–990c: Λογγῖνος ὁ ἑκατοντάρχης; cf. bhl 4965. 15  b hg 1604. 16  b hg 2130. 17  Eus. h.e. 6.11; cf. Zonar. 12.12 (Pinder, Annales, 2.559). Eusebius was used by Hier. vir. ill. 62. Cf. Kirsten, ‘Cappadocia’, 881; Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, 491; Métivier, La Cap­ padoce, 173. 18  In h.e. 6.11.6, Eusebius mentions a Clement, ‘a blessed presbyter, a just and valued man’, through whom Alexander sent a letter. According to Pieri, Clemente Alessandrino, 8, this could be Clement of Alexandria, who, having stayed at Alexandria in Egypt from ad 190 to 202, retired to Cappadocia when the persecutions under Septimius Severus flared up; contra Bardy, Eusèbe de Cèsarèe, 2.102 n. 11, who considered the identification unacceptable. 19  Eus. h.e. 6.14.8–9. 20  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.85 n. 1, 163 with n. 3. He founded a library at Jerusalem and died at an advanced age: Eus. h.e. 6.20.1; 6.46.5; cf. Lane Fox, Pagans and Chris­ tians, 491.



mid-third century. In particular, the problem of the validity of the sacrament gripped not only Africa but also the East. At the Synods of Synnada and Iconium the bishops had agreed to baptize the heretics who had returned to the church. Pope Stephen sent Firmilian a letter threatening him and all the other bishops with excommunication if they persisted in their decision. Cyprian, when he had learned of the episode, sent a letter of his own (ep. 72) in which he attached the reply of Stephen to the synodal letter that he had received. Firmilian declared that the writing of Cyprian was read many times and was considered perfectly in accordance with the decisions taken in Cappadocia, where the priests and bishops, as usual, gathered annually.21 The Cappadocian bishop, in confirming that those who do not possess the truth about God the Father do not possess it about the Son or the Holy Spirit either, made a first important reference to the false prophesies of heretics, in particular to those of Prisca and Montanus, whose movement, which appeared around ad 172 in Phrygia, had spread quickly.22 It is to this point that Firmilian emphasized the importance of the Council of Iconium—which involved the participation of the brethren of Galatia, Cilicia, and other neighbouring regions—which he attended (perhaps with other Cappadocian colleagues) to maintain vigorously the principles against the heretics, who were not allowed to ordain, lay on hands, or baptize.23 In a long digression, finally, the bishop offered precious evidence for an event that took place in Cappadocia about twenty years before the drafting of the letter in the first year of the reign of Maximinus Thrax, around 235. As Firmilian mentions, in the years that followed the reign of Severus Alexander, terrible earthquakes caused very heavy damage in Cappadocia and Pontus; after these disasters the Cappadocian church suffered a heavy persecution, one still more shocking because it was preceded by a long period of peace.24 Serenianus, the governor of the province, threw the faithful 21  Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.4: per singulos annos seniores et praepositi in unum convenia­ mus. Cf. Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.164. 22  Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.7.3: ex Galatia et Cilicia et ceteris proximis regionibus. Cf. Frend, Martyrdom, 421, on the spread of the Montanist heresy. On its ties with the Jewish community of Asia Minor see Mitchell, ‘An Apostle to Ankara’. 23  Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.7.4–5. The bishop (Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.11) asked about the validity of this baptism, made cutting remarks against Stephen and his followers, whose defence amounted to maintaining that even the demon could confer grace in the name of the Trinity. 24  Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.10.1: terrae etiam motus plurimi et frequentes extiterunt, ut et per Cappadociam et per Pontum multa subruerent, quaedam etiam civitates in profundum receptae dirupti soli hiatu devorarentur … ut ex hoc persecutio quoque gravis adversum nos

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


into chaos, and they abandoned their homeland to flee to other regions, where, however, they were safe since the persecution really had a strictly local character.25 In this situation a woman appeared who, in a state of ecstasy, presented herself as a prophetess, one inspired by the Holy Spirit and capable of extraordinary deeds thanks to the power of demons, like shaking the earth and walking with unshod feet on snow in the dead of winter;26 she, perhaps coming from Jerusalem, had even had relations with a rural priest and a deacon, and, despite the opposition of an exorcist, pretended to consecrate the bread and in particular baptized many persons.27 christiani nominis fieret, quae post longam retro aetatis pacem repente oborta de inopi­ nato et insueto malo ad turbandum populum nostrum terribilior effecta est. According to Courcelle, ‘Polemiche anticristiane’, 167–169 with n. 6, the notice of Cyprian (on which cf. also Loriot and Nony, La crise, 54 no. 22) concerning these catastrophic events inspired the passage in Arn. Adv. nat. 1.3.11 (Marchesi, Adversus nationes, 6): ‘terrarum validissimis mo­ tibus tremefactae nutant usque ad periculum civitates’.—Quid, hiatibus maximis intercep­ tas urbes cum gentibus superiora tempora non viderunt aut ab huiusmodi casibus fortunas habuere securas? This was written in 296–297 and was connoted by many anti-Christian assertions, against all the evils that could be attributed to the spread of Christianity. Kroll, ‘Cornelius Labeo’, 321, maintained that the source of Arnobius was Tertullian. 25  Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.10.2: Serenianus tunc fuit in nostra provincia praeses, acer­ bus et dirus persecutor … persecutio illa non per totum mundum sed localis. For Licinius Serenianus see cil 3.6932, 6945, 12195; Bersanetti, Massimino il Trace, 39, 84, cf. 67. His name was erased on milestones of Cappadocia: French, ‘Cappadocian Milestones’, 130– 131. Although the letter of Firmilian observes that the persecution had limited repercussions and did not come from a particular imperial program, Orosius (Historiae adversum paganos 7.19.1–2) included Maximinus Thrax in the list of the emperors who were persecutors and identified priests and other clerics as his specific target in sacerdotes et cleri­ cos, id est doctores: anno ab Urbe condita dcccclxxxvii Maximinus vicensimus secundus ab Augusto nulla senatus voluntate imperator ab exercitu, postquam bellum in Germania prospere gesserat, creatus persecutionem in Christianos sextus a Nerone exercuit. Sed con­ tinuo, hoc est tertio quam regnabat anno, a Pupieno Aquileiae interfectus et persecutionis et vitae finem fecit. Qui maxime propter Christianam Alexandri, cui successerat, et Mameae matris eius familiam persecutionem in sacerdotes et clericos, id est doctores, vel praecipue propter Origenem presbyterum miserat. On this persecution in Cappadocia see Calderini, I Severi, 426. 26  Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.10.5. Teja, Lactancio, 29, and id., ‘Kappadokien’, 1121–1122, describes the persecution as more like a ‘movimiento espontáneo de la población contra los cristianos a consecuencia de un terremoto’ rather than one instigated by an imperial decree. See also Mazza, ‘Cataclismi’, 327. 27  Firmilian apud Cypr. ep. 75.10.1–5. Cf. Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.60, 163–164, 241–242; id., Geschichte, 1/2.407–409, 505–507; Frend, Martyrdom, 391; Mazzucco, ‘E fui fatta maschio’, 82–83; Monaci Castagno, ‘La demonologia cristiana’, 127–128; Ludlow, ‘De­ mons’. On the passage see also the analysis of Tuzlak, ‘Bishop’.



The letter of Firmilian contains information that is confirmed by the reference to the governor Serenianus, who is well attested epigraphically, and by other testimonia. First, by an epitaph from Amasea in Pontus datable to the year 238 of the civic era (i.e. 235–236), for a seven-year-old child who died in the earthquake.28 Furthermore cracks in the perimeter wall of Caesarea suggest that it was also damaged in this event.29 The link between natural disasters including specifically earthquakes and persecution, almost certainly referring, in William Frend’s reconstruction, to the catastrophe in Cappadocia, is recorded also in Origen’s Commentary on Matthew. Christians were persecuted and their churches burned down.30 Frend, in fact, astutely noted that two independent sources record the outbreak of persecution in Cappadocia, respectively twelve (Origen) and twenty-two (Firmilian) years after the events.31 The two passages constitute an instructive example of the unspoken agreement existing ‘between the Roman aristocracy who hated the Christians as potential revolutionaries, and the provincial mob who feared them as atheists responsible for natural disasters’. Furthermore Origen’s testimony about the burned ecclesiae confirms the existence of ‘small Christian communities which possessed recognizably Christian buildings’32 in Cappadocia. Santo Mazzarino spoke of Maximinus Thrax’s ‘piano sistematico di per­secuzione contro il cristianesimo’ and noted the silence of pagan histo­ riography on the topic.33 Now, while pagan historiography effectively went silent on this persecution against the Christians,34 it is also undeniable that the reports of Firmilian precisely for this region as well as 28  StudPont 3.139 (Robert, ‘Documents’, 398): [ἔ]τους σληʹ. | Ἀγρεικόλας | [Δί]ωνι τῶ γλυκυτάτῳ | υἱῷ. || Ἑπτ[α]έτην δὲ σεισμὸς | καὶ Μοῖρα γλυκεροῦ | φάους ἐστέρεσεν. See also Hermann, ‘Erdbeben’, 1105, and Guidoboni, Comastri, and Traina, Ancient Earthquakes, 240–241. The intensity of the tremors has been estimated between the eighth and tenth level of the two macroseismic scales adopted in Italy and in Europe (msk, ems; cf. ibid., 2.410). 29  Cassia, ‘Fra atto evergetico e necessità difensiva’. 30  Or. comm. in Mt. 39 (gcs 38.75). 31  Frend, Martyrdom, 391: ‘Pontus and Cappadocia had been devastated by earthquakes, and as in a similar situation in the province of Asia some eighty years before, these were regarded as signs of the anger of the gods … Two independent witnesses, Origen, and Firmilian, bishop of Cappadocia writing, respectively, twelve and twenty years after, have left vivid accounts of what happened.’ 32  Frend, Martyrdom, 391, 309. Frend added that we can interpret the appearance of the woman in a state of ecstasy recorded by Firmilian in the same context, as a signal of the imminent arrival of the Antichrist: ‘prophetic rather than episcopal leadership would be the order of the day’. 33  Mazzarino, L’Impero romano, 2.492: ‘un atteggiamento di distacco, quasi di ignoranza’. 34  Mazzarino, L’Impero romano, 2.494.

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


Orosius’s mention of priests and clergy as specific targets, support the hypothesis that Christians were an organized presence in Cappadocia and that there was a widespread fear of the new religion among the upper classes. The significance of Firmilian for the spread of Christianity in Asia Mi­ nor is confirmed by several passages of Eusebius’s Church History. Eu­se­ bius records that Firmilian, among other bishops including the brothers Gregory Thaumaturgus and Athenodorus, shepherds of Christianity in Pontus, attended the synod which met at Antioch around 264 against the adoptionist heresy of Paul of Samosata.35 Eusebius also remarked that Firmilian fostered such affection for Ori­ gen that he had on one occasion invited Origen to promote the church in Cappadocia, and on another had himself travelled to Judaea to complete his own Christian instruction.36 Origen had opened a school at Caesarea in Palestine but temporarily abandoned the city and resided from around 235 to 238 at Caesarea in Cappadocia as the guest of a certain Juliana.37 The Cappadocian bishop appears prominently in other passages of the Historia ecclesiastica. Firmilian was named in a list of ‘the most famous among bishops’,38 in the format Φιρμιλιανὸς καὶ πᾶσα Καππαδοκία, in which the phrase ‘all Cappadocia’ demonstrates his dominant position in the province. The letter of Dionysius of Alexandria to Cornelius, bishop of Rome, refers to the invitation sent by Helenus of Tarsus to Firmilian and Theoctistus of Palestine, to participate in the Synod of Alexandria in 251, which was to contest the Novatian schism.39 Another letter of Dionysius to Pope Sixtus referred to the actions of his predecessor Stephen, who had excommunicated Helenus, Firmilian, and the Christians of Cilicia, Cappadocia and Galatia for rebaptizing heretics.40

35  Eus. h.e. 7.27.2; 7.28.1, cf. 7.30.3–5. The modalities and chronology of the council are not clear: perhaps three sessions or distinct councils, held between 264 and 266 or 269 or 270 or 272; on the Synod of Antioch, the problems raised by its convocation, and the participating bishops cf. Bardy, Paul de Samosate, 283–285. 36  Eus. h.e. 6.27, cf. 7.30.4–5; Hier. vir. ill. 54. On the relationship between Firmilian and Origen see also Gr. Nyss. v. Gr. Thaum. (pg 46.905C). 37  Eus. h.e. 6.17. On the dating and location, in Cappadocia or in Palestine, of the residence of Origen, see Crouzel, ‘Origène’; Métivier, La Cappadoce, 173. 38  Eus. h.e. 7.5.1: τοὺς γὰρ περιφανεστέρους μόνους τῶν ἐπισκόπων. 39  Eus. h.e. 6.46.3; cf. Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.105. 40  Eus. h.e. 7.5.4: ἐπεστάλκει μὲν οὖν πρότερον καὶ περὶ Ἑλένου καὶ περὶ Φιρμιλιανοῦ καὶ πάντων τῶν τε ἀπὸ Κιλικίας καὶ Καππαδοκίας καὶ δῆλον ὅτι Γαλατίας καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑξῆς ὁμορούντων ἐθνῶν, ὡς οὐδὲ ἐκείνοις κοινωνήσων διὰ τὴν αὐτὴν ταύτην αἰτίαν, ἐπειδὴ τοὺς αἱρετικούς, φησίν,



(3) Cappadocian Christians were taken captive during the Gothic raids of the mid-third century.41 According to Basil, a Cappadocian named Εὔτυ­ χος and other prisoners captured in 260 spread the gospel and were martyred.42 In another letter he recalled that his predecessor Dionysius had sent messengers to ransom Asiatic Christians from the Goths and that the memory of this event was preserved both in written documents and in the oral traditions of the church.43 The Cappadocian historian Philostorgius noted that the prisoners, originally from a village called Sadagolthina near the city of Parnassus, also included the grandparents of Wulfila, the first Gothic bishop.44 (4) A Christian soldier of the legion stationed at Melitene, Polyeuctus, was martyred under Decius or Valerian.45 (5) During the reign of Valerian(?)46 or Aurelian, Mamas suffered martyrdom at Caesarea.47 In the time between ad 370 and 373, Basil delivered a homily for this obscure shepherd in the basilica dedicated to the martyr at Caesarea, ‘la fonte più antica e attendibile per il martirio’.48 An inscription from Limnai (modern Gölcük, 6 km east of Sasima)49 attests the local spread of the cult: + ἐνθάδε κατάκιτε Λονγῖνος Βα|λιβαρδᾶς ὁ κὲ περιπυσάμενος | τὸ ὐκτήριον τοῦ ἁγίου Μαμα. | Τὸν θεὸν ἡμῖν· ὁ ἀναγινώσ||κων εὔξαστε ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ +.50 ἀναβαπτίζουσιν. Eusebius adds a further reference to the ‘greater episcopal synods’, i.e. those at Iconium and Synnada, which Firmilian himself had mentioned in Cypr. ep. 75. 41  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.162, 203–204. 42  Bas. ep. 164 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 2.97–99). Some of the Christian prisoners sympathized with the barbarians: Gr. Thaum. ep. can. (pg 10.1022B–1024D); cf. Delehaye, Les origines, 201–210; Frend, Martyrdom, 423. 43  Bas. ep. 70 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 1.164–166): to Pope Damasus in 371; see Frend, Mar­ tyrdom, 446; Mitchell, Anatolia, 1.236. 44  Philost. h.e. 2.5 (gcs 21.17): ἐκ κώμης δὲ Σαδαγολθινὰ καλουμένης; cf. Soz. h.e. 2.6; Thdt. h.e. 4.37.1–5; Belke and Restle, Galatien und Lykaonien, 53; Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 108– 109. On the role of Wulfila in the Christianization of the Goths, see Luiselli, La formazione, 113–131. 45  b hg 1566–1568; bhl 6885–6887; Sauget, ‘Polieuto’, 996–999. Cf. Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.166 n. 5. 46  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.164. 47  Mamas: bhg 1017z–1022; Mamas/Mammes: bhl 5192–5199. The acta of Mamas record that Theodotus and Rufina, who died for their faith in prison at Caesarea, gave their son the name of Mamas; the baby was then received and raised by Ammia (cf. Sauget, ‘Teodoto’). On the sources, life, cult, relics, and iconography of the martyr cf. Cignitti, ‘Mama’; Moreschini, I Padri Cappadoci, 14–15; and A. Busine in this volume (pp. 109–125). 48  Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri, 137. 49  Cf. Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 132–133. 50  Robert, Hellenica, 2.156 (understand περιποιησάμενος and εὐκτήριον in ll. 2 and 3). On the term εὐκτήριον, see Bas. ep. 94 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 1.205: οἶκον εὐκτήριον μεγαλοπρεπῶς

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


(6) Gregory the Elder, the father of Gregory of Nazianzus and his predecessor in the bishopric, was converted to Christianity by a group of bishops who crossed Cappadocia to attend the Council of Nicaea in 325, baptized, and became himself bishop of his little home town in 329, taking an active role in the spread of orthodoxy and using his money generously to build an octagonal church finished probably in 374, the year of his death.51 (7) The Acts of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, who were thought to be soldiers of the legio xii Fulminata stationed at Melitene put to death under Diocletian or Licinius, showed the spread of Christianity even ‘in den kleinen Ortschaften der Provinz’.52 (8) The account in the Eusebian Vita Constantini of the bishops, who went to Jerusalem in 335 for the consecration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, mentions that ‘the most eminent among the Cappadocians distinguished themselves among all in the refinement of their eloquence’: according to Harnack these were the successors of Firmilian and the forerunners of the Gregories.53 (9) Harnack finally records that Cappadocian χωρεπίσκοποι took part in the councils at Ancyra (314) and Neocaesarea (315) and that Cappadocia is mentioned in the list of the provinces whose bishops participated in the Council of Nicaea, including representatives of Caesarea, Tyana, Colonia, Cybistra, Comana, Spania (Spalia), and probably Parnassus, and no less than five rural bishops.54 Harnack’s collection of evidence can be supplemented from hagiographic sources, which may contain some historical scraps about the places and circumstances of Christian martyrdoms.55 Simplicius, governor of Cappadocia under Severus Alexander, is reported to have tried a certain Thespesius, who, far from yielding to sacrifice to the idols, κατεσκευασμένον); cf. ep. 217.56, 75 (ibid., 2.210, 213–214), with Gain, L’Église de Cappadoce, 166 n. 7; Pouchet, Basile le Grand, 301. 51  Gr. Naz. or. 18.12; ep. 57.3 (οἱ τὸν περίβολον τῆς συνόδου τειχίζοντες); Anth. Pal. 8.15.1–2 (αὐτὸς νηὸν ἔρεψα Θεῷ καὶ δῶχ’ ἱερῆα / Γρηγόριον). See Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.162, and Kopeček, ‘Cappadocian Fathers’. 52  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.167 with n. 2. For the forty martyrs of Sebaste, see S. Mitchell in this volume (pp. 54–55). 53  Eus. v.C. 4.43.4: καὶ Καππαδοκῶν δ’ οἱ πρῶτοι παιδεύσει λόγων μέσοι τοῖς πᾶσι διέπρεπον; see Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.164 n. 3. 54  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.177 n. 1, 71, cf. 162. 55  Cf. Maraval, Lieux saints, 371–372, for the seven sites related to the saints Mamas, Eu­ psychius, Gordius, Julitta, Sabas the Goth, St Mercurius, and the forty martyrs of Sebaste; see also Bernardakis, ‘Césarée de Cappadoce’, 22–27, for the archaeological evidence of some of these places with reference to Mamas, Eupsychius, Gordius, Judith, and Mercurius.



rebelled and resisted torture strenuously until he was finally decapitated.56 The Cappadocian triplet saints Speusippus, Elasippus, and Melesippus, with their grandmother Neonilla/Leonilla, converted a certain Julia (or Junilla) and Neon, a notarius tasked with recording the proceedings, and were martyred under Aurelian or Marcus Aurelius.57 Ernst Kirsten, though aware of the untrustworthiness of the acta martyrum for the age of Decius, Valerian and Diocletian, maintained that the references to the three grandsons of Neonilla/Leonilla possessed Lokalkolorit.58 During the reign of Decius or Diocletian, George the Cappadocian, son of a Persian Gerontius and a Polychronia from Cappadocia, was martyred.59 Cyrillus was martyred at Caesarea under Decius(?), Mercurius in the age of Decius and Valerian, Porphyrius, the mime actor, and Magnus during the reign of Aurelian.60 Capitolina and Erotheis, Julitta, the virgin Dorothea, Theophilus scholasticus and Gordius were victims of Diocletian.61 Concerning Julitta, a widow from the landed aristocracy of Cappadocia who was condemned to be burned alive probably the day after the first edict of persecution (23 Feb. 303), Basil claimed to have access to eyewitness testimony, or at least a sufficiently credible oral tradition,62 on which he could rely for the speech that he gave on her dies natalis around 372 in the saint’s splendid martyrium, and he also appealed to eyewitnesses in the congregation that heard his panegyric for Gordius after he had become bishop of Caesarea in 370, on the anniversary of his martyrdom, 3 January.63 Other sources focus on the age of Diocletian, when the martyrdom of the doctor Orestes at the hands of Maximus, the

56  Sauget, ‘Tespesio’. 57  Sauget, ‘Speusippo’. 58  Kirsten, ‘Cappadocia’, 882. The notices about Valerian were likely closely connected with the ‘third campaign’ of Shâpûr, during which, as is known, the emperor was captured in ad 260 and Cappadocia was laid waste: Maricq, ‘5. Res Gestae Divi Saporis’, 339–341; Dodgeon and Lieu, Roman Eastern Frontier, 295–299, 394–395; Loriot and Nony, La crise, 60–64 no. 28. 59  Jo. Mal. chron. 12.35 (Thurn, Chronographia, 234); bhl 3363–3406. Cf. Celletti, ‘Giorgio’. 60  b hl 2068; Germanus, Theophilus, and Cyrillus were also perhaps martyred under Decius: Sauget, ‘Germano’; Mercurius: bhg 1274–1277a; bhl 5933–5939; cf. Sauget, ‘Mercurio’; Porphyrius: bhg 1568z–1569; Magnus: bhl 5154–5155. 61  Capitolina and Erotheis: bhg 292; Julitta: bhg 972–972e; Dorothea and Theophilus: bhl 2321–2325; Gordius: bhg 703–703g; for an analysis of the sermons of Basil on Julitta, Mamas, and Gordius cf. Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea, 184–188. 62  Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri, 86. 63  Bas. hom. 18.3 (pg 31.497B): μέχρι τοῦ νῦν εἰσί τινες οἱ ἀκούσαντες. See Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea: I martiri, 13; id., Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri, 97 n. 6; Cooper and Decker, Life and Society, 163–171; and A. Busine in this volume (pp. 110–111).

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


prefect of Cilicia and Cappadocia, took place at Tyana.64 The thirty-two martyrs of Melitene and the presbyters Carterius, Eudoxius, Zeno and Macarius were also all supposedly executed under Diocletian.65 Elpidius, Hermogenes, and Expeditus were martyred in the fourth century.66 So too, in an unknown year were martyred Biagius, a native of Caesarea from a wealthy cattle-owning family, the bishop Lucius, Absalon, Lorgius, and another Polyeuctus.67 The only confirmation for the veracity of these hagiographical testimonia comes from Eusebius’s allusion to a threatening concentration of Christians around Melitene in the age of Diocletian.68 With special reference to Cappadocia, Eusebius also described the imprisonment of bishops, presbyters, deacons, lectors, exorcists, and the suffering that they endured at this time.69 But it remains difficult to date the anti-Christian persecutions recorded by Eusebius in provinces like Arabia or Cappadocia with any precision, unlike those associated with Palestine and the Thebaid, of which he had been an eyewitness.70 The Cappadocian Fathers add much further evidence for the cults of the region’s martyrs, although they naturally offer no independent confirmation of their veracity. Gregory of Nazianzus recorded that Arianzus celebrated an annual cult of the holy martyrs on the 22nd of the month of Dathousa, the Cappadocian name for September.71 The reference to a local calendar implies that these were long-standing religious rites. Gregory of Nyssa attended the 64  b hg 1383–1384; Sauget, ‘Oreste’; Gregory of Nazianzus (or. 43.58; ep. 50) mentions the dispute about the usufruct of the considerable revenues of the monastery and the church dedicated to Orestes; on this saint see Brady, ‘Eastern Christian Hagiographical Traditions’, 429, 432. 65   Thirty-two martyrs: bhg 749–750 (Anicetus, Athanasius, Barachius/Barachus, Bostrychus/ Ostrychus, Callinicus, Castricius, Claudianus, Diodotus/Theodochus, Dorotheus, Duce­ tius/Dulcitius, Epiphanius, Eugenius, Eutychius, Gigantius, Hesychius, Hieron, Hilarius, Longinus, Mamas, Maximianus, Nicander, Nicon, Theagenes/Theogenes, Themelius, Theodorus, Theodotus, Theodulus, Theophilus, Valerius, Xanthias/Xanthicus). Carterius: bhg 296–297. Eudoxius, Zeno, and Macarius: bhg 1604. On Hieron see G. Arena in this volume. 66  Sauget, ‘Elpidio’; id., ‘Espedito’. 67  Eldarov, ‘Biagio’; Lucchesi, ‘Lucio’; on the martyrs of Cappadocia in the fourth century ad see in general Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri, 179–189; id., Basilio di Cesarea: I martiri; Sauget, ‘Polieuto’, 994–995. 68  Eus. h.e. 8.6.8: οὐκ εἰς μακρὸν δ’ ἑτέρων κατὰ τὴν Μελιτηνὴν οὕτω καλουμένην χώραν καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἄλλων ἀμφὶ τὴν Συρίαν ἐπιφυῆναι τῇ βασιλείᾳ πεπειραμένων, τοὺς πανταχόσε τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν προεστῶτας εἱρκταῖς καὶ δεσμοῖς ἐνεῖραι πρόσταγμα ἐφοίτα βασιλικόν. See the paper of S. Mitchell in this volume (pp. 52, 67–68, 75). 69  Eus. h.e. 8.6.9; 8.12.1: τοτὲ δὲ τὰ σκέλη κατεαγνυμένων, οἷα τοῖς ἐν Καππαδοκίᾳ συμβέβηκεν. 70  Eus. h.e. 8.7–13. Cf. Frend, Martyrdom, 496. 71  Gr. Naz. ep. 122.1: τοῦ καθ’ ἡμᾶς μηνὸς Δαθοῦσα. Arianzus was almost certainly in the area neighbouring Nazianzus; see Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 123–124.



burial of his father at a village near the small city of Ibora close to the family property in Pontus. It took place in a chapel where relics of the forty martyrs were preserved.72 When his elder sister Macrina died, all the local population gathered and passed the entire night with the body singing psalms as though at a festival for the martyrs.73 Basil often alluded to the cults and festivals of local saints and martyrs, dating back to the age of the persecutions. He repeatedly invited the imperial numerarius to the πανήγυρις of the saints Eupsychius, Damasus and their companions, which was celebrated on 7 September at Caesarea and in the surrounding territory, as he hoped to gain tax exemption for the country.74 In a sermon held around 370 he likened the crowd at the annual festival of Gordius to bees swarming in the saint’s extramural martyrium, and censured the women of the congregation, for dancing drunkenly in the chapels opposite Caesarea.75 The spread of these sanctuaries offers clear evidence for the vigour of rural Christianity, and reveals the important functions played by these extra-urban cult places as alternative spaces for economic activity and social relations. Basil deplored the excessive commercial activity during the feasts of the martyrs at the extramural churches around Caesarea, when the citizens brought their own wares from the countryside and sold them there in improvised markets.76 In his Homilia in divites, Basil acknowledged that the festivals of the church represented occasions for amusement and commerce, and also provided opportunities for expressing forms of religiosity that were not wholly Christian.77

72  Gr. Nyss. mart. 3 (pg 46.784B–C): κώμης τῆς ἐμοὶ προσηκούσης, ἐν ᾗ τὰ τῶν τρισμακαρίων τούτων ἀναπέπαυται λείψανα, ἔστι τις πολίχνη ἡ γείτων, Ἴβωρα καλοῦσιν αὐτήν. See the paper of S. Mitchell in this volume (p. 57). 73  Gr. Nyss. v. Macr. 33.4–5: καθάπερ ἐπὶ μαρτύρων πανηγύρεως. 74  Through the holy days, or rather the days of martyrdom, moreover, the bishop exerted his power over the community by establishing more suitable anniversaries for the baptisms: ἐπεὶ οὖν ἐπισημότατοι μαρτύρων Εὐψύχιος καὶ Δάμας καὶ ὁ περὶ αὐτοὺς χορὸς ὧν ἡ μνήμη δι’ ἔτους παρὰ τῆς πόλεως ἡμῶν καὶ τῆς περιοικίδος δὲ πάσης τελεῖται (Bas. ep. 252 [Courtonne, Saint Basile, 3.93; ad 376]; cf. ep. 100, 142, 176); cf. Gr. Nyss. bapt. diff. (pg 46.416C). According to Pouchet, Basile le Grand, 234, 413, Damas should be identified with Mamas; see also Trombley, Hellenic Religion, 2.122, 131. 75   Extramural churches for these saints: Bas. hom. 18.1 (pg 31.489B–C: Gordius); hom. 23.2 (pg 31.592B: Mamas); ep. 100, 142, cf. 176, 200 (Eupsychius), 243.2 (ad 376; on the solemnity of the Christian festivals), 252; Soz. h.e. 5.11.7–11; Gr. Naz. or. 4.24–25 (Eupsychius and Damasus); Bas. hom. 14.1 (pg 31.445B; drunken women); Gr. Naz. ep. 58 (Eupsychius), 86, 122 (annual cult of the holy martyrs at Arianzus), 197 (celebration in honour of the holy martyrs at Euphemias), 205. 76  Bas. reg. fus. 41 (pg 31.1021B–D); hom. 23.2 (pg 31.592B). Cf. Scazzoso, Introduzione, 22–23. 77  Bas. hom. in divites 8 (pg 31.281C).

Early Christianity in Cappadocia



Jewish Presence in Cappadocia

Harnack asserted that Cappadocia in 325 could be considered a province that was by then wesentlich Christian, even if a strange one due to certain imperfections and rough patches.78 His conclusions were presented as part of a complex reconstruction of the Christianization of Asia Minor that was founded on two theoretical assumptions. Harnack started from the belief that Hellenism, while it facilitated fusion with Christianity in different parts of Asia Minor, was declining, but also being transformed into the new religion. However, Cappadocia was a virgin terrain ready for new sowings. The second supposition of Harnack was that the Jewish element in the region, although hostile to Christianity, nonetheless prepared many souls and many minds for conversion, as did the strange Judaeo-pagan mixture represented by the cult of θεὸς ὕψιστος, which prepared minds for a ‘neuen Synkretismus’ (see pp. 32–37 below).79 He also suggested that this cult could be considered an expression of ‘a popular Christianity which was assimilated to paganism’.80 Now, if there is no doubt that the origin and education of Harnack—a Protestant theologian connected to the world of Baltic Lutheranism81—had a profound influence on his assertions, it is equally certain that by undervaluing both paganism and Judaism Harnack was not in a good position to appreciate the dynamics of interaction, continuity, and transformation of cultural and religious phenomena in Asia Minor and in particular in Cappadocia. As Glen Warren Bowersock emphasized in Hellenism in Late Antiquity, the close connection between paganism and Greek culture caused a certain embarrassment among the Greek-speaking Christians themselves.82 The first invective of Gregory of Nazianzus against the emperor Julian reflects this difficulty. Gregory attacked Julian for applying the term ‘Hellenic’ exclusively to denote Hellenic (i.e. pagan) religion, whereas in fact it could be applied to 78  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.165: ‘das wäre ihnen nicht möglich gewesen, wenn Cappadocien nicht schon um 325 ein wesentlich christliches, freilich noch christlich zer­ klüftetes Land gewesen wäre.’ 79  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.153. 80  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.164: ‘Ein … volkstümliches, mit dem Heidentum verschmolzenes Christentum’. 81  On the work of Harnack see the analysis attempted by White, ‘Adolf Harnack’; for an evaluation of his scientific personality cf. now Glick, Reality of Christianity, 87–111; and Neufeld, Adolf von Harnack. See also the reflections of Mazzarino, L’Impero romano, 1.270–271, 310, 376, 393; Mazza, ‘Santo Mazzarino’, 70–75 with nn. 61, 84–85; and Girgenti, ‘Giustino martire’, 235–237. 82  Bowersock, Hellenism, 11.



the language and was thus available for use by Christians as well as pagans.83 On the other hand, another Cappadocian father, Basil of Caesarea, when he wanted to instruct his grandsons in the values attributable to classical Greek pagans, was obliged to admit a limit to this possibility: ‘the adulteries then, the love affairs, and the clear couplings of the gods, especially those of supreme and sovereign Zeus … things at which one would blush even if one were talking about animals, we will leave to the actors of the theatre.’84 On the one hand Julian had tried to drive Christians into repudiating Greek culture, by treating Ἑλληνισμός as a synonym for ‘paganism’, while on the other hand the two Cappadocian Fathers had to distinguish Greek literature, rhetoric, and philosophy from their mythology, that is, between the part of Greek culture that was taken over by Christian theology, and the pagan cults. Yet, what neither Julian, nor Basil nor Gregory fully comprehended, as Bowersock has rightly emphasized, was that the local cults, still prospering in the time of John of Ephesus in the sixth century, were expressed in the language and mythology of the Greeks: ‘it was at this level that Greek culture or Hellenism really meant “paganism”. It was Greek culture that allowed the infinite multiplicity of these far-flung and diverse cults to exist as part of a loosely defined common enterprise that we call paganism and that the Greek-speakers of the time quite rightly called Hellenism.’85 It is appropriate to insist on the cultural contacts between pagans, Jews and Christians since in first-century Cappadocia, alongside the Christians documented by the First Letter of Peter, we find the crowd (τὸ πλῆθος) of those inspired by the divinity (θεοφορῆται) and sacred slaves (ἱερόδουλοι) at the sanctuary of Ma at Comana in Cappadocia described by Strabo,86 and on the other hand τὸ πλῆθος of the Cappadocian Jews (Ἰουδαῖοι) recorded in Acts as present at Jerusalem and witness to the miracle of tongues on the day of Pentecost.87 83  Gr. Naz. or. 4.5 (pg 35.536). On the anti-Christian measures of Julian see Cassia, Fra biogra­ fia e cronografia, 171–173 (with further bibliography there). 84  Bas. leg. lib. gent. 4.6 (Naldini, Basilio di Cesarea, 90–92). 85  Bowersock, Hellenism, 13. 86  Strabo 12.2.3 (C 535). On the sanctuary see the recent contribution of Trémouille, ‘Co­ mana’. 87  Acts 2:1–11: (8) καὶ πῶς ἡμεῖς ἀκούομεν ἕκαστος τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ ἡμῶν ἐν ᾗ ἐγεννήθημεν … (11) ἀκούομεν λαλούντων αὐτῶν ταῖς ἡμετέραις γλώσσαις τὰ μεγαλεῖα τοῦ θεοῦ. The passage is taken up by Eus. Is. 1.63 (Ziegler, Jesajakommentar, 87). Gregory of Nazianzus mentions the event with a patriotic note (or. 41.17 [pg 36.452A]: … καὶ τοῖς ἐμοῖς Καππαδόκαις). On the connection between this episode and the biblical passage of the Cappadocians (i.e. the Caphtorim of Deut 2:23 and Amos 9:7) see Métivier, La Cappadoce, 15–16. On the Jewish communities of Cappadocia, see Schürer, History of the Jewish People, 3/1.35; Smallwood, Jews under Roman Rule, 122; Stemberger, ‘Rabbinic Judaism’, 83–84. With specific reference to the passage, see Trebilco, Jewish Communities, 25: ‘they were probably

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


These observant Cappadocian Jews had gathered at Jerusalem in Peter’s presence, and the fact that Jews came from that region enhanced the possibility of the territory being evangelized at an early date.88 If we place 1 Peter and Acts side by side we can observe how the two texts, in all probability nearly contemporaneous, one concerning the Christians and the other the Jews, presented significant similarities beginning with the placenames. Pontus, Cappadocia, and Asia, in fact, are mentioned in both the passages, while Galatia and Bithynia appear only in the Letter of Peter and Phrygia and Pamphylia only in Acts: 1 Pet 1:1: Πέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνίας, … Acts 2:8–10: Καὶ πῶς ἡμεῖς ἀκούομεν ἕκαστος τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ ἡμῶν ἐν ᾗ ἐγεννήθημεν; Πάρθοι καὶ Μῆδοι καὶ Ἐλαμῖται καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες τὴν Μεσο­ ποταμίαν, Ἰουδαίαν τε καὶ Καππαδοκίαν, Πόντον καὶ τὴν Ἀσίαν, Φρυγίαν τε καὶ Παμφυλίαν, … We obtain a picture of Asia Minor already literally ‘invested’ by the Christian message in the course of the first century. If it is plausible to maintain that in a large part of Anatolia the careful work of evangelization was made possible by the diffusion of monotheistic Jews, we may also suppose that spreading the gospel was facilitated by preaching in the local languages. The problem of communication, solved at a supernatural level by the miracle of Pentecost, was encountered also in concrete reality, and addressed by the use of local languages to carry the gospel not only to the city centres of Asia Minor, where a predominantly Greek-speaking population lived, but also to the rural areas, where the local languages were much more widespread. In the Letter of Peter, the apostle went to see the dispersed faithful (ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις) in different regions of Asia Minor including Cappadocia. Peter’s subsequent presence in Jerusalem on the day when he addressed the men of Judaea and all the observant Jews of every nation (ἀπὸ παντὸς ἔθνους)—who had gathered in the city on the day of Pentecost—was not a coincidence. The Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire, descended upon the twelve disciples of Jesus, all able to speak not pilgrims, since Luke describes them as κατοικοῦντες in Jerusalem, although they may well have originally come to Jerusalem on pilgrimage and decided to live there. The passage provides evidence that Jews were living in the areas in Asia Minor specified’. 88  Cooper and Decker, Life and Society, 139: ‘though the exact time of the arrival of Chris­ tianity in Cappadocia is uncertain, there were Cappadocian Jews present on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:9), and it was among the flourishing Jewish community of Caesarea that Christianity first took root in the region’ (cf. 148).



the languages of the strangers present, who in their turn heard the message of God each in his own language (ἕκαστος τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ). The Jewish presence in imperial Cappadocia is confirmed by a variety of testimonia: (1) A festival homily attributed to Hesychius of Jerusalem, of doubtful authenticity, concerning the passio of Longinus, a first-century Christian martyr of Caesarea, mentions that he was a native of a village near Tyana in Cappadocia Secunda, a χωρίον … ἐπιλεγόμενον ἑβραϊστὶ Γαβραλές.89 (2) An inscription of uncertain restoration, dating to the imperial age, from Kemerhisar (Tyana) attests a sure Jewish presence: Μαννα θυγατρ[ὶ] | (me­norah) Κυρίλλ[ῃ?].90 (3) During Valerian’s siege of Caesarea (in the course of which it is plausible that Cappadocia suffered heavy persecution, see above, § 1), the Sassanians are said to have killed 12,000(!) Jewish residents of the city.91 (4) Origen, who during the persecution of 235 stayed in the houses of many friends, including the learned virgin Juliana (his hostess for two years at Caesarea; see above, § 1),92 had made close contacts with the local rabbis (from whom he also learned Hebrew) while dedicating intense efforts to study of the Scriptures at the school that he founded in Cappadocia.93 89  Hesych. H. m. Long. 20.17 (Aubineau, Les homélies, 2.888): ὁ δὲ κεντυρίων Λογγῖνος, ὁ καὶ πιστευθεὶς τὸν σταυρόν, ἀνήγαγεν τῷ ἡγεμόνι περὶ τῶν γεγενημένων θαυμάτων. Καὶ καταλιπὼν πάντα ἐκεῖ, ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν πατρίδα, ἐν τῇ Καππαδοκίᾳ τῇ δευτέρᾳ, ἐγγὺς Τυάνων, εἰς χωρίον καλούμενον Ἀνδραλές, τὸ ἐπιλεγόμενον ἑβραϊστὶ Γαβραλές, καὶ ἤλλαξεν τὰ περιβόλαια αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἦν ποιμαίνων τὰ πρόβατα. See Orsola, Longino, for traditions concerning this saint. On the remarkable diffusion in southern Anatolia of the name Longinus, version of a local name and not an adopted Greek name, cf. Pilhofer, Das frühe Christentum im kilikischisaurischen Bergland, 179 n. 407 (with further bibliography). The name Longinus also occurs at ancient Tyana: + Κύριε + Ἰ(ησο)ῦ Χρίστ)ε + βοήθη τὸν δοῦλόν σου Λογγῖν(ον) (Lachin and Rosada, ‘Tyana’, 647–648 with fig. 7; id., ‘Kyrie boethe’, 643). 90  I.Tyana 77 with pl. 113.4 (Μαννα could be nominative or dative); cf. Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 238–244. 91  On the siege cf. Zonar. 12.23 (Pinder, Annales, 2.592–596). On the Jews resident in the Cappadocian city see Dodgeon and Lieu, Roman Eastern Frontier, 368–369 n. 58; Neusner, Parthian Period, 45–48; Smallwood, Jews under Roman Rule, 509 (with the reference from the Talmud to the clearly exaggerated number of 12,000 Jews killed by the Sassanian king). 92  Eus. h.e. 6.17; Pall. h. Laus. 64.1–2. Cf. Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.59, 63 (‘eine gelehrte Matrone muß jene Juliana gewesen sein, bei der Origenes etwa zwei Jahre in Cäsarea Capp. geweilt hat, und der der Judenchrist Symmachus Bücher vermacht hatte’), 163. For a dating of the return of Origen to Cappadocia in ad 215 under Caracalla see Crouzel, ‘Origène’. 93  Cf. Meeks, ‘Il cristianesimo’, 303; Scazzoso, Introduzione, 9–11. On the influence of the exegesis in the mold of Origen see Girardi and Marin, Origene; Girardi, ‘Origene in Cap­padocia’.

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


(5) As Basil mentions in his homily for Gordius, at the horse races organized at Caesarea, the centurion appeared fearless before the public, which was not only diverse in social composition, age, and sex, comprising masters and slaves, young men and women, but also was composed of different ethnic-religious groups: Jews, Greeks, and ‘not a small mass of Christians’.94 While this collection of testimonia concerns the real presence of Jews in Cap­ padocia, a literary reference, not historical in the strict sense, alludes to the presence of Cappadocian Jews far from the region itself, namely Petronius’s Satyricon, a work that was composed and set in Rome at the same time as the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and their possible associates, the Cappadocian Christians Arion or Urion (see above, § 1). This reference concerns the guest of honour at the dinner of the rich freedman Trimalchio, the Cappadocian Habinnas, also a freedman, whose ethnic origin can be inferred both from his name and, indirectly, from the allusion that he makes to the circumcision (recutitus est) of his slave Massa.95 The etymology of the name Habinnas— sevir, lapidarius and funeral director96—has been the object of serious discussion: it has been variously considered to be from Osco-Umbrian,97 or 94  Bas. hom. 18.3 (pg 31.497A): ἐπεὶ οὖν πᾶς ὁ δῆμος ἄνω συνείλεκτο, οὐκ Ἰουδαῖος ἀπῆν, οὐχ Ἕλλην· καὶ Χριστιανῶν δὲ πλῆθος οὐκ ὀλίγον αὐτοῖς συνανεφύρετο, οἱ ἀφυλάκτως βιοῦντες, καὶ καθήμενοι μὲν μετὰ συνεδρίου ματαιότητος, μὴ ἐκκλίνοντες δὲ συστροφὰς πονηρευομένων, οἳ καὶ τότε παρῆσαν θεαταὶ τοῦ τάχους τῶν ἵππων, καὶ τῆς ἐμπειρίας τῶν ἡνιόχων· ἀλλὰ καὶ δούλους ἀνῆκαν δεσπόται, καὶ παῖδες ἐκ διδασκαλείων πρὸς τὴν θέαν ἔτρεχον, παρῆν δὲ καὶ γυναικῶν ὅσον δημῶδες καὶ ἄσημον, πλῆρες δὲ ἦν τὸ στάδιον, καὶ πάντες ἤδη πρὸς τὴν θέαν τῆς τῶν ἵππων ἁμίλλης ἦσαν συντεταμένοι. Ps.-Amph. v. Bas. 17 (Combefis, Opera Omnia, 155–225, esp. 220–225) mentions that the bishop baptized a Jew. Gregory of Nazianzus, furthermore, mentions Jews among those who attended the funeral of Basil: ἀγὼν δὲ τοῖς ἡμετέροις πρὸς τοὺς ἐκτός, Ἕλληνας, Ἰουδαίους, ἐπήλυδας· ἐκείνοις πρὸς ἡμᾶς, ὅστις πλέον ἀποκλαυσάμενος πλείονος μετάσχῃ τῆς ὠφελείας (or. 43.80.3). 95  Petron. Sat. 68.8. On Petronius’s novel as a mirror of the ‘réalité de l’époque’ (Veyne) or as ‘fiction littéraire’ (Dupont), see Łoś, ‘La condition sociale’. 96  Petron. Sat. 65.5; cf. 69.2. 97  A derivation of the personal name from Osco-Umbrian is favoured by Bücheler, Umbrica, 2, 19, 72–73 n. 22, and Emil Hübner (apud Friedländer, Petronii Cena Trimalchionis, 296: ‘etrurischen Namen’), on the basis of a possible connection with the term habinna attested in the tabulae Eugubinae; cf. also Vetter, Handbuch, 177, on which Dumézil, ‘Chronique’; id., ‘Remarques’, 228 n. 5. The ending -(i)nna is typically Etruscan (Schulze, Zur Geschichte lateinischer Eigennamen, 65–107, 567–569)—Osco-Umbrian, as is known, derives, equally from all the other Italic alphabets, from Etruscan—and the presence of the person at the Petronian Cena Trimalchionis could be closely connected with the symposiastic custom widespread among the Etruscans (Cucchiarelli, ‘L’entrata di Abinna’, 740 n. 7). Later also Ernout, Pétrone, 208, has accepted this hypothesis, maintaining that the word habina indicated a ‘victima alicuius generis [fortasse ovilis]’.



Hebrew,98 or Anatolian.99 Also the apparently derogatory reference to the circumcision of Massa has been interpreted in different ways: Moses Hadas suggested that perhaps Habinnas was more Romanized than Massa and that he therefore considered ‘himself advanced beyond a barbaric practice’;100 Enrico Flores, for his part, has considered the assertion recutitus est to be an example of the ‘autoironia’ of Habinnas himself;101 Dwora Gilula has emphasized how the condition of recutitus was considered above all a defect more than a characteristic of the Jews.102 Furthermore, Flores has taken the familiar and kindly attitude of the Cappadocian towards Massa as the reflection of the Jew­ ish traditions which prescribed relatively more humane treatment of personal slaves.103 3

Judaeo-Pagan Syncretism in Cappadocia

The observations made above about the contacts between Origen and the Jew­ ish residents at Caesarea (see above, p. 30, no. 4) present us with the second 98  Hadas, ‘Oriental Elements’, 383, was the first to hypothesize that the name of the guest— like others in the Satyricon, such as Trimalchio and Bargates (Petron. Sat. 96.4; 96.7; 97.1)— was Semitic in origin and should be connected with the personal names of the Talmudic wise men Abina and Abin; according to Schnur, ‘Habinnas’, Habinnas is a ‘speaking name’ meaning ‘stone-cutter’ (habni) in Hebrew; cf. also Maiuri, La Cena di Trimalchione, 236. Brunet, ‘La vision de l’affranchi’, 257, vacillates between an Umbrian origin and a Semitic one. Flores, ‘Un ebreo cappadoce’, 50 (referring to Josephus, A.J. 20–22 for an Ἀβεννήριγος of Syriac or Jewish origin) and 54, has connected Habinnas with the Hebrew bina, which means ‘intelligence’, and which appears as a cognomen in the ghetto of Rome, in the years between 1550 and 1650, in the Italianized form both with the article (Abbina) and without (Bina). Equally, the name of Habinnas’s slave, Massa, occurs in the Hebrew Bible (Gen 25:14; 1 Chr 1:30); see also Herrmann, ‘Hypothèse’, 88; Schmeling, ‘Literary Use’, 9; Jacobson, ‘Note’, 184; Priuli, Ascyltus, 24 (‘[Massa] non deve essere considerato nome latino, ma semitico’); Clarke, ‘Jewish Table Manners’, 259. 99  Pepe, ‘Varietà petroniane’, 272, has challenged Hadas’s proposal: ‘sembra preferibile … pensare ad un nome anatolico, forse da ravvicinare a quelli con suffisso -nd’. Also Gaster, ‘Habinnas’, thought of an origin in Asia Minor; so Paratore, La narrativa latina, 252: ‘di tutte queste ipotesi, la più accettabile ci sembra quella che vede in Abinna un nome di origine anatolica e più propriamente cappadoce’. 100  Hadas, ‘Oriental Elements’, 384. 101  Flores, ‘Un ebreo cappadoce’, 62. 102  Gilula, ‘La satira’, 202. In fact, since the sense of humour of this guest is often directed back upon himself, the hypothesis of Flores, according to Boyce, Language, 88–89, is anything but improbable. In any case the designating of the man as Cappadocian seems to be a witticism and should not be considered any indication of an anti-Semitic attitude on the part of Habinnas himself (see Pellegrino, ‘A proposito delle tre biblioteche’, 199–200). 103  Petron. Sat. 68.7–8; 69.5; see Flores, ‘Un ebreo cappadoce’, 58–59. Cf. also Bauer, ‘Semi­ tisches bei Petron’; Conti, ‘Matauitatau’, 383; Severy-Hoven, Satyrica, 6, 141, 273.

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


of the two faces of Cappadocian Christianity, which was forced to confront pagan persecutors from one side, and an indisputable and substantial Jewish presence on the other. These different religions made contact with each other and were not necessarily in conflict, but engaged in one or more phases of syncretism. Certainly, it is legitimate to maintain that the Jewish presence in Cappadocia, which is documented so early, favoured the spread of the monotheistic Christian message, but we can equally presume that pagan ‘henotheism’ (on this term see below) was tolerated by or even mixed with Judaism. There was common ground for dialogue about ritual prescriptions, alimentary prohibitions, or the veneration of θεὸς ὕψιστος. Strabo remarks that the consumption of pork was prohibited in the sanctuary of Ma at Comana Pontica and in all likelihood this also applied to the similar sanctuary in Cappadocia (see above, § 2); this rule, in fact, was enforced in the entire city, from which all pigs were barred.104 A century and a half later the famous physician Galen spoke of a sterilization of sows in Cappadocia in order to improve the taste of the meat.105 Basil, apart from mentioning entire flocks of pigs (συφόρβια), which were considered true and proper sources of wealth for the great Cappadocian landowners, thought that abstention from pork (ὑείων … κρεῶν) was ‘really ridiculous’ (μὴν γελοῖον), and that consuming pork was a matter of indifference (ἀδιάφορον).106 These later testimonia confirm how the prohibition of pork was not general, but was certainly a religious prescription—which obviously also applied to the Jewish community—restricted to the celebrated rite in the sanctuary of Comana. Abstention from pork, however, was not the sole element of affinity between pagan cult, that is, the one cult of the goddess Ma (an Anatolian deity which was reabsorbed into the classical pantheon under the name of Bellona), and the Jewish religion. Cappadocia is also a region where θεὸς ὕψιστος is attested, a cult of which is decisively characterized by Jewish-pagan mixing. ‘Greek’ error and ‘Jewish’ legalism, in fact, were combined in one sect, which the father of Gregory of Nazianzus had initially joined: … leaving to the laws of panegyric the description of his country, his family, his nobility of figure, his external magnificence, and the other subjects of human pride, I [sc. Gregory of Nazianzus] begin with what is of most consequence and comes closest to ourselves. He [sc. Gregory the 104  Strabo 12.8.9 (C 575); cf. 12.3.32 (C 557). Cf. Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 77–78, 318. 105  Gal., De semine 1.15 (Kühn, Galenii Opera Omnia, 4.570). 106  Bas. hom. in divites 2 (pg 31.285B); ep. 199.28 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 2.159–160; ad 375). From Gregory of Nyssa (paup. 2 [gno 9/1.120]) we also learn that the raising of pigs was practised also inside houses.



Elder] sprang from a stock unrenowned, and not well suited for piety, for I am not ashamed of his origin, in my confidence in the close of his life, one that was not planted in the house of God, but far removed and estranged, the combined product of two of the greatest opposites—Greek error and legal imposture (Ἑλληνικῆς τε πλάνης, καὶ νομικῆς τερατείας), some parts of each of which it escaped, of others it was compounded. For, on the one side, they reject idols and sacrifices, but reverence fire and lights; on the other, they observe the Sabbath and petty regulations as to certain meats, but despise circumcision. These lowly men call themselves Ὑψιστάριοι, and the Almighty is, so they say, the only object of their worship (Ὑψιστάριοι τοῖς ταπεινοῖς ὄνομα, καὶ ὁ Παντοκράτωρ δὴ μόνος αὐτοῖς σεβάσμιος). What was the result of this double tendency to impiety? I know not whether to praise more highly the grace which called him, or his own purpose. However, he so purged the eye of his mind from the humours which obscured it, and ran towards the truth with such speed that he endured the loss of his mother and his property for a while, for the sake of his heavenly Father and the true inheritance: and submitted more readily to this dishonour, than others to the greatest honours, and, most wonderful as this is, I wonder at it but little.107 This sect, whose veneration of πῦρ καὶ … λύχνα reveals distant Persian roots, presented pagan traits but was monotheistic, accepted Jewish practices, like the observance of the Sabbath or the scrupulous avoidance of certain foods, but did not accept circumcision and sacrifices, and worshipped a most high god, but rejected pagan idols and sacrifices.108 Gregory the Elder’s adherence to the Hypsistarians is implied also in Gre­ gory of Nazianzus’s Carmen de vita sua (carm. de seipso 11) which states that his father at first fell into error, later became a ‘friend of Christ’ and then a shepherd: πλάνης τὸ πρόσθεν, ὕστερον Χριστοῦ φίλος, / ἔπειτα ποιμήν (vv. 55–56).109 His mother Nonna, a fervent Christian, certainly played a fundamental role

107  Gr. Naz. or. 18.5 (pg 35.989E–992A; trans. npnf² 7.256). Cf. Ramsay, Luke, 401–402; Wyss, ‘Zu Gregor von Nazianz’, 175–182; Hauser-Meury, Prosopographie, 88–90. Bonis, ‘Father’, 173–178, did not hesitate to hypothesize that Gregory the Elder was of Jewish origin, not only by way of his belonging to the sect, but also for the expressions used by Gregory of Nazianzus, in particular ‘wild olive’ and ‘domesticated olive’, which are used by St Paul to refer to the conversion of Jews to Christianity. 108  According to Métivier, La Cappadoce, 172, ‘l’existence en Cappadoce de la secte hypsistarienne … témoigne des contacts noués entre païens et juifs dans la province’. 109  In general cf. Trisoglio, Gregorio di Nazianzo.

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


in the conversion of Gregory the Elder.110 The balancing act between Gregory of Nazianzus’s two parents is subtly evoked in the following verses which not only evoke the equilibrium of the couple, a pair of scales in which the two plates counterbalance each other, but also with specific reference to his mother’s family from the beginning.111 Gregory of Nazianzus intentionally contrasts his mother and father with two expressions: πλάνης τὸ πρόσθεν (v. 55) and ἐξ εὐσεβῶν τὸ πρόσθεν (v. 59). The careful use of the adverbs of time emphasizes the different religious upbringing of Gregory’s parents, and also underlines his father’s path of conversion—τὸ πρόσθεν … ὕστερον … ἔπειτα—thus presenting a picture in microcosm of the level of evangelization of the Cappadocian élites in the second half of the third century. Gregory the Elder, in fact, was born around 274, because he died aged around 100 years, having dedicated almost forty-five years to the priesthood, between 329 and his death in spring 374.112 Raymond Van Dam has envisioned the event as an opportunistic choice connected with the suspension of the persecutions by Constantine: ‘once Con‑ stantine demonstrated his support, Gregory the Elder quickly converted to Christianity and soon became bishop of his hometown of Nazianzus. During his lengthy episcopal tenure he was ensnared in the theological controversies provoked by Constantius, and he confronted Julian directly. Even though he was about the same age as Constantine, he outlived the entire Constantinian dynasty and died during the reign of Valens.’113 Other evidence for this particular religious movement comes from Gregory of Nyssa’s Contra Eunomium, where the followers of the Christian God, ‘father of all, immutable, one and only’, are contrasted with those who venerate a god other than the Father, including the Jews and the Ὑψιστιανοί, who considered god to be ὕψιστος (or rather παντοκράτωρ) but denied the god’s role as Father, resorting instead to the neutral term, often used in reference to the God of the Old Testament, which was compatible with, but not exclusively connected to monotheism: ‘but if he is inventing some other God besides the Father, let him [sc. Eunomius] dispute with the Jews or with those who are called Ὑψιστιανοί, between whom and the Christians there is this difference, that they 110  Cf. Van Dam, Families and Friends, 88–93. 111  Gr. Naz. carm. de seipso 11.57–59: μήτηρ θ’, ἵν’ εἴπω συντόμως, ὁμόζυγος / ἀνδρὸς τοσούτου καὶ τάλαντον ἀρρεπές, / ἐξ εὐσεβῶν τὸ πρόσθεν εὐσεβεστέρα. 112  Gr. Naz. or. 18.38 (pg 35.1036): ζήσας δὲ σχεδόν τι περὶ τὰ ἑκατὸν ἔτη … καὶ τούτων αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ ἱερωσύνῃ πέντε καὶ τεσσαράκοντα. Cf. Hauser-Meury, Prosopographie, 88 with n. 169 (‘geboren um 280’), 90 with n. 179; plre 1.403 (Gregorius 2); Van Dam, Families and Friends, 41–42. On the particular circumstances in which the discourse of Gregory of Nazianzus was pronounced see Moreschini, I Padri Cappadoci, 105–106. 113  Van Dam, Kingdom of Snow, 2; cf. id., Becoming Christian, 2.



acknowledge that there is a God whom they term the Highest or Almighty, but do not admit that he is Father; while a Christian, if he believe not in the Father, is no Christian at all.’114 These terminological subtleties are not banal, as is shown by the fact that Basil chose to adopt the substantive adjective ὕψιστος to indicate God the ‘most high’,115 but used the attributive adjective ὕπατος to describe Ζεύς. Franz Cumont drew a distinction between Theos Hypsistos as a ‘Jewish-pagan’ divinity and θεὸς ὕψιστος of contemporary paganism,116 while Mitchell identified the Ὑψιστιανοί/Ὑψιστάριοι with the followers of Theos Hypsistos, drawing attention to the sole epigraphical evidence so far recorded from Cappadocia.117 This is a fragmentary inscription from Anisa (Kültepe) dating to the imperial period: [θεῷ] | [ὑ]ψείσ̣ τ[̣ ῳ ․ ․]|[․]ιας κατ’ ε̣[ὐ]|χὴν ἀνέθη||κεν … (ll. 5–7 are obscure).118 Louis Robert, who copied the text at the Museum of Ethnography in Ankara, wrote the following: ‘je ne comprends pas les trois lignes suivantes, 5–7, bien que les lettres soient lisibles et que je les aie déchiffrées sur la pierre comme sur la photographie publiée. Nous connaissons ainsi le culte de (Zeus) Hypsistos ou de (Théos) Hypsistos à l’époque impériale.’119 With regard to the ‘common focus on a highest god’, which characterized pagans, Jews, and Christians in Asia Minor, Mitchell has above all noticed 114  Gr. Nyss. Eun. 38.2 (gno 2.327). 115  The ‘most high’ entrusted to Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium, the fundamental task of guiding his community as a wise helmsman able to direct the ship even in the storm caused by the winds of heresies: Bas. ep. 161.2 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 2.93–94). 116  Cumont, ‘ Ὕψιστος’, 445; Boularand, ‘Aux sources’. 117  On this topic see Mitchell, ‘Wer waren die Gottesfürchtigen?’; and id., ‘Cult of Theos Hypsistos’, collecting 292 inscriptions, mainly dedicatory offerings, addressed to θεὸς ὕψιστος (180 texts), Ζεὺς Ὕψιστος (88 texts), and ὕψιστος (24 texts), datable to between the second century bc and the beginning of the fourth century ad; Mitchell, ‘Further Thoughts’, expands the corpus with 83 other testimonia to a total of 375 inscriptions. In this article Mitchell, besides referring to literary sources, including the passages of Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa (pp. 179, 196), has stressed the elements of affinity which rendered it ‘perfectly possible for a Jew, or a gentile enthusiast for Jewish ways, or a priest of a pagan Anatolian cult, to affirm a common belief in Theos Hypsistos, without having identical notions of who this god was’ (188). On Cappadocia, see ibid., 105: ‘the presence of only a single inscription from Cappadocia (242), the home of the only “Hypsistarian” identified in the literary sources, the father of Gregory of Nazianzus, is simply explained by the fact that few inscriptions of any sort have been found in the region’. 118  Von der Osten, Bittel, and Mac Ewan, ‘Ankara müzesine’, 89–90 (understand ὑψίστῳ in l. 2): a small marble slab (17.5 × 15 × 8.2 cm) broken both at the top and bottom with lunate letters and the ligature nu-kappa in l. 5. 119  Robert, Noms indigènes, 486–487. See also Mitchell, ‘Cult of Theos Hypsistos’, 143 no. 242: ‘three more unintelligible lines’.

Early Christianity in Cappadocia


how the use of the term παντοκράτωρ, present in the passage of Gregory of Nyssa, was substantially confined to Jewish literature before being assimilated by the church, while ὕψιστος constituted ‘the common property of a much broader community whose beliefs inclined towards monotheism’.120 He suggests that the term Ὑψιστιανοί, under the influence of Jewish theology, could have become a synonym for these religious groups which Epiphanius labelled as Μασσαλιανοί or Εὐφημῖται, describing them as Greeks or pagans who recognized the existence of many gods but venerated only one of them who bore the name Παντοκράτωρ. Their cult included prayers without sacrifice at dawn and at sunset in open spaces known as εὐκτήρια or προσευχαί, with many lamps and lights.121 The passage of Gregory of Nazianzus makes sense in light of ‘the growing number of inscriptions from Asia Minor which are so hard to classify as Jewish or pagan’: the followers of Ὕψιστος could have been either Jews or Christians and, even if the more intransigent among them abhorred being regarded as eclectic, or perilously connected with the pagan universe, the Ὑψιστιανοί/Ὑψιστάριοι ‘had travelled almost the whole road towards monotheism, and stood on the brink of a new faith’.122 The same perspective can be seen also in the fundamental monograph on the Jewish communities of Asia Minor by Paul R. Trebilco, who discussed ‘two very interesting groups’: the Θεοσεβεῖς in Phoenicia and Palestine, who, according to Cyril of Alexandria at the beginning of the fifth century, worshipped Ὕψιστος Θεός who lies beyond the stars, although they accepted the existence of other gods, and the Cappadocian Ὑψιστιανοί/Ὑψιστάριοι. Both movements shared ‘the mix of Jewish and nonJewish beliefs and practices. It seems likely that some God-worshippers … from the synagogues in these areas borrowed beliefs and practices from Judaism and paganism and then formed their own autonomous groups. They can thus be included amongst the probable evidence for God-worshippers.’123 120  Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.50. Simon, Verus Israel, 332, has highlighted how of the three essential factors of Jewish proselytism, i.e. monotheism, moral law, and attraction to ritual, it was above all the last one that deepened the Jewish influence without determining gene­ rally total conversions. Cf. id., ‘Theos Hypsistos’; cf. also Pluquet, Dictionnaire des hérésies, 1.812. 121  Epiph. haer. 80.2.1–2 (gcs 37.486): μετὰ πολλῆς λυχναψίας καὶ φώτων. See Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.50–51; id., ‘Cult of Theos Hypsistos’, 92–93; but cf. already Leclercq, ‘Hypsistariens’. 122  Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.51. See, however, the objection raised by Bowersock, ‘Highest God’, 361–362: ‘Jews and Christians knew that their god was Hypsistos, but they can have been in no doubt that any of the other cults dedicated to a deity of that name had nothing to do with them’. 123  Cyr. ador. 3.93 (pg 68.281B–C); cf. Trebilco, Jewish Communities, 163–164. On the term θεοσεβεῖς in the Acts of the Apostles with regard to the missionary activity of Paul, the audience for his preaching, and his contacts with his own interlocutors, see Violante, ‘Ebrei’.



4 Conclusion It is time to formulate our conclusions. Harnack’s view of Cappadocian Chris­ tianity, which was certainly influenced by his own cultural background, does not pay adequate attention to the social structures and local cultures of the different imperial territories which the Christian message reached. The aim of the present study has not been to account for the successes or failures achieved in the evangelizing mission and propagation of Christianity in the first three centuries, but rather to understand the changing styles of relationship between the gospel and the pre-existing pagan and Jewish religions, while paying attention to the interactions and syncretisms, which certainly existed in a region like Cappadocia, where Judaism encountered local cults and gave rise to instances of hybridization, an issue that still confronts modern historians of the ancient world. The ancient Anatolian gods continued to be worshipped in some pagan rituals. In the idealized environment schematically sketched by Harnack, θεὸς ὕψιστος appears as a faded presence. In fact Theos Hypsistos should be seen as the proper god of a fluid, ‘liquid’ religion, as part of a phenomenon variously called ‘megatheism’ (a term used for representing one particular pagan god as somehow superior to others, like Zeus Dolichenus, Zeus Sabazius, or Zeus Uranius, all gods worshipped in the same Cappadocia),124 ‘henotheism’ (a term which is perhaps more suitable than ‘monotheism’ for describing the philosophical-religious aspect of paganism)125 or even ‘pagan monotheism’ (separated from Judaism and Christianity)126 by modern scholars. The gospel came into contact and was forced to confront these cults, in a dialogue that did not lead to losers and winners but rather created co-protagonists in a complex religious scene, prominent figures on a variegated and nuanced cultural canvas. Even imperial persecution during the events of 235, which formed the background for Origen’s sojourn in Cappadocia, became, in some 124  Chaniotis, ‘Megatheism’, 113. 125  Mitchell and Van Nuffelen, ‘Introduction’ (to id., Monotheism). 126  Cerutti, ‘Pagan Monotheism’. The results of an international conference on pagan monotheism in the Roman world, which was held at Exeter in July 2006, have appeared in two important volumes edited by Mitchell and Van Nuffelen (Monotheism and One God). Although it is true that religion in the Graeco-Roman world in its classical form was polytheistic, nonetheless some cults, like those of ‘one (sole) god’ and the ‘highest god’, have been interpreted as evidence of a ‘pagan monotheism’ separate from Judaism and Christianity: the basic questions posed in the two volumes concern the definition of the possible characteristics of a ‘pagan monotheism’ and the very legitimacy of such a definition. See in particular Mitchell and Van Nuffelen, ‘Introduction’ (to id., One God): pagan monotheism cannot be fully evaluated without taking into account its fundamental relationships with Judaism and early Christianity; cf. also Van Nuffelen, ‘Pagan Monotheism’.

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measure, a catalytic factor in the relations between the Christian writer and the Caesarea’s rabbis, from whom he was able to learn Hebrew. The fourthcentury Cappadocian Christianity almost played the role of an ‘adjudicator’ in regards to paganism and Judaism, harmonizing the exaltation of one god among many with the acknowledgment of a supreme god, θεὸς ὕψιστος, and, above all, imposing orthodoxy and expelling errors. We can agree with Harnack that the propagation of the Christian message by the time of the Council of Nicaea could not be considered complete, precisely because of the imperfections which Harnack identified in the varied forms of syncretism that survived in the early church: ‘above all [Christian leaders] understood that they could make everything conform with the order and sanctity of the catholic church, subject the innumerable existing syncretisms to this order and thereby bring them to an end, while at the same time ­perpetuating them as locally justified varieties, bowing before the authority of the One Church and its cult’.127 Christian monotheism, through extensive, constant and growing evangelization had to work hard to impose itself on the pagan henotheistic survivals and the remnant Judaizing syncretisms of an area as peculiar as Cappadocia. In conclusion, this land, although it gave birth to Basil and the two Gregorys, was not ‘wesentlich christliches, freilich noch christlich zerklüftetes Land’ of which Harnack spoke, but rather a rough canvas, on which a subtle layer of varnish does not cover its rough imperfections. It is preferable to call these nuances, the chiaroscuri of a great painting in which, even well beyond the age of Constantine, the local cultures, the other religions, monotheistic or henotheistic, and the indigenous cults were never fully erased. The three spirits of Cappadocia continued to remain those of the mass of people that rushed to the stadium of Caesarea during the trial against Gordius: Jews, Hellenes and the crowd of Christians.128

127  Harnack, Mission und Ausbreitung, 2.165: ‘vor allem aber haben sie es verstanden, der Macht und Heiligkeit der katholischen Kirche alles einzuordnen, die zahlreich vorhandenen Synkretismen ihr zu unterwerfen und ihnen dadurch ein Ende zu bereiten, zugleich aber Dauer zu verleihen, daß sie sie als lokal berechtigte Varietäten unter die Autorität der einen Kirche und ihres Kultus beugten’. Harnack’s view, expressing a certain ‘dis­appointment’ in the failure to achieve a perfect Christianization, at times seems present in Métivier, La Cappadoce, 280, who notes how ecclesiastical authority was hindered or contested in Cappadocia more than elsewhere in Asia Minor, for at least two centuries after the Council of Nicaea: ‘en dépit de la christianisation précoce …, malgré le déclin du paganisme, la dispersion des maguséens et des juifs’. 128  Bas. hom. 18.3 (pg 31.497A): Ἰουδαῖος … Ἕλλην … Χριστιανῶν … πλῆθος. I’m very grateful to Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer for precious methodological and formal sug­ gestions.



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Chapter 2

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Sebastea and Armenia Minor Stephen Mitchell Armenia Minor—lesser Armenia—was a landlocked province at the northeast extremity of the Roman Empire. Its neighbours to the north and south were Pontus Polemonianus which extended to the Black Sea coast, and the great east Anatolian province of Cappadocia, the largest in the Roman Empire. Armenia Minor’s eastern boundary ran along an almost inaccessible stretch of the Euphrates, where the river cut through the Antitaurus mountain range, and included the legionary fortress at Satala, Rome’s most important military bulwark against threats to its north-east frontier. Beyond the Euphrates was the kingdom of Armenia, ruled by a king allied to Rome. In late antiquity the province had four cities, Satala, which included a civilian as well as a military settlement, Colonia (modern Şebinkarahısar), Nicopolis (modern Yeşilyayla, formerly Pürk, near Suşehri),1 and Sebastea (modern Sivas).2 The garrison troops, which had been based on the Roman limes since the time of Vespasian, dominated the culture and were present in all parts of the province. The north-east section of the Roman frontier included the legionary headquarters of legio xii Fulminata at Melitene (Eski Malatya) in Cappadocia, and of legio xv Apollinaris at Satala in Armenia Minor, and was connected by transmontane routes to the naval base at Trapezus (Trabzon) in Polemonian Pontus, a city which was also the station of legio i Pontica from the time of Diocletian.3 Between Melitene and Satala auxiliary units were posted to a series of smaller forts located close to the Euphrates: at Dascusa (ala Auriana), Sabus (equites sagittarii), Zimara (ala ii Ulpia Auriana), Analiba (coh. iv Raetorum),

1  Nicopolis was founded in 63 bc by Pompeius Magnus and settled with veterans of his campaigns against Mithridates vi, and after ad 70/71 was the most important city of Armenia Minor; see Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.287–290. It was situated in the fertile valley which contains the modern town of Suşehri (formerly Endire), at the junction of the northern Anatolian highway which came from the west along the valley of the Lycus river (Kelkit Çay) and the road coming from Sivas in the south-west. 2  Bas. ep. 63. 3  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 2.449–450.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_004



Figure 2.1 Armenia Minor and neighbouring regions map a. städtler

Arauraka (coh. miliaria Bosporana) and Suissa (ala i Ulpia Dacorum).4 Military units were not confined to these garrison positions on the Euphrates. Gregory of Nyssa remarked that contingents of soldiers commonly came to enlist new recruits in the territory of the small town of Ibora, near his family estates in Pontus.5 His panegyric of the recruit Theodorus indicates that the martyred soldier was in winter quarters at Amasea, when he set fire to the temple of the pagan mother goddess.6 The fourth- and fifth-century hagiographical sources discussed in this paper indicate that soldiers were stationed at Sebastea and Nicopolis, and the passio of St Eustratius noted that soldiers were stationed

4  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.193–286, provides an extraordinary account of the topography and identifies the likely sites of these forts. 5  Gr. Nyss. mart. 2 (pg 46.784): ἐν δὴ ταύτῃ κατὰ τὸν συνήθη Ῥωμαίοις νόμον κατάλογον στρατιωτῶν διάγοντος, εἷς τις τῶν ὁπλιτῶν ἐπὶ τὴν κώμην τὴν προλεχθεῖσαν ἀφίκετο, πρὸς φυλακὴν τoῦ χωρίου παρὰ τοῦ ταξιάρχου δοθείς. 6  Gr. Nyss. Thdr. (pg 46.744.8–15; cf. 741.1–4: ληφθεὶς δὲ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ὁπλιτικοὺς καταλόγους, οὕτω μετὰ τοῦ ἰδίου τάγματος πρὸς τὴν ἡμετέραν διέβη χώραν, τῆς χειμερινῆς ἀναπαύσεως τοῖς στρατιώταις ἐνθάδε παρὰ τῶν κρατούντων διαταχθείσης).

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


throughout the province.7 Several of the military bases of the limes are mentioned in the early Christian martyr acts. The city at Sivas had been founded by Pompeius Magnus as Megalopolis. It probably took its later imperial name when the region was incorporated in the province of Polemonian Pontus under Nero in ad 64.8 Sebastea was situated midway on the road between Caesarea (Kayseri) and Satala, the fortress of legio xv Apollinaris, north of Erzincan, and was also linked directly with the legionary base at Melitene, where the civilian settlement received the status of a polis under Trajan.9 Major roads ran west from Sebastea via Sebastopolis and Tavium to Ancyra, north to the Pontic metropolis Neocaesarea (Niksar), and northeast to Nicopolis. It was accordingly a crucial hinge point in the road systems which linked central and eastern Asia Minor with the Euphrates frontier.10 The location was nonetheless remote. It would have taken three days in good travelling conditions to reach Neocaesarea, five days to Nicopolis, and a week to Melitene. The journey to the Cappadocian metropolis Caesarea, described in a memorable letter by Gregory of Nyssa, could be covered in five days.11 This remoteness contributed to the recognition of the region, where the Armenian language was widely spoken, as a separate province, and by the beginning of the fourth century Sebastea, now defined as part of Armenia Minor, became the main residence of its provincial governor.12 7  Passio Eustratii 2 (pg 116.469): ἀλλὰ καὶ ἅπαν τὸ στρατιωτικὸν τὸ ἐν ταῖς πλησιαζούσαις πόλεσι καθιδρυόμενον. See the martyr acts discussed below. 8  For the new province of Polemonian Pontus, see Suet. Ner. 18; cf. Tac. Hist. 3.47. Strabo 12.3.1 (C 541) only knew the name Megalopolis, but coinage issued under Trajan and Marcus Aurelius proves that Megalopolis acquired the additional name Sebastea, and the city dated its era from ad 64; cf. Schultz, ‘Megalopolis-Sebasteia’; Leschhorn, Antike Ären, 141–142. 9  Procop. Aed. 3.4.16–20. 10  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.250–254. It is named no less than twelve times in the routes of the Itinerarium Antonini: 176.3; 178.6; 180.7; 203.9; 204.6, 7; 205.6; 206.8; 207.1; 212.5; 213.6; 214.6. 11  Gr. Nyss. ep. 1. The road is recorded in the Peutinger table and in It. Ant. 176.8–178.5; 206.8–207.9; cf. 214.1–10. One or two fragmentary milestones have been noted along this route (rrmam 3/3.131–132). Given this documentation it is surprising that the Orbis website of Stanford University (http://orbis.stanford.edu) indicates that travellers from Caesarea to Sebastea would have been obliged to take a thirteen-day journey east to Melitene, before turning back for a further week’s travel north-west to Sebastea. 12  The boundaries of the Roman provinces of eastern Anatolia changed many times in the six hundred years from the time of Pompeius Magnus to Justinian. According to the elder Pliny (hn 6.3 [8]) Sebastea and its western neighbour Sebastopolis were in Colopene, an interior region of Cappadocia. For a period in the mid-second century ad it seems to have been assigned to a new province (or sub-province, eparcheia) called Pontus Medi­ terraneus, which was under the overall command of the governor of Cappadocia (Vitale,



Sivas lies in the upper valley of the Halys river (Kızıl Irmak) at an altitude of 1,278 m above sea level. The climate is harsh, with long cold winters and short hot summers, and most of the territory was either steppic or mountainous, suitable for cereal production and animal rearing, but not for viticulture.13 The deep frost of an early March night at the beginning of the fourth century provided a bitter climax to the passio of the forty martyrs of Sebaste, a centrepiece of early Christian hagiography. The traditions about the forty martyrs, and several other martyr acts located in Sebastea, show that the frontier province of Armenia Minor was a hot-spot in the early-fourth-century conflict between the Roman state and defiant Christians.14 They also help to explain the background to a cryptic remark in Eusebius’s Church History that there had been Christian attacks on the imperial government in the region of Melitene.15 The Christian traditions of Sebastea’s immediate neighbours throw some light on the religious culture of this land-locked region. The next city north of Sebastea, albeit a three-day journey distant, was Neocaesarea, the metropolis of Pontus Polemonianus. The story of the conversion of Neocaesarea by its first bishop, Gregory Thaumaturgus, was recounted in detail in the panegyric delivered by Gregory’s namesake, Gregory of Nyssa, in November 379.16 The alleged historical details of this panegyric are unreliable, but we know from the Neocaesarean Gregory’s own works, especially his canonical letter which dealt with the consequences of Gothic raids at and around Trapezus on the Black Sea,17 that he was an active and influential church leader there in the 260s, and we can infer that Neocaesarea had a significant Christian population by the second half of the third century.18 Moreover, the independent kingdom ‘Pontic communities’, 56–57). However, by the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325 it was classified as a city of Armenia Minor. Sometime before or around 386, Armenia Minor was renamed Armenia Prima, and Bas. ep. 307, from the 370’s, implies that Sebastea was then the provincial capital. This status is indicated or taken for granted in the hagiographical sources. 13  Gr. Nyss. mart. 1 (pg 46.777A). Bas. ep. 121, addressed to Theodotus, bishop of Nicopolis, refers to the long hard winter which had prevented them from exchanging letters. 14  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.174 n. 13, 290 n. 8. 15  Eus. h.e. 8.6.8: οὐκ εἰς μακρὸν δ’ ἑτέρων κατὰ τὴν Μελιτηνὴν οὕτω καλουμένην χώραν καὶ αὐ�͂ πάλιν ἄλλων ἀμφὶ τὴν Συρίαν ἐπιφυῆναι τῇ βασιλείᾳ πεπειραμένων, τοὺς πανταχόσε τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν προεστῶτας εἱρκταῖς καὶ δεσμοῖς ἐνεῖραι πρόσταγμα ἐφοίτα βασιλικόν. According to Eus. h.e. 9.8.2, when the persecuting emperor Maximinus Daia declared war on Armenia in 312, his aim was to force them to adopt pagan worship. This holy war thus treated one of Rome’s old allies as enemies. 16  Edition and commentary by Maraval, Éloge. 17  English translation and commentary in Heather and Matthews, Goths, 1–11. 18  For an analysis of the traditions about Gregory the Wonderworker, see Mitchell, ‘Life and Lives’, esp. 106–108 on the Canonical Letter. See also Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, 539–545, and Slusser, ‘Gregory Thaumaturgus’, for Gregory’s theology.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


of Armenia across the Euphrates to the east, was also in the mainstream of the Christian movement in this period.19 According to Armenian tradition, Armenia’s ruler Tiridates iii was converted to Christianity himself in 314 by another Gregory, Gregory the Illuminator, and the king energetically promoted the religion until his death in 330. It was reported that Gregory the Illuminator himself had been converted to Christianity in Cappadocian Caesarea.20 This is not the place to probe truth and reliability of these conversion stories, but it is important to appreciate that the early-fourth-century evidence for Christians in Armenia Minor fits well into a wider regional picture. Christian communities with effective leaders were embedded both in Pontus to the north and in the Armenian kingdom to the east. Christianity had also, of course, made inroads into the vast province of Cappadocia to the south and south-west.21 Christian inscriptions from Armenia Minor have been recorded at Satala, where a cluster of Christian Greek gravestones has been recovered close to the ruins of a probably sixth-century basilica church, and other epitaphs from the same period have been copied in and near Pedachthoe, north-west of Sivas, both locations that play a significant part in the hagiographic traditions.22 However, inscriptions are rare in the province and the survival of evidence from north-eastern Anatolia is on a quite different footing from the epigraphically rich regions of Phrygia and Lycaonia in central Asia Minor. One of the reasons is likely to be that Armenian, rather than Greek, appears to have been the language used by much of the population in the fourth century.23 In the account of the forty-five martyrs of Nicopolis one of the martyrs spoke τῇ Ἀρμενίῳ φωνῇ to a woman bringing them water to avoid being understood by his guards. These acta, which purport to give an account of persecution under Licinius in ad 319, are almost entirely fictitious, but the story at this point would have made no sense to a local audience unless this detail about language use was

19  There was an early account of the life of Gregory Thaumaturgus in Armenian: Vitae et Passiones Sanctorum, 317–331; cf. Poincelet, ‘La vie latine’. 20  Ananian, ‘La data’, esp. 324–344. 21  S ee M. Cassia in this volume. 22  z pe 115 (1997), 156–167 nos. 28–57; and Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 2.541–542 nos. 78–83. See also the reliquary from Erzincan or Sebastea (ibid., 2.525–526 no. 33; Schneider, ‘Reliquiar-Inschrift’ [with pl. iii]; Nowakowski, Inscribing the Saints, 495–496), and two texts from Nicopolis (Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 2.530 nos. 44–45). Christian epitaphs from the fifth or sixth century were recorded by Franz and Eugène Cumont near the site of Pedachthoe (Voyage, 233), and published in Byzantion 6 (1931), 529–533 nos. 1–6; cf. Maraval, Athénogène, 14 n. 46. 23  The hagiographic traditions relating to the region are primarily in Greek, but versions also circulated in other languages, including Armenian.



true to life.24 The passio of St Eustratius, a commentariensis in the forces of Diocletian and Maximian, and four fellow-Christians, which contains many precise details about the Roman administration and military garrison of the region, as well as accurate topographical information, indicates that Eustratius was also known by the name Kyrisikes, in his native language, and one of his martyred companions, Mardarius, is reported speaking in Armenian to his wife.25 The martyrs came from Arauraka, a civilian polichne located beside the Euphrates two days journey from Satala and west of modern Erzincan, which was also the location of one of the limes forts, occupied by a unit of mounted archers, the cohors i Bosporiana sagittariorum equitata.26 1

The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

The most famous early Christian tradition from Armenia Minor concerned the forty martyrs of Sebaste, whose cult spread through eastern Asia Minor to Constantinople, Rome and beyond, and was celebrated in literature and art throughout late antiquity and the Byzantine period. There have been many attempts to disentangle truth from legend in the written accounts of the martyrdom and to relate the surviving accounts to one another. These include homilies by Basil and Gregory of Nyssa from the 370s and 380s, a Latin counterpart delivered by Gaudentius of Brescia, who had collected relics of the martyrs from Cappadocian Caesarea, in the early fifth century, Syriac allusions to the story including homilies and hymns by Ephraem the Syrian, as well as versions in Coptic, Armenian and Slavic. The simplest telling of the story is found in an anonymous and undated Greek narrative, the Passio xl martyrum. Forty soldiers belonging to a unit stationed in Cappadocia (στρατιῶται ἐκ τῆς Καππαδοκῶν χώρας ἐν νουμέρῳ ἕνι) defied the order of the hegemon Agrikolaos (Agricola) to carry out a pagan sacrifice in the time of the emperor Licinius. They waited under arrest until the arrival of another official, the dux Lysias, who travelled from Caesarea in Cappadocia to Sebastea. After the trial they were exposed, naked, and froze to death on the icy lake situated in the middle of the city. One of their number lost heart and fled to the nearby bath-house, 24  Martyrium sanctorum xlv martyrum (pg 115.323–346, at 337–338); Halkin, ‘Les quarantecinq martyres’; bhg 1216 (10 July); Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.290 with n. 8; Cumont, Voyage, 302 n. 1, 307 n. 5, 310 n. 3. 25  Passio Eustratii 7 (pg 116.473, cited in n. 82 below) and 13 (pg 116.480): εἶπε τῇ γυναικὶ τῇ Ἀρμενίων διαλέκτῳ. 26  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.267 with n. 11.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


but his place was taken by one of the guards. The bodies of the martyrs were burnt and the remains thrown into a river (the Halys), but recovered three days later by Peter, bishop of Sebastea.27 The account ends with a list of martyrs’ names.28 Other versions variously confirm, add to, or contradict the information found in this straightforward version. Ephraem the Syrian and Sozomen in the mid-fifth century repeat that the martyrdom took place under Licinius.29 None of the other early sources gives the names of the Roman officials, but Ephraem stated that the trial had taken place in the presence of a hegemon and a dux.30 Gregory of Nyssa in the first of his surviving sermons on the forty martyrs suggested that the soldiers belonged to a τάγμα στρατιωτικὸν παλαιόν stationed in a neighbouring city. In the brief account that follows, Gregory indirectly identified the unit as legio xii Fulminata, stationed at Melitene, by an allusion to the famous ‘rain miracle’, a Christian legend connected to the legion and relating to the time of Marcus Aurelius.31 Procopius in the sixth century explicitly identified the legion as xii Fulminata, but the veracity of this is very questionable. The garrison headquarters of the legion was at Melitene, linked administratively to Caesarea in Cappadocia not to Sebastea in Armenia Minor. The single Greek names of the martyrs, even fictional ones, would be more suitable for auxiliaries than for legionaries. Gregory probably made the connection between the forty martyrs and legio xii Fulminata precisely because of the famous earlier Christian story. A strikingly different document relating to the origins of the cult, the socalled Testament of the Forty Martyrs, known in Greek and Slavic versions, makes no mention of the location or circumstances of the martyrdom, and did not even identify the martyrs as soldiers, but consists of a group of messages

27  For Peter, attested also in Gr. Nyss. ep. 1.5–8 (sometimes attributed to Gregory of Na­ zianzus) and the life of Gregory the Illuminator (bhg 712g), see Devos, ‘S. Pierre Ier’, and Maraval, Athénogène, 18 n. 66. 28  Von Gebhardt, Acta Martyrum Selecta, 171–181; the story and the other traditions are summarized and compared by Delehaye, ‘Forty Martyrs of Sebaste’ (cf. AnBoll 17 [1898], 467– 469 and 19 [1900], 357), and by Franchi de’ Cavalieri, ‘Quaranta martiri’. 29  Soz. h.e. 9.2 (τῶν ἐν Σεβαστείᾳ τῆς Ἀρμενίας κατὰ τοὺς Λικινίου χρόνους μαρτυρησάντων); Ephr. enc. Bas. 421 and 433; hom. in xl martyrum 240. 30  Ephr. enc. Bas. 422ff. 31  Gr. Nyss. mart. 2 (pg 46.757D): Ἦν τι τάγμα στρατιωτικὸν παλαιὸν κατὰ τὴν γείτονα πό­ λιν παντὸς τοῦ ἔθνους πρὸς τὰς τῶν βαρβάρων ὁρμὰς προκαθήμενον· ἐκείνοις ἔκ τινος προ­ ϋπαρχούσης θεόθεν ἐπιφανείας, πλεῖον ἡ πίστις τῶν τακτικῶν ἐσπουδάζετο. Καὶ ἴσως οὐκ ἄκαιρον ἕν τι κατόρθωμα τῆς πίστεως τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων ἐν παραδρομῇ διηγήσασθαι. See Procop. Aed. 1.7.3. For the rain miracle, see Cass. Dio 72.8–10.



addressed by the condemned Christians to their families and associates on the eve of their execution.32 The Testament in its current form is certainly not a unitary document. The first chapter appears to be a letter sent by three martyrs, Meletius, Aetius and Eutychius, to bishops and clergy in every city and country. The second chapter was addressed by a single unidentified writer to ‘brother Crispinus’ and ‘brother Gordius’. The third, and longest, chapter consists of repeated greetings sent separately by the three protagonists, Meletius, Aetius and Eutychius, to clergy and family members, all evidently Christians, in their communities. The final chapter uses the same greeting formula (προσαγορεύομεν), in the name of all forty ‘brothers and fellow prisoners’, and lists their names. The Testament thus contains four separate letters or messages, not all of which have an equal claim to authenticity, assembled into a single text. The first chapter related explicitly to the fourth-century controversy about what should happen to the martyrs’ remains:33 Μελέτιος καὶ Ἀέτιος καὶ Εὐτύχιος οἱ δέσμιοι τοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῖς κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ χώραν ἁγίοις ἐπισκόποις τε καὶ πρεσβύτεροις, διακόνοις τε καὶ ὁμολογηταῖς καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς ἅπασιν ἐκκλησιαστικοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ χαίρειν. ἐπειδὰν τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ χάριτι καὶ ταῖς κοιναῖς τῶν πάντων εὐχαῖς τὸν προκείμενον ἡμῖν ἀγῶνα τελέσωμεν καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ βραβεῖα τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως φθάσωμεν, τότε καὶ ταύτην ἡμῶν τὴν γνώμην κυρίαν εἶναι βουλόμεθα, ἐπὶ τὸ λείψανα ἡμῶν ἀνακομίζεσθαι τοῖς περὶ τὸν πρεσβύτερον καὶ πατέρα ἡμῶν Πρόϊδον καὶ τοὺς ἐξαδελφοὺς ἡμῶν Κρισπῖνον καὶ Γόρδιον σὺν σπουδάζοντι λαῷ, Κύριλλον τε καὶ Μάρκον καὶ Σαπρίκιον τὸν τοῦ Ἀμμωνίου, εἰς τὸ κατατεθῆναι τὰ λείψανα ἡμῶν ὑπὸ τὴν πόλιν Ζηλῶν ἐν τῷ χωρίῳ Σαρείμ … Meletius, Aetius and Eutychius, prisoners of Christ, send greetings in Christ’s name to the holy bishops, priests, deacons, confessors and all the other members of the churches in every city and region. Since by the grace of God and the common prayers of all mankind we have accomplished the struggle that confronted us and we are now about to face the judgement seat of the call to heaven, at this moment we wish this to be our decisive opinion, that our remains should be transported to 32  Bonwetsch, ‘Testament der Vierzig Märtyrer’. The text can now be consulted in an authoritative modern edition, translation and commentary by Seeliger and Wischmeyer, Märtyrerliteratur, 291–303. 33  Vinel, ‘Sainteté anonyme’; Maraval, ‘Les premiers développements’; Leemans, ‘Individua­ lization’.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


the community around our priest and father Proidus, and our brothers Crispinus and Gordius and the people that supports them, and Cyrillus and Marcus and Sapricius son of Ammonius, so that our remains may be laid to rest near the city of Zela in the place called Sareim … The reputation of the martyrs immediately led to competition to secure their relics. According to the Greek passio, the provincial governor, Agricola, had the bodies burned and thrown into the river Halys, to prevent their recovery and subsequent distribution, but was thwarted by Sebastea’s bishop Peter, who recovered the remains three days later from a rock where they had washed up, and placed them in caskets.34 The intention of the Testament of the Forty Martyrs was to keep these together, so that they could be buried at Sareim, but their wishes conflicted with those of church leaders, who wanted to obtain the relics for their own communities. Fully aware of the debate generated by the dispersal of the relics, Basil remarked that although they were scattered in different locations, they combined marvellously in mutual support.35 Gaudentius of Brescia, en route to the Holy Land in 387, was given a portion of the martyrs’ remains by nuns in Cappadocian Caesarea, which served as objects of worship in his home city when he returned.36 Gregory of Nyssa asserted that the cult was to be found everywhere. An anecdote, which he recalled in his second encomium delivered around ad 383, relates his own personal experience perhaps in the early 340s, when his mother Emmelia had acquired a portion of the remains and was celebrating the first panegyris to honour the cult at the family estate near Annisa. As a sullen young man, reluctant to attend the festival at his mother’s bidding, Gregory had experienced a miraculous dream of the martyrs, urging him to attend the celebration at the new shrine.37 It appears that by this date the remains had already been divided up. 34  Passio xl martyrum 13 (see n. 28 above). 35  Bas. hom. 19.8 (pg 31.521): Οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὴν καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς χώραν διαλαβόντες, οἱονεὶ πύργοι τινες συνεχεῖς, ἀσφαλείαν ἐκ τῆς τῶν ἐναντίων καταδρομῆς παρεχόμενοι, οὐχ ἑνὶ τόπῳ ἑαυ­ τοὺς κατακλείσαντες, ἀλλὰ πολλοῖς ἤδη ἐπιξενωθέντες χωρίοις, καὶ πολλὰς πατρίδας κατα­ κοσμήσαντες. Καὶ τὸ παράδοξον, οὐ καθ᾽ ἕνα διαμερισθέντες τοῖς δεχομένοις ἐπιφοιτῶσιν, ἀλλὰ ἀναμιχθέντες ἀλλήλοις ἠνωμένως χορεύουσιν. 36  Gaudentius, Sermo 17 (pl 20.964–971). 37  Gr. Nyss. mart. 2 (pg 46.784–785): Ἡνίκα γὰρ τὴν ἐπὶ τοῖς λειψάνοις πανήγυριν τὴν πρώτην τελεῖν ἐμέλλομεν, κἀν τῷ ἁγίῳ σηκῷ ἀναπαύειν τὴν λάρνακα, ἡ μήτηρ ἡ ἐμή· αὕτη γὰρ ἦν ἡ τῷ Θεῷ συνάγουσα καὶ κοσμοῦσα τὴν ἑορτήν· ἡ δὲ ἥκειν με πρὸς τὴν μετουσίαν τῶν δρωμένων ἐκέλευσε, πόῤῥω τε διάγοντα, καὶ ἔτι νέον ὄντα, κἀν τοῖς λαϊκοῖς ἀριθμούμενον. … Ἀφικόμην εἰς τὸ χωρίον· παννυχίδος δὲ οὔσης ἐν κήπῳ, ἔνθα καὶ τὰ λείψανα τῶν ἁγίων ἐτύγχανε ψαλμῳδίαις τιμώμενα, ἐμοὶ πλησίον ἐπί τινος δωματίου καθεύδοντι φαίνεται ὄναρ ὄψις τοιαύτη· Ἐδόκουν βούλεσθαι εἰσιέναι ἐν τῷ κήπῳ, ἔνθα ὕπαρ ἡ παννυχὶς ἐτελεῖτο. Γενομένῳ δέ μοι περὶ τὴν



Chapter 2 was a plea to the brothers Crispinus and Gordius to shun worldly temptations and rely on God’s grace and mercy, as this was the only way to secure eternal life.38 The change of address and the difference in content are sufficient to show that this part of the Testament was not originally attached to chapter 1, although Crispinus and Gordius are mentioned in both chapters, and were associates of the martyrs’ leader Meletius. Their names also re-appear in a slightly changed form in chapter 3: προσαγορεύω καὶ ἐγὼ Μελέτιος τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου Λουτάνιον Κρίσπον καὶ Γόρδιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων. Crispus was surely identical with Crispinus (whether we assume an error in the manuscript transmission, or simply that the name of Meletius’s friend was familiar in both forms). He and Gordius were Roman citizens. The transmitted Roman family name Lutanius may perhaps have been corrupted from the more familiar form Lutatius. Their status and high social standing explain why Meletius warned them against the illusory attraction of a worldly reputation.39 Chapter 3, which is much longer, consisted of messages sent by all three protagonists, Meletius, Aetius and Eutychius, to clergy and family members, all evidently Christians, in their communities. It begins, Προσαγορεύομεν τὸν κύριν τὸν πρεσβύτερον Φίλιππον καὶ Προκλιανὸν καὶ Διογένην ἅμα τῇ ἁγίᾳ ἐκκλησίᾳ. Προσαγορεύομεν τὸν κύριν Προκλιανὸν τὸν ἐν τῷ χωρίῳ Φυδελᾷ ἅμα τῇ ἁγίᾳ ἐκκλησίᾳ μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, προσαγορεύομεν Μάξιμον μετὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας, Μάγνον μετὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας. Προσαγορεύομεν Δόμνον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων καὶ Ἴλην τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν, Οὐάλην μετὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας. Προσαγορεύω καὶ ἐγὼ Μελέτιος τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου Λουτάνιον Κρίσπον καὶ Γόρδιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, Ἐλπίδιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, Ὑπερέχιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων … We send greetings to the gentleman, the priest Philippus and Proclianus and Diogenes with their holy church. We send greetings to the gentlemen Proclianus in the village Phidela with his holy church and with his θύραν, πλῆθος ὤφθη στρατιωτῶν προσκαθήμενον τῇ εἰσόδῳ· ἀθρόον δὲ οἱ πάντες διαναστάντες, ῥάβδους ἐπανατεινόμενοι, καὶ ἀπειλητικῶς ἐφορμῶντες, οὐ συνεχώρουν τὴν εἴσοδον· ἔλαβον δ’ ἂν καὶ πληγὰς, εἰ μή με εἷς, ὡς ἐδόκουν, φιλανθρωπότερος ἐξῃτήσατο. Ὡς δέ με ὁ ὕπνος ἀφῆκε, καὶ ἦλθον εἰς ἀναλογισμὸν τῆς ἐπὶ τῇ κλήσει τῆς πλημμελείας, ᾐσθόμην μὲν εἰς τὶ ἔφερεν ἡ τῶν στρατιωτῶν ἐπίφοβος ὀπτασία. 38  Testamentum xl martyrum 2: Τοιγαροῦν ἀξιῶ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφὲ Κρισπῖνε , καὶ παραγγέλλω, πάσης κοσμικῆς ἡδυπαθείας καὶ πλάνης γενέσθαι ξένους, σφαλερὰ γὰρ καὶ οὐκ εὔωνος ἡ τοῦ κόσμου δόξα, ἣ πρὸς ὀλίγον μὲν ἀνθεῖ καὶ αὖθις μαραίνεται χόρτου δίκην, ταχύτερον τῆς ἀρχῆς δεξαμένη τὸ τέλος. Προσδραμεῖν δὲ μᾶλλον θελήσατε τῷ φιλανθρώπῳ θεῷ, ὃς πλοῦτον μὲν ἀνελλιπῆ παρέχει τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν προστρέχουσι, ζωὴν δὲ αἰώνιον βράβευει τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν πιστεύουσι. 39  Note that in ch. 3 the martyr Aetius also sent greetings to Crispus and Gordius.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


family. We send greetings to Maximus with his church, and Magnus with his church. We send greetings to Domnus with his family and to Iles our father, to Valens with his church. I myself Meletius send greetings to my kinsmen Lutanius (Lutatius?) Crispus and Gordius with their families, to Elpidius with his family, to Hyperechius with his family … Meletius had the widest connections of the three writers. After the quoted passage, he addressed several persons in Sareim, including a priest, deacons, named individuals, and others by name in places called Chadoubi and Chrisp­ sone. Aetius wrote to a priest called Claudius, relatives, ‘brothers’, and ‘sisters’ (ἀδελφοί, ἀδελφαί). These include Meletius’s friends Crispus and Gordius, and his own wife and child. Eutychius addressed members of the community in Ximara: his mother Julia, his brothers Rufus and Regulus, his sister Kyrilla, and his young wife Basilla, as well as three deacons and four church servants (ὑπηρέται τοῦ θεοῦ), and their family members. The place name Ximara is an invaluable contextual clue to understanding the document.40 This was the military station known in other sources, notably the Antonine Itinerary, as Zimara, a fort on the upper Euphrates limes, to be located at the village of Pingan, at the shoulder of the Euphrates, where the river takes a great bend to the east.41 The fourth chapter is a succinct and summary greeting in the name of all forty martyrs: Προσαγορεύομεν τοίνυν πάντες ἡμεῖς οἱ τεσσαράκοντα ἀδελφοὶ καὶ συνδέσμιοι πάντες Μελέτιος, Ἀέτιος, Εὐτύχιος, Κυρίων κτλ. (40 ὀνόματα). How is the document to be explained? Hans Reinhard Seeliger and Wolfgang Wischmeyer, the recent editors, take the view that the primary object of the Testament was to protect the deposition of the relics in one place, Sareim. Although it should not be seen as a unitary authentic document, ‘liegt es nicht näher, als ein Dokument der Märtyrer vor ihrem Tode anzunehmen, in unserem Text vielmehr eine Schrift zu sehen, die die Deposition der Reliquien in Sareim verteidigt und dazu den gewaltigen Personenapparat derer aufbietet, die zu den Märtyrern in einer mehr oder weniger nahen Verbindung 40  Cumont, ‘Zimara’. Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.242–244, points out that the ancient name Zimara is now attached to the tributary which joins the Euphrates at this point, and, as a settlement name, has been transferred to a village two hours uphill from the right bank of the Euphrates. The original settlement and fort site must have been at Pingan, a crossing point and hub for riverine navigation. 41  It. Ant. 208.5; Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.242–246.



standen?’42 However, this explanation for the compilation of the Testament from several other authentic or spurious documents in no way excludes the alternative hypothesis, which they themselves also propose, that ‘Es könnte sich bei Kapitel 2 und 3 um einen ursprünglichen Brief der Märtyrer aus dem Gefängnis handeln, dem sekundär Kapitel 1 mit dem Bestattungswunsch hin­ zugefügt wurde.’43 This suggestion provides an especially convincing explanation of chapter 3, which is best understood as the unadorned final messages which were sent from prison by the martyrs to their fellow Christians and family members. As such it provides specific and detailed information about the Christian communities from which the martyrs came. Meletius’s intimates and associates included Proclianus from a place called Phidela, and the others came from Sareim on the territory of Zela in the province of Helenopontus, a hundred kilometres north-west of Sebastea, and the villages of Chadoubi and Chrispsone. Aetius sent his own message to family members and Christian friends without indicating where they lived. However, since these included Crispinus and Gordius, it is reasonable to assume that they were mostly from the same communities as Meletius’s friends. The close associates of Eutychius lived at the important settlement and Roman fort of Ximara/Zimara, located on the Roman frontier itself. Chapter 4, by contrast, was clearly a later addition, repeating the message of chapter 3 but inflating the number of martyrs from three to the canonical forty. It lists their names almost exactly as they appear in the undated Greek passio.44 In short, the Testament was composed of four easily distinguishable ele­ ments. The grandiose introductory address to all Christian clergy everywhere (designed, one might say, for publication, but not for delivery) was a palpable fiction supporting the case that the remains of the forty martyrs should not be scattered. The second chapter, probably the work of Meletius, was a highminded admonition to two well-connected Christian friends, both Roman citizens. Chapter 3 contained the final messages before their execution from three martyrs to their closest family and Christian associates. Chapter 4 was another invention, repeating the final message, but now in the name of the supposed forty Christians who had undergone martyrdom. Assembling separate documents into a single text was a common process in early hagiography, attested also in the composition of the martyr acts of Athenogenes of Pedachthoe and 42  Seeliger and Wischmeyer, Märtyrerliteratur, 303. 43  Seeliger and Wischmeyer, Märtyrerliteratur, 304. 44  The passio substitutes the name Εὔτυχος for Μελέτιος and Ἠλιάς (biblical) or Ἥλιος (Greek) for the Anatolian name Ιλης. This last touch of local colour suggests that the list in the Testament is more authoritative, but it remains obscure why the name of the most important martyr in this earlier documentation should have been substituted in the passio.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


Eustratius of Arauraka. The Testament was evidently produced at a relatively early date. If chapter 1 preceded the actual dispersal of the relics, it should be placed around or even before ad 340, since Gregory of Nyssa indicates that Emmelia’s shrine near Annisa existed by this date. However, a mid-fourthcentury date should not be ruled out, as the chapter could also be read as a reaction and protest after the relics began to be dispersed. Although the Testament and the narrative accounts and homilies relating to the forty martyrs have their origin in the same events, it has little in common with these traditions, apart from the number of the victims. Nevertheless, the high figure of forty is inherently implausible,45 and the content of chapter 3, the authentic kernel of the Testament, suggests that the original number of martyrs was three. Nothing certainly identified them as soldiers, but this is not excluded and Eutychius’s connection to Zimara suggests that he could have been a soldier of local origin in the fort’s auxiliary garrison. Meletius and Aetius would then almost certainly have been members of the same unit, recruited from the region around Zela in Pontus. The auxiliary regiment stationed at Zimara in the second century was probably ala ii Ulpia Auriana, attested by a Latin inscription found at Pingan, although by the end of the fourth century this regiment, named in the Notitia Dignitatum as ala Auriana, had been transferred south to the fort of Dascusa.46 The martyrs were not identified in any way as Roman citizens and are unlikely to have been legionaries. The evidence of the Testament does not indicate the date of the martyrdom, and certainly not that it occurred under Licinius. The historical evidence for Licinius as a persecutor is slight, and rests largely on propaganda put about by the supporters of his civil war rival Constantine.47 The passio records that the persecuting governor (hegemon) was called Agrikolaos (Agricola), and that Lysias, the dux, came to take part in the trial from Caesarea. This is confused, for the command of a military dux would be on the eastern limes, not in western Cappadocia at Caesarea. We would do well to treat all these details with caution. However, the governor Agricola appears not only to have been a historical figure, but was also remembered as the most important agent of Christian repression under Diocletian. He was named as the persecuting governor in the largely fictional acts of St Blasius of Sebastea,48 while Lysias takes 45  Forty, of course, is a traditional figure in folk narratives for an indefinite high number. 46  i ls 2535; Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 2.523 no. 31; Not. Dign. [or.] 38.22. 47  See in general Eus. h.e. 10.8.10–12, 15, who refers to the demolition and closure of churches at Amasea and other cities in Pontus under Licinius, information which is repeated in v.C. 2.1–2. 48  P assio S. Blasii et sociorum (pg 116.817–830).



this role in the equally unreliable passio of the forty-five martyrs of Nicopolis.49 Much more significantly, Agricola also appears as the leading persecutor in the arrest and trial of the chorepiskopos Athenogenes of Pedachthoe, and he and Lysias acted in consort in the martyrdoms of Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugenius, Mardarius and Orestes.50 Closer examination shows that both of these martyr acts preserve important historical information about the persecution of Diocletian in 303. It seems very likely that the historical basis of the story of the forty martyrs belongs to the imposition of the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor by the same governor. 2 The Passio of Saint Athenogenes of Pedachthoe The fullest version of the martyrdom of Athenogenes was published in 1990 in an excellent edition by Pierre Maraval. Like many other saints’ lives the text is a potpourri of narrative, miracle stories and other elements typical of the hagiographical genre, which are carefully and persuasively analysed in the introduction to Maraval’s edition.51 There is no reason to doubt the notes added at the start and end of the passio by Anysius, the author of the acta as we have them, that he had compiled the martyrdom from materials in a disorganized and lacunose state, that he found in an old book (Passio Athenogenis 1): τοῦ βίου καὶ τῆς ἀθλήσεως τοῦ τρισμακαρίου μάρτυρος Ἀθη­ νογένους παρὰ πολλῶν ἐπιζητούμενον μόλις εὑρὼν ἐν παλαιοτάτῳ βιβλίῳ παρά τινι ἰδιωτικῷ λόγῳ συγγεγραμμένῳ καὶ φιλαληθῶς εἰπεῖν, οὔτε κατὰ τάξιν οὔτε δὲ ἀνακολούθως συγγεγραμμένῳ, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον καὶ ἐλλειπῶς.52 Having recently found the account of the life and suffering of the thriceblessed martyr Athenogenes, which had been sought by many, in a very old book written in a vernacular style and, to speak the truth, not composed in an orderly or logical way but with gaps in it.

49  Martyrium sanctorum xlv martyrum (pg 115.323–346); Lysias is referred to as the dux in command of all the forces in Armenia, see ch. 2 (pg 115.324): παραγενομένου τοῦ δοῦκος Λυσία, ᾧπερ ἦν ἀποκεκληρωμένη ἡ λεγέων πᾶσα ἡ Ἀρμενίας. 50  Passio Eustratii (pg 116.468–506). 51  Maraval, Athénogène, 2–13. 52  Cf. Passio Athenogenis 42: Ἀνύσιος γὰρ εὑρὼν τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς ἀθλήσεως τοῦ τρισμακαρίου μάρτυρος Ἀθηνογένους ἀτάκτως καὶ ἐλλειπῶς ἔχον συναγάγων συνέθηκα.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


Athenogenes was a chorepiskopos based in the large village or small town of Pedachthoe.53 Happily, the ancient toponym survived until modern times, and Pedachthoe can be identified with the village of Bedohtun (now renamed Güneykaya, ‘Southern Rock’), which lies in a highland area about fifty kilometres north-north-west of Sivas.54 In the seventh century it acquired the status, or at least the title of a city, Herakleopolis, and retained this until the ninth century.55 The passio contains detailed topographical information. Atheno­ genes had been born at a place called ‘Epiklesoi’ in a region called Sadopine,56 which was dependent on the city of Sebastopolis, and he was subsequently appointed first to a priesthood and then to be country bishop of the region by the bishop of Sebastopolis.57 This is a potential source of confusion, as Sebastopolis, modern Sulusaray, was the name of a city in Helenopontus over a hundred kilometres west of Sivas. However, an Armenian version of the martyrdom of Athenogenes clearly understood the city to be Sebastea, and this must be the correct interpretation. Sadopine, the district which contained both Athenogenes’s birthplace and Pedachthoe, must have been dependent on Sebastea, since Athenogenes was brought for trial there in Armenia Minor, not to the province of Helenopontus, where Sebastopolis was situated and whose capital was Amasea. A road led from Pedachthoe directly to Sebastea, passing first through Sadopa,58 and then through a suburb of Sebastea called Daora (modern Tavra), the location in antiquity and today of Sivas’s main 53  There were many ‘country bishops’ in the rural expanses of central and eastern Asia Minor; see Destephen and Métivier, ‘Évêques et chorévêques’. 54  De Jerphanion, ‘Notes de géographie pontique’, 142*–144*; Maraval, Athénogène, 14 nn. 46 and 49. 55  It was a bishopric of Armenia ii attested in the acts of the sixth and seventh ecumenical councils, respectively in ad 681 and 787, and in the Notitiae from the mid-seventh to the ninth centuries; see Darrouzès, Notitiae Episcopatuum; Cumont, ‘L’archevêché de Pédachtoé’, 521–522; and Brown, Bryer, and Winfield, ‘Cities of Heraclius’. According to the Turkish census of 1950, Bedohtun was still the largest village of this region, with 1,056, closely followed by Yıldız Köy, the possible site of Kimouasos, with 1,043 inhabitants. 56  Epiklesoi is an implausible place name, and probably derives from a corruption of the Greek ἐπίκλην, to be translated ‘otherwise known as’ which might have linked two toponyms, one Greek and one Armenian, in an original record of Athenogenes’s birthplace, perhaps the protocol of his trial. 57  Passio Athenogenis 2: ὁ ἅγιος οὗτος Ἀθηνογένης ἐγεννήθη Χριστιανὸς ἀπὸ Χριστιανῶν γονέων Ἐπικλήσοις οὕτω λεγομένῳ χωρίῳ ὅπερ ἐστὶν τῆς ἐνορίας λεγομένης Σαδοπίνης, τελούσης ὑπὸ τὴν Σεβαστουπολιτῶν πόλιν … καὶ ἔζη βίον εὐσεβῆ, ὡς τὸ τηνικαῦτα τὸν Σεβαστοπόλεως ἐπίσ­ κοπον ἱερέα αὐτὸν χειροτονῆσαι καὶ τῆς μνημονευθείσης ἐνορίας χωρεπίσκοπον χειροτονῆσαι. 58  Passio Athenogenis 19: Φθασάντων δὲ αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ κώμῃ Σαδώπων, προσκαλεσάμενος ὁ ἅγιος Ἀθηνογένης τοὺς τῆς ἐνορίας πρεσβυτέρους. It is unnecessary to emend Σαδώπων to Σαδοπίνων (Maraval Athénogène, 46 app. crit.), as the village Sadopa was evidently the administrative centre of the Sadopine.



water supply (ch. 29).59 The Sadopine corresponded to the thinly populated valley of the Çirçir Dere, enclosed on the north side by the summits of Köroğlu Dağ and Toraç Dağ (2,000 m), and on the east by the great cone of Yıldız Dağ (‘Star mountain’, now a ski resort over 2,500 m). The passio recounts that during the persecution the saint rode to the rocky and waterless summit of a nearby mountain (ch. 15), returning to Pedachthoe through another village called Kimouasos, where he addressed a gathering of Christians (ch. 16). The mountain was probably Yıldız Dağ and Kimouasos might be identified with Yıldız Köy on its southern slope.60 Anysius, the writer or compiler of the passio, produced a work in two long sections. The first described Athenogenes’s life and actions, including several miracles (chs. 2–21). The second was the passio proper, recounting the trials of Athenogenes and two young Christians, by the Roman governor at Sebastea (chs. 22–39). Much of the first part is clearly legendary, although it contains historical material, some of which may be authentic, and information about the local topography, which appears to be wholly reliable. The second half, in contrast, is remarkable for containing the detailed procès-verbal of two hearings before the governor. The first was the interrogation of two young zealots associated with Athenogenes, Ariston, a church reader (anagnostes), and Severianus, a cantor (psaltes), who were charged with composing and distributing a libellus which attacked the Emperors and Caesars (namely the tetrarchs) and with inciting arson and burning down temples. Ariston was interrogated and burnt at the stake. Severianus broke down under torture, agreed to sacrifice and indicated that the libellus had been written by Athenogenes. Athenogenes was in turn arrested (the scene as described seems to be modelled on the arrest of Polycarp),61 and the acta preserve a full text of the second lengthy interrogation, involving Severianus again and Athenogenes himself.

59  Passio Athenogenis 29: Διαγόμενος δὲ μεταξὺ τῶν ὀφφικιαλίων ὁ ἅγιος μάρτυς Ἀθηνογένης καὶ πλήσιον γενάμενος Σεβαστείας ἐν τῷ καλουμένῳ Δαόρων προαστείῳ, ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν πηγὴ καλὴ τοῦ ὕδατος καὶ πολλοῦ εἰσίοντος εἰς τὴν πόλιν. Tavra lies at the the north-west edge of Sivas, precisely on the direct route from Pedachthoe; see Kaya and Akpınar, ‘Tavra deresi (Sivas)’. 60  Maraval, Athénogène, 43 n. 21. The narrative implies that Kimouasos lay between Pedach­ thoe and the mountain, which the saint had reached in a day’s ride, and therefore cannot be linked to Camisa and the Camisene, over a hundred kilometres distant and east of Sivas. A map showing the topography can be found in Cumont, Voyage (map xvii; reproduced by Maraval, Athénogène, 114). Two Christian inscriptions were noted at Yıldız Köy by Cumont, Byzantion 6 (1931), 532–533 nos. 5–6. 61  Compare Passio Athenogenis 29, describing how Athenogenes was escorted by two offi­ciales from Pedachthoe to Sebastea, with Mart. Pol. 6–8.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


The cross-examination of Ariston and Severianus was presented in a formal setting with a reference to the place and date of the interrogation. The governor sat before an audience in or during the πρόοδος on 12 July at Sebastea.62 The document’s essential authenticity is then indicated by the clumsy double cue to the governor’s first question: … φησὶν πρὸς αὐτοὺς Ἀγρικόλαος· ὅ διασημότατος ἡγέμων εἶπεν· κτλ. The first phrase was from the compiler of the passio, the second was transcribed from his source, the official document that he had in front of him.63 Other details conform accurately with the format of a quaestio in the presence of a provincial governor: the presence of the governor’s staff, the τάξις, and the public slaves, who carried out the acts of torture by hanging up and burning the prisoners with heated irons; the use of torture not at the start, but at critical points in the interrogation; the documentation of the first trial in written minutes, which were available for citation during the second hearing; and the reading out of the verdict from a succinct written text (χάρτον).64 The interrogations, as Maraval shows, were completely different in tone and substance from the fictional trials related in other martyr acts. The questions were matter of fact, and the answers realistically direct or evasive, as the two indicted Christians faced up to or buckled under the pressure of questioning and the application of torture.65 Ariston admitted to having set fire to sanctuaries and to having written a libellus defaming the Emperors and Caesars at the 62  Passio Athenogenis 23.1: Προκαθίσας ἐν τῇ προόδῳ τῇ πρὸ πέντε ἰδῶν Ἰουλίῳ ἐν Σεβαστείᾳ, εἰσαχθῆναι κελεύσας τοὺς τὸν λίβελλον ἐπιδεδωκότας Ἀρίστονα καὶ Σευηριανόν, φησὶν πρὸς αὐτοὺς Ἀγρικόλαος· ὁ διασημότατος ἡγέμων εἶπεν· τὸν λίβελλον ὅν μοι προσεκόμισατε τὶς συν­ έγραψεν; Ἀρίστων εἶπεν· ἐγώ. κτλ. The word πρόοδος does not occur in Roman documents attested by epigraphic and papyrological sources, but appears to denote the convening of soldiers and staff to witness an important occasion. In Lucian it had the senses of coming out of a house (Necyomantia 12) or of appearing in public (Somn. 9), and the term was applied in a context similar to that of the Passio Athenogenis in the martyrdom of Eustratius, referring to a hearing which took place in the presence of the military commander’s staff, the τάξις: Passio Eustratii 5 (pg 116.472): διὰ τὸ προστετάχθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ ἄρχοντος ἡμῶν εὐτρεπισθῆναι εἰς τὴν αὔριον δημοσίαν πρόοδον πάντα τὰ τῶν βασανιστηρίων ὄργανα κατὰ τῶν Χριστιανῶν. Maraval translates, ‘en audience publique’. 63  The final paragraph of the passio contains the name of two transcribers, Anysius who was the main compiler of the work (see ch. 1), and Ἱλάριος δὲ ὁ τηνικαῦτα πρῶτος τοῦ βουλευτηρίου ἐπικαλούμενος Πυρραχάς, πατὴρ ὑπάρχων Ἱλαρίου τοῦ ἀπὸ κυαιστόρων. Perhaps Hilarius Pyrrhachas, leader of the council at Sebastea, had acted as a notarius on the governor’s staff and was responsible for the official transcript of the trial. His son had enjoyed promotion as a Roman senatorial candidate, and became one of the earliest attested quaes­tores sacri palatii (Laniado, ‘Hilarios Pyrrhachas’). 64  Passio Athenogenis 23 and 33 (τὴν τάξιν), 23–24 (δημίοις), 32 (ὑπομνήματα), 26 and 36 (ὰπὸ χάρτου ἀνέγνων; ἀπὸ χάρτου ἀνεγνώσθη ἡ ἀπόφασις). 65  ‘C’est bien plutôt le ton [des interrogatoires] qui peut en convaincre, tout différent de celui des passions épiques. Ici point de gouverneur écumant de rage …, point de martyrs



dictation of his companion Severianus.66 Severianus prolonged the interrogation with irrelevant answers, admitted to the arson, but under repeated torture incriminated Athenogenes with the charge that he had written the libellus, and agreed to make a sacrifice. Ariston remained obdurate and was sentenced to death by burning.67 The governor’s questions, and the repetitive, sometimes self-contradictory and evasive answers of the accused, as well as the use of torture and the responses that this provoked, are all true to life and diverge radically from the fictive interrogations found in other saints’ lives. During the second interrogation of Severianus in the presence of Athenogenes himself, the governor probed their contradictory responses. Twice under torture, and then after being released from being strung up, Severianus alleged that Athenogenes had written the libellus against the emperors and been instructed by him to bear witness to his Christianity in Sebastea. Athenogenes, who was not tortured, repeatedly denied authorship and having given these instructions, but refused to incriminate Severianus or be complicit in his torture.68 The governor’s questioning of Athenogenes became sharp and sophisticated, and the bishop’s answers were cautious and measured, but ultimately uncompromising. There was certainly minor editorial intervention in the reproduction of the transcript, but the original exchanges in the trial appear to have been unaltered.69 Several touches are evidently authentic and it is a much simpler hypothesis to suppose that the official record was substantially unchanged than to assume that it had been subject to extensive but unobtrusive editing, still less than that it was entirely made up. It is fair to conclude that both hearings are largely true to the original record. The second trial reveals the forensic skill of a determined insultant leur juge ou insensible aux pires tortures, point de longs discours apologétiques’ (Maraval, Athénogène, 8). 66  The libellus, as well as defaming the rulers, incited people to burn down sanctuaries: ἐφήσατε γὰρ διὰ τοῦ αὐτοῦ λιβέλλου καὶ ναοὺς ἐμπρῆσαι (Passio Athenogenis 22). Ariston and Severianus admitted to having burned ναοί on the road (διοδεύοντες, ch. 24) but were unable to say where or what the names of the sanctuaries were. 67  Athenogenes later suffered the same form of execution, unusual for clergy of his rank; see Mateo Donet, ‘La ejecución’, 295. Death by burning was also the fate of the soldiers Eustratius and Orestes, when they were condemned by Agricola at Sebastea; see below p. 72. 68  Passio Athenogenis 35. 69  A Christian editor of the dialogue was responsible for Athenogenes usually being identified as ὁ ἅγιος Ἀθηνογένης and once as ὁ ἅγιος μάρτυς τοῦ θεοῦ (ch. 36). Maraval points out that an editor is likely to have added the allusions to the governor becoming enraged by frustrating answers (ὀργισθείς, ch. 24; θυμωθείς, ch. 26).

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


and well-prepared prosecutor as well as the stubborn and principled answers of the elderly country bishop. Christopher Jones, in his review of Maraval’s edition, has suggested that the trials, which began on 12 July, should be dated to the summer of 303, following the first persecuting edict of the tetrarchs, which was issued in February 303.70 The passio itself dated the events with a very full chronological formula, εἰρήνης δὲ λοιπὸν τῶν βαρβάρων ἐπικαταλαβούσης καὶ βασιλευόντων Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ Μαξιμιανοῦ ἐπιλεγομένου Ἑρκουλίου καὶ ἡγεμονεύοντος Ἀγρικολάου τινός, πολὺς διωγμὸς τῶν Χριστιανῶν κατεῖχεν τὴν χώραν, τῶν βασιλέων διὰ τὸ πρὸς τοὺς Χριστιανοὺς μῖσος προσταξάντων γίνεσθαι τοῦτο (ch. 11). The trials were the result of an imperial πρόσταγμα, which the governor explicitly cited in the crossexamination of Athenogenes: εἰ τοίνυν καλῶς ἔζησας καὶ τῶν καλῶς βιωσάντων εἶναι διαβεβαιοῖς σε, δῆλον ὅτι τοῦ βασιλικοῦ προστάγματος ἤκουσας ἔνθα καὶ κελεύεσθαι Χριστιανοὺς ἀναχωρῆσαι τοῦ ἰδίου νόμου ἵνα καὶ αὐτὸς ἀνέχωρησας.71 The first official order against the Christians was issued in Nicomedia on 23 Feb­ ruary 303 and an imperial letter to this effect had reached Palestine by March or April.72 A second order, explicitly called a πρόσταγμα βασιλικόν, was issued soon afterwards and called for the arrest and imprisonment of church leaders.73 Eusebius noted that this second imperial command was prompted by reports of Christian resistance to the original anti-Christian measures in the country around Melitene, as well as in Syria (h.e. 8.6.8): οὐκ εἰς μακρὸν δ’ ἑτέρων κατὰ τὴν Μελιτηνὴν οὕτω καλουμένην χώραν καὶ αὐ�͂ πάλιν ἄλλων ἀμφὶ τὴν Συρίαν ἐπιφυῆναι τῇ βασιλείᾳ πεπειραμένων, τοὺς πανταχόσε τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν προεστῶτας εἱρκταῖς καὶ δεσμοῖς ἐνεῖραι πρόσ­ ταγμα ἐφοίτα βασιλικόν. Not long afterwards, after some had attempted to attack the imperial government in the region called Melitene, and still others in the area around Syria, the imperial command went around ordering that the leaders of the churches everywhere should be bound in prisons and chains. 70  C.P. Jones, Journal of Theological Studies 43 (1992), 242–244. 71  P assio Athenogenis 35: ‘If you indeed have lived a virtuous life and assert yourself that you are one of those who have lived virtuously, it is evident that you have heard the proclamation of the rulers’ order, in consequence of which the Christians have been instructed to desist from following their own law, as you yourself have desisted.’ Maraval interprets this as a reference to the third or fourth persecuting edicts, cf. Eus. h.e. 8.2.5; 8.6.10; m.P. 3.1. 72  Eus. h.e. 8.2.4; m.P. praef.; Lactant. De mort. pers. 13.1. 73  Eus. h.e. 8.6.8–10. For the context see Mitchell, ‘Maximinus’, 112.



This report indicates that the Euphrates frontier region had become a focal point for Christian defiance, and the narrative of the martyrdom of Athenogenes fits well into this scenario. If we may trust the account given in the martyrdom, Athenogenes himself was not the first victim of the persecution in the region. After the official imperial order had arrived, five Christians—Theophrastus, Maximinus, Hesychius, Theophilus and Cleonicus—had been arrested and faced execution. Athenogenes addressed a letter to them during their imprisonment, evidently at Sebastea, standing by them in their faith and asking for their intercession should he face a similar trial.74 He then constructed a martyrium to receive their bodies at Pedachthoe in the form of an octagonal structure with a cupola.75 He himself was subsequently buried in the same resting-place.76 The architectural details of the martyrium may have been a later embellishment,77 but the sequence of events is plausible. The first edict provoked defiance and persecution in eastern Anatolia in the early spring of ad 303. Courageous and prominent priests, including Athenogenes, intervened to defend or console the first persecution victims, and their actions gave rise to the second edict, directed precisely against members of the clergy. Athenogenes and his zealous young followers were arrested in a second wave of persecution and came to trial in the summer months. Although Sebastea was two hundred kilometres from Melitene and located in a neighbouring province, the account given in the passio of Athenogenes harmonizes perfectly with Eusebius’s very brief allusion to troubles in the Euphrates frontier region of eastern Asia Minor. The events seem to concur not only with the historical background to the legend of the forty martyrs of Sebaste, but also with Christian defiance of the persecution by another group of locally recruited soldiers, recorded in the passio of St Eustratius.

74  Passio Athenogenis 11. 75  In the form of a bird-cage, a κλωβός. 76  Passio Athenogenis 13 and 39. 77  Hexagonal or octagonal martyria were a familiar feature of Christian architecture in the late fourth and early fifth centuries; see Topalilov and Ljubenova, ‘Martyrium von Philippopolis’. For martyria in the Constantinian period, see Grabar, Martyrium, 1.204– 312, but rotunda, hexagonal and octagonal buildings were characteristic of commemorative funerary architecture throughout late antiquity. Gregory of Nyssa described the construction of an octagonal martyrium in ep. 25.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


3 The Passio of Eustratius of Arauraka The narrative setting for the martyrdom of St Eustratius and four other Chris­ tians presented the whole of Great Armenia and Cappadocia in opposition to the diogmos initiated by Diocletian and Maximian. Diocletian is said, wholly unhistorically, to have called a three-day conclave of the megistanes of the region and then instructed two officials, profoundly versed in pagan Greek culture,78 to enforce the persecuting edict. He had placed Lysias in command of all the frontier troops (τὸν μὲν ἕνα Λυσίαν ὀνόματι πάντων τῶν λιμιτανέων ἐπιτροπεύειν ἐπέτρεψεν), while Agricola was the provincial governor (τὸν δὲ ἕτερον Ἀγρικόλαον τὴν προσηγορίαν τὴν τῆς ἐπαρχίας πάσης ἀρχὴν διεπεῖν ἐπέτρεψεν). The writer continued with the observation that if Lysias found any Christians near his station in Satala, he sent them to Agricola ἐν τῇ τῶν Σεβαστηνῶν μητροπόλει, thus cutting them off from the support of their friends and preventing their relatives from having access to the bodies of the martyrs after they had been executed. Conversely, the hegemon Agricola, was said to have sent Christians who had been apprehended in the metropolis Sebastea to be tried at Satala.79 The topography, at least, is accurate: the headquarters of civilian government was in Sebastea,80 while the military headquarters was certainly at Satala.81 The most prominent victim of this persecution was a member of Lysias’s staff, Eustratius, σκρινιάριος τῆς δουκικῆς ὑπάρχων τάξεως καὶ πρωτεύων ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ τότε χρόνῳ. He had been born to a Christian mother in the small town of Arauraka, and was also known by the name Kyrisikes in the language of his birthplace. The passio later makes clear that he was from one of the town’s leading families.82 Arauraka, which later became a bishopric, is named in the Itinerarium Antonini as a station on the frontier road which ran from Melitene to Satala, and also on the southernmost of two routes to Satala running east 78  Passio Eustratii 2 (pg 116.469): ἐξαπέστειλε δὲ ἄνδρας δύο ἐκ τῆς τῶν Ἑλλήνων χώρας ὁρμωμένους ἐν ἐπιστήμῃ πολλῇ τῆς πατρῴας παιδεύσεως ὐπάρχοντες, δεινοὺς καὶ ἀπηνεῖς τῷ φρονήματι, καὶ ὀξεῖς εἰς τὸ νοῆσαι, καὶ λέγειν προχειρότατους, ἀνεξερεύνητον ἅπαξ τὸν τρόπον κεκτήμενους, καὶ τὴν πανουργίαν. 79  Passio Eustratii 3 (pg 116.469). 80  Haensch, Capita Provinciarum, 273, observes that it did not achieve this status in the early empire. 81  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.327–347. 82  Passio Eustratii 7 (pg 116.473): ἐκ τῆς Ἀραυρακηνῶν ὡρμημένος πολίχνης, Εὐστράτιος τοὔνομα, Κυρισικῆς τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν τῇ πατρῴᾳ διαλέκτῳ; cf. ch. 13 (pg 116.479): τὸν κύριον τῆς περιοικίδος ἡμῶν, τὸν ἐν τοσαύτῃ περιφανείᾳ γένους καὶ χρημάτων ὑπάρχοντα, καὶ ἐν τηλικαύτῃ στρατείᾳ διαπρέψαντα.



from Nicopolis.83 The next station to the north-east, before Satala, was called Suissa, and both Arauracos and Suissa are mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum of the early fifth century as being the location of garrison forts.84 On the basis of this information Timothy Mitford suggests that Suissa should be located at Erzincan, and that Arauraka lay at or near the village of Ardos, upstream and across the river from Kemah, although no significant Roman or Byzantine remains have survived here.85 Eustratius marked his decision to defy Lysias’s persecuting order by sending a belt to Arauraka with the instruction that it be dedicated in the church there and could only be removed by the local priest Auxentius. Eustratius’s intention to defy orders became known in the camp at a gathering of his companions in the mess, among them a fellow-townsman from Arauraka, Eugenius, who is subsequently identified as an officialis.86 The trial, which combined interrogation with torture, was held on the next day in the presence of Lysias’s officials. Although the report does not preserve the straightforward features of the inquisitions in the Passio Athenogenis, it seems to be an authentic touch that the formal information about Eustratius’s service record did not come from his own testimony but was produced from the staff records: he had served for twenty-seven years, having been recruited with the rank of an exceptor, and was on the staff (taxis) of the commanding officer with the rank of a commentariensis.87 At the end of the hearing Eustratius and Eugenius, who had also chosen to defy orders, were put in custody. Lysias now gave orders for a military detachment to take the prisoners from Satala to Nicopolis, a march which passed two days later through Arauraka.88 Here, in Eustratius’s home town, further Christians declared themselves in 83  It. Ant. 207.10–208.5 records the road along the left bank of the Euphrates from Satala to Zimara: Satala, Suisa, Arauracos, Carsagis, Sinervas, Analiba, Zimara. It. Ant. 215.12–216.3 is the southern of two routes between Nicopolis and Satala: Nicopolis, Olotoedariza, Car­ saga, Arauracos, Soissa, Satala. 84  Suissa: ala i Ulpia Dacorum (Not. Dign. [or.] 38.23); Arauraka: coh. miliaria Bosporanorum (Not. Dign. [or.] 38.29). 85  Mitford, East of Asia Minor, 1.264–274. He refutes Cumont’s much more western localization of Arauraka and Suissa (274 n. 19), argues against David French’s suggestion that Arauraka might have been at Erzincan and Suissa at Mecidye in the high pass to the north (278), and the proposal of Bryer and Winfield, Byzantine Monuments, 165 and 169, that Arauraka lay on the northern route between Satala and Nicopolis (267 n. 12). 86  Passio Eustratii 5 (pg 116.472); cf. ch. 10 (pg 116.477): Εὐγένιός τις ἐκ τῆς τῶν Ἀραυρακηνῶν καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπάρχων πολίχνης, ὀφφικιάλιος τῆς αὐτῆς τάξεως. 87  Passio Eustratii 6 (pg 116.473): ὁ δοῦξ εἶπεν· κατατιθέσθω ἡ τάξις, πόσον ἔτος διανύει οὗτος ἐν τῇ στρατείᾳ ταύτῃ; ἡ τάξις εἶπεν· εἰκοστὸν ἕβδομον ἔτος πληροῦται ἐν τῷ παρόντι ἐνιαυτῷ, ἀφ᾽ οὗ χρόνου μικρὸς ὢν ἔτι τὴν ἡλικίαν τὴν τοῦ ἐκσκέπτορος ἐπλήρωσε χρείαν. 88  Passio Eustratii 12 (pg 116.480Β): καὶ μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας εἰς τὸ πλήσιον Ἀρυράκων κατήχθησαν κάστρον. This is consistent with the evidence of the It. Ant.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


solidarity with their fellow countryman. Mardarius, an Armenian speaker of humble background, offered himself up for arrest and entrusted his wife and children to the protection of Mucator, another wealthy and prominent citizen.89 Auxentius, the priest to whom Eustratius had sent his belt, proclaimed his defiance and was summarily tried by Lysias and executed.90 Mardarius, a lay rustic, was tortured, as was Eugenius, who was summoned for another interrogation. Both perished during the ordeal. Lysias then conducted a parade and exercise of his troops, one of whom, Orestes, stood forward defiantly, displayed a gold cross on his cloak, professed his Christianity, and was arrested. The company now continued to Nicopolis, where reportedly many of the legionary soldiers stationed there also declared themselves to be Christians, causing Lysias to be alarmed that they would mutiny.91 He accordingly sent the military escort on to Sebastea, to hand over the two most prominent prisoners, the soldier Orestes and the veteran staff-officer Eustratius, to the judgement of the provincial governor Agricola. He himself evidently returned to Satala. Much of this account could be true. Lysias’s actions clearly distinguished between the two leading prisoners Eustratius and Orestes, who are likely to have been Roman citizens, from the others. They could only be tried on a capital charge by the provincial governor. Lysias appears to have had the right to try and condemn persons of lower status, Auxentius, the priest, and therefore a prime target of the imperial prostagma, was arrested, tried and executed. Lysias appears to have been reluctant to act against the Armenian-speaking layman Mardarius, and the junior staffer Eugenius. Neither seems to have been formally condemned but died from being tortured during hearings that they had effectively brought on themselves. Se non è vero, è ben trovato. The journey from Nicopolis to Sebastea took five days and the interrogation of Eustratius began the day after their arrival.92 There could be no more dramatic stylistic contrast between the transcribed interrogation of the arrested Christians in the passio of Athenogenes and this dialogue between the governor Agricola and the martyr Eustratius, in which Agricola cited Plato’s 89  P assio Eustratii 14 (pg 116.482A): ἐν τῇ Ἀραυρακηνῶν τὴν οἴκησιν ἔχοντα καὶ πρωτεύοντα ἐν αὐτῇ, ἄνδρα ἐπίσημον καὶ πλούσιον πάνυ. 90  The Christian soldier Orestes, who had been present, later told Eustratius that Auxentius had been beheaded in a rocky gully outside Arauraka called Ororeia (Passio Eustratii 20 [pg 116.488]). 91  Passio Eustratii 18 (pg 116.485): παραγενομένου δὲ τοῦ Λυσίου ἐν τῇ Νικοπολιτῶν πόλει, πολὺ πλῆθος τῶν στρατιωτῶν τῆς λεγέωνος τῆς ἐν τῇ πόλει πρόσηλθον αὐτῷ, καὶ πάντες μιᾷ φωνῇ ἔκραζον, Λυσία, καὶ ἡμεῖς στρατιῶταί ἐσμεν τοῦ δεσπότου ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ. It seems likely that this anecdote, true or false, lies behind the largely fictitious account of the forty-five martyrs of Nicopolis, in which Lysias features as the persecutor (pg 115.324). 92  Passio Eustratii 21 (pg 116.489).



Timaeus, Homer’s Iliad and the Theogony of Hesiod in a vain but highly elaborate literary and philosophical argument designed to convince Eustratius of the reality of pagan gods. At the end of this Orestes, who had played no part in this imagined interrogation, was strapped to an iron couch and burned to death. Eustratius was confined to his cell for a further night, where he wrote his will, stipulating that his remains be returned to Arauraka and buried there at a place called Analibozora with those of the other four martyrs, and that his goods be divided between the poor and his surviving sisters. He also received a visit from the bishop of Sebastea, supposedly hiding from the persecution, to witness this final testament.93 These scenes, compiled long after the event, are no more convincing historically than the first chapter of the Testament of the Forty Martyrs. On the following day, 13 December, Agricola provided Eustratius with a final chance to recant, before he was condemned to death by burning, for ‘having disobeyed the order of the emperors and refusing to sacrifice to the gods’, a sober and matter-of-fact verdict expressed in very different terms from the florid rhetoric of the interrogation scene.94 The narrative of the passio of Eustratius and his companions has been highly elaborated, but it contains important elements which are true to life, and probably close to the reality of the persecution. There is a convincing account of the respective roles of Agricola and Lysias. The praeses Agricola was based in Sebastea, the provincial capital. It appears that only he had the authority to pass judgement on Eustratius, a senior staff officer, and Orestes, who was probably a citizen-soldier of the garrison legion at Satala. Lysias, the dux in command of the frontier troops, the limitanei, was based in Satala. His movements took him no further west than the city of Nicopolis, but included the frontier garrison fort of Arauraka. The focus of the persecution on a priest, Auxentius, and on soldiers or members of the staff attached to the military command at Satala reflected the priorities of the first and second persecuting orders of ad 303, which singled out these two groups.95 The roles and status of Eustratius and Eugenius as members of Lysias’s staff are realistically portrayed.96 The little group of martyrs was united not only by their religious conviction, but by their 93  Passio Eustratii 28–30 (pg 116.500–503). 94  P assio Eustratii 32 (pg 116.505): Εὐστράτιον ἀπειθήσαντα τῷ προστάγματι τῶν Αὐτοκρατόρων καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς θῦσαι μὴ βουληθέντα. 95  For measures against serving soldiers, taken before the first persecuting edict, see Lactant. De mort. pers. 10.1–5, cf. Eus. h.e. 8.1.7; and for persecution of subordinate provincial officials, cf. the famous inscription of M. Iulius Eugenius, mama 1.170: φοιτησάσης τῆς κελεύ­ σεως ἐπὶ Μαξιμείνου τοῦς Χρειστιανοὺς θύειν καὶ μὴ ἀπαλλάσεσθαι τῆς στρατίας. 96  See Franchi de’ Cavalieri, ‘Marco Giulio Eugenio’, esp. 64–70, for a very valuable discussion of the governor’s τάξις, drawing extensively on hagiographical sources.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


common origin at Arauraka. They were part of a Christian community, located on the eastern frontier and containing soldiers as well as civilians, which was comparable with the Christians from Zimara and from Sareim on the territory of Zela, whose existence is revealed by the Testament of the Forty Martyrs. 4

Diocletian’s Persecution on the Euphrates Frontier

‘The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church’. Tertullian’s iconic formu­ la should evoke a chilled shudder from a modern readership that has lived through an age in which religious conflict has reached repeated climaxes in suicide bombings and the execution of hostages, but the words were music to the ears of the early hagiographers, not least the commanding personalities of the fourth-century church in eastern Asia Minor, Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa. Basil, as a young priest, wrote to congratulate a senior bishop colleague on constructing a new church and expressed the hope that he would be able to do the same, once he had acquired a martyr’s relics.97 There is an unholy sense of glee in the letters that he wrote Iunius Soranus, the dux Scythiae, who was able to procure him a martyr’s remains from beyond the Danube, and to Ascholius, a fellow Cappadocian who was now bishop of Thes­ salonica, who had written to him about Christians dying for their faith in the 370s at the hands of pagan Goths: ‘I thought I had gone back to the good old times, when God’s churches flourished, rooted in faith, united in love, all the members being in harmony, united as though in one body. Then the persecutors were manifest, and manifest too the persecuted. Then the people grew more numerous by being attacked. Then the blood of the martyrs, watering the churches, nourished many more champions of true religion, each generation stripping for the struggle with the zeal of those who had gone before.’98 The lust for relics in this atmosphere could hardly be contained, and reached a climax in the second half of the fourth century.99 It comes, therefore, as no shock for modern scholarship to establish that martyrs and martyrdoms could simply be invented, as appears to be the case with St Mamas and St Gordius of Caesarea,100 that numbers could be inflated from three defiant Christians to forty martyrs perishing on the icy lake of Sebastea, or that this number in turn 97  Bas. ep. 49. 98  Bas. ep. 164 (trans. npnf² 8.216). The persecution in question is described in the passio of St Sabas, translation and commentary by Heather and Matthews, Goths, 1–11. 99  Brown, ‘The Saint as Exemplar’; Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.64–73. The issues have been explored in many recent articles by Johan Leemans (e.g. ‘Flexible Heiligkeit’). 100  See A. Busine in this volume.



could be trumped by forty-five victims of a scarcely historical persecution in the rival city of Nicopolis. The writers of the encomia played a full part not only in creating a fictitious historical framework for persecution but by rhetorical and literary embellishment: sordid scenes of judicial torture became epic conflicts between sadistic tyrants and heroic victims. The power of the martyrs themselves was expressed through an ever-growing number of miraculous stories. These exaggerations and distortions were doubtless aggravated by annual saints’ day commemorations, when each new telling of the story strained to bring something new to the ears of faithful congregations. The martyr acts from Armenia Minor contain many elements that are demonstrably fictive. There were folkloric miracle stories in the passio of Athe­ nogenes. The passio of St Eustratius contained a fantastic invented scene about the emperors holding court with the Armenian nobility and entirely spurious trial dialogues which pitch the iconic figures of Greek literature and philosophy against Christian wisdom. The most famous of all these stories, relating to the forty martyrs of Sebaste, supplied ingenious guesses to fill the historical gaps—that the soldiers were persecuted under Licinius, that they were soldiers of legio xii Fulminata (a unit linked in the popular mind to Christianity). The complicated traditions about the forty martyrs were compounded each time that their relics were transplanted to a new home. However, this plethora of hagiographical invention should not lead the core of these traditions to be dismissed as fictitious. On the contrary, in each of the three cases that have been examined, a critical detail speaks for the essential veracity of the stories. The pile of ore can indeed be smelted down to yield precious metal. The Testament of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste preserves the final messages sent from prison by the three leading martyrs, Meletius, Aetius, and Eutychius from Zimara, a fort on the Roman limes. The passio of Eustratius takes us into exactly this milieu, accurately depicting Agricola and Lysias as the officials responsible for the persecution, the members of their staff, and the troops under their command. Official titles and local topography are entirely convincing. Most authentic of all is the hardly-edited transcript of the interrogation of the two young zealots Ariston and Severianus, and the veteran country bishop Athenogenes of Pedachthoe. In all cases the final trials took place before the governor Agricola in Sebastea, capital of Armenia Minor. In the entire local hagiographical tradition,101 he and the military commander 101  Including the almost entirely fictitious accounts of St Blasius (Agricola), the forty-five martyrs of Nicopolis (Lysias), and the Armenian version of the Passio S. Gordii, set at Caesarea (Agricola); see Maraval, Athénogène, 19 n. 71.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


Lysias were indissolubly associated with the persecution in Armenia Minor. These were the roles they had indeed played. Eusebius knew that there had been a ground-up surge of resistance to the official imperial anti-Christian measures that had been taken in February 303, and that this had provoked a second imperial prostagma directed especially at priests. For him the epicentres were in Syria and the territory around Melitene. The hagiographical literature reveals telling and realistic details of this Christian uprising in the territory of Sebastea and in the garrison forts of the upper Euphrates. Bibliography Ananian, P., ‘La data e le circonstanze della consecrazione de S. Gregorio Illuminatore’, Le Muséon 74 (1961), 43–73 and 319–360. Bonwetsch, M., ‘Das Testament der Vierzig Märtyrer zu Sebaste’, Neue Kirchliche Zeit­ schrift 3 (1892), 705–726. Brown, P.R.L., ‘The Saint as Exemplar in Late Antiquity’, Representations 1/2 (1983), 1–25. Brown, T.S., A.A.M. Bryer, and D. Winfield, ‘Cities of Heraclius’, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 4 (1978), 15–38. Bryer, A.A.M., and D. Winfield, The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of Pontus (Washington, D.C., 1985). Cumont, F., ‘Zimara dans le testament des xl martyrs’, AnBoll 23 (1904), 448–450. Cumont, F., ‘Sareim dans le testament des xl martyrs’, AnBoll 25 (1906), 241–242. Cumont, F., ‘L’archevêché de Pédachtoé et le sacrifice du fâon’, Byzantion 6 (1931), 521–533. Cumont, F. and E., Studia Pontica, vol. 2: Voyage d’exploration archéologique dans le Pont et la Petite Arménie (Brussels, 1906). Darrouzès, J., Notitiae Episcopatuum Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae (Paris, 1981). Delehaye, H., ‘The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste’, American Catholic Quarterly Review 24 (1899), 161–171. Destephen, S., and S. Métivier, ‘Évêques et chorévêques en Asie Mineure aux ive–ve siècles’, Topoi 15 (2007), 343–378. Devos, P., ‘S. Pierre ier, évêque de Sébasté dans une letter de S. Grégoire de Nazianze’, AnBoll 79 (1961), 346–360. Franchi de’ Cavalieri, P., ‘Marco Giulio Eugenio vescovo di Laodicea di Licaonia’, in Note agiografiche, vol. 3, Studi e Testi 22 (Vatican City, 1909), 59–94. Franchi de’ Cavalieri, P., ‘I santi Quaranta martiri di Sebastia’, in Note agiografiche, vol. 7, Studi e Testi 49 (Vatican City, 1928), 155–184.



Gebhardt, O. von, Acta Martyrum Selecta: Ausgewählte Märtyreracten (Berlin, 1902). Grabar, A., Martyrium: Recherches sur le culte des reliques et l’art chrétien antique, 3 vols. (Paris, 1943–1946). Haensch, R., Capita Provinciarum: Statthaltersitze und Provinzialverwaltung in der römischen Kaiserzeit, Kölner Forschungen 7 (Mainz, 1997). Halkin, F., ‘Les quarante-cinq martyres de Nicopolis en Arménie: Deux passions inédits?’, AnBoll 103 (1985), 383–384. Heather, P., and J.F. Matthews, The Goths in the Fourth Century, Translated Texts for Historians 11 (Liverpool, 1991). Jerphanion, G. de, ‘Notes de géographie pontique’, Mélanges de la Faculté Orientale de Beyrouth 5/2 (1912), 135*–144*. Kaya, A., and K. Akpınar, ‘Tavra deresi (Sivas) yeraltısuyu havzasında işletme sırasında yapilan teknik yaklaşımların sağladığı faydalar’, in Türk Mühendis ve Mimalar Oda Birliği Su Politikaları Kongresı (Ankara, 2006), 58–67. Lane Fox, R., Pagans and Christians (New York, 1987). Laniado, A., ‘Hilarios Pyrrhachas et la Passion de saint Athénogène de Pédachthoé (bhg 197b)’, Revue des études byzantines 53 (1995), 279–284. Leemans, J., ‘“Flexible Heiligkeit”: Der Beitrag der Märtyrer zur Identitätskonstitu­ tion christlicher Gemeinden im griechischen Osten im 4. Jahrhundert’, in P. Ge­meinhardt and K. Heyden (eds.), Heilige, Heiliges und Heiligkeit in spätantiken Religionskulturen, Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten 61 (Berlin, 2012), 205–227. Leemans, J., ‘Individualization and the Cult of the Martyrs: Examples from Asia Minor in the Fourth Century’, in J. Rüpke (ed.), The Individual in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean (Oxford, 2013), 187–212. Leschhorn, W., Antike Ären: Zeitrechnung, Politik und Geschichte im Schwarzmeerraum und in Kleinasien nördlich des Tauros, Historia 81 (Stuttgart, 1993). Maraval, P., La passion inédite de S. Athénogène de Pédachthoé en Cappadoce (bhg 197b), Subsidia Hagiographica 75 (Brussels, 1990). Maraval, P., ‘Les premiers développements du culte des 40 martyrs dans l’Orient byzantin et en Occident’, Vetera Christianorum 36 (1999), 193–209. Maraval, P., Éloge de Grégoire le Thaumaturge, Sources chrétiennes 573 (Paris, 2014). Mateo Donet, M.A., ‘La ejecución de Fructuoso de Tarragona: Una condena romana inusual para un obispo’, Hispania Antiqua 40 (2016), 291–301. Mitchell, S., ‘Maximinus and the Christians’, Journal of Roman Studies 78 (1988), 106–124. Mitchell, S., Anatolia: Land Men and Gods in Asia Minor, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1993). Mitchell, S., ‘The Life and Lives of Gregory Thaumaturgus’, in J.W. Watt and J.W. Drijvers (eds.), Portraits of Spiritual Authority: Religious Power in Early Christianity, Byzantium and the Christian Orient, Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 137 (Leiden, 1999), 100–138.

Hagiography and the Great Persecution in Armenia Minor


Mitford, Timothy B., ‘The Inscriptions of Satala (Armenia Minor)’, zpe 115 (1997), 137– 167. Mitford, Timothy B., East of Asia Minor: Rome’s Hidden Frontier (Oxford, 2018). Nowakowski, P., Inscribing the Saints in Late Antique Anatolia (Warsaw, 2018). Poincelet, A., ‘La vie latine de saint Grégoire le Thaumaturge’, Revue des sciences religieuses 1 (1910), 155–160. Schneider, A.M., ‘Eine Reliquiar-Inschrift aus Sivas’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 39 (1939), 393. Schultz, H.-D., ‘Megalopolis-Sebasteia’, in G. Le Rider et al. (eds.), Numismatic Studies in Memory of C.M. Kraay and O. Mørkholm (Louvain la Neuve, 1989), 259–266. Seeliger, H., and W. Wischmeyer, Märtyrerliteratur, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Ge­ schichte der altchristlichen Literatur 172 (Berlin, 2015). Slusser, M., ‘Gregory Thaumaturgus’, in P. Foster (ed.), Early Christian Thinkers: The Lives and Legacies of Twelve Key Figures (London, 2010), ch. 11. Topalilov, I., and A. Ljubenova, ‘Neue Überlegungen zum hexakonchalen Martyrium von Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgarien)’, Mitteilungen zur Christlichen Archäologie 16 (2010), 59–70. Vinel, F., ‘Sainteté anonyme, sainteté collective? Les quarante martyrs de Sébastée dans quelques textes du ive siècle’, in G. Freyburger and L. Pernot (eds.), Du héros païen au saint chrétien: Actes du colloque, Strasbourg, 1er–2 décembre 1995 (Paris, 1997), 125–132. Vitae et Passiones Sanctorum Selectae ex Eclogariis, vol. 1 (Venice, 1874). Vitale, M., ‘Pontic Communities under Roman Rule’, in T. Bekker-Nielsen (ed.), Space, Place and Identity in Northern Anatolia, Geographica Historica 29 (Stuttgart, 2014), 49–61.

Chapter 3

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia Gaetano Arena 1

From Vine Dresser to Warrior: Saint Hieron as Patron Saint

In 2017 Benoît Gain lamented the almost complete absence in the study of Cappadocian Christianity of alternative sources to the texts of the Cappadocian Fathers, who with good reason are considered a true mine of information. The small number of inscriptions, the rarity of archaeological remains, and above all the unreliability of the testimonia relating to the habitat of ‘rocky Cappadocia’, which hosted its first monastic settlements at the beginning of the age of Justinian and flourished only in the later Middle Ages, constitute obstacles to a deeper understanding of the region’s Christianization.1 In the ‘Introduction’ to her sizable volume on Cappadocia published in 2005, Sophie Métivier correctly emphasized one of the principal problems with the study of this region of Asia Minor, the chronological gap that exists between the majority of the remains of the region—that is, the pictorial cycles of the rock-cut churches—datable to between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, and the literary evidence that for the most part is limited to the period between the second half of the fourth and the sixth century: a documentary gap which, given the objective difficulty of dating the structures of the rock-cut and underground settlements, is not even filled by the archaeological and epigraph­ ical sources.2 Accordingly, apart from using references to church-building at Nazianzus by Gregory the Elder, and to Gregory of Nyssa’s descrip­tion of a martyrium at Nyssa,3 the French scholar placed particular emphasis on a hagiographical source that is typologically quite different from that found in the texts of the Cappadocian Fathers, the Passio prior of Hieron, who took refuge ‘within a cave’ at Korama (Κόραμα), modern Göreme, to escape forced enlistment during the reign of Diocletian.4 Although the difficulties emphasized by Métivier are valid, another study, Margherita Cassia’s 2004 monograph, had the merit of collecting, examining, 1  Gain, ‘La christianisation de la Cappadoce’, 232, 249. 2  Métivier, La Cappadoce, 18–22. 3  Gr. Naz. or. 18.39; Gr. Nyss. ep. 25 (Maraval, Lettres, 288–301). 4  Cf. Métivier, La Cappadoce, 20 n. 71, 21 n. 77; see now Thierry, ‘Avanos-Vénasa’.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_005

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


classifying, contextualizing, and interpreting the often overlooked and undervalued literary references to the caves, natural and/or artificial, that exist in Cappadocia, which can be linked to a very broad chronological period between the classical age and late antiquity.5 Apart from these considerations, it remains a fact that Métivier has identified the passio of Hieron not only as a mere ‘container’ of typological information— that is, cave-dwelling—but also as a ‘sign’ of topological information, that is, the extraurban dimension of primitive Cappadocian Christianity. The text, in fact, enhances ‘non la cité comme le fait Basile, mais une région rurale de la Cappadoce … célèbre la campagne de Cappadoce … valorise quelques villages de Cappadoce, en faisant d’un martyr local le chef des trente-trois martyrs de Mélitène … elle [la passio] ne fait jamais allusion à l’autorité ou même à la pastorale de l’évêque de Césarée.’6 The older version of the passio of Hieron tells the fortunes of a vine dresser who was forced at first to serve in the army of Diocletian but later imprisoned and finally condemned to endure martyrdom with thirty-two companions at Melitene.7 The drafting of the passio probably goes back to the start of the sixth century,8 but the later reworking of the Byzantine hagiographer Simeon 5  Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 256–264: the ancient testimonia refer to different types of habitation. The terms πέτραι and ἄντρα should probably be connected more closely with underground rocky structures, that is, with those completely and/or partially dug into the rock, while the terms σπήλαιον/σπήλυγξ are more generic words that refer both to rocky structures and to subterranean settlements. Cf. ibid., 291: ‘le uniche due fonti che descrivano con maggiori dettagli le strutture sotterranee sono Senofonte da una parte e Leone Diacono … dall’altra, ovvero la testimonianza più antica e quella relativamente più recente, comunque ambedue coeve ai fatti narrati ed entrambe frutto di personale autopsia in occasione di spe­ dizioni militari. I riferimenti contenuti nelle fonti antiche possono rivelarsi particolarmente utili al fine di stabilire, almeno in via ipotetica, eventuali cronologie relative e possibili funzioni di tali strutture—che nulla hanno a che vedere con gli abitati preistorici—da confrontare poi comunque con i risultati delle indagini speleologiche, preziose, anzi indispensabili esplorazioni, diverse dalle classiche campagne archeologiche di scavo condotte nelle aree urbane costruite “in positivo”’ (see also pp. 290–294, in particular table 2). 6  Métivier, La Cappadoce, 316, 318–319. 7  The vita (Passio prior, bhg 749) is preserved in a single manuscript (ex codice Sancti Marci Venetiarum 349; Epstein, ‘“Iconoclast” Churches’, 103 n. 1). The passio has been published by Paul Peeters (ActaSS Nov. 3, 325–335); cf. also Synaxarium ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae 199–201, 203–204, stating that the martyrs were venerated in Constantinople on 7 November. There is no absolute certainty about the exact number of the martyrs of Melitene; cf. Lucchesi, ‘Gerone’. 8  The date of the composition of the original text can be inferred through the mention of the Scythian or Cimmerian invasion (Passio S. Hieronis 16 [335A]: … Σκυθικῆς ἢ Κιμμερινῆς παροινίας …), that is, the incursions made by the Sabirs over the Caucasus Mountains in 515 (Thphn. chron. A.M. 6008 [de Boor, Chronographia, 1.161.28–30]; Jo. Mal. chron. 16 [Dindorf,



Metaphrastes9 led Paul Peeters in 1910 to pass a drastically negative judgment on the historical trustworthiness of this work. Almost a century later, Christopher Walter also considered the passio a completely fictitious collection of different hagiographical traditions.10 However, in contrast to the version of Metaphrastes, the Passio prior contains place names (Κόραμα, Ματιανή and Καδεσάνη/Κοδεσσάνη) and descriptive elements (ἐν ὑπόγεῳ λόφῳ σπήλαιον … τὸ ἄντρον) which matched the specific landscape of rocky Cappadocia and which therefore certainly deserve explanation and, as far as possible, geographical contextualization. These important topological observations are, however, completely absent or plainly wrong both in the passio of Metaphrastes and in the notice preserved by the Synaxarium of Constantinople.11 Regardless of these discrepancies, typical of these shortened versions, where places and names were stripped out, the passio of Hieron represents an important and weighty testimonium for appreciating non-urban areas in the process of Cappadocian Christianization between the late third and early fourth centuries. The biographical details of Hieron’s life contain several hagiographical clichés of the compulsory enrolment. When Diocletian and Maximian, after a serious defeat at the hands of the Persians, perhaps the disaster of Galerius in 296,12 began to enrol new recruits to swell the ranks of the army, imperial emissaries were sent to τὴν τῶν Καππαδοκῶν … χώραν to enlist by force Christians, who were not given the option of refusing the draft. Although news of the imminent arrival of the soldiers caused all the able-bodied men to flee from the city, the envoys heard about a particularly strong vineyard labourer, named Hieron, and tried to press-gang him into service.13 Hieron energetically defended himself,    Chronographia, 406.9–18]; George Cedrenus [Bekker, Cedrenus, 1.633.3–6]; Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus, Historia ecclesiastica 16.26 [pg 147.168]; Marcellinus Comes, Chro­ nica ad ann. 515, 5 [Mommsen, Chronica minora, 2.99]). On the chronology of the composition related to these invasions cf. Mango, ‘Three Inscriptions’, 381 n. 5; Thierry, ‘Un problème de continuité’, 129–130 with n. 110; ead., ‘Avanos-Vénasa’; ead., ‘La Cappadoce’, 876 n. 23; Aubert, ‘Hiéron’; Cassia, La piaga e la cura, 122–123 with n. 226. After these incursions, efforts at restoration were initiated at Melitene and probably completed during the reign of Justin i; in Cappadocia, where the invaders caused serious damage, the fortifications were also reinforced: Procop. Aed. 4.19–20; Jo. Mal. chron. 16.17 (Dindorf, Chronographia, 406); cf. Greatrex and Lieu, Roman Eastern Frontier, 78. 9  Passio altera (bhg 750; ActaSS Nov. 3, 335B–338D; pg 116.109–120). 10  Walter, Warrior Saints, 177–180. 11  In the Synaxarium (199–200) only the city of Melitene is mentioned. 12  On the sources related to the Persian campaigns of Diocletian and Galerius in ad 286– 298 see Dodgeon and Lieu, Roman Eastern Frontier, 125–131. 13  Passio S. Hieronis 3 (330E–F): τῶν οὖν ἐκπεμφθέντων κατὰ τὴν τῶν Καππαδοκῶν ἐνδιατριβόν­ των χώραν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκεῖσε ἐπ᾽ ἀνδρίᾳ φημιζομένους ἀπογραφομένων, κατέλαβον καὶ αὐτὴν τὴν περιοικίδα, ἐν ἧ�ͅ ὁ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἱερώτατος ἀθλητὴς Ἱέρων τὴν κατοικίαν ἐκέκτητο. Καὶ δὴ μάντων,

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


striking out and putting the press gang to flight, and sought refuge with some companions at Korama ‘in a strongly defended cavern in a crag which was hollowed out underground’ (ὀχυρώτατον ἐν ὑπόγεῳ λόφῳ σπήλαιον). Here, ‘in the cave where he hid himself’ (τὸ ἄντρον ἐν ὧ�ͅ κατεκρύπτετο), he was besieged by new soldiers, but again he was able to prevent their access to the cave by his own strength.14 After he was persuaded to surrender, he ended up enrolling in the imperial army and was forced to travel with his companions (three of them his own relatives).15 During the night an angel, clothed in white, revealed his destiny, that he would be martyred for the faith. Hieron’s companions learned the content of the dream, and decided not to participate in the sacrificial ritual scheduled for the following day and attended by all the recruits.16 They then suffered the usual interrogation, threats, beatings, and tortures. Answering the ἐν αὐτῇ φόβῳ τῆς τῶν ἀρχόντων ἐπιθέσεως φυγῆ τῆς οἰκείας σωτηρίας προνοησαμένων, μάλιστα τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ ἄνθει τῆς ἡλικίας τὸ καρτερὸν ἐπιδεικνυμένων, οἳ καὶ πρὸς τὸ στρατολογεῖσθαι περὶ πολλοῦ ἀνεζητοῦντο, καὶ τῶν στρατιωτῶν ἀβάτων παρεπομένων τοῖς τῆς κακοπιστίας ἄρχουσι τὴν κώμην κύκλῳ περιλαβόντων, συνέβη μόνους τοὺς διὰ γῆρας ἢ ἀσθένειαν ἀποδράσαι μὴ δυναμένους ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν καταληφθῆναι. Οὓς καὶ κατασχόντες, καὶ ἀπειλαῖς καταπλήξαντες, ζημίαις καὶ μάστιξιν ὑποβαλεῖν διετείνοντο, εἰ μὴ τοὺς ἀναζητουμένους παρ᾽ αὐτῶν ὑποδείξειαν φυγάδας. Οἱ δὲ οἴκοι φυλάσσοντες γηραιοὶ—οἱ καὶ προύχοντες τυχόν, ἤ, ὡς ἄν τις εἴποι, πράκτορες—βίας αὐτοῖς κατεπειγούσης, οἷα δὴ καὶ τῆς φήμης τοῦ μακαρίου Ἱέρωνος πανταχόσε διαθεούσης ἀκαταγώνιστον ἰσχὺν τοῦτον κεκτῆσθαι—οὐδὲ γὰρ τοῖς τὰ τοιαῦτα ὑπηρετοῦσιν ἀγνοούμενον ἦν, ὡς παρὰ τῶν ἐγχωρίων ἀ�δͅ όμενον— τὸν ἀγρόν, ἐν ὧ�ͅ τῆς γεωργικῆς ἐπεμελεῖτο τέχνης, ὁ τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος κυρίου δοκιμώτατος ἐργάτης, συνεπαγόμενοι καὶ τοὺς ἐπὶ τούτῳ ταχθέντας, καταλαμβάνουσιν αὐτὸν ἅμα καὶ ἑτέρων ὀκτωκαίδεκα συγκοινωνῶν τῆς ἐργασίας ἐχόμενον. 14  Passio S. Hieronis 4 (331A–B): καὶ δὴ πλησίον που τῆς αὐτῆς περιοικίδος ὀχυρώτατον ἐν ὑπόγεῳ λόφῳ σπήλαιον εὑρηκώς, ὅπερ τέχνη λατομίας εἰς ὑπόκενον γλυφὴν διεσκεύασεν, ἐπί τινα χρόνον, ἐν αὐτῶ κατακρυπτόμενος διεσώζετο. Οἱ δὲ στρατιῶται τοῦτο μὲν τῆς ἥττης τὴν αἰσχύνην μὴ φέροντες, τοῦτο δὲ καὶ τὴν τῶν ἀρχόντων ἀγανάκτησιν ὑφορώμενοι, θυμοῦ τε καὶ μανίας πλησθέντες, πολλῷ πλέον κατὰ τοῦ ἁγίου ἐνηρεθίζοντο. Εἰς ἑαυτοὺς δὲ γενόμενοι, καὶ τὴν ἧτταν ἀναπλάσαι βουλόμενοι, σὺν ἐρεύνῃ οὐκ ὀλίγῃ μετὰ καὶ ἑτέρας πληθύος, τὸ ἄντρον ἐν ὧ�ͅ κατεκρύπτετο διαλαβόντες, τινὰς μὲν τῶν στρατιωτῶν παραφυλάττειν εἴασαν, κατ᾽ αὐτὴν τὴν εἴσοδον ἐπιστάντας, ὡς ἂν μὴ πάλιν διαδρὰς οἴχηται, ἑτέρους δὲ πρὸς τὸν τῆς ἐπαρχίας ἄρχοντα πεπομφότες, περὶ βοηθείας ἐξεκαλοῦντο· οὕτω γὰρ δειλὸν ἡ ἀσέβεια, ὡς καὶ τὰς σκιὰς ὑποτρέμειν τῶν εὐσεβούντων, μή τί γε αὐτοὺς τοὺς ἀνδρίᾳ τῶν πολλῶν διαφέροντας. 15  Passio S. Hieronis 5 (331D): … τὰ μὲν κολακείαις, τὰ δὲ παραινέσεσι τὴν πρεσβυτικὴν αἰδε­ σιμότητα εὐλαβηθῆναι, τὸν ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς ὑπήκοον παρέπεισε καὶ τοῦ σπηλαίου ἐξαγαγών, πρὸς τὴν πάτριον ἑστίαν σὺν αὐτῷ παραγίνεται … καὶ τοῖς συνειλεγμένοις ἅπασιν ὁμοθυμαδὸν συνταξάμενος, πᾶσι δὲ τοῖς Ματηανοῖς χαίρειν εἰπών, ἅμα τῷ συγγενεῖ Οὐΐκτορι καὶ δυσὶν ἀδελφιδοῖς, Ἀντωνίῳ καὶ Ματρωνιανῷ, τῆς πρὸς τὰ πρόσω ὁδοῦ σπουδαιότερον εἴχετο. 16  On the spread of the cult of the holy warriors, who refused to sacrifice to the gods or the emperor and would not undertake military service, see Grotowski, Arms and Armour, 58 n. 6; on holy warriors see also Métivier, La Cappadoce, 410; Limberis, Architects of Piety, 47–50; Cooper and Decker, Life and Society, 224.



Figure 3.1 Rocky Cappadocia reproduced from n. thierry, ‘découvertes’, 657 sch. 1

questions of the military official, Hieron stated that he was a native of a village of Cappadocia Secunda called [Μα]τιανή, which was much later the seat of a bishop probably subject to Mokissos, as we learn from the Notitiae episcopatu­ um. This can be identified as the modern place called Matchan/Maçan, later renamed Avcılar (which is situated 8 km south of Avanos [ancient Venasa], 10 km east of Nevşehir, and 7 km to the west-north-west of Ürgüp [Agios Prokopios]), which since 1992 has become part of Göreme (fig. 3.1).17 17  P assio S. Hieronis 10 (333A): ὁ δὲ ἄρχων πρὸς τὸν ἅγιον Ἱέρωνα συντείνας τὸν λόγον ἀνηρώτα· ‘Πόθεν εἶ σύ;’ Ὁ ἅγιος Ἱέρων· ‘Ἀπὸ τῆς δευτέρας’, ἔφησεν, ‘Καππαδοκῶν ἐπαρχίας ὥρμημαι. Κώμη δέ μοι τοὔνομα Τύανα’ (lege τοὔνομα Ματύανα vel Ματιανή). In the centre of Maçan

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


One of the relatives of Hieron, Victor, yielded to torture and bought his freedom by offering the commentariensis18 a plot of land in the village of Korama (τὸ ἐν Κοράμοις τῇ κώμῃ κτημάτιον),19 modern Göreme,20 located 5 km west of Agios Prokopios, within the Nevşehir-Ürgüp-Gülşehir triangle, an extended area of about 300 km² that is characterized by a lunar landscape sprinkled with tufa cones, great pinnacles with circular bases, naturally created by volcanic activity there is a Roman tomb near the peak of a great rock cone: two broken Doric columns hang from the ceiling of the entrance and the base on which they once rested has gone missing. Two rock churches have been discovered near Maçan, one of which is decorated with frescoes from the first half of the ninth century; cf. Thierry, ‘Matériaux nouveaux’, 318–322; ead., ‘Découvertes’, 657 n. 5, 659; see also Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 112. 18  Jones, Later Roman Empire, 2.587: ‘the commentariensis was concerned with criminal trials, had custody of prisoners, and disposed of a staff of torturers’. According to Delmaire, Les institutions, 178, a commentariensis was a subordinate of the governor charged with denunciations and arrests. On the functions of this position, see also Neri, I marginali, 445–447. The same person is defined a little later in the passio as a ταχυγράφος or shorthand-writer: τοῦ αὐτοῦ ταχυγράφου ἥτοι κομενταρισίου (Passio S. Hieronis 11 [333C]). 19  Passio S. Hieronis 11 (333B–D): κατὰ δὲ τὴν αὐτὴν νύκτα, μετακαλεσάμενος ὁ Οὐΐκτωρ τὸν τηνικαῦτα τὴν τοῦ κομενταρισίου ἀναδεδεγμένον ὑπηρεσίαν· ‘Ἐπειδὴ’, ἔφη, ‘τῶν προσδοκωμένων μοι κολαστηρίων τὴν πεῖραν καὶ τὰς παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἄρχοντος μελλούσας ἐπενεχθήσεσθαι τιμωρίας ἀσθενείᾳ φύσεως καὶ δειλίᾳ ὑπενεγκεῖν ἀμηχανῶ, παρακαλῶ τὴν σὴν ἐνδοξότητα ποιῆσαι μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἔλεος. Καὶ εἰ ταῖς παρά σοι βίβλοις, ἐν οἷς καὶ τὸ ἐμὸν ἀναγέγραπται ὄνομα, ἀπαλείψας τῶν δεσμῶν ἐξαγάγοις, δωροῦμαί σοι τὸ ἐν Κοράμοις τῇ κώμῃ κτημάτιόν μου ἐν χάριτος μοίρᾳ, εὐεργεσίας ἀμοιβὴν τῆς παρ᾽ ὑμῶν ἕνεκεν γενησομένης’. Ὁ δὲ τῶν ῥηθέντων ἡδέως ἐπακούσας, ἅτε δὴ καὶ αὐτὸς πλησίον καὶ σύνεγγυς τοῦ ἐπιδιδομένου ἔχων ἀγροῦ μέρος ὅμορον, κατὰ τὴν ἐνορίαν τοῦ πτωχείου τῆς λεγομένης Βασιλιάδος, ὁ καὶ διάκειται κατὰ τὴν ἐφορίαν που τῆς πόλεως Καισαρείας τῆς πρὸς τῷ Ἀργέῷ. Οὗτινος πτωχείου ὁ τοῦ αὐτοῦ ταχυγράφου ἥτοι κομενταρισίου πατὴρ ἡγεῖτο, τὴν ταχίστην τῶν ἐπὶ τοῦς συμβολαίοις γραφέα μετακαλεσάμενος καὶ τὴν δωρεὰν ἐγγράφῳ σημειώσει διαπραξάμενος, καὶ τὸ ὑποσχεθὲν ἀπολαβών, αὐτὸ μὲν ἐκεῖνο ἀποδίδωσι παραυτίκα τῷ πτωχείῳ Βασιλιάδος· τὸν δὲ Οὐΐκτορα τῶν τε δεσμῶν λύσας, καὶ τῆς φυλακῆς ἐξαγαγὼν τὴν σωτηρίαν ἑαυτῷ πραγματεύσασθαι παρεγγυᾶται. Ἤδη δὲ μέσης νυκτὸς ἐπιλαβομένης, καὶ πάντων ὕπνῳ βαθεῖ κατεχομένων, ἐκεῖθεν, ἤτοι ἐκ Μελιτινῆς, διαδρὰς ἅμα καὶ ἑτέρου τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ ἐγκεκλεισμένων, τὴν ἄδοξον καὶ πρὸς ἀπώλειαν ἄγουσαν διάσωσιν, ὥς γε ὥ�ͅ ετο, ἑαυτῷ περιποιεῖται. 20  These compelling place-name similarities were emphasized by de Jerphanion in his essential and monumental work, Les églises rupestres, 1/1.21–22: ‘Matchan n’est autre, en effet, que l’ancienne Ματιανή, patrie de saint Hiéron … Malgré son apparence turque, le nom de Gueurémé est ancienne. C’est le Κόραμα des Actes de saint Hiéron, lieu voisin de Matchan d’où le saint était originaire.’ Against de Jerphanion’s argument, which is based on the topography and modern toponymy, and relying on the assertion in the passio that Korama was near the Basilias, the centre for poor relief founded by Basil around 373 close to Caesarea, Hild and Restle, Kappadokien, 215, suggest that the κώμη of Korama, where the property (κτημάτιον, γῄδιον) of Victor lay, should not be identified with Göreme, but with Gereme (or, in an earlier spelling, Gedeme), which is located on a height near Mount Argaeus, 28 km south-south-west of Caesarea, where a late Roman settlement, documented by numismatic finds, cisterns, house remains and a funerary structure, has been identified (cf. Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 171).



and erosion and transformed by man into hollow, inhabitable complexes, in which the living spaces are spread over several storeys of each cone. At the base of each structure there are entrances destined for stables, but a little higher we find houses for one or more families, with niches of different sizes and a central space used for a kitchen-living room and a bedchamber. Apart from a Roman tomb of uncertain date,21 the valley of Göreme in particular preserves excellent examples of early Christian monastic colonies, more than thirty churches cut into the rock and chapels with wall paintings.22 Hieron, however, underwent a quite different fate: before being decapitated together with his companions, his right hand was cut off for having frustrated the Roman soldiers. In the will which the saint dictated to his grandsons, Antonius and Matronianus, he left a vineyard located near Pedesia (Πεδησία) to his sister Theotima, mentioned his brother Cyriacus and above all made known that his hand was to be kept as a relic in a resting place situated in the place called Kodessane where there appears to have been a country house, a παράδεισος or leisure garden, and an orchard probably belonging to ‘the most distinguished Rusticius, governor of the city of Ancyra’. Hieron, finally, charged his two relatives to testify as witnesses to the will’s validity in the presence of the inhabitants of Matiane and Korama.23 Catherine Jolivet-Lévy has identified Kodessane as a site located about a kilometre north of Göreme itself, modern Çavuşin (fig. 3.1), where she suggests that the martyrial church dedicated to St John the Baptist in fact preserved a relic of Hieron in a niche carved into the apse.24 Çavuşini means in Turkish ‘(the cave) of the sergeant’ but echoes phonetically the ancient toponym Καδεσάνη/Κοδεσσάνη.25 Nicole Thierry has 21  Thierry, ‘Matériaux nouveaux’, 315–317. 22  On Korama (Göreme) and Agios Prokopios (Ürgüp) see Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 110–112, 109. 23  P assio S. Hieronis 12 (333EF–334A): ὡσαύτως καὶ τὸ ἀποτμηθὲν μέλος τῆς χειρός μου παρὰ τοῦ λυσσήσαντος καθ᾽ ἡμῶν ἀνημέρου δουκός, τῇ μητρί μου ἀποδόντες εἴπατε αὐτῇ ὡς ἂν τῷ τῶν τὴν Ἀγκυριανῶν πολιτείαν πηδαλιουχοῦντι μεγαλοπρεπεστάτῳ Ῥουστικίῳ, γράμμασι δια­ πέμψηται ὥστε τὸν οἶκον τὸν ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τῷ ἐπιλεγομένῳ Κοδεσσάνῃ διακείμενον, ἅμα τοῦ περὶ αὐτὸν παραδείσου καὶ τῆς ἄλλης περὶ κύκλῳ φυτουργίας παρασχεθῆναί μοι, εἰς τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ προρρηθέντος λειψάνου τῆς χειρός μου κατάθεσιν ἐπιτελεσθῆναι. Πάντας δὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς καὶ φίλους καὶ γνωστοὺς ἡμῶν, ὅσοι τε ἐν Μαντιανοῖς καὶ ὅσοι ἐν Κοράμοις ταῖς κώμαις τὴν παροικίαν κέκτηνται, γνησίως προσαγορεύσατε τῆς ἡμῶν ξυναυλίας καὶ τῆς ἐν ἀλλήλοις συν­ διαγωγῆς, μηδαμῶς ἐπιλανθάνεσθαι. 24   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, esp. 476; Thierry, ‘La basilique de Saint-JeanBaptiste’; ead., ‘Haut moyen âge’; Maraval, Lieux saints, 373; Lemaigre Demesnil, Archi­ tecture rupestre, 31. See also Hild and Restle, Kappadokien, 207. 25   Jolivet-Lévy, L’arte della Cappadocia, 342.

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


hypothesized that the passio was composed almost at the same time as the building of the church at Çavuşin at the end of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth century (on this last aspect see p. 94 below).26 Unlike Peeters and Walter, other modern scholars have been more inclined to assign historical value to specific elements in the passio. Maria G. Parani has particularly emphasized the existence of a hagiographical tradition according to which Hieron was a vine dresser rather than a soldier.27 Jolivet-Lévy has emphasized the local character of the cult of Hieron, who was always closely connected with Cappadocia, his native region, and represented as a saint in military garb in the frescoes of several churches, dating to the tenth and eleventh centuries.28 In fact, we should summarize the essential findings of the French scholar’s brief but fundamental study of the iconography of St Hieron in the rocky churches of Cappadocia. A colossal image of the saint, armed with a lance and shield, can be seen in Tokalı Kilise 1 (Göreme 7): this was added to the east end of the north wall of the nave of the Old Church, and so is considered to be part of the decoration of the New Church, dating to 950–960 (fig. 3.2). Hieron is represented as a beardless, bare-armed young man with dark and short hair with a central parting and three small strands of hair on the front, twice as large as the neighbouring figures (fig. 3.3–4). He stands at the entrance of the new nave, to highlight ‘son rôle de gardien du sanctuaire’.29 The representation of the saint in the Church of the Great Pigeonhouse of Çavuşin, also known as the Church of Nicephorus Phocas, is chronologically later, datable to the time of the victorious expeditions conducted by the emperor Nicephorus in Cilicia in 964–965.30 The frescoes celebrate the heroes of the war against the Arabs, especially the emperor, who belonged to the military aristocracy and landowning class of Cappadocia and who was depicted with other members of his family in the little northern apse, surmounted by a representation of the archangel Michael appearing to Joshua before the capture of 26  Thierry, ‘Monuments de Cappadoce’, 48; ead., Haut Moyen-âge, 1.60–104, esp. 103–104. 27  Parani, Reality of Images, 154 n. 261. 28   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’. On the distinction between greater (apart from our Hieron, also George, Theodorus, Mercurius, and the forty martyrs) and lesser (Longinus, Gordius, and Orestes) military saints of Cappadocia, cf. Limberis, Architects of Piety, 41–50. 29   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 473. On the visual aspects of this representation see Ousterhout, ‘Sightlines’, 853–860. Cf. also Gülyaz and Ölmez, Cappadocia, 34. 30  On the military campaigns in Anatolia in the tenth century cf. Cheynet, ‘L’espansione bizantina’, 39–40; Martin-Hisard, ‘L’Anatolia’, 450–453.



Figure 3.2 ‘Planimetric’ drawings of the iconographic cycles, Tokalı Kilise 1 (Göreme 7) reproduced from c. jolivet-lévy, la cappadoce médiévale, 281

Jericho. The general John Tzimiskes and the magister Melias are also depicted in triumphal garb on the north wall of the nave (fig. 3.5). Nicephorus Phocas, after halting in Cappadocia in the spring of 964 to organize the army, crossed the Taurus in July, leaving the empress and their two sons at Dryzion, a fortress near Tyana, a hundred kilometres south of Çavuşin. After the recapture of Anazarbus and Adana, the emperor returned to winter in Cappadocia. The campaign of 965 led to the capture of Mopsuestia and Tarsus, and was designed to open the road to Syria and Palestine. ‘Placed in this historical context, the

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia

Figure 3.3 Fresco of St Hieron, Tokalı Kilise 1 (Göreme 7) reproduced from c. jolivet-lévy, ‘hagiographie cappadocienne’, 484 fig. 3


Figure 3.4 Sketch of St Hieron, Tokalı Kilise 1 (Göreme 7) reproduced from c. jolivet-lévy, la cappadoce médiévale, 340

paintings that are preserved in the church, and the details of the iconographic programme, clarify the circumstances of its foundation. The church was probably excavated from the rock and decorated around 965 to pay homage to the imperial couple and the soldiers who fought in the struggle against the Arabs, or rather to commemorate their victories.’31 In an isolated position on the east wall of the nave, we find a military saint of great size, standing with a lance 31   Jolivet-Lévy, L’arte della Cappadocia, 71: ‘ricollocati in questo contesto storico, i ritratti conservati nella chiesa, così come le particolarità del programma iconografico, chiariscono le circostanze della fondazione: probabilmente la chiesa fu scavata e decorata verso il 965 per rendere omaggio alla coppia imperiale e ai soldati impegnati nella lotta contro gli Arabi oppure per commemorarne le vittorie’.


Figure 3.5 ‘Planimetric’ drawings of the iconographic cycles, Çavuşin, Church of the Great Pigeonhouse reproduced from c. jolivet-lévy, la cappadoce médiévale, 293


Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


and a circular shield: his identification is certain, since we can read the words ὁ ἅγηος Ἡ[έ]ρων, running from one side of his face to the other (fig. 3.6). In a church like this, where there is a marked tendency to exalt the archangels and military saints, like the forty martyrs of Sebaste, the presence of a local martyr in the form of a monumental icon, situated at the right side of the apse and as a deliberate symmetrical counterpart to the scene of the appearance of Michael to Joshua (an exemplary image of the aid offered by God to his soldiers), attests the importance of Hieron. Hieron’s assistance and protection in the heat of battle ‘devaient être invoquées au même titre que celles des archanges ou des martyrs de Sébaste’.32 There is a significant difference between this military iconography of the saint and that to be seen in the church of St John at Güllü, in a valley near Çavuşin. The piers in the funerary chapel (the north apse) of this double church, datable between 913 and 921, depict four saints, one of which, a young and beardless man, holds a martyr’s cross before his breast. The inscription confirms that this is Hieron, [ὁ ἅγι]ος Ἱέρον, even if he is depicted in a chlamys, usually the garb of a martyr, but also the military cloak of a soldier.33 Apart from these three cases, which can be ascribed to the tenth century, Jolivet-Lévy lists another four depictions from the eleventh. One is in Kara­ bulut Kilise (now used as a cistern) near Avcılar (Μatiane), where Hieron was depicted (only a small part of the head is preserved and in very bad condition) on the east side of the eastern niche of the south wall of the nave, with the inscription ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἱέρ[ων], and a bloody sword in his right hand. The figure was placed next to the monumental icon of the enthroned Christ and acts as guard of the sanctuary. Another is at Ören near Nar, not far from Nevşehir, where the warrior saint was again shown in a privileged position on the west side of the piers that flank the middle apse, wearing a cuirass and red cloak, armed with lance and shield, and with the inscription ΙΕ …34 A third clear example is at Saklı Kilise (Göreme 2a), where a beardless Hieron was portrayed on the north pilaster between the two parts of the transverse nave (with a scene of the Crucifixion and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple), wearing a cuirass, holding a lance in his right hand and leaning on a big shield 32   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 472; cf. ead., L’arte della Cappadocia, 73 and 342: ‘la trasformazione del vigoroso vignaiolo in un temibile guerriero conferma l’interesse per i santi soldati, che, in una regione fortemente militarizzata, erano ritenuti i santi più efficaci per la protezione dei fedeli’. 33   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 473–474; cf. ead., L’arte della Cappadocia, 342; Lemaigre Demesnil, Architecture rupestre, 41–44. On the meaning of the term χλαμύς cf. lsj, s.v. 34   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 474 and 484 fig. 4.


Figure 3.6 Fresco showing St Hieron, Çavuşin, Church of the Great Pigeonhouse reproduced from c. jolivet-lévy, ‘hagiographie cappadocienne’, 483 fig. 1


Figure 3.7 Fresco of St Hieron, Saklı Kilise, Göreme 2a reproduced from c. jolivet-lévy, ‘hagiographie cappadocienne’, 493 fig. 5

(fig. 3.7).35 A final example is found in the narthex of a church (Göreme 31), near Kılıçlar Kilise, where the saint occupied his customary strategic position near the entrance, holding a globe in his left hand, a novel attribute inspired by the iconography of the archangels, and thus adopting a pose intended to glorify Hieron himself (fig. 3.8).36

35   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 475; ead., L’arte della Cappadocia, 381 fig. 142. 36   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 475; Jolivet-Lévy and Lemaigre Demesnil, La Cappadoce, 1.64 with pl. 57.6; Walter, Warrior Saints, 179, has added to these images of Hieron also three representations in miniatures present respectively in a manuscript of the monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai (Sinaït. 500, fol. 92v); in the menologion of Basil ii preserved in the Vatican library (Vat. Gr. 1613, fol. 166r); and in the menologion of Oxford (Bodlei. theol. f. 1, fol. 16).

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


Figure 3.8 Fresco of St Hieron, Kılıçlar Kilise, Göreme 31 photo courtesy of c. jolivet-lévy

From this panorama we can infer, as Jolivet-Lévy has noted, some precious items of information: first of all, the particular veneration that a martyr like Hieron received exclusively in Cappadocia, and the lasting attestation of his cult until the eleventh century in the rock churches; then, the close relationship between the iconography and the passio, between the saint’s enlarged appearance and military garb in the paintings, and Hieron’s strength and the story of his coerced enlistment in the written account; and finally, the scant interest in the details of the hagiographic account, and the preference accorded to the ‘hieratic and stereotyped representation of saints, icons presented for veneration by the faithful’.37 While this last claim can certainly be accepted as a general point, this one reason does not seem to explain the cultic and devotional emphasis conferred on the saint’s military image rather than on his roles as a martyr and vine dresser. In other words, the essentially local dimension of this cult in the hagiographic tradition prompts us to further reflection. It cannot be a coincidence that the sole monument that presents Hieron in the garb of a martyr, wearing 37   Jolivet-Lévy, ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne’, 477: ‘représentations hiératiques et stéréo­ typées des saints, icônes offertes à la vénération des fidèles’.



the simple chlamys, dates to the beginning of the tenth century, while in all the other depictions—those preserved at Tokalı Kilise and in the Church of the Great Pigeonhouse as well as those from the following century—the saint wears a cuirass, carries arms, and, above all, fulfils, like the archangels and other military saints, the function of a guardian. The historical turning-point identifiable in the changing of the iconographic type from martyr to soldier should certainly be sought at the moment when depictions of Hieron became most conspicuous, when the first successes of the Cappadocian Nicephorus, the future emperor, began to take shape. Nicephorus was born around 912 and spent his youth in the army, serving first under Constantine vii Porphyrogenitus, and though he encountered failures, he very quickly gave evidence of his qualities as a commander, and then went on to achieve important victories as emperor during the military campaigns in Cilicia. In short, the revival of the cult of Hieron the soldier, originally a vine dresser of Matiane in rocky Cappadocia and martyr under Diocletian, is completely explicable in the mid-tenth century, the period in which the earliest iconographic representation of Hieron as a warrior appears at Korama (Göreme) in Tokalı Kilise, and the moment when the young Nicephorus demonstrated his warrior prowess and took his own steps towards the throne of Byzantium. To confirm that this turning-point from vine dresser to warrior, which is clear in the iconography, should be closely connected with the emperor’s as‑ cent to the throne, we can turn to the peculiar description of the Cappadocian landscape which is provided, not by coincidence, in the narrative of Nice­ phorus’s campaign in Cilicia in 963. Leo the Deacon described the region as a land inhabited by Τρωγλοδῦται, so-called because they secreted themselves in ‘caverns, hollows, and burrows, as if they were holes and underground quarters’ (ἐν τρώγλαις καὶ χηραμοῖς καὶ λαβυρίνθοις, ὡσανεὶ φωλεοῖς καὶ ὑπιωγαῖς).38 The notice offers a particularly important piece of information, since the Histories of Leo constitute the principal source for the reign of Nicephorus, contemporaneous and above all based on eyewitness, or at any rate based on

38  Leo Diaconus, Historia 3.1 (Hase, Historiae, 35–36): ἤδη δὲ τοῦ ἦρος μεσοῦντος, καὶ τοῦ φωσφόρου πρὸς τὸν ἀρκτικὸν πόλον ἠρέμα ὑπανακάμπτοντος, καὶ περὶ τὸν ταῦρον τὴν διφρείαν ἐλαύνοντος, τοῦ Βυζαντίου ἀπάρας ὁ Νικηφόρος ἐπὶ τὴν καταντιπέραν τῆς Ἀσίας χώραν καταίρει· καὶ πρὸς τὴν Καππαδοκῶν ἀφικόμενος (Τρωγλοδῦται τὸ ἔθνος τὸ πρόσθεν κατωνομάζετο, τῷ ἐν τρώγλαις καὶ χηραμοῖς καὶ λαβυρίνθοις, ὡσανεὶ φωλεοῖς καὶ ὑπιωγαῖς, ὑποδύεσθαι), καὶ τὴν σκηνὴν ἐκεῖσε πηξάμενος, πανταχόσε διαγράμματα ἔστελλε, τὸν στρατὸν πανσυδὶ ὡς αὑτὸν συνεγείρων καὶ ἐκκαλούμενος. After he had stormed Mopsuestia at the end of a long siege, the emperor proceeded to winter in Cappadocia: Historia 3.11 (ibid., 54). Cf. also Cooper and Decker, Life and Society, 41.

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


the accounts of eyewitnesses, as the author himself describes.39 In short, the rocky habitat was not only a familiar context for the Byzantine emperor, but it was also the birthplace of his holy protector par excellence, Hieron himself. 2

Caves, Monks and Hermits

We should ask at this point whether, in light of the useful but late depictions that are offered by the iconographic cycles of the rocky churches, it is still possible to anchor the testimony of the passio to sources of a different nature, or, in other words, regardless of whether a martyr named Hieron existed, whether the chronological, toponymic, and geomorphic information recoverable from the passio can be confirmed historically not by hagiographical accounts, but by other sources, contemporary with the events narrated in the passio itself or datable to the following century. For this we must reconsider the fundamental studies of Thierry, who has brought to light the antiquity of numerous sites, which had wrongly been considered exclusively medieval, Venasa (Avanos), Korama (Göreme-Avcılar), Agios Prokopios (Ürgüp), Mataza (Mazıköy), Mavrucan (Güzelöz), and Soandos (Soğanlı).40 By patient reconnaissance of archaeological remains, which had been passed over or attributed to the Roman imperial period, Thierry identified a fil rouge which, without solving the issue of continuity, connected antiquity and the medieval period: ‘little by little ancient and early Christian Cappadocia is coming to light, as there was every reason to expect, given that the continuity

39  Leo Diaconus, Historia 1.1 (Hase, Historiae, 5): τὰ δὲ τούτων ἐχόμενα, καὶ ὅσα ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ αὐτὸς τεθέαμαι (εἴπερ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὤτων πιστότεροι, καθ’ Ἡρόδοτον), τὰ δὲ καὶ πρὸς τῶν ἰδόντων ἠκρίβωσα, ταῦτα καὶ δώσω γραφῇ. A possible reference, approximately contemporary, to the rocky settlements can also be seen in a passage from the anonymous Byzantine poem Digenes Akritas (10th/​11th cent. ad?), in which the poet tells how at the funeral of the brave warrior (ἀκρίτας, i.e. a ‘soldier of the border’), son of a Cappadocian mother and Saracen father (διγενής, i.e. ‘born of a double line’), an immense crowd was present, ἄρχοντες τῆς ἀνατολῆς … πλεῖστοι, / Χαρσιανοί, Καππάδοκες, Κουκουλιθαριῶται, / Πονδανδῖται οἱ δοκίμοι, Ταρσῖται (8.203–205). According to Wood, ‘Koukoulithariotai’, 91–92, the term Κουκουλιθαριῶται is of popular origin (from κουκούλα, ‘hood’, ‘chimney’, and λίθος or λι­ θάριον, ‘stone’, ‘rock’) and would mean ‘the people of the rock shaped like a hood’, that is, the inhabitants of this particular area of Cappadocia where the morphology of the area, characterized, as has been mentioned, by great tufa cones like a monk’s scapular, the overcloak with headgear of the monks, allowed the creation of rocky settlements; on the subject cf. Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 262–263. 40  Cf. Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 210–211 (Venasa), 126 (Mataza), 215–216 (Soandos).



between paganism and the beginnings of Christianity is a constant factor’.41 A well-known monumental tomb found near Ürgüp, pagan in origin and datable to the second or third century, probably later hosted Christian burials, as the inscriptions and the decoration of Maltese and Latin crosses attest.42 Rock tombs of the imperial period are also found at Mazıköy, where the Roman cemetery is situated in an eastern valley. In an open field north of Matiane (Maçan), there is also a fine tomb with arches that dates to the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century, as shown by the style of the capitals and the gate pillars. The Roman and early Christian tombs at Mavrucan (Güzelöz) were located next to each other, and church 3, whose frescoes date to the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century, was found in the heart of the same necropolis.43 Thierry, who has ruled out dating the first rock churches before the beginning of the sixth or, at the earliest, before the end of the fifth century, has acutely related all these burial places to the passio of the local hero Hieron: ‘the only hagiographic text which related to the rocky region, in particular to the area Matiane, dates to this period [i.e. the end of the fifth/ beginning of the sixth century]’.44 The west slope of the Göreme valley is occupied by a necropolis, and there are rock churches and monasteries on the east slope and in the circular valley bottom. The ancient tombs were dug both in the isolated cones and within the groups of cones that stretch out from the side of the valley (fig. 3.9). Thierry has made a detailed study of and counted the rock structures from which the tombs were excavated. Rock cone 2, situated among the vineyards, contains three ancient tombs, a series of graves cut under a low vault, a sar­ cophagus with an arcosolium, and further tombs, some of which were still used in the medieval period (fig. 3.10); cones 3–5 also contain several tombs that can be dated to the Roman imperial period. Cone 1 is of special interest as it stands right at the entrance of the valley, in front of the path that leads to Saklı Kilise (Göreme 2a) which was decorated, as we have seen, with a fresco of St Hieron armed with cuirass, lance, and shield, 41  Thierry, ‘Monuments de Cappadoce’, 40: ‘peu à peu se dévoila une Cappadoce antique et chrétienne primitive qu’on était en juste droit d’attendre tant cette continuité du pa­ ganisme et des débuts du christianisme est une constante’. It is no coincidence that Métivier, La Cappadoce, 285–288, re-interpreted the information collected by Thierry in the context of a process of ‘promotion des bourgades’. 42  Thierry, ‘Note archéologique’; Kiourtzian, ‘Le Psaume 131’, 35 fig. 5–6, on the inscriptions including Ps 131:14, painted in red ochre above the entrance of the funerary room, and probably dating to between the fourth and sixth centuries ad. 43  Cf. Hild and Restle, Kappadokien, 231–232. 44  Thierry, ‘Monuments de Cappadoce’, 41–43, and 48: ‘le seul texte hagiographique relatif à la région rupestre, spécialement à celle de Matiane, date de cette période’.

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia

Figure 3.9 Sketch of the west side of the valley of Göreme reproduced from n. thierry, ‘découvertes’, 661 sch. 3

Figure 3.10

Section of cone no. 2 in the valley of Göreme reproduced from n. thierry, ‘découvertes’, 664 sch. 4




and contains a Roman tomb, initially destined for the burial of three bodies, but later used as a cell by an ascetic, who could be called a stylite in view of the elevation of the rock cone.45 We can add to these archaeological testimonia others drawn from literary sources, beginning with the panegyric for the martyred centurion Gordius, delivered by Basil, in all likelihood when he was already bishop, and addressed to an audience which included still living eyewitnesses.46 These would have been essentially contemporary with the events narrated in the passio of Hie­ron. According to Mario Girardi, ‘this on the one hand offers a guarantee that the facts reported by Basil are substantially reliable, and on the other is based on the presumption that the martyrdom of Gordius, like that of Julitta, took place soon after the beginning of the Diocletianic persecution’.47 Girardi has hypothesized that Basil’s reference to Gordius abandoning the army, glory and wealth, his relatives, friends and slaves, in short, every comfort of life, to seek refuge in an ascetic and contemplative life in the impassable solitudes of the mountains, should be understood as an allusion to the massif of Mount Argaeus, a specific element in the Cappadocian landscape.48 But, while confirming the territoriality of the narrative, we cannot rule out that the comparison between Gordius and Elijah, who, after encountering the rampant idolatry at Sidon, fled to Mount Horeb to live in a cave (ἐν τῷ σπηλαίῳ) and search for God, should also in some way be contextualized in the habitat of rocky Cappadocia.49

45  Thierry, ‘Découvertes’, 660–661: ‘utilisé comme cellule par un ascète qui pouvait se dire stylite compte tenu de l’élévation du rocher’. 46  Bas. hom. 18.3 (pg 31.497B): … μέχρι τοῦ νῦν εἰσί τινες οἱ ἀκούσαντες. For further discussion of this text see A. Busine in this volume (pp. 109–125). 47  Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea, 97: ‘ciò da una parte offre garanzia di sostanziale attendibilità dei fatti riportati da Basilio, dall’altra fa presumere, come già per quello di Giulitta, che il martirio di Gordio si sia consumato poco dopo gli inizi della persecuzione dioclezianea’. It must be said, however, that, as Busine asserts in this volume (pp. 110–111), such claims occur frequently in hagiographical accounts, used as a token of reliability and authenticity, but are not necessarily believable. 48  Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea, 107. 49  Bas. hom. 18.2 (pg 31.496B): τότε ὁ γενναῖος οὗτος προλαβὼν τὴν ἐκ τῶν δικαστηρίων ἀνάγκην, ῥίψας τὴν ζώνην, ὑπερόριος ἦν, ὑπεριδὼν δυναστείας, ὑπεριδὼν δόξης, πλούτου παντοδαποῦ, συγγενείας, φίλων, οἰκετῶν, ἀπολαύσεως βίου, πάντων ὅσα ἀνθρώποις ἐστὶ περισπούδαστα, πρὸς τὰς βαθυτάτας καὶ ἀνθρώποις ἀβάτους ἐρημίας ἀπέδραμε, τὸν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων βίον τῆς πρὸς τοὺς εἰδωλολατροῦντας κοινωνίας ἡμερώτερον ἡγησάμενος, κατὰ τὸν ζηλωτὴν Ἠλίαν, ὃς, ὅτε εἶδεν ἐπικρατοῦσαν τὴν εἱδωλολατρείαν τῆς Σιδωνίας, ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος ἀνέδραμε τὸ Χωρὴβ, καὶ ἐν τῷ σπηλαίῳ διῆγεν, ἐκζητῶν τὸν Θεὸν, ἕως εἶδε τὸν περιπόθητον, ὡς ἰδεῖν ἀνθρώπῳ Θεὸν δυνατόν.

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


It is quite probable that Basil himself referred to the settlements dug into the rock, in a letter of 373 addressed to his colleague and contemporary Am­ philochius, bishop of Iconium. The letter indicates how an alternative to pastoral activity for the two bishops was ‘to wander in deserted places’, including ‘the caves and the rocks’.50 In his Homily on the Hexameron, Basil explained the convexity of the firmament by an explicit comparison with ‘the construction of cave dwellings’ (τὰς τῶν ἀντρωδῶν οἰκοδομημάτων κατασκευάς), alluding both to the concave circular vaults within them and to their flat exteriors.51 In his exhortatory poem to Hellenius, Basil’s fellow countryman and con­ temporary, Gregory of Nazianzus, offered a detailed description of the lifestyle of Cappadocian anchorites, very many of whom retired to live in σπήλυγ‑ ξιν ἐρημαίαις (‘solitary caves’) and to rest on improvised beds. Some loaded themselves with chains to mortify the body and others holed up like wild beasts in small houses, passing as much as twenty days without eating or drinking.52 One anchorite imposed absolute silence on himself, while another passed the entire year praying to God without ever opening his eyes, like ‘a breathing rock’ (ἔμπνοος … λίθος).53 In addition to the possibility that the caves served as refuges for hermits, in which the monks voluntarily interred and secluded themselves, Gregory of Nazianzus identified ἀσκητήρια καὶ μον­αστήρια as centres where two different lifestyles, the contemplative and the active, came together and by God’s will were mixed in a combination which contributed to the sole glory of God.54 So we should not undervalue a 50  Bas. ep. 150.4 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 2.75): καὶ οἶδα ὅτι, εἰ μή σε κατεῖχεν ὁ δεσμὸς τῆς γηροκομίας τοῦ πατρός, οὐκ ἂν οὔτε αὐτὸς ἄλλο τι προετίμησας τῆς συντυχίας τοῦ ἐπισκόπου οὔτ’ ἂν ἐμοὶ συνεβούλευσας καταλιπόντι τοῦτον εἰς ἐρημίας πλανᾶσθαι. Τὰ μὲν γὰρ σπήλαια καὶ αἱ πέτραι ἀναμένουσιν ἡμᾶς, αἱ δὲ παρὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν ὠφέλειαι οὐκ ἀεὶ ἡμῖν παραμένουσιν. 51  Bas. hex. 3.4. 52  Gr. Naz. carm. quae spectant ad alios 1.55–64 (pg 37.1455–1456): ὧν οἱ μὲν σπήλυγξιν ἐρημαίαις τε χαμεύναις / τέρπονται σχεδίοις, καὶ στυγέουσι δόμους, / καὶ πτολίων φεύγουσιν ὁμήγυριν, οὐρανίης δὲ / στέργουσιν σοφίης σύγγονον ἀτρεμίην. / Οἱ δὲ σιδηρείῃσιν ἀλυκτοπέδαις μογέουσι, / τήκοντες κακίην σὺν χοῒ τηκομένῳ. / Ἄλλοι δ’ αὖ θήρεσσιν ὁμοίϊα δώμασι τυτθοῖς / εἱρχθέντες, βροτέης οὐδ’ ὀπὸς ἠντίασαν. / Εἴκοσι δ’ αὖ νύκτας τε καὶ ἤματα μίμνον ἄπαστοι / πολλάκι, τῆς Χριστοῦ ἥμισυ καρτερίης. 53  Gr. Naz. carm. de seipso 50.41–42 (pg 37.1388): ποῦ μοι παννυχίων μελέων στάσις, οἷς ὑπερείδων / τοὺς πόδας βεβαὼς, ἔμπνοος ὥστε λίθος. 54  Gr. Naz. or. 43.62.4–5: τοῦ τοίνυν ἐρημικοῦ βίου καὶ τοῦ μιγάδος μαχομένων πρὸς ἀλλήλους ὡς τὰ πολλὰ καὶ διϊσταμένων, καὶ οὐδετέρου πάντως ἢ τὸ καλὸν ἢ τὸ φαῦλον ἀνεπίμικτον ἔχοντος· ἀλλὰ τοῦ μὲν ἡσυχίου μὲν ὄντος μᾶλλον καὶ καθεστηκότος καὶ Θεῷ συνάγοντος, οὐκ ἀτύφου δὲ διὰ τὸ τῆς ἀρετῆς ἀβασάνιστον καὶ ἀσύγκριτον· τοῦ δὲ πρακτικωτέρου μὲν μᾶλλον καὶ χρησιμωτέρου, τὸ δὲ θορυβῶδες οὐ φεύγοντος, καὶ τούτους ἄριστα κατήλλαξεν ἀλλήλοις καὶ συνεκέρασεν· ἀσκητήρια καὶ μοναστήρια δειμάμενος μέν, οὐ πόρρω δὲ τῶν κοινωνικῶν καὶ μιγάδων, οὐδὲ



consistent lay presence in these sites as an essential component of the social fabric.55 While Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus describe the rocky habitat in clear and unequivocal terms, Gregory of Nyssa can also be seen to make a significant reference to it in the letter in which he advises against group pilgrimages to Palestine. Although he does not speak of rocks or caverns, he clearly mentions a Cappadocian landscape where the presence of God was patent in a territory dotted with so many θυσιαστήρια that they outnumbered all others in the rest of the inhabited world: καὶ μὴν εἰ ἔστιν ἐκ τῶν φαινομένων θεοῦ παρουσίαν τεκμήρασθαι, μᾶλλον ἄν τις ἐν τῷ ἔθνει τῶν Καππαδοκῶν τὸν θεὸν διαιτᾶσθαι νομίσειεν ἤπερ ἐν τοῖς ἔξω τόποις· ὅσα γάρ ἐστιν ἐν τούτοις θυσιαστήρια, δι’ ὧν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου δοξάζεται, οὐκ ἄν τις τὰ πάσης σχεδὸν τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐξαριθμήσαιτο θυσιαστήρια.56 As Pierre Maraval has explained, θυσιαστήριον, besides meaning of altar, can also denote a sanctuary.57 The word, in fact, can refer both to the object and to the place in which it is found (-τήριον being a topological suffix), as a place of consecration in which God encounters the believer who is sincerely animated by faith:58 if, then, he is speaking of such a large number of places of worship, then it is at least appropriate, if not obvious, to think that Gregory himself is alluding here to the rocky habitat, which was very familiar to him and where there were hermitages, retreats, and monasteries apart from the quarters for lay persons.59 Almost at the end of the letter Gregory of Nyssa expressly reaffirmed his advice to the Christian brotherhood, that they should undertake a journey out of their body towards the Lord rather than one from Cappadocia to Palestine: συμβούλευσον οὖν, ἀγαπητέ, τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἐκδημεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ σώματος πρὸς τὸν κύριον καὶ μὴ ἀπὸ Καππαδοκίας εἰς Παλαιστίνην.60 The term θυσιαστήριον, meaning a sanctuary, was used by Gregory in another work, the Oratio catechetica, where the author employed three different terms to indicate

ὥσπερ τειχίῳ τινὶ μέσῳ ταῦτα διαλαβὼν καὶ ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων χωρίσας, ἀλλὰ πλησίον συνάψας καὶ διαζεύξας· ἵνα μήτε τὸ φιλόσοφον ἀκοινώνητον ᾖ μήτε τὸ πρακτικὸν ἀφιλόσοφον· ὥσπερ δὲ γῆ καὶ θάλασσα τὰ παρ’ ἑαυτῶν ἀλλήλοις ἀντιδιδόντες, εἰς μίαν δόξαν Θεοῦ συντρέχωσι. 55  Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 261. 56  Gr. Nyss. ep. 2.9 (Maraval, Lettres, 114–116); cf. in general Silvas, Gregory of Nyssa, 115–117. 57  Maraval, Grégoire de Nysse, 117 n. 1. Cf. Montanari, Vocabolario, s.v. (‘altar’); lsj, s.v. (‘altar’, ‘altar-precincts’, ‘sanctuary’). 58  p gl, s.v. θυσιαστήριον. 59  Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 293. 60  Gr. Nyss. ep. 2.18 (Maraval, Lettres, 120–122; alluding to 2 Cor 5:8).

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


respectively pagan (βωμοί), Christian (θυσιαστήρια), and Jewish altars (θυσίαι).61 It is not an accident that Maraval in his work on the Lieux saints mentions the site of Çavuşin as a possible example of these θυσιαστήρια.62 We cannot be certain that Gregory of Nyssa’s generic expression ἐν τῷ ἔθνει τῶν Καππαδοκῶν related explicitly to rocky Cappadocia, but it is unlikely that he was thinking of any other στρατηγίαι into which the region was divided in the late Hellenistic period, rather than the district of Morimene, where his own episcopal seat Nyssa was located. In our opinion it is likely that these many places of worship were to be found in south-west Cappadocia, the area which was well known to the bishop for its peculiar type of troglodytic settlement, and which coincided at least partially with the ancient στρατηγίαι of Chamanene, Garsauritis, Morimene, and Tyanitis. Furthermore, the passage of Sozomen, which states that monks in such an inhospitable region had mostly opted, due to the harsh winters, for a cenobitic rather than an anchorite lifestyle, and chose to reside in the cities as well as the villages, also confirms that at an earlier date, perhaps before the fourth century, the Cappadocian landscape was one of the places of choice for primitive monasticism. ‘I suppose that Galatia, Cappadocia, and the neighbouring provinces contained many other ecclesiastical philosophers at that time, for these regions had zealously embraced our doctrine a long time ago (πάλαι). These monks, for the most part, dwelt in communities in cities and villages, for they did not habituate themselves to the tradition of their predecessors. The severity of the winter, which is always a natural feature of that country, would probably make a hermit life impracticable.’63 61  Gr. Nyss. or. catech. 18.2–4 (trans. npnf² 5.917–918); see also Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture, 22, with regard to or. catech. 18.3, where the term ναός appears ‘borrowed from the vocabulary of Classical Greek religion, as well as from that of the Septuagint and the New Testament’. 62  Maraval, Grégoire de Nysse, 117 n. 2; id., Lieux saints, 371, 373. 63  Soz. h.e. 6.34.7–9 (trans. npnf² 2.371, adapted): καὶ Γαλάτας δὲ καὶ Καππαδόκας καὶ τοὺς τούτων ὁμόρους συμβάλλω πολλοὺς μὲν καὶ ἄλλους ἐσχηκέναι τότε ἐκκλησιαστικοὺς φιλο­ σόφους, οἷά γε πάλαι τὸ δόγμα σπουδαίως πρεσβεύοντας. Κατὰ συνοικίας δὲ ἐν πόλεσιν ἢ κώμαις οἱ πλείους ᾤκουν. Οὔτε γὰρ παραδόσει τῶν προγεγενημένων εἰθίσθησαν, οὔτε ὑπὸ χαλεπότητος χειμῶνος φύσει τοῦ τῇδε χώρου ἑκάστοτε συμβαίνοντος δυνατὸν ἴσως κατεφαίνετο ἐν ἐρημίαις διατρίβειν. See also Gain, L’église de Cappadoce, 287–289; Lizzi, ‘Monaci’; Cooper and Decker, Life and Society, 108. The precious testimony of Sozomen finds further confirmation in a passage of an oration of Gregory of Nazianzus (or. 43.63.6), in which he declares that he dedicated particular care to the evangelization of the countryside as to the cities (καὶ οὐχ ἡ μὲν πόλις οὕτως, ἡ χώρα δὲ καὶ τὰ ἐκτὸς ἑτέρως· ἀλλὰ κοινὸν ἅπασιν ἀγῶνα προὔθηκε τοῖς τῶν λαῶν προεστῶσι, τὴν εἰς αὐτοὺς φιλανθρωπίαν καὶ μεγαλοψυχίαν).

100 3


Heretics and Troglodytes

The rocky sites of Cappadocia offered places of refuge for a martyr like Hieron, solitary recesses for ascetics, who yearned to retreat into prayer, and community spaces for monks, who wished to engage in a cenobitic life. This peculiar habitat could also on occasions fulfil a third important function, that of a stronghold for the exponents of heretical movements. The attacks launched by Basil against encratites, saccophori, apotactici, Marcionites, and above all Pepuzians almost certainly refer to heretical groups in Lycaonia,64 but we may presumably suppose that similar heterodoxies, linked to ascetic lifestyles, were present perhaps also in Cappadocia.65 Meanwhile the confrontation between the orthodoxy of the famous Cappadocian Fathers and the subordinationist, Arianizing views of their theological opponents may also have found a geographical expression in the region. Sophie Métivier, based on the fact that both Eunomius and Philostorgius were certainly philoarians of Cappadocian origin (see also pp. 102–103 below), has drawn attention to a passage of Theodoret which indicates that the Arians were not only located in urban contexts, but were also to be found in troglodytic settlements, maybe of rocky Cappadocia. ‘The Arian sect was divided into two parts; some were called Arians, others Eunomians … The Eunomians were also called Aetians, since Eunomius designated Aetius as (his) teacher; these were also called Troglites or Troglodytes, because they held their meetings in hidden dwellings.’66 The 64  Bas. ep. 199.47 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 2.163); cf. 188.1 (ibid., 2.121–124; ad 374). On the encratites in Asia Minor cf. Filippini, ‘Schiavi’; id., ‘Il movimento enkratita’; see now Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 724–787. 65  Indispensable support in the field of debate over Christological heresies and for the aim of preaching in the countryside—where the peasants spoke a language quite different from the refined Greek of the capital Caesarea—was certainly knowledge of the local language, widespread even in the fourth century ad, as we learn from Basil (Spir. 74: καὶ Καππαδόκαι δὲ οὕτω λέγομεν ἐγχωρίως, ἔτι τότε ἐν τῇ τῶν γλωσσῶν διαιρέσει τὸ ἐκ τῆς λέξεως χρήσιμον προβλεψαμένου τοῦ Πνεύματος; cf. ep. 99.4 [Courtonne, Saint Basile, 1.217–218] on the Armenian; Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, 515, however, maintained that knowledge of the Cappadocian language on the part of Basil cannot be demonstrated) and from Gregory of Nyssa (Eun. 2.1.406: πόσαις γάρ, εἰπέ μοι, φωναῖς κατὰ τὰς τῶν ἐθνῶν διαφορὰς ἡ τοῦ στερεώματος κατονομάζεται κτίσις; ἡμεῖς οὐρανὸν τοῦτο λέγομεν, σαμαεὶμ ὁ Ἑβραῖος, ὁ Ῥωμαῖος καίλουμ καὶ ἄλλως ὁ Σύρος ὁ Μῆδος ὁ Καππαδόκης ὁ Μαυρούσιος ὁ Θρᾷξ ὁ Αἰγύπτιος, οὐδὲ ἀριθμῆσαι ῥᾴδιον τὰς τῶν ὀνομάτων διαφοράς, ὅσαι κατὰ ἔθνος περί τε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν πραγμάτων οὖσαι τυγχάνουσιν; ep. 12.3 [Maraval, Lettres, 190–192]: τῷ κρυμῷ καὶ τῇ πικρίᾳ τῶν ἐπιχωρίων ἠθῶν). On the topic see Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 42. 66  Thdt. haer. 4.3 (pg 83.421B): ἐντεῦθεν ἡ Ἀρειανικὴ συμμορία διῃρέθη διχῆ· καὶ οἱ μὲν ἐκλήθησαν Ἀρειανοὶ, οἱ δὲ Εὐνομιανοί … Οἱ δὲ Εὐνομιανοὶ καὶ Ἀετιανοὶ ἐκαλοῦντο, ὡς Εὐνομίου τὸν Ἀέτιον διδάσκαλον ὀνομάσαντος· οἱ δὲ αὐτοὶ καὶ Τρωγλῖται ἤγουν Τρωγλοδῦται ὀνομάζονται, ὡς ἐν οἰκίαις

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


notice of Theodoret was taken up by Timotheus of Constantinople, priest and treasurer of the Church of St Sophia and the author in the late sixth or early seventh century of the De receptione haereticorum, who wrote of the Eunomians or Anomoians: ‘they do not possess a church, or a tabernacle, or a synagogue, but they gather in some hidden places of the countryside and for this reason many call them Troglites and Troglodytes’.67 A year before Métivier’s publication, Concetta Molè Ventura reached the same conclusion about the location of the Eunomian Troglodytes in rocky Cappadocia. Comparing the vision of the foundation of Constantinople in Socrates and Sozomen with that of Philostorgius, she suggests that Socrates and Sozomen present the subject in terms of an assimilation of Constantinople to Rome, the birth of the New Rome, and its peaceful coexistence with Old Rome, which survived under the protection of the eastern emperor. Philostorgius, however, identifies Constantinople as an opposing glory,68 contrasting the new city with old Rome.69 His Church History depicts the West as now ruined with its capital humiliated, in contrast with the immense East where Arian missionary activity takes place.70 Apart from a suggested identification of the actual text that could have inspired Philostorgius, Molè Ventura has emphasized how such a vision, in perfect harmony with Cappadocia’s historical heretical stance, ‘excluded not only the possibility of the episcopal authority of Rome based on political authority, but also the eventual hegemony of Constantinople over Asia, and perhaps shifted the axis of future historical development even more towards the east’. In a footnote, she alludes to the relationship between Philostorgius’s heretical position, his vision of opposition, and above all his region of origin, as indicated by the passage of Theodoret: ‘as to the “troglodytic” life of contemporary Eunomians, this could mask, in a deprecating way, the reality of strong

λανθανούσαις τὰς συνόδους ποιούμενοι. See Métivier, La Cappadoce, 303: ‘Theodoret … fait peut-être allusion à des assemblées tenues dans des établissements rupestres des campagnes de Cappadoce ou d’ailleurs’. 67  Tim. cp haer. (pg 86.24C): οὗτοι οὐκ Ἐκκλησίαν, οὐ σκηνήν, οὐ συναγωγὴν ἔχουσιν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐν κρυπτοῖς τισι τόποις τῆς γῆς συνάγονται‧ ὅθεν Τρωγλίτας καὶ Τρωγλοδύτας οἱ πολλοὶ τούτους λέγουσι. 68  Philost. h.e. 2.9 (gcs 21.22): εἰς ἀντίπαλον κλέος τῇ προτέρᾳ Ῥώμῃ. 69  Molè Ventura, ‘Roma e Costantinopoli’, 315: ‘rappresenta molto più conseguentemente che nelle storie ecclesiastiche di Socrate e di Sozomeno la translatio dell’egemonia dall’antica città nella nuova città di Costantino … Filostorgio sembra raccogliere l’eredità dell’antiromanesimo profetico-apocalittico di antica radice e … non rinunciare alla speranza di una rinascita dell’egemonia nell’Oriente, alla possibilità di una palingenesi dell’Oriente’. 70  Philost. h.e. 3.7–11 (gcs 21.36–42).



Arian resistance in the Cappadocian rock settlements, which could have nurtured Philostorgius’s hope’.71 Orthodoxy in Cappadocia was under challenge from strong heterodox communities, if we can judge from the case of Bishop George, a Cappadocian pro­ digy (τέρας τι Καππαδόκιον), being sent to Alexandria to replace Athanasius between 344 and 356.72 Another Cappadocian of probably Arian tendencies was the rhetor Asterius, one of the so-called Eusebians, who died after 341.73 Eunomius, born in 335, certainly belongs in the same category. He was called ὁ Γαλάτης, the Galatian, by Basil in his Against Eunomius;74 the heresiarch re­ futed this assertion as a grave lie, at least according to Gregory of Nyssa,75 who replied in turn that even if Eunomius was really a native of Oltiseris, an obscure place on the border between Galatia and Cappadocia,76 the confusion was nonetheless understandable, and his brother’s oversight should be considered slight. The uncertainty about Eunomius’s birthplace is complicated by Sozomen’s claim that he was born at Dakora near Caesarea. In any case, this was the place to which he was exiled and where he died around 394.77 71  Molè Ventura, ‘Roma e Costantinopoli’, 317–318: ‘escludeva la possibilità di una auto­ revolezza del seggio episcopale romano fondato sull’autorevolezza politica, ma anche un’eventuale egemonia di quello costantinopolitano sull’Asia e forse spostava ancora più ad Oriente l’asse del divenire storico’. See also ibid., 318 n. 96: ‘sulla vita “trogloditica” degli eunomiani contemporanei … potrebbe … mascherare con il tono dispregiativo una realtà di forte “resistenza” ariana negli insediamenti rupestri cappadoci … di cui potrebbe essersi alimentata la speranza di Filostorgio’. 72  Thphn. chron. 37.24, 29; 43.30–31; 47.16–17. 73  Socr. h.e. 1.36.2; Soz. h.e. 2.33.4 (gcs nf 4.99). Cf. Cassia, Fra biografia e cronografia, 233. 74  Bas. Eun. 1.1.32. 75  Gr. Nyss. Eun. 1.1.105 (gno 1.57): ‘ὅτι’, φησί, ‘καὶ Καππαδόκην ὄντα με Γαλάτην ὠνόμασεν’ (‘[Basil] called me “Galatian”, but I am a Cappadocian’). 76  Oltiseris, a βραχὺ γῇδιον located near Korniaspa, that belonged to his father, was Euno­ mius’s birthplace (Gr. Nyss. Eun. 1.49 [gno 1.1]: γεωργὸς γάρ τις ἦν ἐπικεκυφὼς τῷ ἀρότρῳ καὶ πολὺν πόνον περὶ τὸ βραχὺ γήδιον ἔχων, διὰ δὲ τοῦ χειμῶνος ὅτε τῶν περὶ τὴν γῆν καμάτων εἶχε τὴν ἄδειαν, τὰ πρῶτα στοιχεῖα καὶ τὰς συλλαβὰς τοῖς παιδίοις ὑποχαράσσων εὐμηχάνως διὰ τῶν μισθωμάτων ἐκείνων τὰ πρὸς τὸν βίον ἐπεσιτίζετο; cf. 1.34; 3.10.50; 1.105). On the site of Oltiseris see Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 223, 306. 77  Soz. h.e. 7.17.1: κώμη δὲ αὕτη Καππαδοκῶν (Δάκορα ἦν δ’ ὀνομαζομένη) νομοῦ τῆς πρὸς τῷ Ἀργαίῳ Καισαρείας. Philostorgius noted that Eunomius possessed a property; he was forced to retire to his property at Dakora or Dakoroa and died there between 392 and 395, after becoming excluded from Caesarea because of his criticisms of Basil (Philost. h.e. 10.6 [gcs 21.128]: Δακοροηνοὶ δὲ τοῖς ἀγροῖς τὸ ὄνομα), for the site see Ramsay, Historical Geography, 306; Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 171. Biographical hints for Eunomius are found in Negro, Eunomio, 5–8; see, moreover, Van Dam, Becoming Christian, 17–22 (on the origins of Eunomius), 22–25 (on the theology of Eunomius).

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


Philostorgius, another Cappadocian follower of Arius and author of a Church History in twelve books, also came from a rural origin. He was a native of the κώμη of Borissus and at the age of twenty he came to Constantinople, where he met Eunomius.78 Auxentius, the predecessor of St Ambrose as bishop of Milan, was also an Arian of Cappadocian origin.79 The conflict between the orthodox movement led by Basil and their opponents in Cappadocia came to a head in 376, when Demosthenes, vicarius of the diocese of Pontica, following the orders of the emperor Valens, tried to place Arian sympathizers in the lesser Cappadocian seats of Nyssa, Doara, and Parnassus.80 Demosthenes also forced clerics to enrol in the city councils of Caesarea and Sebastea, while the followers of Eustathius were rewarded with the greatest honours.81 4

The Holy Land of Rocky Cappadocia

In conclusion, during the third and fourth centuries different protagonists came and went in the lunar countryside of rocky Cappadocia, a context that was neither stricto sensu urban nor rural. They included Christian martyrs like Hieron, who were able to use the rocky settlements as inaccessible places in which they could escape persecutions; monks, both anchorites and cenobites, who lived in the clefts carved from the soft tufa and chose to retreat into the isolation of prayer or into the communitarian life of agricultural labours and study; and finally, heretics, whose defiant defection from Nicene orthodoxy and obstinate defence of subordinationist heretical theology marked their resistance to the episcopal seat of Constantinople, and who may even be flagged semantically by their evocative name Troglodytes, probably used as a term of humiliation by their orthodox enemies. So, while in the vision of Gregory of 78  Philost. h.e. 10.6 (gcs 21.128): ἐνταῦθα δὲ αὐτόν φησι καὶ Φιλοστόργιος, εἰκοστὸν ἔτος ἄγων ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει παραγεγονώς, θεάσασθαι. Ὑπερθειάζει τὸν Εὐνόμιον τήν τε σύνεσιν λέγων αὐτὸν εἶναι καὶ τὴν ἀρετὴν ἀπαράβλητον. The Cappadocian context, characterized by a long tradition of communities, churches, and monasteries, probably exercised a certain influence on the great admiration Philostorgius has for the Arian radical Eunomius; cf. Argov, ‘Philostorgius’, esp. 508–509; Marasco, Filostorgio; Cassia, Fra biografia e cro­nografia, 255 (with the further bibliography there). 79  See Alzati, ‘Un cappadoce in Occidente’. 80  Bas. ep. 225 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 3.21–23; ad 375); cf. ep. 231 (ibid., 3.36–38; in ad 375); plre 1.249 (Demosthenes 2). 81  Bas. ep. 239.1 (Courtonne, Saint Basile, 3.59–60; ad 376); cf. ep. 238 (ibid., 3.57–58), 240 (ibid., 3.61–64; in ad 376, addressed to the presbyters of Nicopolis), and 237.2 (ibid., 3.56– 57; in ad 376); Gr. Naz. or. 43.56–57. On this topic see Cassia, Cappadocia romana, 352–353.



Nyssa, Jerusalem no longer constituted the beating heart of the pilgrimages, rocky Cappadocia could be counted with good reason among the loca sanc­ ta—a geomorphologically unique land which would certainly have offered the local holy men a perfect surrogate or a convenient alternative both to the desert, into which the Pachomian monks of Egypt literally disappeared, and to the waste lands (ἔρημος), where the Syrian anchorites sank in enduring balance between the isolation of the steppe and contact with the villages of the οἰκουμένη.82 Bibliography Alzati, C., ‘Un cappadoce in Occidente durante le dispute trinitarie del iv secolo: Aussenzio di Milano’, in F. Conca, I. Gualandri, and G. Lozza (eds.), Politica, cultura, religione nell’Impero romano (secoli iv–vi) tra Oriente e Occidente: Atti del Secondo Convegno dell’Associazione di Studi Tardoantichi (Naples, 1993), 57–76. Argov, E.I., ‘Giving the Heretic a Voice: Philostorgius of Borissus and Greek Ecclesiastical Historiography’, Athenaeum 89 (2001), 497–524. Aubert, R., ‘Hiéron 1’, Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 24 (1993), 398–399. Bekker, I. (ed.), Georgius Cedrenus Ioannes Scylitzae Ope, 2 vols., Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae (Bonn, 1838–1839). Boor, C. de (ed.), Theophanis Chronographia, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1883–1885). Breytenbach, C., and C. Zimmermann, Early Christianity in Lycaonia and Adjacent Areas: From Paul to Amphilochius of Iconium, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 101/Early Christianity in Asia Minor 2 (Leiden, 2018). Cassia, M., Cappadocia romana: Strutture urbane e strutture agrarie alla periferia dell’Impero (Catania, 2004). Cassia, M., La piaga e la cura: Poveri e ammalati, medici e monaci nell’Anatolia rurale tardoantica (Rome, 2009). Cassia, M., Fra biografia e cronografia: Storici cappadoci nell’età dei Costantinidi (Rome, 2014). Cheynet, J.-C., ‘L’espansione bizantina durante la dinastia macedone (867–1057)’, in S. Ronchey and T. Braccini (eds.), Il mondo bizantino, vol. 2: L’Impero bizantino (641–1204) (Turin, 2008), 29–50; trans. of ‘L’expansion byzantine durant la dynastie

82  I am very grateful to the Nicole Thierry and Catherine Jolivet-Lévy who very kindly gave me permission to publish their photos, drawings and maps. I also thank Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer for useful methodological and formal suggestions.

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


macédonienne (876–1057)’, in J.-C. Cheynet (ed.), Le monde byzantin, vol. 2: L’Empire byzantin (641–1204) (Paris, 2006), 23–42. Cooper, J.E., and M.J. Decker, Life and Society in Byzantine Cappadocia (Basingstoke, 2012). Courtonne, Y., Saint Basile: Lettres, 3 vols., Collection des universités de France (Paris, 1957–1966). Delmaire, R., Les institutions du Bas-Empire romain, de Constantin à Justinien, vol. 1: Les institutions civiles palatines (Paris, 1995). Dindorf, L. (ed.), Ioannis Malalae Chronographia, Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzan­ tinae (Bonn, 1831). Dodgeon, M.H., and S.N.C. Lieu (eds.), The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars, A.D. 226–363: A Documentary History (London, 1991). Epstein, A.W., ‘The “Iconoclast” Churches of Cappadocia’, in A. Bryer and J. Herrin (eds.), Iconoclasm: Papers Given at the Ninth Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Birmingham, March 1975 (Birmingham, 1977), 103–111. Filippini, A., ‘Schiavi, poveri e benefattori nell’Anatolia tardoantica: La visione socioeconomica delle comunita enkratite attraverso gli atti apocrifi degli Apostoli’, in U. Roberto and P.A. Tuci (eds.), Tra marginalità e integrazione: Aspetti dell’assistenza sociale nel mondo greco e romano; Atti delle Giornate di Studio, Università Europea di Roma, 7–8 novembre 2012 (Milan, 2015), 139–185. Filippini, A., ‘“Non sono atti degli Apostoli, ma scritti demoniaci”: Il movimento enkratita nell’Anatolia tardoantica; Iscrizioni, eresiologi e testi apocrifi’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 413–472. Gain, B., L’église de Cappadoce au ive siècle d’après la correspondance de Basile de Cé­ sarée (330–379) (Rome, 1985). Gain, B., ‘La christianisation de la Cappadoce: De l’opinion reçue à la réalité’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Stu­ dien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 229–251. Girardi, M., Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri nel iv secolo: Scrittura e tradizione (Bari, 1990). Greatrex, G., and S.N.C. Lieu (eds.), The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars, Part ii: A.D. 363–630; A Narrative Sourcebook (London, 2002). Grotowski, P.Ł., Arms and Armour of the Warrior Saints: Tradition and Innovation in Byzantine Iconography (843–1261), The Medieval Mediterranean 87 (Leiden, 2009). Gülyaz, M.E., and İ. Ölmez, Cappadocia (Nevşehir, 1992). Hase, C.B. (ed.), Leonis Diaconi Caloënsis Historiae, Corpus Scriptorum Historiae By­ zantinae 11 (Bonn, 1828). Hild, F., and M. Restle, Kappadokien (Kappadokia, Charsianon, Sebasteia und Lykandos), Tabula Imperii Byzantini 2 (Vienna, 1981).



Jerphanion, G. de, Les églises rupestres de Cappadoce: Une nouvelle province de l’art byzantin, 2 vols., Bibliothèque archéologique et historique (Paris, 1925–1942). Jolivet-Lévy, C., L’arte della Cappadocia (Milan, 2001); trans. of La Cappadoce médiévale: Images et spiritualité (Paris, 2001). Jolivet-Lévy, C., ‘Hagiographie cappadocienne: À propos de quelques images nouvelles de saint Hiéron et de saint Eustathe’, in Études cappadociennes (London, 2002), 471–497. Jolivet-Lévy, C., and N. Lemaigre Demesnil, La Cappadoce un siècle après G. de Jer­ phanion, 2 vols. (Paris, 2015). Jones, A.H.M., The Later Roman Empire, 284–602: A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1964). Kiourtzian, G., ‘Le Psaume 131 et son usage funéraire dans la Grèce, les Balkans et la Cappadoce à la haute époque byzantine’, Cahiers archéologiques 45 (1997), 31– 39. Lane Fox, R., Pagans and Christians (London, 1986). Lemaigre Demesnil, N., Architecture rupestre et décor sculpté en Cappadoce (ve–ixe siècle) (Oxford, 2010). Limberis, V.M., Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs (Oxford, 2011). Lizzi, R., ‘Monaci, mendicanti e donne nella geografia monastica di alcune regioni orien­tali’, Atti dell’Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti 140 (1981–1982), 341–355. Lucchesi, G., ‘Gerone’, Bibliotheca Sanctorum 6 (1965), 268–269. Mango, C., ‘Three Inscriptions of the Reigns of Anastasius i and Constantine v’, Byzan­ tinische Zeitschrift 65 (1972), 379–393. Marasco, G., Filostorgio: Cultura, fede e politica in uno storico ecclesiastico del v secolo (Rome, 2005). Maraval, P., Lieux saints et pèlerinages d’Orient: Histoire et géographie des origines à la conquête arabe (Paris, 1985). Maraval, P., Grégoire de Nysse: Lettres (Paris, 1990). Martin-Hisard, B., ‘L’Anatolia e l’Oriente bizantino’, in S. Ronchey and T. Braccini (eds.), Il mondo bizantino, vol. 2: L’Impero bizantino (641–1204) (Turin, 2008), 429–479; trans. of ‘L’Anatolie et l’Orient byzantin’, in J.-C. Cheynet (ed.), Le monde byzantin, vol. 2: L’Empire byzantin (641–1204) (Paris, 2006), 395–442. Métivier, S., La Cappadoce (ive–vie siècle): Une histoire provinciale de l’Empire romain d’Orient (Paris, 2005). Molè Ventura, C., ‘Roma e Costantinopoli nelle “Storie ecclesiastiche” del v secolo d.C.’, in F. Elia (ed.), Politica, retorica e simbolismo del primato: Roma e Costantinopoli (secoli iv–vii); Omaggio a Rosario Soraci; Atti del Convegno Internazionale, Catania, 4–7 ottobre 2001, vol. 2 (Catania, 2004), 279–318.

Martyrs, Monks, and Heretics in Rocky Cappadocia


Mommsen, T. (ed.), Chronica Minora Saec. iv, v, vi, vii, 3 vols., Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Berlin, 1892–1898). Montanari, F., Vocabolario della lingua greca: Greco-Italiano (3rd ed., Turin, 2013). Negro, A. (ed.), Eunomio: Apologia (Rome, 2007). Neri, V., I marginali nell’Occidente tardoantico: Poveri, ‘infames’ e criminali nella nascente società cristiana (Bari, 1998). Ousterhout, R., ‘Sightlines, Hagioscopes, and Church Planning in Byzantine Cappa­ docia’, Art History 39/5 (2016), 848–867. Parani, M.G., Reconstructing the Reality of Images: Byzantine Material Culture and Re­ ligious Iconography (11th–15th Centuries), The Medieval Mediterranean 41 (Leiden, 2003). Pelikan, J., Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism (New Haven, 1993). Ramsay, W.M., The Historical Geography of Asia Minor (London, 1860; 2nd ed., Am­ sterdam, 1962). Silvas, A.M., Gregory of Nyssa: The Letters; Introduction, Translation and Commentary, Vigiliae Christianae Supplements 83 (Leiden, 2007). Thierry, N., ‘La basilique de Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Çavuşin (prononcer Tchavouchine), Cappadoce’, Bulletin de la Société nationale des antiquaires de France 1972 (1974), 198–213. Thierry, N., ‘Un problème de continuité ou de rupture: La Cappadoce entre Rome, Byzance et les Arabes’, Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles lettres 121/1 (1977), 98–145. Thierry, N., ‘Monuments de Cappadoce de l’Antiquité romaine au Moyen Âge byzantin’, in C.D. Fonseca (ed.), Le aree omogenee della Civiltà Rupestre nell’ambito dell’Impero Bizantino: La Cappadocia; Atti del quinto Convegno Internazionale di studio sulla civiltà rupestre medioevale nel Mezzogiorno d’Italia, Lecce-Nardò, 12–16 ottobre 1979 (Lecce, 1981), 39–73. Thierry, N., ‘Haut moyen âge en Cappadoce: Les églises de la région de Çavuşin’, Revue des études slaves 54/3 (1982), 505–508. Thierry, N., Haut Moyen-âge en Cappadoce: Les églises de la région de Çavuşin, 2 vols., Bibliothèque archéologique et historique 102 (Paris, 1983–1994). Thierry, N., ‘Découvertes à la nécropole de Göreme (Cappadoce)’, Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles lettres 128/4 (1984), 656–691. Thierry, N., ‘Matériaux nouveaux en Cappadoce (1982)’, Byzantion 54 (1984), 315–357. Thierry, N., ‘Avanos-Vénasa, Cappadoce’, in H. Ahrweiler (ed.), Geographica Byzantina (Paris, 1995), 119–129. Thierry, N., ‘Note archéologique sur un tombeau monumental inédit d’Ürgüp (Cap­ padoce)’, Cahiers archéologiques 45 (1997), 25–30.



Thierry, N., ‘La Cappadoce de l’Antiquité au Moyen Âge’, in P. Lusier (ed.), La Turquie de Guillaume de Jerphanion, s.J.: Actes du Colloque de Rome, 9–10 mai 1997, Mélanges de l’École française de Rome, Moyen Âge 110/2 (Rome, 1998), 867–897. Van Dam, R., Becoming Christian: The Conversion of Roman Cappadocia (Philadelphia, 2003). Walter, C., The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition (Aldershot, 2003). Wood, D., ‘The Koukoulithariotai in “Digenis Akritas” ’, Byzantion 28 (1958), 91–93.

Chapter 4

The Origins and Development of the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia Aude Busine Basil delivered his Homily on Mamas (bhg 1020), probably shortly before 373, at the occasion of the feast celebrating the local martyr in Caesarea.1 At that time, the bishop obviously knew nothing but his name and that he was reputed to be a shepherd:2 Basil provided no information about his life and death and confined himself to comparing the shepherd from Caesarea with examples taken from the Scriptures, such as Abel, Moses grazing the flocks on Mount Horeb, Jacob and David, and, of course, the ultimate shepherd, Christ.3 A few years later at the end of the 370s or in the early 380s, his friend Gregory of Nazianzus referred in his speech In novam Dominicam (bhg 1020a) to the festival of Mamas held in Caesarea on the first Sunday after Easter, describing the martyr as a shepherd. Gregory added one tiny detail about Mamas’s life, stating that the shepherd used to milk deer.4 In contrast, Basil, in the same years, sketched the outline of Gordius’s story with more details:5 in an elegant and sophisticated sermon delivered at the feast celebrating the anniversary of the death of Gordius (bhg 703), either in January or March,6 we are told that the martyr was a native of Caesarea and a centurion until the time at which a persecution was launched. Gordius aban­ doned his duties and took refuge in the mountains. After living a secluded life

1  Bas. hom. 23 (pg 31.589–600). On the date, see Troiano, ‘L’Omelia xxiii’, 157. 2  Bas. hom. 23.1 (pg 31.589.17: Μάμας); 23.3 (pg 31.593.8: Ποιμήν). 3  e.g. Bas. hom. 23.3 (pg 31.593.17–18: Abel; 18–20: Moses; 24–26: Jacob; 27: David; 32ff.: Christ). 4  Gr. Naz. or. 44.12 (pg 36.620.34–36): Μάμας ὁ περιβόητος, καὶ ποιμὴν, καὶ μάρτυς· ὁ πρότερον μὲν τὰς ἐλάφους ἀμέλγων κατεπειγομένας ἀλλήλων (‘the famous Mamas, both shepherd and martyr. Once he used to milk deer which jostled one another’, trans. E. Rizos, Cult of Saints, E00912, http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E00912, accessed 12 Nov. 2018). 5  Bas. hom. 18 (pg 31.489–508). I use here the English translation by Allen, ‘Basil of Caesarea’, 56–67. On the date, see Bernardini, La prédication, 80; Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri, 97; Leemans, ‘Martyr’, 48 (between ad 370 and 379), or Allen, ‘Basil of Caesarea’, 56 (ad 373). 6  See Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri, 97; Allen, ‘Basil of Caesarea’, 57; Leemans, ‘Cult of Mars’; id., ‘Martyr’, 48 (ad 370–379).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_006



with animals,7 Gordius came back to the city appearing like a savage in the stadium, where the whole city gathered to watch horse races.8 He was arrested and brought to the magistrate who organized the games. Gordius was inter­ rogated but refused to renounce his faith and was condemned to death. As a consequence, Basil says, the spectators abandoned the race and they rushed to attend the spectacle of his execution. It appears that Basil did not know much about the life of the martyr. The panegyrist admitted that there were few facts known about the martyr and he therefore allowed himself, as a painter would do, to alter and magnify infor­ mation which previously circulated as an obscure rumour (ἀμυδρά … τις φήμη).9 It is fanciful to use this text to reconstruct the life of Gordius, or to establish the context of the persecution in fourth-century Caesarea. Nevertheless, it has been usual for scholars to assume that the main lines of the story of Gordius must be historical.10 This view depends on a passage in which Basil states that some of his audience had actually heard words uttered by Gordius: ‘He uttered that great shout, which was heard by people still alive today’ (ἐξεβόησε τὴν φωνὴν ἐκείνην, ἧς μέχρι τοῦ νῦν εἰσί τινες οἱ ἀκούσαντες).11 This isolated passage provides very weak support for the claim that Gordius was a genuine martyr at the beginning of the fourth century. Firstly, the words put in the mouth of the martyr are a biblical quotation: ‘I was found by those not looking for me; I appeared plainly to those not enquiring about me’ (Εὑρέθην τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ζητοῦσιν· ἐμφανὴς ἐγενόμην τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ἐπερωτῶσι).12 As Hippolyte Delehaye al­ ready noted, this text, put into Gordius’s mouth, was used by Basil to describe the context of the martyrdom, but it was very unlikely that these words could have been uttered by the martyr in front of a largely pagan crowd.13 Secondly, an appeal to the memory of the audience was a rhetorical device that played an important role in epideictic literature, and public speakers were enjoined to appeal to and implicate the audience’s own recall of events, whatever the 7  This episode is paralleled in the Passion of Zosimus (bhg 2476), where Zosimus so­ journed with animals in the mountains; see Halkin, ‘Un émule d’Orphée’; Pilhofer, ‘Löwen der Berge’, 191–193. 8  On the combination hippodrome/stadium in the Roman East, see Humphrey, ‘ “Amphithe­ atrical” Hippo-Stadia’, esp. 124 (on Basil). Basil labelled the place indifferently as θέατρον (e.g. pg 31.497.1, 16; 501.23, etc.), στάδιον (e.g. pg 31.497.13, 19, etc.) and once as ἱππόδρομος (pg 31.500.2–3). 9  Bas. hom. 18.2 (pg 31.493.7). 10  See e.g. Bernardi, La Prédication, 81; Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri, 97; Leemans, ‘Martyr’, 52, 79; id., ‘Cult of Mars’, 73. 11  Bas. hom. 18.3 (pg 31.497.24–25). 12  Isa 65:1 quoted in Bas. hom. 18.3 (pg 31.497.25–27). 13  Delehaye, Les Passions des martyrs, 232–233.

the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia


truth of the story.14 In his Homily on Mamas, Basil used the same rhetorical recourse to the memory and personal experience of the audience as he did in the case of Gordius.15 Be that as it may, historical accuracy was clearly not the homilist’s primary concern, nor was it expected by his audience. In the construction of his encomium the author followed precepts about structure and style outlined in the rhetorical handbooks of the Second Sophistic.16 It should not be forgotten that telling the story of this unknown martyr was primarily intended to support the organization of the cult, in which reciting the saint’s life and death was an important part of the liturgical activities. The fact that Basil alludes to his hearers’ experience and memory of the events cannot be used to argue for the historicity of the martyr acts of these two unknown saints. Both homilies seem to have been freely composed following the rules of epideictic literature based on the names of the martyrs and the existence of cult places in Caesarea.17 Nothing is said by Basil about the location of Mamas’s tomb, except that numerous people from the town and the countryside gathered there,18 at the place where he was presumed to have died. Modern scholars have inferred that Basil gave his speech in Macellum,19 an imperial estate on the slopes of Mount Argaeus, in the immediate vicinity of Caesarea,20 where Julian and his brother Gal­lus stayed for six years in the 340s.21 Sozomen, writing in the mid-fifth cen­ tury, stated that Julian and Gallus had built a martyrium of Mamas, but that the walls constructed by Julian, the future apostate, would not stand up and mirac­ ulously collapsed.22 This legend about Julian’s failure to build a shrine during 14  See Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea: I martiri, 116–117 n. 6 (‘appello alla memoria … e all’esperienza … in realtà per supplire al vuoto documentario’); Webb, Ekphrasis, 90, 167. Cf. Men. Rhet. 371 (Spengel) on invention to make a speech more convincing. 15  Bas. hom. 23.1 (pg 31.589.35–36): Παρακαλέσομεν ἑκάστην ψυχὴν, ἃ ἔχουσα ἦλθεν ἐν τῇ μνήμῃ. 16  See Busine, ‘Basil of Caesarea’. 17  Cf. Delehaye, Les légendes hagiographiques, 108: ‘le nom du Saint, l’existence de son sanc­ tuaire, la date de sa fête sont d’ordinaire ce que l’on peut retirer avec certitude d’un genre de composition où la fantaisie s’est donné libre carrière’. 18  Bas. hom. 23.1 (pg 31.589.26–27): πᾶσα μὲν χώρα κεκίνηται, πᾶσα δὲ πόλις πρὸς ἑορτὴν με­ταπεποίηται. 19  Bernardini, La prédication, 185 n. 166; Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea: I martiri, 115 n. 1; Limberis, Architects of Piety, 43. 20  On the location of Macellum, in the immediate vicinity of Caesarea, see Hadjinicolaou, ‘Macellum’. 21  See e.g. Festugière, ‘Julien à Macellum’; Bouffartigue, L’empereur Julien, 29–39; Métivier, La Cappadoce, 135–137. 22  Soz. h.e. 5.2.12–14. Interestingly, Sozomen’s main source, the church historian Socrates, was unaware of the legends about Julian’s stay in Macellum.



his stay in Cappadocia, which foreshadowed his failure to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem,23 was known to Gregory of Nazianzus and already circulated du­ ring the emperor’s lifetime.24 However, Gregory did not connect the building story to the cult of Mamas and did not locate it at Macellum. Similar to the fate of martyrdom stories which were recorded by Sozomen,25 it is probable that the legend surrounding Julian’s unsuccessful church building evolved through time and that the specific connection to Mamas’s martyrium was made only in the fifth century, after the development and spread of the cult. Regarding Gordius, his tomb should have been located just outside the walls, as Basil said that the commemoration of the saint took place in front of the city.26 It is likely that it happened near the stadium of Caesarea, where Gordius was proclaimed to have been arrested and brought to the magistrate. Basil described the place where people gathered to attend his speech as ‘the revered and very beautiful stadium of the martyrs’27 and ‘the stadium of that crowned victor’.28 According to Basil, Gordius was put to death in the same area, as people could admire his execution by standing outside the walls.29 This description is consistent with the location of the stadium, the ruins of which were still observed at the end of the nineteenth century by Anastasios Levidis, at the foot of the walls outside the city.30 It remains difficult to determine from these scanty traditions to what ex­ tent the cult of Gordius and Mamas was already organized before Basil’s time. Regarding their origin, there is little support for the claim that the two saints were historical figures and that their cults were based on the commemora­ tion of authentic martyrs, and we cannot rule out that the cults developed in Caesarea’s ancient necropolis around the burial place of people named Gordius and Mamas, which were epichoric in Cappadocia,31 during a period in which Christians needed to have their own saints to worship.32 23  Sabbah et al., Sozomène, 91–93 n. 3. 24  Gr. Naz. or. 4.24–26. 25  Cf. Soz. h.e. 5.11.7–11 about Eupsychius of Caesarea and Basil of Ancyra. See Busine, ‘Basil and Basilissa’. 26  Bas. hom. 18.1 (pg 31.489.30): τὸν προπόλεον κόσμον (‘the ornate [shrine] before the city’). 27  Bas. hom. 18.1 (pg 31.489.30–32): τὸ σεμνὸν τοῦτο καὶ πάγκαλον τῶν μαρτύρων στάδιον. 28  Bas. hom. 18.8 (pg 31.505.48–508.1): Τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ στάδιον ἐκείνου τοῦ Στεφανίτου. 29  Bas. hom. 18.6 (pg 31.501.40): ἔξω τοῦ τείχους ἦσαν. 30  Levidis, Αἱ ἐν μονολίθοις μοναί, 46, quoted by Bernardakis, ‘Notes sur la topographie’, 26, pace Métivier, La Cappadoce, 92–93 n. 45; Leemans, ‘Martyr’, 50. On the city-wall, see Gain, ‘Kaisareia’, 1000. See also fig. 4.5 below. 31  See Robert, Noms indigènes, 526–527, 548–549; lgpn 5c, s.v. Γορδιανός, Γόρδιος and Μαμας, with examples. 32  Cf. Van Dam, Becoming Christian, 90: ‘perhaps he [sc. Basil] was simply trying to embellish traditional indigenous names into full Christian cults’.

the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia


Figure 4.1 Altar dedicated to Zeus Gordios drawing a. busine, after l. robert, noms indigènes, 549 pl. vii

One element permits an alternative hypothesis of the origin of Gordius’s cult. An altar from Caesarea, 19 cm high, broken at the lower part and on the back, has a recorded dedication made to Zeus Gordios ἐπήκοος (‘listening the prayers’): Διὶ | Γ̣ ορδίῳ | ἐ�π ̣ ηκόῳ (fig. 4.1).33 While Zeus epēkoos is attested in the region,34 this is the only mention of the epiclesis Gordios. This naming might derive from the eponymous founder of the cult35 or could be, as Louis Robert suggested, a theophoric name.36 On can hypothesize that, as attested elsewhere, Caesareans took a former traditional cult devoted to this local deity and misread the dedication as intended for two distinctive martyrs, ‘Gordios listening to the prayers’, on the one hand, and a martyr called Dios (here in the genitive form), on the other. The qualification epēkoos had no heathen connotation and could therefore be understood with­ in the perspective of a Christian cult. This is actually supported by the fact that hagiographical tradition also records a martyr from Caesarea named Dios, who was celebrated every year in June and/or July37 and who was also worshipped near Basilica Therma under Justinian.38 33  Robert, Noms indigènes, 548–549 with pl. vii. 34  e.g. AnSt 19 (1969), 27 no. 3.09 (Comana): Διι Ὀλυβρε[ι] | κε Ἐ̣ π̣η̣κο̣[ῳ (‘To Zeus Olybreus epēkoos’). 35  I thank Stephen Mitchell for this suggestion. Other similar examples in Schwabl, ‘Zeus’. 36  Robert, Noms indigènes, 549. 37  Menologium Syriacum: 11 June (po 10.18); Martyrologium Hieronymianum: 12 July (ActaSS Jul. 3, 295). 38  See reg 15 (1902), 321 no. 23.1–3: τ]οῦ ἁγίου κὲ | ἐνδό[ξ]ου μάρτυρος | Δίου.



Be that as it may, it is not possible to know the practicalities of the transfor­ mation of Gordius’s cult, but it is certain that Basil wanted to take control of it and developed the story of a man with a local name, who became the new hero of Christian Caesarea. Regarding Mamas, since the mid-fifth-century evidence that the martyrium at Macellum had been built by the young Julian and his brother Gallus is not reliable, it is impossible to gauge to what extent the cult was already organized before Basil’s bishopric. It is obvious that Basil himself played an important role in promoting both these local saints. As many bishops in all of Asia Minor, Basil appears to be a leading force behind the local martyr cults and he likely was the founder of the cult, at least in this form, with the large annual festival. Later traditions even attribute the construction of the martyrium of Gordius to the bishop himself.39 Basil’s encomium states that this was the first time that people had gathered for the celebration of Gordius: ‘for pouring forth now for the first time out of the city, as if from beehives, the mass of people have reached the ornate shrine outside the city …’40 Basil describes the crowd around Mamas’s tomb in the same way: the whole region and city gathered to attend the feast.41 The massive attendance of worshippers celebrating Mamas was also mentioned by Gregory of Nazianzus, who compared the crowd at Caesarea with the flock that had been tended by the shepherd-martyr.42 Johan Leemans has shown how Basil’s sermon in honour of Gordius contri­ buted to the construction of a Christian identity: the quotation of the Scriptures allowed the author to present the people of Caesarea with a saint, who em­ bodied the virtues that matched the ideal of a martyr, of a monk, and a victor over paganism.43 Basil’s homily on Mamas contains long passages about the 39  Armenian Passion of Gordius 16 (Van Esbroeck, ‘La Passion arménienne’, 386): ‘… sous le régime du grand Théodose, le bienheureux patriarche de Cappadoce, le grand Basile, construisit un martyrium du saint martyr dans la même ville, d’une solide et belle facture.’ 40  Bas. hom. 18.1 (pg 31.489.28–32): Νῦν γὰρ δὴ πρῶτον ὁ λαὸς, οἱονεὶ σίμβλων τινῶν, τῆς πόλεως προχυθέντες, τὸν προπόλεον κόσμον … πανδημεὶ κατειλήφασιν. 41  Bas. hom. 23.2 (pg 31.592.26–27): πᾶσα μὲν χώρα κεκίνηται, πᾶσα δὲ πόλις πρὸς ἑορτὴν μετα­ πεποίηται. 42  Gr. Naz. or. 44.12 (pg 36.620.37–41): νῦν δὲ ποιμαίνων λαὸν μητροπόλεως, καὶ τὸ ἔαρ ἐγκαινίζων σήμερον ταῖς πολλαῖς χιλιάσι τῶν πανταχόθεν ἐπειγομένων, διάφορόν τε ἀρετῆς κάλλεσι, καὶ ποιμέσιν ἄξιον, καὶ λόγοις ἐπινικίοις (‘But now he tends the flock of a capital city, and today, with the many thousands thronging from all around, he inaugurates a springtime distin­ guished by the beauties of virtue, one worthy both of shepherds and victory orations’, trans. E. Rizos, Cult of Saints, E00912, http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E00912, ac­ cessed 12 Nov. 2018). 43  Leemans, ‘Martyr’, 61–79.

the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia


knowledge of God, his substance and the question of the divine nature of Christ, and Marina Silvia Troiano has showed that the bishop used the celebra­ tion of the martyr’s cult as an opportunity to tackle the much debated theo­ logical controversies of the period, which pitched the supporters of the Nicene doctrine against their opponents, who they held to be heretics.44 Moreover, the commemoration of the life of the two martyrs also aimed at shaping the sacred topography of the city. First, the significant part played by the mountain environment both in Gordius’s and in Mamas’s asceticism and initiation to the mysteries of God, was probably a way to give a Christian iden­ tity to Mount Argaeus overlooking Caesarea. According to Maximus of Tyre, Argaeus was for the Cappadocians at the same time a mountain, a god, an oath and a statue (ὄρος Καππαδόκαις καὶ θεὸς καὶ ὅρκος καὶ ἄγαλμα).45 Indeed, in the metropolis of Cappadocia, this mountain seems to have been worshipped as a divinity. Numismatic evidence from the Hellenistic and Roman period rep­ resents Mount Argaeus surmounted by the figure of a god (fig. 4.2), who has been identified as either Zeus or Serapis,46 standing as an agalma on an altar (fig. 4.3), inside a temple47 or under a draped seated figure (fig. 4.4). The sacred mountain, which symbolized the city, had always constituted a source of civic pride. At the beginning of the Homily on Gordius, Basil rejected the classical rules advocated by ancient rhetors for the composition of a ‘praise of a city’ (ἐγκώμιον πόλεως), notably because it was based on extrinsic virtues.48 Among the local assets reviewed by rhetors, Basil included Mount Argaeus, extolled on the grounds that its peaks ‘are above the clouds and … protrude into the sky’.49 While he rejected these traditional ways of highlighting Mount Argaeus, Basil converts it, through the stories of Gordius and Mamas, into the place of the initiation to Christian mysteries:50 Basil compares Gordius’s stay on the mountain among wild beasts with Elijah’s retirement on Mount Horeb,

44  Troiano, ‘L’Omelia xxiii’. 45  Maximus of Tyre, Dissertationes 2.8.24–25. 46  See Cook, Zeus, 977–979; Tam Tinh Tran, Sérapis debout, 62, 171–172. See, more generally, Weiss, ‘Argaios/Erciyas Dağı’; id., ‘Argaios’. 47  See Cook, Zeus, 979 fig. 876 (personal collection). 48  On Basil’s criticism of the ἐγκώμιον πόλεως, see Busine, ‘Basil of Caesarea’. 49  Bas. hom. 18.2 (pg 31.492.45–49): Ἦ που καὶ τὰς τοῦ γείτονος ὄρους κορυφὰς διηγούμενοι, ὡς ὑπερνεφεῖς τέ εἰσι καὶ ἐπὶ πολὺ τοῦ ἀέρος διανεστήκασιν, ἑαυτοὺς ἀπατήσομεν ὡς τοῖς ἀνδράσι διὰ τούτων ἐκπληροῦντες τὸν ἔπαινον; (‘Or even if we were to discourse on the peaks of the neighbouring mountain, [saying] both how they are above the clouds and how much they protrude into the sky, shall we deceive ourselves, on the grounds that we have piled up praise for these men on account of these facts?’). 50  Bas. hom. 18.3 (pg 31.496.40): ἐδιδάχθη τὰ μυστήρια.



Figure 4.2 Mount Argaeus surmounted by a god, with a temple drawing a. busine, after w. wroth, greek coins, pl. xii.3

Figure 4.3 Mount Argaeus on an altar drawing a. busine, after w. wroth, greek coins, pl. xi.13

Figure 4.4 Mount Argaeus under a draped seated figure drawing a. busine, after g. macdonald, greek coins, pl. 62.25

where the prophet lived a secluded life in a cave.51 Similarly, in Mamas’s story, Mount Horeb appears as a biblical transfiguration of Mount Argaeus.52 Doing so, the bishop managed to turn the emblematic mountain which was part of the pagan religious landscape into a Christian sacred locus where one could realize the ideal of ascetic life. Second, locating Gordius’s imprisonment in the stadium, where the whole city gathered to attend horse races in honour of a ‘war-loving’ deity, perhaps

51  Bas. hom. 18.2–3 (pg 31.496.27–31). 52  Bas. hom. 23.3 (pg 31.593.20–21): οὗτος ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ Χωρὴβ ἐποίμαινεν.

the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia


Mars, enabled Basil to shape the new topography of Caesarea.53 In the homily he pointed out that many Christians, men and women, took part in the games. It is highly probable that at the end of the fourth century, the stadium of Caesarea was still in use and that spectacles organized there still gathered the whole Caesarean community, including pagans, Jews and Christians. Placing the arrest of Gordius in this location, regardless of the historicity of the story, was a means of Christianizing one of the nerve centres of civic life by trans­ forming a secular place of entertainment into a place of Christian memory, where virtue won over impiety. Basil’s vivid depiction of the crowd abandon­ ing the city to witness Gordius’s heroic execution54 symbolized the shift that the bishop wanted to establish between pagan and Christian Caesarea. The movement from an intramural to an extramural location was replayed annu­ ally when the people of Caesarea processed to the martyrium. The location of the martyrium at the foot of the city walls, just outside the ancient town on the top of the hill, was highly strategic. It constituted a link between the old heathen town and the suburbs, where an entire new district dedicated to the care of the poor was founded by Basil in the same years, and was later named Basilias, after its founder (fig. 4.5).55 All in all, Basil’s homilies on Gordius and Mamas demonstrate the bishop’s strong commitment to promoting the cult of these local unknown martyrs, and the need to make them the protagonists of a grand story. At that time, Christianity in the region was scattered and fragmented. Bishops sought to unify their congregation, notably through the promotion of the cult of martyrs, whether local or imported, and the creation of charitable institutions.56 In this context, the insertion of martyrs into the local history, religious context and topography of Caesarea led to the creation of new heroes, in whom the Christian community could find models of holiness and sources of civic pride, and who could play the role of citizens of a new Christian city in accordance with Christian values and practices. Later evidence shows that Basil’s undertaking was undoubtedly successful.57 The evolution of their legends demonstrates the development of the cults of Gordius and Mamas, to become the heroes of fictitious passion accounts, 53  See Leemans, ‘Cult of Mars’. 54  Bas. hom. 18.6 (pg 31.501.23–41). 55  Bas. ep. 94. Cf. Gr. Naz. or. 43.63, who depicts Basil’s foundation as the creation of a new city. 56  On the Christianization of Cappadocia in general, see Gain, ‘Kaisareia’, 1009–1022; Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.67–73; Van Dam, Becoming Christian; Métivier, ‘Cappadocia’, 1318–1320. 57  On Basil’s promotion of the martyr cults, see Girardi, Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei mar­ tiri; Limberis, Architects of Piety.



Figure 4.5 Map of Caesarea (A: ancient suburbs; B: ancient upper town; the stadium is indicated by a cross between A and B; no. 34: Mamas’s church) map h. brakmann, reproduced from gain, ‘kaisareia’, 1001–1002, abb. 1

which belong to the literary genre labelled by Hippolyte Delehaye as ‘passions épiques’.58 During this process many details were added to their stories. The Passion of Gordius has been preserved in an Armenian version, translated from 58  Delehaye, Les Passions des martyrs, 236–315.

the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia


the Greek.59 The text tells basically the same story as Basil: after the outbreak of a persecution, Gordius renounced military duty and went to the desert, where he lived with wild beasts. In the Armenian context, the desert, with its refer­ ences to the Bible, was a seclusion place more relevant than the mountain, which was a dominant point of reference for Basil’s congregation in Caesarea. Next, Gordius went back to the hippodrome, was arrested by the governor and then underwent lengthy and painful tortures. As Michel van Esbroeck’s French translation of the Armenian text shows, the hagiographer used and quoted very large sections of Basil’s speech, and he explicitly referred to the homily of the bishop at the end of the Passion (ch. 16).60 However, the Armenian author included new elements in the story, which attest that cult and legend evolved in parallel ways. First, the Passion was adapted to fit the literary genre of ficti­ tious hagiography, notably by extending the scenes of interrogation and tor­ ture (chs. 5–15) and by giving a name to the persecutor, Licinius, wrongly dated in the year 240 (ch. 1). It is worth recalling that Licinius had become over time an iconic persecutor,61 and this mention, with its inaccurate dating, does not prove anything about the accuracy of the story. The Passion also provides the name of the persecutor, Agrikolaos (ch. 1), which is also characteristic of late ha­ giographical fictions, in which names, sometimes historical, were given a new role.62 Interestingly, the same character, which was the praeses of Armenia in 303, is again used to denote the governor of Sebastea in other fictitious works, similarly deriving from a homily of Basil (bhg 1205) and also located under Licinius.63 This could suggest that the translation could have been made in Armenia Minor, more precisely at Sebastea by an author who was familiar with the local stories about the governor Agrikolaos. More interestingly, the Passion altered the original scenario of Gordius’s death: the martyr did not die by the sword but, in this later text, was first condemned to be beaten (ch. 7), then to be put on the rack (ch. 12) and finally to burn on a pyre (chs. 13–14). Then, ac­ cording to the hagiographer, Gordius’s body was miraculously spared from the fire (ch. 15), in a manner reminiscent of what happened to St Polycarp (bhg 1557). The same miracle was attested during the martyrdom of Mamas64 and

59  Edited and translated into French by Van Esbroeck, ‘La Passion arménienne’. 60  Armenian Passion of Gordius 16 (Van Esbroeck, ‘La Passion arménienne’, 386): ‘Et trans­ portant le saint dans la paix, il honora d’un panégyrique le saint Gordius …’. 61  On the damnatio memoriae of Licinius, see Barnes, ‘Oppressor’, 60–61; Burgess, Studies, 67. 62  On this process, see Teitler, ‘History and Hagiography’; Busine, ‘Basil and Basilissa’. 63  Passion of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (bhg 1201). See S. Mitchell in this volume (pp. 61– 62, 74–75). 64  See p. 121 below.



that of another saint of Caesarea, the widow Julitta.65 This circumstantial de­ tail was probably inserted to explain how the people of Caesarea were able to steal Gordius’s intact body and to bury it in a safe and hidden place (ch. 16). The hagiographer finally attributed the construction of the martyrium to ‘Basil the Great, under the reign of Theodosius the Great’ (ibid.). The whole account, which dates at the earliest under the reign of Theodosius ii,66 was clearly meant to justify the cult of Gordius’s relics, which developed through time, but which was still associated with Basil’s original encomium. As attested by another account (bhg 703b),67 the cult of Gordius was sub­ sequently exported outside Cappadocia to a suburb of the city of Rhosus on the confines of Cilicia and Syria, perhaps, as conjectured by François Halkin,68 by Cappadocians who had migrated to this region. This led to the creation of an alternative legend featuring the martyrdom of Gordius in Antioch under Maximian (ὑπὸ Μαξιμιανοῦ βασιλέως ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ τῆς Συρίας, ch. 1). According to this version of the story, which was probably inspired by the Passion of Hesychius of Antioch,69 Gordius’s body was miraculously transferred from Antioch down the river Orontes and then by the sea, to this new place of wor­ ship, where he was reputed to be buried (ch. 10). The dossier of Mamas appears to be the result of the same process. The story surrounding the young shepherd underwent a significant evolution as the cult became gradually better established and the number of cult places multiplied. Several passion accounts (bhg 1017z–1019q, 5191d) circulated, both in Latin and in Greek, probably deriving from an original Greek version.70 Many details were added, not only to create a story suitable for the literary genre of hagiography but also to explain and justify new elements of the cult of Mamas. First, as occurs often in such fanciful stories, Mamas’s persecution was located under the reign of a bad emperor, in this case, Aurelian, and hagiographers gave a role for the emperor himself in the story (chs. 6 and 10).71 Similarly, the two governors who successively acted in the martyrdom were given names, Demokritos (chs. 6–9) and Alexandros (chs. 13–17), regardless of 65  Bas. hom. in martyrem Iulittam (bhg 972; pg 31.241.10–17); Synaxarium ecclesiae Constan­ tinopolitanae 858.21–25. 66  Theodosius i was called ‘the Great’ in contrast to Theodosius ii, see Van Esbroeck, ‘La Passion arménienne’, 362. 67  Edited by Halkin, ‘Un second saint Gordius?’ 68  Halkin, ‘Un second saint Gordius?’, 7. 69  See Lackner, ‘Hesychios-Passio’. 70  See Berger, ‘Viten’, 241–261. See also Delehaye, ‘Passio Sancti Mammetis’. 71  Chapter numbers refer to the Greek Passion of Mamas (bhg 1019), edited by Berger, ‘Viten’.

the Cults of Saint Gordius and Saint Mamas in Cappadocia


their historicity.72 The legend also expanded the story of the stay of the young shepherd on the mountain: as a Christian Orpheus, Mamas would have tamed wild beasts (ch. 12), notably a lion, which refused to attack him later in the stadium (chs. 14 and 22).73 Hagiographers also developed the scenes of torture, and Mamas was martyred twice: first, he was condemned to be thrown into the sea near Aigai, in coastal Cilicia, but was saved by an angel who led him to the mountain of Caesarea (ch. 10–12). In a second martyrdom he was then dis­ embowelled by a trident and crossed the city of Caesarea holding his entrails in his hands (ch. 24). One element of the story aimed at giving an aetiology to the name of the martyr. After the death of his parents, Mamas was supposedly adopted by a woman called Ammia. She chose the name Mamas because it was the first word that the child uttered (chs. 4–5). Aside from these details, which aimed to create a proper miraculous legend, hagiographers also integrated topographical elements which set the story in the city of Caesarea and its region. Just like the account of Gordius, whose story may have provided a model for the elaboration of the Mamas legends. Mamas’s second martyrdom occurred in the stadium (ch. 24). The story also provided a Christianized history to other pagan buildings of the city: we are told that when Mamas was first arrested, he was brought to the temple of Serapis (ch. 9), just like two other Caesarean martyrs, Eupsychius74 and Carterius.75 As already mentioned, the god Serapis was worshipped in Caesarea in association with Mount Argaeus. Whether the temple was a real building, intact or in ruins, or a fiction, its place in the story was a means to include the ancestral cult of Serapis in the Christian past of the city. Like those of Gordius and Julitta, Mamas’s passio specifies that his body also survived intact after three days on a pyre (chs. 19–20), and this was a way to explain the preservation of relics. Mamas is said to have gone to a cave in the Argaeus, where he died, but was finally buried in another place, located two stadia south of Caesarea (ch. 24). According to Gregorios Bernardakis, this place should be located where a modern church of Mamas stands, and where people organized still in the beginning of the twentieth century a procession in honour of the saint.76 Similarly, earlier in the story, Mamas is said to have built a chapel (θυσιαστήριον) on the mountain (ch. 12), and this was probably to 72  Cf. Teitler, ‘History and Hagiography’, 77: ‘The tossing about of historical names is a com­ mon characteristic of non-historical martyrologies’. 73  On the lion and its representation in the region, see Pilhofer, ‘Löwen der Berge’. 74  Passion of Eupsychius 4 (bhg 2130; Halkin, ‘La Passion inédite’). 75  Acta S. Carteris Cappadociae 10 (Compernass) quoted by Métivier, La Cappadoce, 308 n. 390. 76  Bernardakis, ‘Notes sur la topographie’, 25–26.



justify why the shepherd was worshipped at this place as well. The lack of details prevents a confident identification respectively of the cave, the tomb and the chapel with otherwise attested cult places in the region, namely the martyrium in Macellum mentioned by Sozomen,77 where Basil delivered his encomium, an oratory attested in an inscription found south-west of Cae­ sarea, at a place called Limnai near Nazianzus and Sasima (τὸ ὐκτήριον τοῦ ἁγίου Μαμᾶ),78 or the site in modern Aksaray (ancient Archelais) where a church today still exhibits the bones of Mamas.79 It is possible that the ac­ count of Mamas’s body being thrown into the sea was added when the cult reached Cilicia. The spread of Mamas’s cult to this coastal region is attested by an inscription from the late fifth or sixth century found at Corycus, which mentions a sarcophagus belonging to the church of St Mamas and Makedonios (τοῦ ἁγίου Μαμᾶ (καὶ) Μακεδονίου),80 provided that this Mamas is not an­ other homonymous local martyr. It appears then that the multiplication of shrines where Mamas was worshipped led to the creation of an increasingly detailed martyrdom narrative, which united different places of worship in a single story. To conclude, the stories of Gordius and Mamas had several functions linked to the development of their martyrial cult in the metropolis of Caesarea. They provided these obscure and otherwise unknown martyrs with exemplary lives and sufferings congruent with their saintly status. Further, their stories were linked to the sacred topography of Caesarea. The various places of worship devoted to the saints acquired coherent meanings and the martyrs as a conse­ quence, became true local heroes. Bibliography Allen, P., ‘Basil of Caesarea’, in J. Leemans et al. (eds.), ‘Let us die that we may live’: Greek Homilies on Christian Martyrs from Asia Minor, Palestine and Syria (c. ad 350– ad 450) (London, 2003), 55–77. Barnes, T.D., ‘Oppressor, Persecutor, Usurper: The Meaning of “Tyrannus” in the Fourth Century’, in G. Bonamente and M. Mayer (eds.), Historiae Augustae Colloquium Bar­cinonense; Atti dei Convegni Internazionali sulla ‘Historia Augusta’ (Bari, 1996), 55–65.

77  Soz. h.e. 5.2.12–14, see pp. 111–112 above. 78  Robert, Hellenica, 2.156 (l. 3; understand εὐκτήριον); see M. Cassia in this volume (p. 22). 79  See İşçen, ‘Tomb and Church’, with pictures. 80  m  ama 3.786 (cf. P. Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01070, http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record .php?recid=E01070, accessed 12 Nov. 2018).

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Berger, A., ‘Die alten Viten des heiligen Mamas von Kaisareia: Mit einer Edition der Vita bhg 1019’, AnBoll 120 (2002), 241–310. Bernardakis, G., ‘Notes sur la topographie de Césarée de Cappadoce’, É chos d’Orient 11 (1908), 22–27. Bernardini, J., La prédication des Pères cappadociens: Le prédicateur et son auditoire (Paris, 1968). Bouffartigue, J., L’empereur Julien et la culture de son temps (Paris, 1992). Burgess, R., Studies in Eusebian and Post-Eusebian Chronography (Stuttgart, 1999). Busine, A., ‘Basil of Caesarea and the Praise of the City’, in M. Vinzent (ed.), Papers Presented at the Seventeenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 2015, vol. 21: The Fourth Century, Cappadocian Writers, Studia Patristica 45 (Leuven, 2017), 209–215. Busine, A., ‘Basil and Basilissa at Ancyra: Local Legends, Hagiography, and Cult’, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 59 (2019), 262–286. Compernass, J. (ed.), Acta S. Carterii Cappadocis: Das Martyrium des heiligen Karterios aus Kappadokien, 2 vols. (Bonn, 1902–1905). Cook, A.B., Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion, vol. 2/2: Zeus God of the Dark Sky (Thunder and Lightning): Appendixes and Index (Cambridge, 1925). Cumont, F., ‘Nouvelles inscriptions du Pont’, reg 15 (1902), 311–335. Delehaye, H., Les légendes hagiographiques (Brussels, 1905; 4th ed., 1955). Delehaye, H., Les Passions des martyrs et les genres littéraires (Brussels, 1921). Delehaye, H., ‘Passio Sancti Mammetis’, AnBoll 58 (1940), 128–141. Festugière, A.-J., ‘Julien à Macellum’, Journal of Roman Studies 47 (1957), 53–58. Gain, B., ‘Kaisareia i (in Kappadokien)’, Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum 19 (2001), 992–1026. Girardi, M., Basilio di Cesarea e il culto dei martiri nel iv secolo (Bari, 1990). Girardi, M., Basilio di Cesarea: I martiri panegirici per Giulitta, Gordio, 40 soldati di Sebaste, Mamante; Introduzione, traduzione e note (Rome, 1999). Hadjinicolaou, A., ‘Macellum, lieu d’exil de l’empereur Julien’, Byzantion 21 (1951), 15–22. Halkin, F., ‘Un second saint Gordius?’, AnBoll 79 (1961), 5–15. Halkin, F., ‘Un émule d’Orphée: La légende grecque inédite de Saint Sozime martyr d’Anazarbe en Cilicie’, AnBoll 70 (1972), 249–261. Halkin, F., ‘La Passion inédite de Saint Eupsychius’, Le Muséon 97 (1984), 197–206. Harper, R.P., ‘Inscriptiones Comanis Cappadociae in A.D. 1967 Effossae: Titulorum Loci Supplementum’, AnSt 19 (1969), 27–40. Humphrey, J.H., ‘“Amphitheatrical” Hippo-Stadia’, in A. Raban and K.G. Holum (eds.), Caesarea Maritima: A Retrospective after Two Millenia, Documenta et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui 21 (Leiden, 1996), 121–129. İşçen, Y., ‘The Tomb and Church of Saint Mamas in Cappadocia Today’, Mystagogy Resource Centre (2 Sept. 2017), https://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2017/09/the -tomb-and-church-of-saint-mamas-in.html (accessed 12 Nov. 2018).



Lackner, W., ‘Eine verkappte Hesychios-Passio’, AnBoll 88 (1970), 5–12. Leemans, J., ‘Martyr, Monk and Victor of Paganism: An Analysis of Basil of Caesarea’s Panegyrical Sermon on Gordius’, in id. (ed.), More Than a Memory: The Discourse of Martyrdom and the Construction of Christian Identity in the History of Christianity (Leuven, 2005), 45–79. Leemans, J., ‘The Cult of Mars in Late Antique Caesarea according to the Panegyrics of the Cappadocians’, in F.M. Young et al. (eds.), Papers Presented at the Fourteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 2003, vol. 1: Historica, Biblica, Ascetica et Hagiographica, Studia Patristica 39 (Leuven, 2006), 71–77. Levidis, A.M., Αἱ ἐν μονολίθοις μοναὶ τῆς Καππαδοκίας καὶ Λυκαονίας (Constantinople, 1899). Limberis, V.M., Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of Martyrs (New York, 2011). MacDonald, G., Catalogue of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection, vol. 2: NorthWestern Greece, Central Greece, Southern Greece, and Asia Minor (New York, 1901). Métivier, S., La Cappadoce (ive–vie siècle): Une histoire provinciale de l’Empire romain d’Orient (Paris, 2005). Métivier, S., ‘Cappadocia: Late Antiquity’, Encyclopedia of Ancient History 3 (2013), 1317–1320. Mitchell, S., Anatolia: Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1993). Pilhofer, Ph., ‘Die Löwen der Berge: Lebendige, steinerne und literarische Löwen im Rauhen Kilikien’, in C. Breytenbach and J.M. Ogereau (eds.), Authority and Identity in Emerging Christianities in Asia Minor and Greece, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 103 (Leiden, 2018), 168–197. Robert, L., Hellenica, 13 vols. (Paris, 1940–1965). Robert, L., Noms indigènes dans l’Asie mineure gréco-romaine (Paris, 1963). Sabbah, G. et al., Sozomène: Histoire Ecclésiastique, Livres v–vi, Sources chrétiennes 495 (Paris, 2005). Schwabl, H., ‘Zeus: Teil i’, Paulys Real-Encyclopädie 68 (1972), 253–376. Spengel, L., Rhetores Graeci, vol. 3 (Leipzig, 1856). Tam Tinh Tran, V., Sérapis debout: Corpus des monuments de Sérapis et étude ico­ nographique, Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’Empire romain 94 (Leiden, 1983). Teitler, H., ‘History and Hagiography: The Passio of Basil of Ancyra as a Historical Source’, Vigiliae Christianae 50 (1996), 73–80. Troiano, M.S., ‘L’Omelia xxiii in Mamantem Martyrem di Basilio di Cesarea’, Vetera Christianorum 24 (1987), 147–157. Van Dam, R., Becoming Christian: The Conversion of Roman Cappadocia (Philadelphia, 2003). Van Esbroeck, M., ‘La Passion arménienne de S. Gordius’, AnBoll 94 (1976), 357–386.

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Webb, R., Ekphrasis, Imagination and Persuasion in Ancient Rhetorical Theory and Prac­ tice (Farnham, 2009). Weiss, P., ‘Argaios’, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae 2/1 (1984) 584–586; 2/2 (1984) 427 fig. Argaios 2–16. Weiss, P., ‘Argaios/Erciyas Dağı: Heiliger Berg Kappadokiens Monumente und Iko­ nographie’, Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 35 (1985), 21–48. Wroth, W., A Catalogue of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, vol. 20: Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Galatia, Cappadocia, and Syria, with One Map and Thirty-Eight Autotype Plates (London, 1899).

Chapter 5

Faith and Verse: Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry Christiane Zimmermann Early Christian poetry is not a subject at the centre of current interest in early Christian studies. The subject is, however, of some significance within the context of the rise of Christianity in Asia Minor.1 Apart from some ‘hymns’ in the New Testament,2 the Odes of Solomon,3 a Christian hymn with musi­ cal notation found in Egypt,4 and a hymn to Christ preserved by Clement of Alexandria at the end of his Paedagogus, the earliest surviving examples of Christian poetry come from Asia Minor. The hymn to Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, which Methodius of Olympus included in his Symposium, and the paraenetic Iambi ad Seleucum of Amphilochius of Iconium, the cousin of Gregory of Nazianzus, may serve as examples.5 Gregory of Nazianzus himself was the most productive author of early Christian poetry.6 Born around ad 329 in Arianzus close to Nazianzus in Cap­ padocia, Gregory became metropolitan bishop of Constantinople. Together with Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, he was one of the so-called Cap­ padocian Fathers. Gregory of Nazianzus was not only a very important theolo­ gian of the early Christian church and undoubtedly one of the most educated 1  The following study concentrates on early Christian poetry written in Greek and coming from central Asia Minor. On the early Latin Christian poets Commodianus, Juvencus, Ausonius, Prudentius and Venantius Fortunatus, cf. Moreschini and Norelli, Histoire, 468–472. Some gnostic texts are collected in Wolbergs, Griechische religiöse Gedichte. On early Christian Syriac texts apart from Ephraem, cf. Harvey, ‘Performance as Exegesis’; Brock, ‘Dramatic Narrative Poems’. 2  Cf. the critical discussion of Vollenweider, ‘Hymnus’. 3  Lattke, Oden Salomos. 4  P.Oxy. 15.1786 (second half of the 3rd cent.). 5  For more (lost) poems cf. Bernardi, Saint Grégoire, 312 n. 17. 6  For the following, Simelidis, Selected Poems, 7–9. Apart from Ephraem, Apollinaris the Younger, bishop of Laodicea in Syria and contemporary of the Cappadocian Fathers was well known for a considerable poetic corpus too. Alone or together with his father he tried to adapt Old Testament texts to Greek metre closely following Homeric style. The poems should serve as teaching material instead of pagan texts. Apollinaris wrote Christian songs as well (cf. Mülke, ‘Apollinaris’, 242–256). For theological reasons Gregory criticized Apollinaris and his poetry heavily (Gr. Naz. ep. 101).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_007

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


and productive writers of his generation. His work also had a huge subsequent impact and he became the most widely imitated Christian author in the Byzantine period.7 Apart from orations and letters, Gregory wrote about 17,000 verses of poetry in the traditional language and metres used by archaic and classical Greek poets,8 which also served as models for other Christian writ­ ers. There are dogmatic poems (carmina dogmatica), moral poems (carmina moralia),9 and autobiographical poems (carmina de seipso), as well as poems on other people (carmina qui spectant ad alios),10 epitaphs and epigrams.11 Gregory’s poetry has yet to be satisfactorily explored by the scientific com­ munity, since a full critical edition of his poems is still not available.12 The words of Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff written more than a hundred years ago have not lost their relevance: ‘Dieser selbe Gregor ist der fruchtbarste und merkwürdigste Poet dieser Periode; es ist eine Schmach, daß die Philologen noch nicht einmal für eine einigermaßen lesbare Ausgabe seiner Gedichte ge­ sorgt haben; wenn er kein Kirchenvater, sondern ein schäbiger Poetaster wäre, der einen abgestandenen mythologischen Stoff breitträte, wie Quintus, oder gar ein Lateiner wie Silius, hätte er sie längst.’13 Only a handful of modern clas­ sical scholars have recognized the importance of Gregory’s poetic work.14 Gregory of Nazianzus was not unique, but the quantity and quality of his compositions have earned him the right to be considered ‘the poet’ of early Christianity. Gregory himself provided some reasons for composing in verse. Apart from pedagogical grounds, the challenge represented by writing in me­ tre, and a wish to control his own inclination towards excessiveness and to amelio­rate the burden of old-age,15 he wanted to adorn Christian faith with 7  Simelidis, Selected Poems, 57–74. 8  The Suda gives a total of 30,000 verses. 9  The classification of the Maurists is poemata theologica (dogmatica et moralia) (cf. pg 37.397 and 521). 10  The classification of the Maurists is poemata historica (cf. pg 37.969). 11   p g 38. For a discussion of the classification see Pellegrino, La poesia, 7; for a general dis­ cussion of the poetry of Gregory of Nazianz see ibid.; Wyss, ‘Gregor von Nazianz’; Keydell, ‘Stellung’; Bernardi, Saint Grégoire, 307–325; McGuckin, St Gregory, 371–402. 12  For single parts of the poetic corpus cf. Tuilier, La Passion de Christ (the authenticity of this text remains disputed, cf. ibid., 11–18; Bernardi, Saint Grégoire, 308, 311); Knecht, Gegen die Putzsucht der Frauen; Jungck, De vita sua; Palla and Kertsch, Carmina de virtute ia/ ib; Moreschini and Sykes, Poemata Arcana; Tuilier, Bardy, and Bernardi, Poèmes person­ nels; Simelidis, Selected Poems; Kuhn, Studien zu den Schweigegedichten. Other editions are cited in McGuckin, St Gregory, 406. For the epigrams, see Anth. Pal. 8 in Paton, Greek Anthology, vol. 2; Waltz, Anthologie grecque, vol. 1/6; Beckby, Anthologia Graeca, vol. 2. 13   Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, Literatur des Altertums, 294. 14  e.g. Dihle, Greek and Latin Literature, 604–607; Simelidis, Selected Poems, 7–9, 21–57. 15  Cf. carm. de seipso 39 (pg 37.1329–1336); Simelidis, Selected Poems, 25.



poetic expression16 and to create works that matched the importance of pagan poetry. In antiquity, poetry was an integral part of education and culture and was still highly estimated in the first Christian centuries. Martin Hose’s brief but revealing study of the subject, concludes that late antique Greek poetry was mainly an imitation of Homeric poetry.17 Homer was considered to have set the absolute standard for writing in verse. He was the educational canon of the upper class of the time. The works of Homer and his imitators were a main subject in late antique schools. As Christianity in Asia Minor grew, Christians also tried to express their beliefs in poetic forms. The pagan educational canon was not dismissed, but upheld. Christian elements were simply implemented in this familiar, origi­ nally pagan, conceptual world highly influenced by Homer. Gregory did this on a very skilled and creative level,18 but other lesser poets attempted to do so even before Gregory set new standards for Christian poetry.19 In the follow­ ing section I will show how Christian belief was introduced into traditional pagan literary forms by early Christian poets. This discussion poses the ques­ tion whether Christianity developed its own distinctive poetic language, and how this language was disseminated. 1

Early Christian Sepulchral Epigrams

The Christianization of original pagan poetic forms can be demonstrated by a small poetic genre which can be found not only among the poems of Gregory but which was practised amongst ‘normal’ Christians too: metrical epigrams. This small poetic genre drew on a tradition whose beginnings go back to the eighth century bc. Its specific forms range from everyday to literary epigrams.20 While Gregory wrote literary epigrams, other educated Christians, especially in Asia Minor, routinely composed metrical epigrams for their deceased. They

16  Bernardi, Saint Grégoire, 313. 17  Hose, Poesie aus der Schule. 18  Simelidis, Selected Poems, underlines the creativity of Gregory in writing Christian poetry, which drew on and alluded to different writers of pagan antiquity, including Callimachus and Theocritus, as well as Homer. 19  The Christian additions to the Sibylline Oracles attest to a similar procedure. The early church fathers as Theophilus, Clement of Alexandria, Lactantius, and Augustine quoted them or referred to them and sometimes Christianized them. 20  On the history of Greek epigrams in general, see Beckby, Anthologia Graeca, 1.12–67.

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


engraved these poems on stelae, which were erected on the graves following the usual non-Christian epigraphic habit.21 Gregory of Nazianzus’s epigrams are superior to the work of his contempo­ raries.22 He aligns himself with the long tradition of this pagan art form, attest­ ing to its familiarity and popularity among Christians in the fourth century. He composed epigrams for some of his relatives, his Christian male friends, and also for a few outstanding Christian women, above all for his mother Nonna, who passed away while she was praying. The following poem for Philtatius provides a typical example of one of Gregory’s epigrams (Anth. Pal. 8.149): Ἠΐθεον μεγάλοιο μέγαν κοσμήτορα λαοῦ χθὼν ἱερὴ κεύθω Φιλτατίοιο δέμας. This holy soil covers the body of Philtatius, a youth who was the great ruler of a great people. The wording of this epigram is in no way explicitly Christian.23 Gregory fol­ lowed the traditional conventions of epigrammatic poetry for the dead, hon­ ouring the deceased as important both for the family and for the community. However, the role played by the deceased in the community acquires a special significance in a Christian context. In some of Gregory’s more elaborate poems we can identify reflections of Christian theological concepts, including the role of Christ and the afterlife. These can be seen in several of the sepulchral poems that Gregory wrote to honour his close friend Basil of Caesarea. They reveal the extent of Basil’s influ­ ence in Cappadocia and its reflection in his heavenly residence. One of these epigrams may serve as an illustration (Anth. Pal. 8.3): Ἡνίκα Βασιλίοιο θεόφρονος ἥρπασε πνεῦμα ἡ Τριὰς ἀσπασίως ἔνθεν ἐπειγομένον, πᾶσα μὲν οὐρανίη στρατιὴ γήθησεν ἰόντι, πᾶσα δὲ Καππαδοκῶν ἐστονάχησε πόλις 21  Cf. Staab, Gebrochener Glanz, 5–8. 22  In the following I refer to the edition and translation of the epigrams in Anth. Pal. 8 by Paton, Greek Anthology, vol. 2. For all other poems of Gregory, cf. the edition of pg 37 and 38. 23  The attribute κοσμήτωρ λαοῦ might refer to a leading position of Philtatius in a Christian community, but the lexeme κοσμήτωρ is not specifically Christian and the syntagma κοσμήτωρ λαοῦ occurs in Hom. Il. 1.16 and 375; 3.236; Od. 18.152.



οὐκ οἶον· κόσμος δὲ μέγ’ ἴαχεν· Ὤλετο κήρυξ, ὤλετο εἰρήνης δεσμὸς ἀριπρεπέος. When the Trinity snatched away the spirit of godly Basil, who gladly has­ tened hence, all the host of Heaven rejoiced at his going. However, not only the whole Cappadocian city groaned, but the world lamented loud­ ly. He is gone, the herald, the bond of glorious peace is gone. The Trinity (ἡ Τριάς) and the heavenly host (οὐρανίη στρατιή) are clearly fea­ tures of Christian theology and the post-mortal realm. Christian elements are conspicuous in this epigram for Gregory’s close and admired friend. Gregory did not always adhere to poetic conventions in his epigrams and sometimes deviated from the expected vocabulary and metre. Albrecht Dihle noted that Gregory’s individual poetic style, which included the use of nonpoetic words and false quantities, should not be read as a sign of incompetence but rather intentional deviation from the usual rules of writing poetry.24 The reasons might be due to stylistic developments in versification and metrical standards in Gregory’s own time,25 but could also be theological. The literary epigrams of Gregory are the elaborate and sophisticated prod­ ucts of a poetic genre which was embedded in Anatolian Christian commu­ nities. Continuing traditional pagan practice, the genre of epigram was widely used in Asia Minor during the first Christian centuries. The deceased were commemorated by many verse inscriptions on stelae or sarcophagi put up in local graveyards. Reinhold Merkelbach and Josef Stauber’s five-volume col­‑ lection of epigrams written on stone from the Greek East contains not only pagan but also an array of Christian epigrams.26 Abercius, bishop of Phry‑ gian Hierapolis, already composed a verse epigram about his own life that formed his epitaph in the late second century.27 The largest number of Chris­ tian epigrams comes from Phrygia and Lycaonia and belongs to the third and fourth centuries.28 Whereas pagan epigrams are in the majority in Phrygia, the sixty Christian epigrams in Lycaonia substantially outnumber the pagan

24  Dihle, Greek and Latin Literature, 604–607. 25  Simelidis, Selected Poems, 24; Cameron, ‘Poetry’, 338–339. 26  s go 1–5. See also the recent supplements by Staab, Gebrochener Glanz. 27  s go 3.16/07/01; cf. no. 16/07/02 for Alexander, another Christian from Hierapolis (ad 216). 28  The Christian epigrams of Phrygia and Lycaonia edited by Merkelbach and Stauber in sgo 3 and by Peter Thonemann in mama 11 are collected in the database icg. A concor­ dance is included in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 925ff.

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


total.29 By comparison, in Cappadocia, only seven out of twenty-five epigrams are Christian.30 There are good grounds for seeing the Lycaonian epigrams, therefore, as a genre of sub-literary early Christian poetry.31 As with all late antique poetry, the influence of Homeric language was strong.32 These epigrams do not qualify as high-quality poetic literature, but served especially to recall to passing readers the social status, education and culture of the deceased and their families.33 The poems honoured the deceased with metrical praise that went beyond the usual brief and uninformative grave-for­ mulas, which simply displayed the name of the deceased (‘in memory of xy’). Aesthetically and presumably also personally, in knowledge of and respect for a literary tradition, and with a certain—albeit low—level of education expressed by the ability to write in metre, the epigrams expressed appreciation for the deceased person.34 The authors of these poems are mostly anonymous; they might have been family members, but perhaps more often were public writ­ ers, familiar with Greek poetry. They understood how to apply the language and ideas of the Greeks to their own world. These sub-literary grave-epigrams served the purpose of commemorating and praising the deceased, presented in the context of their families. Mentioning church offices in the same manner as public offices was part of this program. At the same time, these epigrams called implicitly for the exemplary deceased to be imitated. They therefore include paraenetic and educational aspects and served to pass on particular pagan or Christian values.35 These features should not be underestimated in assessing the impact of these epigrams on the expansion of Christianity. Through a long tradition in Greek poetry, even in their Christianized trans­ formations, the sepulchral epigrams first of all feature a pagan world. The 29  Cf. the discussion of the material by Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 480–514. Pagan examples are e.g. sgo 3.14/02/02 and 10, 14/03/03, 14/04/01. 30  s go 3.13/06/04, 13/06/05, 13/07/02–04, 13/07/06, 13/08/02. 31  Thonemann, in his seminal study ‘Poets of the Axylon’, introduced the concept of ‘village poets’ into the discussion of sepulchral epigrams in Asia Minor; see n. 43 below. 32  See Thonemann, ‘Poets of the Axylon’, for the Lycaonian poets, and Staab, Gebrochener Glanz, who underlines the importance of Homer for epigrams in Asia Minor in general (see esp. 55–89). 33  For the discussion of the ‘sub-literary’ character of these epigrams and the importance of oral traditions, see Staab, Gebrochener Glanz, 11, 16, 32. 34  On the system of education see Laes, ‘Education’. On the large size of the illiterate popu­ lation even in the third century, see Markschies, Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie, 64, and for the educational level in central Asia Minor, see Staab, Gebrochener Glanz, 34. Note the epigram sgo 3.16/31/17 from Appia in Phrygia, which begins with the words: ‘You, who have received an education, read this epitaph.’ 35  Cf. Beckby, Anthologia Graeca, 1.13, who speaks of the ‘educational’ aspect of the epigrams.



use of the poetic vocabulary of pagan antiquity did not necessarily conflict with Christian ideas, and even the idea of Hades can be found several times in Christian epigrams.36 This phenomenon can be explained by the pagan background of most Christians in Asia Minor and served to communicate the statements of the new faith in a familiar language and tradition that were the hallmark of a certain educational and cultural level. Sometimes therefore—as already observed in the epigram of Gregory for Philtatius—the Christian origin of these poems is hardly evident, but at times typical Christian words or theological additions enable a poem to be identi­ fied as Christian. In the following first lines of an epigram for Sisinius from the region of Laodicea Combusta in Lycaonia only the third verse contains typical Christian elements, the rest of the poem could also have honoured a pagan (icg 92.1–11): Ἐνθάδε κῖτε ἀνὴρ | μεγαλώνυμος, ἦν δ’ ἐ|πίδοξος, ὄνομα Σισίνι|ος, ἀνὴρ κλυτός, ἀνὲρ ἄ||ριστος. ὦ θεός, οὐρανόθ|εν ἐν ἀνθρώπυς χάριτ̣|ας δούσον· ἄρχοντες | ἐτίμων κὲ βουλὴ σεμ|νύναντες ἐν λόγυς || γλυκερῦς· σοφίης δὲ π|άσης ἐκέκαστο … Here lies a man of great name, outstanding, Sisinius by name, a famous man, an excellent man. O God, distribute gifts of grace from heaven among us. Officials and the council honoured (him) by praising him with sweet words. In wisdom of every kind he distinguished himself … The Christian origin is visible in the third verse, a small prayer to God. The re­ quest for the χάριτας, in the sense of gifts of God’s grace, is not typically pagan and reflects the implementation of Christian ideas in the epigram, although not in distinctive Christian language. Christian language usually refers χάρις and the χαρίσματα to God,37 but rarely χάριτες.38 Hence, we seem to find here the implementation of Christian theology and simultaneously the adaptation of Christian to pagan language. As Christian belief was taking root in Lycaonia, the 36  Cf. e.g. icg 103, 149, 749 from Lycaonia; sgo 3.16/06/01B.15, 16/31/83A.21–22, B.12–13, C.6–9, and 16/31/97.18 from Phrygia. For examples from early Judaism and the New Testament, see Gen 37:35; Num 16:30; Ps 54:16; 113:25; Matt 11:23; Luke 10:15. On the motif of Hades, see also Peres, Griechische Grabinschriften, 41–53. 37  Χάρις: e.g. 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Eph 1:2; 1 Tim 1:2; χαρίσματα: e.g. 1 Cor 7:7; 2 Tim 1:6; 1 Pet 4:10. 38  Cf. icg 92, 561, and 562; 1 Clem. 23:1; Gr. Nys. v. Ephr. (pg 46.828.6); Gr. Naz. carm. moralia 2.673 (pg 37.631.7).

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


tradition of writing poems for the deceased continued. The traditional pagan world provided the background for new Christian ideas and values, which were still often expressed in the existing traditions and language. In any case, it is important to remember that the level of these verse inscrip­ tions is extremely varied. We are dealing with everyday epigrams, not literary epigrams; they reflect the highly diverse poetic talents of their authors. Some epigrams are quite ambitious, both metrically and grammatically,39 but many reveal that a talent for the classical rules of poetry was not given to everyone; sometimes local language-phenomena like declensional confusion40 were trans‑ ferred into the epigrams.41 Peter Thonemann has analysed fifteen verse in­ scriptions from Lycaonia, Christian and pagan, in a meticulous linguis­tic study and stressed the clear influence of the Homeric epics on them.42 Thonemann assumes the epigrams were composed by village poets who were probably village school-teachers.43 These individuals had a certain educational back­ ground and were familiar with Homeric vocabulary and epic formulas, though their metrical skills were limited. Apart from the Homeric epics, practically no literary influences can be identified. Thonemann’s study is the first to analyse a group of verse inscriptions in respect to semantics and tradition and assumes the importance of village teachers educated in the Homeric poetic tradition, who used their skills for this kind of epigram-poetry.

39  e.g. icg 372, see pp. 139–141 below. 40  Cf. Brixhe, Essai sur le grec anatolien. 41  e.g. icg 585, 603, and 1502. In icg 476 and 507, we find interspersed hexameter sections. 42  Thonemann, ‘Poets of the Axylon’. For the influence of Homer in other regions of Asia Minor, see Horsley, ‘Homer in Pisidia’; Marek, Pontus et Bithynia, 147–150; Mitchell, ‘Io­ nians of Paphlagonia’, 93–97, 106–110; Staab, Gebrochener Glanz, 55–89. On the signifi­ cance of Homer as the foundation of the educational canon and in Graeco-Roman school instruction, see Finkelberg, ‘Homer’; Hock, ‘Homer’. On the importance of Homer in el­ ementary instruction, see also Markschies, Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie, 48f., 68f. 43  Thonemann, ‘Poets of the Axylon’, 197–205, assigns his nos. 1–4 (icg 103, 97, 107, 604) to the work of the ‘Zıvarık poet’. The ‘Zıvarık poet’ composed poems honouring deceased Christians, both women and men. The lack of explicitly Christian terminology leads Tho­ nemann to date the work of this village poet around the turn of the third to the fourth century; these inscriptions can be recognized as Christian only through iconographic de­ tails. There is also the ‘Çeşmelisebil poet’, to whom Thonemann ascribes five poems (nos. 5–9; icg 1498, 81, 1497, 62, 82; his no. 8 includes only a single metrical line). This poet was clearly able to formulate Christian ideas and concepts with the help of Homeric vocabu­ lary. Thonemann assigns another verse inscription to the ‘Zengen poet’ (no. 12; icg 585) and a few Christian epigrams written in a ‘local verse κοινή’ to another group; most of them come from Kuyulusebil, near Gdanmaa, a place in northern Lycaonia.

134 2


Typical Christian Semantics

Apart from Homeric influences, which are clear and obvious, are there any signs that Christianity developed its own Christian poetic language? To my knowl­ edge, no analysis of the poems of Gregory of Nazianzus has yet been made to answer this question. Gregory’s work should provide a sufficient basis for gain­ ing a better understanding of the special semantics of early Christian poetry. Additionally, the funerary verses of Lycaonia may provide a viable approach to answer this question. An examination of all extant Christian epigrams from Lycaonia shows that at least some lexemes were preferred by Christians. They fitted the metrical needs of epigrams and therefore they comprise a group of typical Christian lexemes, but most of them also testify to Homeric influence and were even used in non-metric texts. Thus, while we cannot really speak of an exclusive use of poetic Christian semantics, we can nonetheless make out some typical Christian lexemes and observe Christian preferences in using traditional poetic language in Asia Minor.44 Christians in Lycaonia did not refer to themselves as ‘Christians’, as they sometimes did in Phrygia. Moreover, it is only in a few cases, that a person’s attributes were unambiguously Christian, as, for example, when a presbyter is described as ἐκλεκτὸς τοῦ θεοῦ (‘elect of God’). The adjective ἐκλεκτός (elect) does appear in pagan inscriptions too, but it is used in combination with τοῦ θεοῦ only in Christian texts, a clear reference to Judaeo-Christian tradition. Attributes that include the notion of Christ are obviously Christian: The de­ scription of a Christian as a ‘friend of Christ’ (φίλος Χριστοῦ or ὀπάων Χριστοῦ) is Christian but at the same time echoes epic language,45 the descriptions of a Christian as the ‘labourer’ of Christ (ἐσθλὸς ὑπουργὸ[ς Χρ(ιστ)οῦ] or πιστὸς ἐ[ρ]γάτης Χρ(ιστοῦ)) are more suggestive of New Testament ideas.46 Other epi­ grams link Christians to the Trinity (Τριάς).47 The attribute πιστός (reliable, trustworthy, faithful) is a typical Christian at­ tribute. Although the term could be used in pagan inscriptions in other regions, and was common in literary texts, in Lycaonia and its surrounding territories, πιστός was applied almost exclusively to Christians in both non-metrical and metrical inscriptions.48 It also frequently appears in the superlative.49 Another 44  For the following cf. Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 480–514. 45  i cg 349, 498, 603; cf. Hom. Il. 24.749 (φίλος θεοῖσιν) and icg 349, 605. Cf. also Χριστοῖο μέγα κλέος in Anth. Pal. 8.7 (Gr. Naz.). 46  Cf. icg 762, 498 and Matt 20:1ff. (the labourers in the vineyard). 47  i cg 498.1–2: + ὁ τῆς Τριάδος | ἱερὺς Ἡσύχιος …; cf. the prose inscription icg 382. 48  i cg 101, 116–122, 350, 396, 498, 537, 608, 610, 648(?), 762, 872. 49  i cg 345, 350, 648, 872.

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


typical attribute preferred by Christians in metric epigrams was the adjec­ tive πρᾶος (mild, gentle). It is assigned exclusively to priests (ἱερεύς), that is, presbyters,50 and reflects the requirements of Christian office holders already expressed by the author of 2 Tim 2:25.51 The adjective κρατερός (powerful, in­ fluential, steadfast) in Christian verse epigrams seems to refer to steadfastness of Christians in times of persecution and torture,52 matching the pagan ideal of καρτερία53 which could refer to the steadfastness of philosophers against critics.54 All these attributes were mentioned with an implicit paraenetical purpose for the readers who understood that they expressed a Christian be­ haviour worthy of imitation. Christian offices like ἐπίσκοπος or διάκονος could not always be fitted to the metrical demands of the epigrams. The lexeme ἐπίσκοπος could be replaced by ἡγητήρ, describing another aspect of church leadership. A Christian priest (πρεσβύτερος) could be called ἱερεύς, using the usual pagan term, or, more rare­ ly, by the poetic ἀρητήρ.55 The use of the shepherd metaphor (ποιμήν) already in use in biblical texts for God and Christ, was typically Christian. It was also considered a fitting metaphor for Christian leaders. The epigrams generally call the Christian community λαός (people), though not without adding a specific attribute such as σεμνός (holy)56 or σακκοφόρος in the case of the ascetic Saccophori (‘people of Sackcloth-Wearers’),57 or in com­ bination with ἐκλησίη (church, ἀπ’ ἐκλησίης τε κὲ λαοῦ).58 The additions might have been necessary to distinguish the Christian λαός from the Jewish people of God, which was already called the λαός in the Septuagint.59

50  i cg 480, 481, 603; cf. also the Christian inscription bch 25 (1901), 334 no. 29, from Sungurlu in Galatia (not a priest). Cf. also ἀγανόφρων (gentle of mood) used to describe a priest in icg 97. 51  See also Matt 11:29; 21:5; Gal 5:23; 6:1; Eph 4:2; Col 3:12; 1 Tim 6:11; Titus 3:2. 52  i cg 28, 55, 103, and 762. 53  Arius Didymus, Liber de philosophorum sectis (fpg 2.89); Metopus, in Thesleff, Pythagorean Texts, 117.17–21. 54  Cf. Brown, Power and Persuasion, 64, and e.g. Julian, Εἰς τοὺς ἀπαιδεύτους κύνας 20.9 (Rochefort, L’empereur Julien, 2/1.172) on Diogenes; Amm. Marc. 29.1.36 on Pasiphilus. 55  i cg 82 and 603. 56  i cg 480 and 481. 57  i cg 372. 58  i cg 480 and 481. 59  In Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor, rural village communities could be called λαοί too, see Schuler, Ländliche Siedlungen, 180–190. Cf. also e.g. seg 47.1751 from Phrygia with com­ mentary by Pleket.



Many Christian terms for God in the epigrams such as παντοκράτωρ (almighty),60 μέγας (great),61 μέγιστος (greatest),62 ἀθάνατος (immortal),63 ἄφθι­ τος (imperishable),64 ὁ πάντει ὁρῶν (‘who sees everything’),65 ὕψιστος66 and the localization of God in heaven67 come from the reception of Jewish terminolo­ gy in the texts of the New Testament;68 but they converge with pagan terminol­ ogy too and the usage of these terms is influenced by the Homeric style of the Lycaonian verse texts. Typical Christian language about God, however, speaks of him as the ‘heavenly Father’ (οὐράνιος γενέτης)69 or calls him the ‘Living One’ (ζῶν)70 and the one who gives ‘grace’ or ‘gifts of grace’ (χάρις or χάριτες).71 The last two of these attributes seem to be exclusively Christian. A concrete notion of resurrection hardly ever appears in the sepulchral poems. The general notion is that those in the grave are kept by the earth.72 Possibly mo­ tivated by the vivid imagery of the epigrams, repose in the bosom of Abraham73 and in paradise alludes to explicit loci of the afterlife,74 which clearly differ from pagan notions. The image of resting in the ‘bosom of Abraham’ connotes rest, protection, love, and favour, as well as an intimate association with Abra­ ham, the archetypal believer from the dawn of Jewish history.75 Paradise, which evokes the image of the biblical Eden, is the place where the power of death resulting from the Fall is now transformed into its opposite.76 The expectation of the last judgment is also vividly expressed in a Lycaonian epigram, which supplements the positive loci of the afterlife with another 60  e.g. icg 210, 278, and 371; cf. 2 Cor 6:18; Rev 1:8; 4:8; 21:22. 61  i cg 480 and 481. 62  i cg 20. 63  i cg 28, 210, and 270. 64  i cg 608. 65  i cg 52. 66  i cg 303. 67  i cg 92.4–5, 374.2–3 (Christ), and 585.11–13. 68  Cf. Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 695–696. 69  i cg 372 and Zimmermann, Namen des Vaters, 345–383. 70  i cg 270 and Zimmermann, Namen des Vaters, 385–426. 71  i cg 92, 561, 562, 585, and 606. 72  Cf. icg 28, 177, 352, 476.1–2 (τύμβος ὅδ’ ἐν χθονίῃ κατ[έχει πο]|λὺ φίλτατον ἄνδρα / Μενε­ δ̣[ήμου]), 495.3 (ἐνθάδε γε̑α καλύπτι), 597, 785 (ἐνθάδε γῆ κατέχι), and 894. 73  Cf. icg 270; for the text see n. 78 below. Cf. Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 712. 74  Cf. icg 349.8–11: ὃν θεὸς αὐτὸς ἥρπα|σε … || … θήσιν ἀθάνατον καὶ ἀγήρα|ον ἐν Παραδίσσῳ. Cf. Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 712. 75  Merkt, ‘Schweigen’, 39f., 43. 76  Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 712.

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


important accent, that of summons to the Lord’s judgment.77 Final entrance into paradise is granted only after this ‘Day of the Lord’, a typical Jewish-Christian metaphor. In a few Christian epigrams, the idea expressed in pagan epigrams that the soul dwells with the god, is contrasted with the notion that God or Christ has received or will receive the departed.78 This statement appears to be so important that metrical requirements could be ignored if necessary.79 The epigrams of Lycaonia therefore form a solid basis for analysing Christian poetic semantics, but much broader research needs to be done to get a more general result. Considering the development of Christian poetic semantics in Asia Minor, we should ask if these preferences are simply to be explained by poetic needs (metre) and shared traditions (Homer), or if further explanation is needed. The examination of several of the lexemes listed above shows that there was probably reciprocal influence between their use in funerary epigrams and in Christian literature.80 The term ἀρητήρ, for instance, was used twice in Lycaonian epigrams,81 and made its first appearance in Christian literature in the works of Gregory of Nazianzus.82 The attribute μεγαλώνυμος (‘with a great name’), used in an epigram from the area of Laodicea Combusta,83 was initially an attribute of the gods in pagan poetry.84 The Septuagint had then applied it to Yahweh.85 The epithet was rare in pagan inscriptions (and usually appears only in reconstructed texts), but here it is also applied to eminent individuals.86 If we turn to the literary texts, however, it is clear that in the fourth century μεγαλώνυμος was used exclusively in Christian literature, where it was applied

77  i cg 518.6–9: ἄ[χ]ρι σάλ|πιξ ἠ�̣ χ̣ηέσσα + ἐκπάγλως ἐ|γίρουσα βρότους θέσμοι|σι θεοῖο. Cf. Brey­ tenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 713. 78  i cg 374.5–6 (οὓς π[αραλ]ημψόμενος βασιλεὺς μέ|γας ἕ[ξ]ει παρ’ ἁτῷ), 270.5–6 (ψυχὴ δ’ αὐ­ τοῖο ἵν’ ἀθάνατος [θ]εὸς ἔστιν | Ἀβραμίοις κόλποις ἀναπαύε̣[τ]ε ὡς μακάρων τις …), 585.12–13 (ἔλαβον … βασιλίην | οὐρανῶν, Χριστῷ πανβασιλῖ χέροντες). Cf. Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 715. 79  e.g. the verse βασιλίην οὐρανῶν, Χριστῷ πανβασιλῖ χέροντες in icg 585 does not follow the metre of the epigram; see Thonemann, ‘Poets of the Axylon’, 218 (commentary on l. 10). 80  For the question of influence of epigraphic epigrams on literary epigrams and vice versa, cf. the literature discussed in Staab, Gebrochener Glanz, 9. 81  i cg 82 and 602. 82  Cf. carm. de seipso 17.17 (pg 37.1263.5); carm. moralia 1.493 (pg 37.559.9). 83  i cg 92. 84  Soph. Ant. 148 for Nike; Ar. Thesm. 315 for Zeus. 85  Jer 39:19 lxx. 86  s eg 26.252; I.Perinthos 52.



to the Spirit,87 Christ,88 and God,89 and also to Mary.90 The use of the attribute μεγαλώνυμος in a Lycaonian epigram91 is therefore more likely to have been inspired by its widespread use in contemporary Christian literature, than its sparse appearances in the pagan classical tradition. The combination τρισμακαριστοτάτῳ κὲ τετράκις ὀλβίῳ, which appears in a Lycaonian epigram,92 has a Homeric prototype93 but might be influenced by the use of τρισμάκαρ and τρισμακάριος in contemporary Christian litera­ ture too.94 The use of two other attributes, μεγαλήτωρ and μεγάθυμος, in Christian epi­grams could be explained by a shift in the understanding of their meaning. The adjective μεγαλήτωρ, used sixty-eight times by Homer, means ‘great-hearted’ in the sense of ‘brave’, as does its synonym μεγάθυμος.95 These adjectives were clearly more appropriate to the world of heroes in battle than to the world of the early Christians, but in fact the pagan epigrams of Lycaonia also avoid these attributes totally.96 The appearance of μεγαλήτωρ and μεγάθυμος in four Christian epigrams from Lycaonia97 might therefore be explained by the Ho‑ ­meric tradition vivid in Lycaonia, and can be accounted for by the assump­ tion that μεγαλήτωρ and μεγάθυμος were now understood not in the traditional sense but in the sense of μακροθυμία. Μακροθυμία is one of the virtues as­ pired to by the Christians; it reflects the μακροθυμία of God attested in the Septuagint—‘greatness of heart’ in the sense of patience and magnanimity.98 Μακροθυμία was a term used by Amphilochius of Iconium in his homily In Lazarum.99 87  Didym. Trin. 2.11 (pg 39.660). 88  Amph. or. 1.3 (l. 79) (ccsg 3.7). 89  Apos. Con. 8.13.10. 90  Epiph. hom. 5 (pg 43.488). 91  i cg 92. 92  i cg 210. 93  Hom. Od. 5.306: τρὶς μάκαρες Δαναοὶ καὶ τετράκις. 94  e.g. Eus. ep. Flacc. praef. (pg 24.825A); Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.29; carm. quae spectant ad alios 7.320 (pg 37.1576.3); Gr. Nyss. occurs. (pg 46.1172.31); Amph. Seleuc. 326. 95  Cf. lsj, s.v. 96  For an example from Phrygia, see sgo 3.16/43/07. 97  i cg 149 and 562 (μεγαλήτωρ), 137 and 347 (μεγάθυμος). The attribute μεγαλήτωρ is used by Gregory of Nazianzus in carm. de seipso 44.297 (pg 37.1374.8); carm. quae spectant ad alios 3.258 (pg 37.1498.10). 98  Cf. Gal 5:22; Rom 2:4; 9:22; Col 3:12; Luke 18:7 and Exod 34:6 lxx. In Gr. Naz. carm. quae spectant ad alios 3.258 (pg 37.1498.10) the attribute refers to the βουλή of God. In a pagan epigram of Antagoras (Anth. Pal. 7.103), μεγαλήτωρ appears likewise to be already under­ stood in an ethical sense. 99  Amph. or. 3.2 (l. 53) (ccsg 3.87).

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


In all of the attributes considered, it is reasonable to see a popular usage within Christianity, based on the traditional language used in epigrams, but encouraged by Christian oral tradition and by contemporary Christian litera­ ture. Some of the lexemes are closely parallel to the Christian literature of the time and are used in a way suggested by these writings. As Christos Simelidis has pointed out, Gregory of Nazianzus ‘changed the semantic nuance of clas­ sical words in order to serve his purposes’.100 This suggests in turn that at least some of the village poets of the Lycaonian epigrams did the same themselves, or may have been familiar with the usages and vocabulary of this new Christian literature.101 3

Convergences between Epigraphic and Literary Christian Language

One of the finest epigrams from Lycaonia might serve to illustrate this as­ sumption. The poem comes from Laodicea Combusta, a small town north of Iconium and a bishopric at least from the fourth century (icg 372): τὸν Χ(ριστο)ῦ σοφίης102 ὑποφήτορα103 τὸν σοφὸν ἄνδρα οὐρανίου Γενέτου104 κύδιμον ἀθλοφόρον105 [Σ]εβῆρον πόλεων πανεπίσκοπον106 γητῆρα 100  Simelidis, Selected Poems, 47. 101  Cf. Staab, Gebrochener Glanz, 9, and his discussion of recent publications on the conver­ gences between literary and epigraphic epigrams. 102  For σοφία in a Christian sense cf. inter alia Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.81, 83, 84, 93, 94, 98, 125. 103   Ὑποφήτωρ is rare (cf. Ap. Rhod. Argon. 1.22; Manetho, Apotelesmatica 2.295 and 332) and might be used for metrical reasons; the usual form is ὑποφήτης which is attested much more often in Christian than in pagan writings: cf. Ap. Rhod. Argon. 1.1311; Theoc. Id. 22.116; Philo, Mut. 18; Christian use: Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.12; carm. de seipso 13.99 (pg 37.1235.8); Gr. Nyss. Pss. titt. 2.10 (gno 5.111.5); laud. Bas. 2 (Stein, Encomium, 6.2); Eus. h.e.; Bas. hom. 11.5 (pg 31.384.8). 104  For biological fathers cf. Oppian, Cynegetica 2.372; Ael. Herodian, De prosodia catholica; Partitiones 11.8; Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.17, 77, 83, 140. For God in Sib. Or. 6:2; 11:250 and fr. 5.3 and in the fourth century almost exclusively in Gr. Naz. carm. dogmatica 1.33; 2.19, 28 (pg 37.401.2; 403.5; 404.1); carm. moralia 1.26, 237 (pg 37.524.5; 540.9); carm. quae spectant ad alios 1.190; 3.4, 268, 297 (pg 37.1465.8; 1480.6; 1499.6; 1501.9). Some more attestations in Didym. Trin. 3.2.1, 6, 9 (pg 39.788.11, 15; 789.30; 792.10). 105  In Christian sense esp. in Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.102, 152, 167, 169, 170, 175; carm. de seipso 87.8 (pg 37.1433.14); Liturgia sancti Gregorii (pg 36.733.1); but cf. also Cyr. fr. Jer. (pg 70.1453.28); Thdt. Ps. 63:14; 65:9; 67:19 (pg 80.1345.11; 1368.37; 1388.39). 106  Πανεπίσκοπος is attested as an attribute of wisdom in Wis 7:23 (cf. Eus. p.e. 7.12.6; 11.14.10) and of God in Sib. Or. 1:152 and 5:352. It appears almost exclusively in Christian literature as an attribute of God, cf. Gr. Naz. carm. dogmatica 35.1 (pg 37.517.4); Clem. str.



[λ]αοῦ107 σακκοφόρου μνῆμα κέκευθε τόδε [λεί]ψανον108 Εὐγενίου τε θ(εο)υδέος109 ὃν κατέλιψεν [ποιμ]νῆς110 πνευματικῆς111 ἄξιον ἡνίοχον112 … The teacher of Christ’s wisdom, the wise man, the renowned victor crowned by the heavenly Father, Severus, the all-overseeing leader of the cities, is enshrouded by this memorial of the sackcloth-wearing people, and the remains of the God-fearing Eugenius, whom he left as worthy shepherd (charioteer) of the spiritual flock …113 Some of the lexemes used in the epigram, including ὑποφήτωρ, γενέτης refer­ ring to God, πανεπίσκοπος, and θεουδής, are rare. Others, like ἀθλοφόρος or πνευ­ματική, are used preferentially by early Christian authors or in a typical Christian sense. It is important to note that all of the special lexemes discussed above (nn. 102–112) have parallels in the works of Gregory of Nazianzus. The Eugenius of this epigram has sometimes been identified with Bishop Marcus Iulius Eugenius of Laodicea, who honoured himself by a prose in­ scription around ad 340.114 But there are good reasons not to identify the two Eugenii.115 Eugenius from the ‘sackcloth-wearing people’ might have lived in the second part or even at the end of the fourth century. Hence, contemporary Christian literature could have influenced the work of the anonymous poet of the epigram. It comes as no surprise that it is especially the works of Gregory of Nazianzus, ‘the poet’ of early Christianity, which provide semantic parallels for this verse inscription.116 and (cf. paed. for the Logos); Or. fr. in Mt. 18:21 (pg 17.300.11); Cyr. Ps. 32:1 (pg 69.869.28); Corpus Hermeticum, Ἐκ τοῦ ὕμνου πρὸς τὸν παντοκράτορα 3. 107  Cf. e.g. Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.10, 15. 108  Very common in Greek literature. Cf. Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.124. 109  In Christian literature first in Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.95; carm. moralia 1.198, 493 (pg 37.537.12; 559.9); carm. de seipso 13.94, 168 (pg 37.1235.3; 1240.10). 110  Cf. John 10:16; Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.13, 18, 19, 21; or. 2.117 (pg 35.513.39); ep. 101.2 (τὴν ποίμνην καλῶς ἡγμένην); or. 9.5 (pg 35.825.17: τὴν ἱερὴν ποίμνην); Gr. Nyss. Thdr. (pg 46.736.30). 111  Ἐκκλησία πνευματική first in 2 Clem. 14:1 and 3; Or. Jo. 13.51.341. 112  Cf. Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.143. 113  For the reconstruction of the heavily damaged end of the epigram see Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 587–588. 114  i cg 371. Cf. the discussion by Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 574–582. 115  Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 582–589. 116  Apart from the parallels mentioned for icg 372 cf. other terms like ἄκαμπτος (icg 596; cf. Gr. Naz. Anth. Pal. 8.50 and 57; carm. de seipso 50.59 [pg 37.1389.11]; cf. also Bas. hom. 18.7

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


As a few of the epigrams analysed demonstrate, they are in some semantic accordance with contemporary Christian literature. The special nature of the formation of a Christian tradition in verse inscriptions therefore had roots in the long tradition of the epigram genre in the pagan world, but might also have been influenced by contemporary Christian literature and authors. Can we find some clues how this influence might have taken place? 4

Dissemination of Poetic Christian Language in Central Asia Minor

We know of a bishop writing poetry himself in Lycaonia. Amphilochius of Ico­ nium was bishop of Iconium from ad 373 to 393/4.117 He wrote several homilies and left a paraenetic iambic poem addressed to his nephew Seleucus (Iambi ad Seleucum).118 In this poem, Amphilochius outlined a traditional educational program that combined the cultivation of good character with reading of the pagan classics—albeit cleansed of pagan fables about the gods and limited to passages that were morally profitable (Seleuc. 33–63).119 This iambic poe­ try is paralleled by a similar text written by Amphilochius’s friend, Basil of Caesarea,120 who, as demonstrated by some of his letters, was in close contact with Amphilochius.121 Basil recommended the appointment of Amphilochius as bishop and later figured as an important dialogue partner and advisor in questions of church politics.122 Thus, we might consider the possibility of some impact of Basil’s writings on Amphilochius’s poem and other writings. However, this idea stands in need of further proof. [pg 31.504.5]; hom. in Ps. 14b.1 [pg 29.265.35]), ἀρητήρ (icg 82 and 603; cf. Gr. Naz. carm. de seipso 17.17 [pg 37.1263.5]), ἀλιτρεύουσα (icg 608; cf. ἀλιτρός in Anth. Pal. 8.104, 109, 128, 180, 187, 205, 222; carm. dogmatica 1.9; 3.52; 5.47; 8.38; 9.44 [pg 37.399.4; 412.5; 427.11; 449.11; 460.4]; carm. moralia 1.121, 447, 497, 662; 2.40 [pg 37.531.10; 556.3; 559.13; 572.13; 581.10]; cf. Simelidis, Selected Poems, 32, with reference to Callim., Hymn 2), θεὸς ἄφθιτος (icg 608; cf. Gr. Naz. carm. dogmatica 34.8 [pg 37.517.11]), μέγιστος for God (icg 20; cf. Gr. Naz. carm. de virtute 1a 20.76; 1b 6.12.52 [Palla and Kertsch]), μεγαλήτωρ (icg 149 and 562; cf. Gr. Naz. carm. de seipso 45.297 [pg 37.1374.8]; carm. quae spectant ad alios 3.258 [pg 37.1498.10]), παμβασιλεύς for Christ (icg 585; cf. Gr. Naz., Liturgia sancti Gregorii [pg 36.713.10 and 17]; carm. dogmatica 31.1 [pg 37.510.52]; carm. moralia 1.455, 708 [pg 37.556.11; 576.5]). 117  Cf. Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 589–594. 118  The poem has for a long time been assigned to Gregory of Nazianzus, see Bernardi, Saint Grégoire, 308. On the identity of the addressee, see Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 482 n. 634. 119  Cf. Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 482. 120  Bas. leg. lib. gent., cf. Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 482. 121  Cf. Bas. ep. 161, 188, 190, 191, 199–202, 217–218, 231–233, 248. 122  Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 589.



More importantly, Amphilochius was a cousin of Gregory of Nazianzus. ‘Amphilochius’s letters to Gregory are lost, but the close relationship is appar­ ent in a letter in which Gregory, after recovering from illness, thanked his cous­ in for praying for him and requested him to ask for the forgiveness of Gregory’s sins when celebrating the Eucharist. Writing in defense of Amphilochius, who later ran into financial trouble when buying property, Gregory acclaimed his cousin’s good reputation, calling him his “most precious son Amphilochius, a man so famous (even beyond his years) for his gentlemanly bearing.” Upon Amphilochius’s consecration as bishop, Gregory wrote him a long letter, initiat­ ing a lifelong correspondence between them.’123 Amphilochius accompanied Gregory to the Council of Constantinople (ad 381).124 Amphilochius therefore might have been the person passing some of Gregory’s poetry or poetic lan­ guage to Lycaonian Christians and strengthening the already existing inclina­ tion towards poetry in Lycaonia. As already mentioned, Gregory’s writings had a significant impact. They might have been edited already in Gregory’s lifetime and passed on by the addressees and their families.125 In Caesarea Mazaka in Cappadocia one of Gregory’s poems was added under a church-painting showing Jesus calming down the storm (Mark 4:36–40 parr.).126 Some of Gregory’s epigrams were col­ lected in book 8 of the Anthologia Palatina in the Byzantine period. Many of these poems were widely read in Byzantium, and Simelidis makes a strong case that they were part of the school curriculum.127 These poems may have already circulated in Christian communities before they were collected in the Greek Anthology. But here again we are stuck in assumptions. Oral traditions and liturgical elements might also have played an important part in the dissemination of poetic Christian language.128 Nevertheless, in the persons of Gregory of Nazianzus and Amphilochius, Chris‑ tianity in Cappadocia and Lycaonia in the second half of the fourth century had two well-known and well-networked champions of classic Greek educa­ tion in all its dimensions, who saw nothing wrong in formulating their Christian 123  Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 589–590. Cf. also McGuckin, St Gregory, 7, 111, 127, 133–134, 189, 223, 238, 350, 358, 366. 124  Hier. vir. ill. 3.133. Given this close relationship Markschies proposes adding Amphilochius to the circle of the Cappadocian Fathers (Markschies, ‘Trinitätstheologie’, 196 n. 2). 125  Cf. Tuilier, Bardy, and Bernardi, Saint Grégoire, lxxv–lxxvii; McGuckin, ‘Gregory’, 205 n. 50. 126  s go 3.13/06/04. 127  Simelidis, Selected Poems, 7, 75–79. 128  For the use of psalms in Lycaonian Christianity see Breytenbach in Breytenbach and Zim­ mermann, Lycaonia, 681–682.

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


faith in poetic verses.129 Amphilochius, like Faustinus, his probable predeces­ sor in the bishopric of Iconium, was a student of Libanius, the most famous or­ ator of the time. Libanius spent two extended spells in Ancyra,130 and Optimus, who was probably bishop in Gdanmaa in northern Lycaonia (c. ad 375/377– 394), was his student also.131 Hence, the influence of bishops educated in Greek rhetoric in the region might have contributed to the inte­rest in pagan literary forms and traditions reflected by the village poets. The high number of verse inscriptions in Lycaonia might also be explained by this network. Leading Christian figures like those just named may thus have contributed to the spread of education among the Christians of Lycaonia. Education played a significant role in introducing Christian belief and semantics into the tradi­ tional pagan forms of sepulchral poetry. Once Christianity was established in the educated parts of the Roman world and Christians demonstrated that their cultural standards were in line with those of their pagan neighbours, the fash­ ion of sepulchral verse inscriptions slowly disappeared. 5

Early Christian Poetry and the Rise of Christianity in Asia Minor

The very fact that Christian verse inscriptions reflected the consistent use of a traditional pagan genre with typical Homeric language underlines that Christianity did not appear in Asia Minor as an erratic new religion, uncon­ nected to the cultural background. On the contrary, Christian theological lan­ guage and theological concepts were adapted to the traditions of the pagan world,132 and by this means, Christian faith was passed on as a new phenome­ non, which was, however, compatible with the religious cultures of Asia Minor. Christian verse inscriptions show that in this sense there was no need to abandon those traditions, since these could easily be supplemented by Chris­ tian concepts. Christians did not alter social values either, as the inscriptions demonstrate a largely homogenous system of values in pagan and Christian epigrams. While Christians added some particularly appreciated values as, for example, mildness and hospitality, they did not contradict usual pagan patterns.

129  Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 483. 130  Cf. Mitchell and French, I.Ankara 2, pp. 17–18. 131  Zimmermann in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 482. 132  The contributions in Leppin, Antike Mythologie, show that this is true for the use of Greek mythology in Christianity too.



The poetry of Gregory of Nazianzus as well as the poetry of Amphilochius of Iconium show that this applies equally to the educated upper class. Gregory tells us that he wrote poems to improve his own concentration and to control his excesses.133 Nevertheless, his poems might also have been used—as the Iambi ad Seleucum of Amphilochius—for educational purposes, as he envi­ saged pedagogical aims too.134 Hence, poetic literature as well as inscribed epi­ grams supported the memorialization and imitation of Christian beliefs and values, which fitted well into the traditional world of Asia Minor. The rise of Christianity is not explained by Christian poetry, but Christian poetry shows how and why the Christian faith could be successfully dissemi­ nated in Asia Minor. Christian values were shown to be compatible with those of the pagan world by the public display of verse inscriptions in churches and graveyards. Gregory of Nazianzus, the finest of the Christian poets, may have played a crucial role not only as a great theologian, but also by promoting the popular­ ity of Christian poetry, which served as an important medium for introducing Christian theology to the pagan world.135 Bibliography Beckby, H., Anthologia Graeca, 2 vols. (Munich, 1965). Bernardi, J., Saint Grégoire de Nazianze: Le Théologien et son temps (330–390) (Paris, 1996). Breytenbach, C., and C. Zimmermann, Early Christianity in Lycaonia: From Paul to Amphilochius of Iconium, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 101/Early Chris­ tianity in Asia Minor 2 (Leiden, 2018). Brixhe, C., Essai sur le grec anatolien au début de notre ère (2nd ed., Nancy, 1987). Brock, S.P., ‘Dramatic Narrative Poems on Biblical Topics in Syriac’, Studia Patristica 45 (2010), 183–196. Brown, P., Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Madison, Wis., 1992). Cameron, A., ‘Poetry and Literary Culture in Late Antiquity’, in S. Swain and M.J. Edwards (eds.), Approaching Late Antiquity: The Transformation from Early to Late Empire (Oxford, 2004), 327–354.

133  C  arm. de seipso 39.35 (pg 37.1332.1). 134  C  arm. de seipso 39.37–46 (pg 37.1332.3–13). 135  I am very grateful for the friendly and helpful advice of my colleague Andreas Müller, Kiel.

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


Dihle, A., Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire: From Augustus to Justinian (London, 1994). Finkelberg, M., ‘Homer as a Foundation Text’, in M. Finkelberg and G.G. Stroumsa (eds.), Homer, the Bible, and Beyond: Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World, Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture 2 (Leiden, 2003), 75–96. Harvey, S.A., ‘Performance as Exegesis: Women’s Liturgical Choirs in Syriac Tradition’, in B. Groen and S. Hawkes-Teeples (eds.), Inquiries into Eastern Christian Worship: Selected Papers of the Second International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy: Rome, 17–21 September 2008, Eastern Christian Studies 12 (Leuven, 2012), 47–64. Hock, R.F., ‘Homer in Greco-Roman Education’, in D.R. MacDonald (ed.), Mimesis and Intertextuality in Antiquity and Christianity (Harrisburg, Pa., 2001), 56–77. Horsley, G.H.R., ‘Homer in Pisidia: Degrees of Literateness in a Backwoods Province of the Roman Empire’, Antichthon 34 (2000), 46–81. Hose, M., Poesie aus der Schule: Überlegungen zur spätgriechischen Dichtung (Munich, 2004). Jungck, C., Gregor von Nazianz: De vita sua; Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung, Kommentar (Heidelberg, 1974). Keydell, R., ‘Die literarhistorische Stellung der Gedichte Gregors von Nazianz’, in Atti dello viii congresso internazionale di studi bizantini, Studi bizantini e neoellenici 7 (Rome, 1953), 134–143. Knecht, A., Gregor von Nazianz: Gegen die Putzsucht der Frauen; Verbesserter grie­ chischer Text mit Übersetzung, motivgeschichtlichem Überblick und Kommentar (Heidelberg, 1972). Kuhn, T., Schweigen in Versen: Text, Übersetzung und Studien zu den Schweigegedichten Gregors von Nazianz (ii,1,34A/B), Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 328 (Berlin, 2014). Laes, C., ‘Education’, in M. Harlow and R. Laurence (eds.), A Cultural History of Child­ hood and Family in Antiquity (Oxford, 2012), 79–96. Lattke, M., Oden Salomos, Fontes Christiani 19 (Fribourg, 1995). Leppin, H. (ed.), Antike Mythologie in christlichen Kontexten der Spätantike, MillenniumStudien 54 (Berlin, 2015). Marek, C., Pontus et Bithynia: Die römischen Provinzen im Norden Kleinasiens (Mainz, 2003). Markschies, C., ‘Gibt es eine einheitliche “kappadozische Trinitätstheologie”?’, in Alta Trinità beata: Gesammelte Studien zur altkirchlichen Trinitätstheologie (Tübingen, 2000), 196–237. Markschies, C., Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen: Prolegomena zu einer Geschichte der antiken christlichen Theologie (Tübingen, 2007). McGuckin, J.A., St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (New York, 2001). McGuckin, J.A., ‘Gregory: The Rhetorician and Poet’, in J. Børtnes and T. Hägg (eds.), Gregory of Nazianzus: Images and Reflections (Copenhagen, 2006), 193–212.



Merkt, A., ‘Das Schweigen und Sprechen der Gräber: Zur Aussagekraft frühchristli­ cher Epitaphe’, in J. Dresken-Weiland, A. Angerstorfer, and A. Merkt (eds.), Himmel, Paradies, Schalom: Tod und Jenseits in christlichen und jüdischen Grabinschriften der Antike (Regensburg, 2012), 13–69. Mitchell, S., ‘The Ionians of Paphlagonia’, in T. Whitmarsh (ed.), Microidentities and Local Knowledge in the Imperial Greek World (Cambridge, 2010), 86–110. Moreschini, C., and E. Norelli, Histoire de la littérature chrétienne ancienne grecque et latine, vol. 1: De Paul à l’ère de Constantin (Geneva, 2000). Moreschini, C., and D.A. Sykes, St. Gregory of Nazianzus: Poemata Arcana (Oxford, 1997). Mülke, M., ‘Apollinaris von Laodicea: Über die Entstehung und das Scheitern einer Bi­beldichtung’, in S. Gehrig and S. Seiler (eds.), Gottes Wahrnehmungen: Helmut Utz­ schneider zum 60. Geburtstag (Stuttgart, 2009), 241–258. Palla, R., and M. Kertsch, Gregor von Nazianz: Carmina de virtute ia/ib (Graz, 1985). Paton, W.R., The Greek Anthology, 5 vols., lcl (London, 1916–1918). Pellegrino, M., La poesia di S. Gregorio Nazianzeno (Milan, 1932). Peres, I., Griechische Grabinschriften und neutestamentliche Eschatologie, Wissenschaft­ liche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 157 (Tübingen, 2003). Rochefort, G., L’empereur Julien: Œuvres complètes, 2 vols. (Paris, 1932–1964). Schuler, C., Ländliche Siedlungen und Gemeinden im hellenistischen und römischen Klein­asien, Vestigia 50 (Munich, 1998). Simelidis, C., Selected Poems of Gregory of Nazianzus: i.2.17; ii.1.10, 19, 32; A Critical Edi­ tion with Introduction and Commentary, Hypomnemata 177 (Göttingen, 2009). Staab, G., Gebrochener Glanz: Klassische Tradition und Alltagswelt im Spiegel neuer und alter Grabepigramme des griechischen Ostens, Untersuchungen zur antiken Litera­ tur und Geschichte 130 (Berlin, 2018). Stein, J.A., Encomium of Saint Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa on His Brother Saint Basil, Arch­ bishop of Cappadocia Caesarea, Patristic Studies 17 (Washington, D.C., 1928). Thesleff, H., The Pythagorean Texts of the Hellenistic Period (Åbo, 1965). Thonemann, P.J., ‘Poets of the Axylon’, Chiron 44 (2014), 191–232. Tuilier, A., Grégoire de Nazianze: La Passion de Christ, Sources chrétiennes 149 (Paris, 1969). Tuilier, A., G. Bardy, and J. Bernardi, Saint Grégoire de Nazianze: Œuvres poétiques, vol. 1/1: Poèmes personnels ii, 1,1–11, Collection des universités de France (Paris, 2004). Vollenweider, S., ‘Hymnus, Enkomion oder Psalm? Schattengefechte in der neutesta­ mentlichen Wissenschaft’, New Testament Studies 56 (2010), 208–231. Waltz, P., Anthologie grecque, vol. 1/6: Anthologie Palatine, livre viii (Paris, 1945). Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U. von, Die griechische Literatur des Altertums (3rd ed., Leipzig, 1912; repr., Stuttgart, 1995).

Gregory of Nazianzus and Early Christian Village Poetry


Wolbergs, T., Griechische religiöse Gedichte der ersten nachchristlichen Jahrhunderte, vol. 1: Psalmen und Hymnen der Gnosis und des frühen Christentums (Meisenheim am Glan, 1971). Wyss, B., ‘Gregor von Nazianz: Ein griechisch-christlicher Dichter des 4. Jahrhunderts’, Museum Helveticum 6 (1949), 177–210. Zimmermann, C., Die Namen des Vaters: Studien zu ausgewählten neutestamentlichen Gottesbezeichnungen vor ihrem jüdischen und paganen Sprachhorizont, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 69 (Leiden, 2007).

Chapter 6

Constantinople and Asia Minor: Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century Turhan Kaçar 1 Introduction At the very beginning of the fifth century, John Chrysostom, the famous bishop of Constantinople, made a journey through Asia Minor to make episcopal depositions and appointments. According to the historian Sozomen, Chrysostom, in his capacity as archbishop of Constantinople, removed thirteen bishops from office during this tour, some in Lycia and Phrygia, and others in Asia itself, while appointing others in their stead.1 John also deposed the metropolitan bishop of Bithynia. All these activities were outside the defined jurisdiction of the church of Constantinople. In the short time since its foundation the church of Constantinople had become the second see of the empire. John’s campaign appears to be an innovation. It is also important to remember that one of the charges that led to the fall of John was his attempt to expand the jurisdictional rights of the capital.2 The main purpose of this paper is not to discuss the activities of John here in any more detail. Rather a retrospective approach will be taken to document in what way the relationships concerning ecclesiastical jurisdiction between Constantinople and Asia developed in the course of the fourth century. Current ecclesiastical scholarship, mostly arguing from the examples of John Chrysostom and his predecessor Nectarius, tends to portray the fourth-century bishops of Constantinople as reluctant figures in matters of jurisdiction.3 The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the evidence for this. 1  Sozomen is the only church historian who mentions this episode in John’s relatively short tenure as bishop. 2  Pall. v. Chrys. 13–20 defends John. Susanna Elm argues that the conflict between Theophilus and John was a matter of authority, because the bishop of Constantinople had accepted Egyptian monks and by doing so had violated the fifth canon of the Council of Nicaea, which defined the limits of patriarchal powers (Elm, ‘Doctrine and Patriarchal Authority’). However, Elm does not mention the third canon of the Council of Constantinople, which gave ‘primacy of honour’ to Constantinople (see n. 28 below). 3  Elm, ‘Doctrine and Patriarchal Authority’; Neil McLynn, ‘Two Romes’.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_008

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


The ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the leading centres of the early church was defined at the Council of Nicaea. The church of Constantinople was not represented, as the city, then still Byzantium, had no special significance among the churches of the eastern empire. However, about half a century later the bishop of Constantinople was raised to the second rank in the religious hierarchy behind the bishop of the old imperial capital. This paper is an attempt to set the discussion in a wider context by investigating the rise to prominence of the church of Constantinople in the eastern empire in the fourth century. As a preliminary observation it should be stated that the rising ecclesiastical status of the city in the empire developed simultaneously with its secular promotion in the eastern Roman context. 2

Matters of Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century: A Brief Documentation

The fourth-century church councils witnessed controversies about ecclesiastical jurisdiction becoming an important component of their agenda regarding the exercise of church discipline. The appointment of clergy by bishops who had travelled outside their own jurisdictional regions was a serious matter of concern. This concern may be illustrated best by the twenty-second canon of the Council of Antioch (341), which attempted to prevent jurisdictional intrusions: Let not a bishop go to a strange city, which is not subject to himself, nor into a district which does not belong to him, either to ordain anyone, or to appoint presbyters or deacons to places within the jurisdiction of another bishop, unless with the consent of the proper bishop of the place. And if anyone shall presume to do any such thing, the ordination shall be void, and he himself shall be punished by the synod.4 This canon was conspicuously a response to bishops who were too zealous in expanding their spheres of influence. A thorough examination of the fourthcentury canons reveals several examples with similar content published by different church meetings.5 The Council of Ancyra, held a few years before

4  For the text of the canon see Jonkers, Acta et Symbola Conciliorum, 55. 5  Apart from the Council of Antioch, a canon attributed to the Council of Laodicea dealt with the rules of appointment: ‘Bishops are to be appointed to the ecclesiastical government by the judgement of the metropolitans and neighbouring bishops, after having been long



the Council of Nicaea, warned bishops that they should observe and respect the jurisdiction of other bishops (can. 18). The first part of the second canon of Constantinople also emphasized that the limits of episcopal jurisdiction should be observed.6 However, once a bishop had imperial backing, the idealistic restrictions imposed by church canons had no value in the face of political realities, as is clearly to be seen in the earliest episcopal rotation for Constantinople. The rise of the church of Constantinople was connected to the conversion of the ancient Byzantium into Constantinople in the period from 325 to 330 under Constantine. Before this, Byzantium was not a notable city, and its church was not especially distinguished in the ancient ecclesiastical order. The city did not have a representative of the apostolic tradition as its founder, and the early church at Byzantium was never represented by any influential intellectual figure. When the matter of ecclesiastical jurisdiction first became a concern for the attending bishops and the emperor at the Council of Nicaea in 325, the tiny church of Byzantium was never taken into consideration in any way. That council restricted the sphere of ecclesiastical authorities of individual bishops and defined the traditional jurisdictional regions of the churches of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch.7 Not surprisingly the church of Constantinople had little involvement in church business in the reign of Constantine.8 The earliest serious record that it became involved in an ecclesiastical dispute concerned the proposed readmission ceremony of Arius to the church in Constantinople in 336. Athanasius and the fifth-century church historians reflected the hostile reaction of the bishop of Constantinople to the proposal. It is important to remember that the proposed ceremony was planned under the roof of the

proved both in the foundation of their faith and in the conversation of an honest life’ (can. 12, trans. npnf² 14.131). 6  ‘Diocesan bishops are not to intrude in churches beyond their own boundaries, nor are they to confuse the churches’ (Tanner, Decrees, 31). 7  The sixth canon of the Council of Nicaea runs as follows: Τὰ ἀρχαῖα ἔθη κρατείτω, τὰ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ, καὶ Λιβύῃ καὶ Πενταπόλει, ὥστε τὸν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ ἐπίσκοπον πάντων τούτων ἔχειν τὴν ἐξουσίαν· ἐπειδὴ καὶ τῷ ἐν Ῥώμῃ ἐπισκόπῳ τοῦτο σύνηθές ἐστιν. Ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ κατὰ τὴν Ἀντιόχειαν, καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἄλλαις ἐπαρχίαις, τὰ πρεσβεῖα σῴζεσθαι ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις (‘The ancient customs of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis shall be maintained, according to which the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all these places, since a similar custom exists with reference to the bishop of Rome. Similarly in Antioch and the other provinces the prerogatives of the churches are to be preserved’, Tanner, Decrees, 8–9). 8  Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius, 213, implies that Paul of Constantinople, then a priest, represented his aged bishop at the Council of Tyre in 335.

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


church of the capital city, and it was only forestalled by the sudden death of Arius a day before the final meeting.9 The unofficial promotion of Constantinople in the religious hierarchy started under Constantius ii. At the very beginning of his reign, he intervened in an episcopal election and transferred the metropolitan bishop of Bithynia, Eu­ sebius of Nicomedia, to the capital. Eusebius proved to be a very influential figure not only in planning a doctrinal standard for the empire but also in organizing missionary activities in Gothia, probably leading to the conversion of Wulfila, and Southern Arabia with the imperial support of Constantinople.10 The available sources do not provide any evidence indicating that Eusebius, in his capacity as bishop of Constantinople, intervened in episcopal appointments in Asia Minor or elsewhere. However, Eusebius was a leading figure at the Council of Antioch in 341, which rejected the involvement of the Roman bishop in the ecclesiastical affairs of the eastern bishops. The matter is a wellknown episode in the history of the fourth-century church. Athanasius of Alexandria had been tried a few years earlier and had fled to Rome, where the bishop Julius acquitted him and now was threatening measures against the bishops who attended the Council of Antioch. Eusebius of Constantinople composed a very refined letter on behalf of the council to remind the bishop of Rome to respect the rules of ecclesiastical jurisdiction.11 Apparently, this letter implies nothing about the jurisdictional rights of Constantinople. However, it clearly reflects both the presence of jurisdictional awareness among the eastern bishops and the assertive role of the bishop of the new capital. Whether this was the result of the strong personality of Eusebius or because he had decisive imperial support did not matter. This intervention initiated a zigzag process, which brought the church of Constantinople to the forefront of ecclesiastical and imperial politics. Eusebius’s successor, Macedonius, exploited his authority and imperial support very markedly, both in suppressing schismatic groups and in making episcopal appointments. The historian Socrates reports that ‘Macedonius subverted the order of things in the cities and provinces adjacent to Constantinople, promoting his assistants to ecclesiastical honours’. He ordained bishops for Cyzicus and Nicomedia.12 Socrates also records that Macedonius imposed a 9  There are various ancient and modern reports about this episode. Cf. Ath. ep. mort. Ar.; Leroy-Molinghen, ‘La mort d’Arius’. 10  Philost. h.e. 2.5; Sivan, ‘Ulfila’s Own Conversion’. Pro-Nicene sources place the conversion of Wulfila in the context of the Council of Constantinople in 360; cf. Socr. h.e. 2.41.23; Soz. h.e. 6.37.8. 11  Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius, 58. 12  Socr. h.e. 2.38.3–4; cf. Soz. h.e. 4.20.1–2.



forced conversion in several places with the imperial backing. A severe conflict between the local inhabitants and soldiers in the Paphlagonian city of Mantinium, a Novatian stronghold, claimed many lives.13 Whether the appointments around Bithynia and his policy of forced conversion should be interpreted as part of the patriarchal initiatives of Macedonius, even before the city was proclaimed as the greatest see of the eastern empire, is open to question. Because one of the accusations behind the fall of Macedonius at the Council of Constantinople in 360 was his misconduct and his responsibility for instigating murders in Paphlagonia, the bishop’s actions may appear at first sight to derive from personal ambition and abuse of power, rather than to Constantinople’s institutional dominance.14 Nevertheless, the charges against Macedonius did not reflect the illegality of the whole action, but the use of excessive force during its execution. The ecclesiastical influence of Constantinople in Bithynian and Hellespontine cities continued after Macedonius. It is not without reason that the bishoprics of Bithynia and Hellespont were treated as a backwater by the church of the capital. In 360 the Council of Constantinople deposed several bishops and made new appointments to replace them not only in Bithynia and Helles‑ pont, but also in several cities of Asia Minor.15 Through the initiative of Acacius of Caesarea and by the confirmation of the ruling emperor, who was still Constantius ii, Eudoxius of Antioch was transferred to the capital.16 At the same council Eudoxius also ensured the appointment of Eunomius to the see of Cyzicus. The political fortunes of Eudoxius and the Acacian party changed after this appointment with the death of Constantius. Secular political concerns overshadowed the activities of bishops and developed at their expense in the first half of the 360s. First Julian, the pagan Hellene emperor, came to the throne; his short reign was followed by another short-lived ruler, Jovian; and Jovian’s successor, Valens, was preoccupied by the civil war against Proco­ pius. Ecclesiastical matters took a back seat. These secular political concerns and developments prevented the bishop of Constantinople from exerting any

13  Socr. h.e. 2.38.29–32; Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.97. 14  Socr. h.e. 2.42.3–4; Hanson, Christian Doctrine of God, 370; Barnes, Athanasius and Con­ stantius, 146–149. 15  A certain Onesimus was appointed to Nicomedia (Philost. h.e. 5.1). 16  Philost. h.e. 5.1; for the list of the bishops who attended the ordination of Eudoxius see Philost. h.e. app. 7.31 (gcs 21.224f.). The fifth-century church histories reveal very clearly that the mastermind behind the appointments at the Council of Constantinople was Aca­ cius of Caesarea, who very likely worked in close contact with Eudoxius of Constantinople.

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


influence in the neighbourhood of the capital. Instead, the historian Socrates reported on the activities of the Macedonian church party. This group emerged after the deposition of Macedonius from Constantinople and made attempts to expand its influence through regional church councils, one of which was held in Seleucia in Isauria around the middle years of 360s.17 The church historians do not suggest that the bishop of Constantinople was actively involved in stopping these activities. The Macedonian group of bishops expanded their operations and held various meetings to maintain closed ranks in the cities of Bithynia and Hellespont. One of those meetings was held in Lampsacus, ‘seven years after Seleucia’, in 366.18 The holding of a council by the dissenting Macedonian group not only reflected their wide popularity and influence in Bithynia and the Hellespont, but also is evidence for the temporary passivity of Eudoxius, the bishop of the imperial city. Opposition did not only take shape in the neighbourhood of Constantinople in this period. Socrates reports that similar groupings emerged throughout Asia Minor, particularly in Lycia, Isauria, Pisidia, Asia and Pamphylia, creating a separate oppositional front against the bishop of the capital. The church leaders of those cities also communicated with Liberius, the bishop of Rome, as a higher court of appeal.19 From the western point of view the appeal to the bishop of Rome had a base in church law because, about two decades before, the western Council of Serdica had decreed that the bishop of Rome would be the final judicial authority for episcopal cases.20 Communications between eastern and western bishops did not cause any further political problems, because the western emperor was both physically and intellectually remote from religious controversies. The appealing Asian bishops were advised to hold a larger council in Cilicia to main­ tain their struggle against Eudoxius, but he now exerted his influence and prevented the proposed council from meeting in Tarsus.21 As soon as political stability was ensured after the Procopius affair, the church of Constantinople again became involved in ecclesiastical jurisdiction relating to Bithynia. The bishop Eudoxius organized another church meeting in Nicomedia, the Bithynian capital, to try several Macedonian bishops. 17  Socr. h.e. 4.12.8. Socrates also preserves a letter of Liberius of Rome to the Macedonian bishops in the same chapter (4.12.10–20). 18  Socr. h.e. 4.4.2. 19  Socr. h.e. 4.12.10–20. 20  Serdica, can. 4: ‘If a bishop has been deposed and affirms that he has an excuse, to urge, unless Rome has judged the case, that no bishop shall be appointed in his stead’ (trans. npnf² 14.418). See also the third and fifth canons of the same council. See for an inter­ connecting commentary of can. 3, 4 and 5, Hess, Canon Law, 190–199. 21  Socr. h.e. 4.12.3; Soz. h.e. 6.12.5.



The most famous of them was Eleusius of Cyzicus. It is reported that Eleusius gave up some of his theological views and accepted the doctrinal position of the imperial capital after the trial. However, when he arrived at his bishopric Cyzicus, he complained bitterly about what had happened at the Nicomedian trial and returned to his previous religious views.22 This matter induced Eudoxius to exert his power again by appointing a replacement in Cyzicus, this time nominating Eunomius, the eloquent theologian, to the bishopric. The main consideration in this appointment was Eu­ nomius’s personal reputation as a public speaker, able to win over the minds of the multitude. According to Philostorgius, Eudoxius collaborated in the appointment of Eunomius with Maris of Chalcedon, an important Arian figure in Bithynia,23 who had an extremely turbulent career not only in religious but also in political terms, and was exiled for both reasons. Philostorgius also reports that Eudoxius had travelled to Nicaea to appoint a bishop because its bishop Eugenius had died.24 Eudoxius died in 370 and Demophilus was appointed in his place by Do­ rotheus of Heraclea with the full support of the emperor Valens. According to Sozomen, the right of appointment to the see of Constantinople lay with the bishops of Nicomedia and of Heraclea, since these were the metropolitan sees nearest to the new capital. The tradition of Constantinople intervening in Bithynian episcopal elections continued, and was reflected by Demophilus’s journey to Cyzicus, accompanied by Dorotheus of Heraclea and some others, to make an appointment.25 Ecclesiastical jurisdiction under the emperor Valens was not only a matter for attention in Constantinople but was also a concern and a source of dispute in Cappadocia. In the autumn of 371, Valens announced the division of the province of Cappadocia into Cappadocia Prima and Cappadocia Secunda, apparently for administrative and financial purposes.26 This imperial operation was seen to conflict with the interests of the metropolitan bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia Prima, Basil the Great. This conflict has been interpreted by some scholars as based in theological factionalism, with Valens viewed as a staunch Arian and Basil as a rigid pro-Nicene. Whatever the motivation, the emperor’s

22  The issue under discussion was the divinity of the Holy Spirit which was denied by Eleusius and his followers. Cf. Socr. h.e. 4.6.4–8; Soz. h.e. 6.8.5–8. 23  Philost. h.e. 5.3; Vaggione, Eunomius of Cyzicus, 226–227. On Eunomius’s consecration as bishop of Cyzicus see also Socr. h.e. 4.7.10; Soz. h.e. 4.25.6; Thdt. h.e. 2.27, 29. 24  Philost. h.e. 9.8. 25  Soz. h.e. 3.3.1. 26  Jones, Cities, 184–186.

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


intervention created a challenge to Basil’s leadership in Cappadocia.27 Basil wanted to maintain his control over Cappadocia Secunda, now outside his jurisdiction, and began to make hasty appointments for the cities (or even roadstations) in that province. In this context the bishoprics of Sasima, Nyssa and Doara were occupied by friends of Basil. However, Anthimus of Tyana, the metropolitan bishop and the new episcopal head of Cappadocia Secunda, duly rejected these appointments. Not surprisingly Anthimus defended the view that ecclesiastical jurisdiction should have largely conformed to the secular provincial system. Whatever the reasons behind the division of the province, it is important for our purpose to observe the keenness of individual bishops to protect and even to expand their jurisdictional power. Basil himself complained about his unwelcome reception in the new province in a letter to his friend Eusebius of Samosata (ep. 98): It was also our intention to meet the bishops of Cappadocia Secunda; but they, when they had been named as of another province, immediately thought that they had become of a different race and stock from us, and they ignored us. Apparently, there was no profound theological conflict between the emperor and the bishop, because, when the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Caesarea was also expanded to cover Armenia Minor, as part of an imperial initiative to widen state control, Valens requested and encouraged Basil to take action in the field to spread his jurisdiction eastward to Roman Armenia. 3 Did Canon 3 of Constantinople in 381 Make Any Change to Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction? The canons of the second ecumenical council, held at Constantinople in 381, mark a distinctive phase in the history of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction. As is well-known, this council was convened at the initiative of the emperor Theo­ dosius, and designed, in part, to stop any western involvement to the affairs in the East, to settle theological controversies in the eastern churches, and to 27  The financial necessity of the division was highlighted by Raymond Van Dam, who pointed out that there are few indications that the prime aim of the emperor was to curb Basil’s pro-Nicene church policy (Van Dam, ‘Emperor’). Baynes, ‘Alexandria and Constantinople’, 99, claimed that Valens’s prime aim was to strike a blow at the authority of Basil; see also Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea, 283–284.



redesign the ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the eastern empire. It was attended by 150 theologically unanimous bishops from the eastern churches. The council not only renewed and extended the Christian creed but also published several canons to re-emphasize administrative discipline in the eastern churches. The second canon of the Council of Constantinople confirmed the sixth and seventh canons of Nicaea and prohibited bishops from going outside their own dioceses and provinces. The famous third canon of the same council recognized the ‘primacy of honour’ for the bishop of Constantinople after Rome: ‘The bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy precedence in honour after the bishop of Rome because it is the New Rome.’28 If we believe the report of Socrates at this council, ‘patriarchs were constituted, and provinces distributed, so that no bishop might exercise any jurisdiction over other churches out of his own diocese’, as reflected in the second canon.29 The reflection and the aftershock of the third canon has been a controversial point of discussion for patristic scholars since the publication of Norman Baynes’s article about a century ago. Baynes argued that the canon was an explicit blow at the rise of the Alexandrian church in the eastern empire, and it also formed the basis of the ecclesiastical rivalry between Constantinople and Alexandria.30 Francis Dvornik and R.P.C. Hanson have re-assessed the impact of the canon, defining it as an attempt ‘to reduce the pretensions of the archbishop of Alexandria’.31 Brian Daley interpreted the terse principle of the canon, ‘primacy of honour’, as an attempt to emphasize the institu­ tional leadership and eminence of the church of Constantinople.32 In his important chapter entitled ‘Orthodoxy Imposed at Constantinople’, J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz argued that this canon was not simply proposed as a challenge to Rome, but was also designed to prevent the alliance between the chur­ches of Rome and Alexandria.33 Malcolm Errington has added a ‘Caesaropapist’ in­terpretation to this discussion, suggesting that the canon was dictated by the emperor Theodosius to raise the status of his capital.34 In fact, assigning 28  Can. 3 (Jonkers, Acta et Symbola Conciliorum, 108): Τὸν μέντοι Κωνσταντινουπόλεως ἐπί­ σκοπον ἔχειν τὰ πρεσβεῖα τῆς τιμῆς μετὰ τὸν τῆς Ῥώμης ἐπίσκοπον, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὴν νέαν Ῥώμην. 29  Socr. h.e. 5.8.14. 30  Baynes, ‘Alexandria and Constantinople’. 31  Dvornik touched on the matter very briefly in ‘Constantinople and Rome’, 433; see also his Byzantium, 44–45; Hanson, Christian Doctrine of God, 808. The German scholar Adolf Martin Ritter adopted a similar approach (Konzil von Konstantinopel, 92–93). 32  Daley, ‘Position and Patronage’. 33  Earlier Geoffrey Barraclough had seen this canon as a blow to the Roman church (Me­ dieval Papacy, 23–24; cf. Liebeschuetz, Barbarians and Bishops, 157–165, esp. 160–163; Ritter, Konzil von Konstantinopel, 94). 34  Errington, ‘Church and State’, esp. 61; id., Roman Imperial Policy, 227–230.

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


second rank to the eastern capital was well suited to a ruler who had been appointed by the western emperor. Neil McLynn has taken an approach that assigns less importance to the third canon. He has argued that ‘being second to Rome did not, for contemporaries, mean being first among other cities.’35 However, this line of argument does not satisfactorily explain the rising status of the new capital city, which was clear in the minds of pagan intellectuals like Themistius.36 In a recent paper Alexander Skinner has argued that the senate of Constantinople, the foundation of which had previously been dated to the end of 350s, developed in the early years of Constantius ii as a direct consequence of the Constantinian initiatives. In the reign of the same emperor the imperial city began to be adorned with the relics of the apostles, a step in its emergence as a new Jerusalem.37 It would be hard to think that the rising star of Constantinople in the secular and religious realms did not spark the ambitions of the local church. A thorough investigation of the subsequent activities of the bishop of Con­ stantinople may help to understand how far the church of the capital was aware of its position in the eastern empire. The ecclesiastical interventions of Nectarius and John Chrysostom provide remarkable evidence for this. It must not be forgotten that although the ecumenical council of 381 placed Thrace under the sole jurisdiction of Constantinople, the larger Anatolian administrative units of Pontica and Asiana were placed not under the authority of a single figure, but under a constellation of church leaders.38 This sharing of power demonstrates that, although the upstart, newly-founded city did not acquire powers of jurisdiction in Asiana and Pontica, the emperor discouraged the formation of a single centre of authority in the vicinity of Constantinople. In the episcopal election Theodosius also managed to end the influence of the other great ecclesiastical centres over Constantinople by side-lining both Gregory of Nazianzus, a representative of Antioch, and Maximus the Cynic, the candidate of the Roman-Alexandrian alliance.39 The bishops attending the second ecumenical council elected a retired and unbaptized senator, Nectarius, as the new leader for the capital at the emperor’s 35  McLynn, ‘Two Romes’, 355. 36  Themistius’s Constantinople is treated in the same volume as McLynn’s paper by Van­ derspoel, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. 37  Origo Constantini 6.30 (lcl 331.526); Skinner, ‘Senate of Constantinople’; Woods, ‘Date’. 38  Helladius, the successor of Basil in the bishopric of Caesarea in Cappadocia, obtained the patriarchate of Pontica in conjunction with Gregory, Basil’s brother, bishop of Nyssa in Cappadocia, and Otreius, bishop of Melitene. The Asian diocese was assigned to Amphi­ lochius of Iconium and Optimus of Antioch; cf. Cod. Thds. 16.1.3. 39  The fourth canon of the council rejected the ordination of Maximus as rightful bishop of the capital ‘he [sc. Maximus] never became, nor is he, a bishop; nor are those ordained by him’ (Tanner, Decrees, 32).



recommendation. Nectarius was a character who fitted the imperial ideology of the emperor Theodosius and advanced his programme to end sectarian conflicts in the capital and in the empire.40 Among the active Christian groups in Constantinople, the Arians, represented by Demophilus, were probably the strongest party, as they had controlled the churches of the eastern empire for about four decades. Other local powerful groups at this time included the Pneumatomachians, led by Eleusius of Cyzicus, and the Anomoeans, led by Eunomius.41 We learn from the fifth-century writers that the Novatians were the most peaceful group, and closest to imperial orthodoxy. The emperor authorized Nectarius to become the chief organizer of a council, which brought together these dissenting leaders in 383. Although this council produced no out­come, an obvious coalition between Nicene and Novatian groups emerged.42 In 394 a rather inconspicuous church council was held in Constantinople under the presidency of Nectarius. In dispute were the conflicting claims of two bishops, Gebadius and Agapius, to the see of Bostra in Arabia.43 The bishops of Alexandria and Antioch attended the meeting. Although the city of Bostra was under the jurisdiction of Antioch, holding a council in the eastern capital with the leaders of Antioch and Alexandria in attendance, may reflect the prerogative position that Constantinople had enjoyed since the publication of the third canon. As we do not have any further information, it is indeed very difficult to make any further speculation in what way Nectarius ascertained his jurisdictional primacy over Alexandria and Antioch. According to a report, this council proposed that any future deposition should be conducted in a larger synod of a whole province, not only according to the decision of three bishops.44 Also in 394, the same year as the Council of Constantinople, the death of Diodorus of Tarsus led to a controversial episcopal election: Tarsus was the metropolitan centre of Cilicia, belonging to the diocese of Oriens. According to the normal provincial order, the right to consecrate a bishop of Tarsus, a city outside the canonically defined status of the capital Constantinople, belonged 40  Kaçar, ‘Election’. 41  Van Nuffelen, ‘Episcopal Succession’. 42  Socr. h.e. 5.10.8–10; Soz. h.e. 7.12.3–12. 43  Hefele, Church Councils, 2.406–407; Hefele and Leclercq, Histoire des conciles 2/1.97 n. 7. Brian Daley notes this episode in support of the rising status of the bishop of Constan­ tinople (‘Position and Patronage’, 538). 44  Socr. h.e. 5.10; Soz. h.e. 7.11. The matter of three bishops is only noted by Hefele, and the fifth-century historians are silent about this. On the other hand it should be pointed out that the fourth canon of the Council of Nicaea decreed that at least three bishops were needed for an episcopal appointment (cf. Tanner, Decrees, 7).

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


to the bishop of Antioch, archbishop of this diocese.45 Palladius reports that Nectarius wanted to appoint his own brother as the new bishop of the city.46 It is open to discussion whether this intervention stemmed from a deliberate decision to extend Constantinople’s jurisdiction, or whether it resulted from the links of a powerful local patron with his home town. Palladius’s account, although it is not supported by other contemporary sources, nevertheless indicates that leading clerics in the eastern capital were minded to interfere in provincial ecclesiastical matters. As was pointed out at the start of this paper, John Chrysostom was notably keen to use the canonical priority of his see in ecclesiastical matters in Asia Minor. Among the replacement bishops that he appointed, details from Sozomen’s account of the case of Gerontius of Nicomedia demonstrate how complicated church politics might be. Gerontius was originally an absconder from the church of Milan where he had been a deacon under Ambrose. He was a sort of physician and in his own way a miracle-maker, although these talents were not approved by Ambrose. Having been forced into seclusion, Gerontius left Italy and came to Bithynia, where, thanks to his skill in making friends and gaining connections in the powerful circles of the eastern capital, he became the bishop of Nicomedia. He was ordained by the diocesan bishop of Pontica, Helladius of Caesarea in Cappadocia.47 Although Helladius was one of the bishops whose jurisdictional right had been recognized at the second ecumenical council, the historian Sozomen reports that nepotism was involved in this appointment.48 When the news reached Milan, Ambrose wrote a letter to Nectarius requesting that Gerontius be deposed from office. According to Sozomen the people of Nicomedia supported the appointment of Gerontius. Even after John Chrysostom deposed him, crowds mounted street demonstrations in support of their bishop not only in Nicomedia, but also in Constantinople. Sources on the point do not indicate whether John Chrysostom had been given full imperial support. Palladius, John’s biographer, reports that the bishop of Constantinople acted at his own initiative in replacing bishops throughout western Asia Minor. If so, this must have been related not only to his high standing in the court but also to the confidence which he placed in the prestige which the third canon gave to Constantinople. Therefore, we should 45  Eventually Arsacius chose not to take this responsibility. Not much weight can be placed on this example because, if the case had been controversial, we would expect the historians to have recorded more details. 46  Pall. v. Chrys. (Meyer, Palladius, 69–70). 47  For the career of Gerontius and the matter of nepotism see Soz. h.e. 8.6.2–9. 48  According to Soz. h.e. 8.6.5, Helladius was involved in this consecration in the exchange of his son’s high-profile appointment through the connection of Gerontius in the court.



see the appointments made by John Chrysostom in Asia Minor in the context of the increasing authority of the bishop of Constantinople. Why did Nectarius himself not take earlier action to depose Gerontius? The church historians are not always right to portray Nectarius as reluctant to intervene in ecclesiastical judicial business outside Constantinople. When the warning of Ambrose of Milan reached Nectarius to remove Gerontius, he consciously ignored the request, or refused to take any action. The relationships between the churches of Milan and Constantinople were not good from the beginning of the tenure of Nectarius. At the Council of Aquileia in 381, Ambrose had persuaded the western bishops to recognize Maximus the Cynic, not Nectarius, as the rightful bishop of Constantinople.49 This diplomatic crisis would not have been forgotten by Nectarius and the Constantinopolitan clergy. Furthermore, with his experience of imperial politics, Nectarius was very likely aware of Gerontius’s popularity in Nicomedia and his wide connections with influential palace circles. By refusing to intercede against Gerontius, Nectarius avoided damaging a possible precarious equilibrium among ordinary people of Nicomedia, a city very close to Constantinople, and causing disquiet in the upper class of the imperial capital.50 One of the bishops who installed Gerontius was Helladius of Caesarea. Although not a notable theologian, Helladius was a very ambitious regional leader. The letters of Gregory of Nazianzus show that he, like his predecessor Basil, was particularly active in the consecration and de-consecration of bishops, and his name had already appeared as a standard bearer of orthodoxy in the second ecumenical council.51 Sometime in the early 380s, when the disappointed Gregory returned to Cappadocia, he did not want to continue as bishop of Nazianzus and left this duty to his cousin Eulalius, one of the chor­ episkopoi. The ordination was likely carried out by Theodore of Tyana and Bosporius of Colonia, the neighbouring bishops in Cappadocia Secunda in 383.52 However, it appears that previous competition between the metropolitan bishops of Caesarea and Tyana had come to the surface again, and Helladius claimed his jurisdictional right to make the appointment. As happened often

49  For the letter of Ambrose to Theodosius (ep. extra collectionem 9) see Liebeschuetz, Am­ brose of Milan, 237–240; cf. also McLynn, Ambrose of Milan, 142–143; Hanson, Christian Doctrine of God, 820–823. 50  Soz. h.e. 8.6.1–9; for a brief note on the Gerontius matter see McLynn, Ambrose of Mi­lan, 253. 51  For the promotion of the status of the bishop of Caesarea in the second ecumenical council as the touchstone of orthodoxy see Socr. h.e. 5.8.15; Soz. h.e. 7.9.6. 52  Gr. Naz. ep. 184; McGuckin, St Gregory of Nazianzus, 385.

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


in such cases, an accusation of heresy followed.53 The letter of Gregory tells us that a regional synod cleared Eulalius of any accusation of heresy, but Bos­ porius of Colonia was sent to Constantinople for trial. In another letter to Nec­ tarius of Constantinople, Gregory intercedes on behalf of Bosporius to invite the patriarch to act as the chief ecclesiastical judge.54 This was not the only occasion that Gregory saw Nectarius as the ecclesiastical head of the eastern empire. In one of his several hundreds of letters, Gregory referred the troubled case of one of his kinswomen to Nectarius,55 but not to Helladius or to the bishop of Antioch as the highest judge. Gregory does not tell us any further detail about the nature of the problem, but the letter reflects that he is sure that Nectarius will help her. It is remarkable that even a leading local religious personality chose to lodge his final appeal with the bishop of Constantinople, not any other church authority in the eastern empire. The controversy about jurisdiction in Cappadocia should be taken as an important reflection of the sensitivity of bishops about their own ecclesiastical pre-eminence even outside Constantinople. 4 Conclusion The fourth-century documentation presented here, demonstrates that, although in theory episcopal appointments and trials were conducted on a regional or provincial basis, in practice imperial preferences, relations of friendship, doctrinal affiliations, and nepotism all had roles to play. In the late fourth century, jurisdictional rights and party politics were intermingled in church affairs not only in Constantinople but also in the rest of the cities of Asia Minor. The actions and decisions of earlier bishops, encouraged also by imperial preferences, paved the way that led to Constantinople’s ‘primacy of honour’, which was recognized and formally affirmed at the second ecumenical coun­ cil. It appears that the third canon of that council started the change in the jurisdiction, and it aimed at providing a legal armour for the bishop of Con­ stantinople, although several later bishops failed to exercise it in practice. This documentation also allows us to reconsider the question whether or not the bishops of Constantinople were reluctant to intervene in church po­litics. There is much evidence to suggest that the earlier bishops were also aware 53  Therefore, he accused both Eulalius and Bosporius of heresy. Gregory complains about this in his letter to Amphilochius of Iconium (Gr. Naz. ep. 184). 54  Gr. Naz. ep. 185. See also McGuckin, St Gregory of Nazianzus, 379ff. 55  Gr. Naz. ep. 186.



of the pre-eminent status of their see. They correlated the growth of Constan­ tinople’s secular institutions and religious eminence with the capital’s rising status as a dominant ecclesiastical centre. The early development of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishop of Constantinople should therefore be considered alongside the growing dominance of the city in eastern imperial politics, and the decision taken at the second ecumenical council should be seen as sealing the Constantinopolitan church’s assumption of its pre-eminent position in the eastern Roman world.56 Bibliography Barnes, T.D., Athanasius and Constantius: Theology and Politics in the Constantinian Empire (Cambridge, Mass., 1993). Barraclough, G., The Medieval Papacy (London, 1968). Baynes, N.H., ‘Alexandria and Constantinople: A Study in Ecclesiastical Diplomacy’ (1926), in Byzantine Studies and Other Essays (London, 1955), 97–115. Daley, B.E., ‘Position and Patronage in the Early Church: The Original Meaning of “Pri­ macy of Honour”’, Journal of Theological Studies ns 44/2 (1993), 529–553. Dvornik, F., ‘Constantinople and Rome’, Cambridge Medieval History 4 (1966), 431–472. Dvornik, F., Byzantium and Roman Primacy (New York, 1979); trans. of Byzance et la primauté romaine (Paris, 1964). Elm, S., ‘The Dog That Did Not Bark: Doctrine and Patriarchal Authority in the Conflict between Theophilus of Alexandria and John Chrysostom of Constantinople’, in L. Ayres and G. Jones (eds.), Christian Origins: Theology, Rhetoric and Community (London, 1998), 68–93. Errington, M., ‘Church and State in the First Years of Theodosius i’, Chiron 27 (1997), 21–72. Errington, M., Roman Imperial Policy from Julian to Theodosius (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2006). Hanson, R.P.C., The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (Edinburgh, 1988). Hefele, C.J., A History of the Councils of the Church from the Original Documents, vol. 2: A.D. 326 to A.D. 429 (Edinburgh, 1876). 56  This paper developed as a part of my larger project on the history of the patriarchate in late antiquity, which was supported by the Koç University’s Research Centre for Anatolian Civilisations (rcac/anamed) with a generous scholarship in 2017. I would like to register my sincere gratitude to that institution and to its very friendly staff, who made our stay at the anamed very enjoyable. I also wish to extend my thanks to Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer for their painstaking efforts on the linguistic style of this paper. However, the responsibility for all the remaining shortcomings is of course mine.

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Fourth Century


Hefele, C.J., and H. Leclercq, Histoire des conciles d’après les documents originaux, vol. 2/1 (Paris, 1908). Hess, H., The Early Development of Canon Law and the Council of Serdica (Oxford, 2002). Jones, A.H.M., The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (Oxford, 1937). Jonkers, E.J., Acta et Symbola Conciliorum Quae Saeculo Quarto Habita Sunt (Leiden, 1954). Kaçar, T., ‘The Election of Nectarius of Tarsus: Imperial Ideology, Patronage and Philia’, Studia Patristica 47 (2010), 307–313. Leroy-Molinghen, A., ‘La mort d’Arius’, Byzantion 38 (1968), 105–111. Liebeschuetz, J.H.W.G., Barbarians and Bishops: Army, Church and State in the Age of Arcadius and Chrysostom (Oxford, 1990). Liebeschuetz, J.H.W.G., Ambrose of Milan: Political Letters and Speeches (Liverpool, 2005). McGuckin, J.A., St Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography (New York, 2001). McLynn, N.B., Ambrose of Milan: Church and Court in a Christian Capital (Berkeley, 1994). McLynn, N.B., ‘ “Two Romes, Beacons of the Whole World”: Canonizing Constantinople’, in L. Grig and G. Kelly (eds.), Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2012), 345–363. Meyer, R.T., Palladius: Dialogue on the Life of St. John Chrysostom, Ancient Christian Writers Series 45 (New York, 1985). Mitchell, S., Anatolia: Land, Men and Gods in Asia Minor, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1993). Ritter, A.M., Das Konzil von Konstantinopel und sein Symbol: Studien zur Geschichte und Theologie des ii. Ökumenischen Konzils, Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dog­ mengeschichte 15 (Göttingen, 1965). Rousseau, P., Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley, 1994). Sivan, H., ‘Ulfila’s Own Conversion’, Harvard Theological Review 89/4 (1996), 373–386. Skinner, A., ‘The Early Development of the Senate of Constantinople’, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 32/2 (2008), 128–148. Tanner, N., Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils (London, 1990). Vaggione, R.P., Eunomius of Cyzicus and the Nicene Revolution (Oxford, 2000). Van Dam, R., ‘Emperor, Bishops, and Friends in Late Antique Cappadocia’, Journal of Theological Studies NS 37/1 (1986), 53–76. Vanderspoel, J., ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Themistius on Rome and Constantinople’, in L. Grig and G. Kelly (eds.), Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2012), 223–240. Van Nuffelen, P., ‘Episcopal Succession in Constantinople (381–450 C.E.): The Local Dynamics of Power’, Journal of Early Christian Studies 18/3 (2010), 425–451. Woods, D., ‘The Date of the Translation of the Relics of SS. Luke and Andrew to Con­ stantinople’, Vigiliae Christianae 45/3 (1991), 286–292.

Chapter 7

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus Peter Talloen 1 Introduction Situated in the ancient region of Pisidia in south-west Turkey, the city of Sa­ galassus has been the object of archaeological excavations for the past thirty years, shedding light on many aspects of life in antiquity, including the religious beliefs and practices of its inhabitants. The introduction of Christianity in Pisidia constituted the start of a new phase in the evolution of religious life in the region, but it does not seem to have had any profound impact on the religious practices in Sagalassus until the end of the fourth century when all traditional sanctuaries were suddenly closed and official forms of polytheistic ritual came to an end, signalling drastic changes within a short period of time. Generally, the rise of Christianity—by which we mean its elevation to the dominant religion of the city as clearly visible in the material record—is seen as the result of an acculturation process called Christianization,1 which is defined here as the impact of Christian belief on local religious practices. Yet while the term ‘process’ in itself already indicates a protracted development, as illustrated, for example, by the fate of some temples which were only converted into churches several decades after their closure,2 many literary sources, such as the lives of saints, suggest a sudden, often dramatic event which caused the instantaneous conversion of an entire community into ‘Christ-loving cities’; notorious examples are the violent conversions of Alexandria led by St Theophilus in 392, and of Gaza by St Porphyry in 402.3 While many scholars over the past decade have rightly nuanced this religious fierceness and the ensuing Christian triumphalism, pointing out the unreliability of many of the written sources, and argued for a progressive integration of Christianity in city life instead,4 recent excavations at Sagalassus have yielded traces of what appears to be religiously inspired violence, followed by the systematic closure of 1  On the process of Christianization see e.g. Bowersock, ‘Christianization’; Busine, Religious Practices. 2  For an overview see Bayliss, Provincial Cilicia; Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’. 3  On Alexandria see Hahn, ‘Destruction of the Serapeum’; on Gaza see Van Dam, ‘From Paga­ nism to Christianity’. 4  e.g. Busine, ‘From Stones to Myth’, and her paper in this volume.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_009

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


virtually all public sanctuaries in the city. This sequence of events seemingly corroborates the violent and swift scenario of the rise of Christianity as portrayed in many of the literary sources. Based on the results of recent archaeological research at Sagalassus,5 this paper will therefore investigate whether the rise of Christianity in this mediumsized provincial town in the Pisidian mountains was indeed a relatively quick event, something on which we can even put a date, or rather a lengthy development, the result of years of negotiation and carefully deliberated actions. 2

The Introduction of Christianity

Christianity reached the region early—around the middle of the first century— in the person of St Paul who, on his way from Perge in Pamphylia to Pisidian Antioch, the hometown of his patron Sergius Paullus, had crossed Pisidia using the imperial highway or via Sebaste. The early Christian tradition holds him and his companions responsible for the foundation of the churches of Apollonia and Seleucia on this travel.6 In spite of this early introduction, the material evidence for Christianity in the first three centuries is very meagre, with less than ten known material sources, exclusively in the form of funerary monuments. These tombstones, as well as the literary evidence of the acts and the lives of local martyrs, such as St Zosimus, are clearly concentrated in and around Apollonia in north-west Pisidia, on the border with Phrygia.7 As already suggested by Stephen Mitchell, this is most probably due to the combination of two flourishing traditions in that area: indigenous paganism and Judaism.8 The locals worshipped deities such as Hosios kai Dikaios (‘Holy and Just’) who upheld strict standards of justice and moral behaviour. Judaism itself, introduced by the Seleucid kings several centuries before, had taken root readily in this environment and may have influenced the thinking and behaviour of the pagans around them, thus stimulating the introduction of Christianity. When combined with the cities represented at the first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325, which are held here to have had a Christian community at least by the end of the third century, we see in Pisidia a general concentration 5  As this paper includes the most recent results of the ongoing excavations, the reading of certain facts may differ somewhat from those presented in Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’. 6  See Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.7–9; Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 200. 7  For an overview of the early Christian evidence see Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 201–202. 8  Mitchell, Anatolia, 25–26 and 36–37.



of early centres of Christianity along the via Sebaste.9 This distribution of Christian congregations suggests that merchants and other travellers were instrumental in the spread of the church in the region. As a missionary religion, human agency was key in the spread of Christendom, and the network of roads provided a groundwork upon which Christianity could build. The resulting image of early Christian presence in the region is extremely patchy, with some areas in the third century already housing a considerable and materially visible Christian congregation, as attested at Apollonia, while others, like Sagalassus, were apparently still convincingly dominated by polytheism. Let’s now have a look at traditional religious life of the latter city under Rome and how this impacted on the urban landscape. 3

Sagalassus during the Roman Imperial Period: Neokoros and Proteia

Sagalassus prospered under the aegis of Rome, as is clear from the development of its urban centre during the imperial period.10 Better communications and greater security facilitated trade, not only within Anatolia, as the via Sebaste linked Pisidia via the overland routes to the Aegean in the west and Anatolian plateau in the north, but also beyond, through the Pamphylian harbours of Attaleia, Perge and Side. This allowed the city to successfully orient its economy to the Roman unified market and find an outlet for its agricultural and artisanal produce. For the involvement of Sagalassus in this booming international trade, Sagalassus Red Slip Ware—the local table ware—can serve as a fossil guide. Its distribution shows a particular spread in the eastern Mediterranean, with Egypt as a privileged trade partner.11 The city was obviously aware of the benefits of Roman rule and numerous emperors were actively honoured by the local community. During the reign of Hadrian, imperial worship came to a first climax as the city obtained the privilege of neokoros or temple warden, becoming the regional seat for the imperial cult, and as a result the first city of the region of Pisidia, reflected by the proteia title.12 A whole building programme was initiated to accommodate the numerous visitors—or pilgrims—who attended the regular festivals in 9  On the impact of the imperial highway on religious life in the region see Talloen, ‘Road to Salvation’. 10  Waelkens, ‘Romanization’; Waelkens, Poblome, and De Rynck, City of Dreams, 57–97. 11  Poblome and Waelkens, ‘Sagalassos and Alexandria’. 12  On the imperial cult at Sagalassus see Talloen and Waelkens, ‘Apollo and the Emperors’; on the honorary titles see Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 315–316.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


honour of the ruling imperial dynasty. First and foremost, there was the construction of a large imperial sanctuary (93 × 68 m), the largest of the region, consisting of a Corinthian peripteros set within a courtyard surrounded by Ionic porticoes, which was eventually dedicated to Hadrian’s successor Antoninus Pius. Furthermore, this building boom included a theatre (accommodating up to 9,000 spectators, far more than the urban population) and an odeion for the organization of games and spectacles, as well as extremely large baths, and no less than four monumental fountains providing leisure and refreshment, all dating to the second century. The imperial cult was clearly big business in this provincial town.13 The fact that other traditional cults also fared well at Sagalassus can be illustrated on the basis of the city’s Upper Agora, where religious and ideological monuments erected during the Roman imperial period were abound (fig. 7.1). In the polytheistic environment of the ancient city, cults and myths were ubiquitous, and on the Upper Agora of Sagalassus they were prominently represented by installations and sculptures, making it a centre of civic religious practice.14 Perhaps the most ideologically charged monument of the public square was a relatively small sanctuary, built during the early first century ad in the middle of the south side of the agora (fig. 7.1, no. 1).15 It was located on the axis of the two southern entrances to the square, ensuring maximum visibility and prominence. The monument consisted of a square, curved canopy roof decorated with leaf motifs, supported by four columns on top of pedestals, with a centrally placed statue (fig. 7.2). It could be identified as a Tychaeum on the basis of its representation on civic coinage (fig. 7.3). The Tyche of Sagalassus was the symbol par excellence of the civic community, representing its well-being and prosperity, and her shrine will have been one of the distinguishing signboards of the city, a focus of ritual activity during every civic occasion. Its construction was possibly the result of efforts to enhance local identity, an increasingly important social paradigm in the globalizing context of the Roman Empire. The enduring importance of this modest shrine for the identity of the city is proven by its appearance on civic coin issues during the third century ad, one of only

13  Waelkens, Poblome, and De Rynck, City of Dreams, 99–131. 14  For an overview see Talloen, Transformation. 15  Talloen and Poblome, ‘Control Excavations’, 129. The life history of this monument and its impact on local society is discussed in Talloen, ‘Tychaion’.



Figure 7.1 Plan of the Upper Agora of Sagalassus (no. 1: Tychaeum; no. 2: Antonine Nymphaeum; no. 3: Perseus monument; no. 4: honorific columns; no. 5: arches of Claudius; no. 6: statue of Caracalla; no. 7: statue of Constans; no. 8: statue of Constantius ii; no. 9: Market Building; no. 10: Bouleuterion basilica; no. 11: staircase; no. 12: Byzantine fountain; no. 13: North-East Building; the overlying grid has a side length of 5 m) © sagalassos archaeological research project

three buildings to be depicted on the rich coin production of Sagalassus, the imperial sanctuary being another one.16 On the opposite northern side of the agora, Dionysus saw his growing cultic importance in the city underlined through the construction of the Antonine Nymphaeum, a monumental fountain consisting of a single-storey aediculated façade above a tall podium with a large basin in front, flanked by two lateral aediculae (fig. 7.1, no. 2). Two colossal statue groups, representing a drunken 16  Talloen and Waelkens, ‘Apollo and the Emperors’, 188–191.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Figure 7.2 View of the Tychaeum from the north © sagalassos archaeological research project

Dionysus supported by a satyr (fig. 7.4), erected in those corner aediculae belonged to the original furnishing.17 That these sculptures were not purely decorative is demonstrated by the architectural decoration of the monument, including representations of the thyrsos—the staff of Dionysus—on the pillars of the back wall, as well as theatre masks, bunches of grapes and kantharoi on the cassettes of the aediculae. They form a coherent iconographic programme that substantiates the dedication of the building to the god of wine and fertility and places the water supply under his protection. It too constituted an essential element in the identity of the community as indicated by a coin type representing the statue of Dionysus, which was probably issued on the occasion of its inauguration during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.18 A ritual installation that was frequently present on the agoras of Pisidia was a pillar-monument carrying an astragalos-oracle inscription, which served as the base for a statue of its tutelary deity, Hermes. These oracles were believed to reveal the divine will through the random fall of a handful of dice. Those 17  Waelkens et al., ‘1994 and 1995 Excavation Seasons’, 142–162. 18  Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 220.



Figure 7.3 Reverse of a civic bronze coin depicting the Tychaeum dating to the reign of Claudius ii photo courtesy of classical numismatic group, https://www.cngcoins.com

who wished to consult the oracle would throw five dice in shape of astragaloi, the four-sided knucklebones of sheep or goats. Fifty-six combinations were available and a verse appropriate to each combination was carved on the oracle stone itself. The user had to read off the lines to which the dice referred him and work out the message which it contained. Such an astragalos-oracle was found in a secondary context near the north-west city gate of Sagalassus where it had been incorporated into the late antique fortification walls (fig. 7.5). Its original location is not known, but judging by examples from the nearby Pisidian cities of Kitanaura, Cremna, Prostanna and Termessus, where such oracles were recorded on the local agoras, the Sagalassian example too most probably originated from the nearby city square. Located on the public square, where they could be consulted by the populace, these monuments to human credulity were a central feature of community life in the region during the second and third centuries ad.19 The responses that the gods offer are mainly those of business and travel, and appear to be directed at the public frequenting the agora. The construct of communal identity also involved the development of foun‑ dation myths intended to reveal the city’s Hellenic roots or highlight its glorious past, providing it with distinct cultural and religious traditions. The presence of an elaborate statue base in the middle of the square from around ad 100 (fig. 7.1, no. 3), depicting the busts of the Greek hero Perseus, the gorgon Medusa and the goddess Athena, demonstrates that these local mythologies and traditions were also materially translated on the agora. The original statue on top of this prominent monument is unknown but the images on its base suggest a link with a mythological city-founder, possibly Perseus himself, who was a popular city-founder in southern Anatolia, or his grandfather 19  Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 216–217. For a general discussion of these monuments see Nollé, Losorakel.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Figure 7.4 The marble statue group of Dionysus and satyr from the western corner aedicula of the Antonine Nymphaeum © sagalassos archaeological research project



Figure 7.5 The base with the text of the astragalos-oracle found near the north-west city gate © sagalassos archaeological research project

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Lacedaemon, who was commonly depicted on local civic coinage as the ancestor of the Sagalassians.20 Roman power and its personification, the emperor, were most noticeably absorbed into civic life through the imperial cult with its plethora of imperial sanctuaries, images and festivals.21 In addition to the sanctuary of Antoninus Pius, the Upper Agora was one of the main venues for this veneration as demonstrated by the two gates in the shape of a triumphal arch that were built in honour of the emperor Claudius at the south-east and south-west entrances to the square (fig. 7.1, no. 5).22 Together with statues for other emperors such as Vespasian, Hadrian and Caracalla, as well as those of governors that represented them, the honorific gates characterize the agora as a platform for contact with the imperial authorities.23 The success of Sagalassus in this communication strategy is reflected by the titles it obtained from Roman officials: proteia as first city of Pisidia and the neokoros title pointing to its status as temple warden of the imperial cult.24 Much vaunted on its monuments and coinage, the titles allowed Sagalassus to assert its primacy over the other cities of the region. They are proclaimed, for instance, on the base for the effigy of Caracalla erected on the Upper Agora (fig. 7.1, no. 6) in ad 212 by ‘the city of the Sagalassians, first of Pisidia, friend and ally of the Romans’.25 This short overview demonstrates that traditional religion was part and parcel of the physical built environment of the city, and it served to create an identity for the city as a polis with a glorious past, pious towards its gods, and enjoying imperial privileges which made it the most prominent city of the region. The success of Sagalassus and the role played by traditional cults in this, perhaps helps to explain the absence of any sign of Christianity in the city prior to the late fourth century, in spite of the city’s obvious connectivity which made it accessible for foreign cults and religions. 4

The Fourth Century: An Age of Change

The beginning of the fourth century marked the start of an age of change for the identity of the civic community, one in which Christianity came to play an increasingly important role. It was during the early fourth century 20  Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 190–191, 210. 21  Talloen and Waelkens, ‘Apollo and the Emperors’. 22  I.Sagalassos 8–9. 23  Talloen, ‘Communal Identity’, 210–211. 24  On the titles of Sagalassus see Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 176, 314–317; Waelkens, ‘Hadrian’. 25  I.Sagalassos 28; Talloen, ‘Communal Identity’, 210–211.



that Sagalassus lost its prominence in the region, being replaced by Pisidian Antioch, the capital of the newly founded provincia Pisidia.26 The propagation of its proteia and neokoros titles well into the fourth century suggests that the city was trying to hold on to its former glory as centre of the Pisidian koinon and regional seat of the imperial cult after this demotion. For example, Sagalassus is still mentioned as ‘first city’ and ‘twice neokoros’ on a caput viae milestone on the Lower Agora during the reigns of Constantine, and Constantius ii and Constans, suggesting an ongoing worship of the emperors on a regional basis at the imperial sanctuary.27 Yet, these titles no longer feature after the middle of the fourth century, indicating that the city had to give up on its status. This loss of centrality in administrative and religious matters must have had a profound impact. Apart from the prestige, these titles made a real difference to the city’s legal position and tax status, especially since the administrative and fiscal changes of the late third and early fourth centuries were mainly beneficial for the leading city of a region.28 In spite of honours in the form of statue bases erected for militant Christian emperors like Constantius ii and Constans (fig. 7.1, nos. 7–8),29 the city must still have been officially pagan with thriving traditional sanctuaries, as suggested by the statue erected for a governor of Pisidia during the second half of the fourth century, more specifically between about ad 365 and 378. This reused statue base, found along the eastern edge of the square, carried in its secondary use a statue of a governor named Panhellenios. The epigram mentions that ‘The boule and the demos have placed you, governor Panhellenios, there, where the temenos of all the gods is located. Not only the gods, but also the Tyche of Sagalassus, who is watching you, friend of the blessed, from nearby, rejoice in this.’30 This epigram refers to the ‘temenos of all the gods’, possibly a kind of pan­ theon that could not yet be located, but must have been present on or in the immediate vicinity of the agora. But it also locates the honorific statue in the vi­cinity of the Tyche of Sagalassus, placed underneath the baldachin shrine on the south side of the public square mentioned earlier. These references not

26  Christol and Drew-Bear, ‘Antioche de Pisidie’. 27  Devijver and Waelkens, ‘Fifth Campaign’, 310–313, for the inscription of the caput viae milestone on the Lower Agora carrying both titles, dated to the reigns of Constantine (333–337), and Constantius ii and Constans (340–350). This makes Sagalassus one of the latest-dated neocorate cities of the empire (Burrell, Neokoroi, 268, 303). 28  Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 314–317. 29  Devijver and Waelkens, ‘Upper Agora’, 116–118; I.Sagalassos 32–33. 30  I.Sagalassos 47; Waelkens and Jacobs, ‘Theodosian Age’, 98.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


only imply the continuing existence of both sanctuaries; the fact that they are mentioned in this public inscription testifies to civic pride in these shrines, something which would not have been the case for derelict and abandoned buildings. The traditional ritual foci therefore continued to be points of reference for the civic, polytheistic community. Surprisingly, only a few years later, the Tychaeum was converted into an imperial honorific monument for the ruling Valentinian dynasty. Its altar was removed and the original base and divine effigy it carried were replaced by a reused statue base, which was dedicated consecutively to two empresses. The first was most likely Constantia (ad 374–383), daughter of the emperor Constantius ii, and the second was Aelia Eudoxia (ad 395–404), wife of the emperor Arcadius; the two pedestals carrying the columns on the north side received honorific inscriptions for the emperor Gratian (ad 367–383), husband of Constantia, and his co-ruler Valentinian ii (ad 375–392).31 The epigraphy of the monument allows us to date this event with an exceptional precision: the emperors that were honoured, Gratian and Valentinian ii, were those of the western empire; their eastern colleague Valens or his successor Theodosius are missing. At first sight, this would seem to go completely against the customs of imperial veneration. Yet, during the second half of the year 378, after the battle of Hadrianopolis in August during which Valens lost his life and prior to the appointment of Theodosius as emperor of the eastern half of the empire in January 379, the emperors of the West effectively ruled over the East. And it is undoubtedly to this short period that we can date the conversion of the Tychaeum.32 Even if this ‘usurpation’ of the Tychaeum was not a large-scale project, only involving the removal of the altar and the replacement the cult statue of Tyche by that of an empress, as well as carving three short inscriptions—all of which could be achieved very rapidly—it was a big deal! The desecration and conversion of one of its most prominent sanctuaries—the signboard of the city—constituted a decisive moment in the history of Sagalassus, signalling the official abolishment of its polytheistic character. What could have caused this sudden turnaround? The conversion of what was only few years earlier a key signboard of the city’s public identity suggests a dramatic event underlying this measure. 31  Devijver and Waelkens, ‘Upper Agora’, 117–119; I.Sagalassos 37a–d. 32  Waelkens and Jacobs, ‘Theodosian Age’, 99–103, who also consider the possibility of the Arian controversy as responsible for the absence of the eastern ruler in the monument (in casu Valens or Theodosius), yet there is no evidence to that extent at Sagalassus or elsewhere in Pisidia.



The fourth century has often been described as an age of religious turmoil.33 Certainly, as demonstrated by the edicts of Codex Theodosianus, the legal status of paganism deteriorated sharply at this time. Temples and other religious buildings attested to the vitality of the polytheistic community and its right to practice its religion and publicize its cult. This is why they were targeted by the Christian imperial authorities who wished to control the religious affiliation of their subjects. From the reign of Constantine onwards, laws were enacted which ordered the abolition of pagan practices.34 As a result, the temples and shrines, which had once sacralized the landscape, were now officially consi­ dered polluting the earth, opening the door for violence against them, as suggested by the literary accounts of the destruction of the sanctuaries of Zeus Belos at Apamea, Zeus Marnas at Gaza and Sarapis at Alexandria.35 Although frowned upon by the authorities because it rubbed against the grain of social order, it is beyond dispute that some violence did occur. Never­ theless, tracing temple destruction in the archaeological record has proved difficult as there is little real evidence in Asia Minor for actual destruction of pagan sanctuaries.36 In the vicinity of Sagalassus, the sanctuary of Men Askaenos near the provincial capital of Pisidian Antioch, for example, is thought to have suffered a violent demise. According to scholars who worked at the site, the votive steles inside the temenos were smashed, while the temple itself was completely destroyed at the end of the fourth century.37 Yet this date has not been archaeologically confirmed and so the context and motivation for the destruction cannot be established. One alternative explanation is that the temple was simply dismantled and its remains reused; any rioting—if this took place at all—would then have been limited to the destruction of votive steles.38 At Sagalassus, the poorly known sanctuary of Demeter and Kore may have undergone a similar fate. So far only the second-century dedicatory inscription of the sanctuary and some column parts have been retrieved, found on the Upper Agora, where they were reused as cover stones of a sewer (fig. 7.6). The 33  e.g. for Rome see Salzman, Sághy, and Testa, Pagans and Christians; for Alexandria see Kristensen, ‘Religious Conflict’. 34  For an overview see Bayliss, Provincial Cilicia, 8–31. 35  Busine, ‘From Stones to Myth’. 36  Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’, 349–355. 37  Mitchell and Waelkens, Pisidian Antioch, 85–86. 38  Recently excavated in situ assemblages of votive altars and statues found buried in the structures surrounding the temple of Men, as well as the absence of fire (Özhanlı, ‘Pi­ sidian Antioch’), equally suggest an organized ‘clean-up’ of the sanctuary, rather than a violent destruction.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Figure 7.6 The half-column with the dedicatory inscription of the Hagnai Theai sanctuary and the εἷς θεός formula © sagalassos archaeological research project



Figure 7.7 The emblema of the mosaic floor of the Neon Library © sagalassos archaeological research project

Christian acclamation εἷς θεός (‘One God’) carved on the monument, is a formula normally associated with religious competition and common in the late fourth or early fifth century.39 Both the mutilated relief and the graffito appear to show a vigorous Christian reaction at the sanctuary and may even indicate its violent destruction, but again such a hypothesis remains unproven. Yet, while there is no clear evidence for actual temple destruction at Saga­ lassus, there are other signs which indicate that something was definitely amiss in the second half of the fourth century. The so-called Neon Library, a dynastic monument in the eastern part of the city, fell victim to fire during the second half of the fourth century.40 The focused destruction of the emblema of its mosaic floor (fig. 7.7), featuring a mythological subject—the departure of Achilles for the Trojan war—clearly demonstrates that this was more than just an accident but a result of arson, perhaps even carried out by a mob untouched by the classical education or paideia that this building represented. None of this, however, necessarily involves Christians. Having said that, the ongoing excavations of the so-called Market Building, a Hellenistic public building with shops and storage facilities adjoining the east side of the agora (fig. 7.1, no. 9), to which a public latrine and bathing complex were added in the Roman imperial period, have yielded indications that this building too fell victim to fire in

39  Trombley, Hellenic Religion, 2.313–315. The phrase was a liturgical feature of temple conversion during the fourth to sixth centuries (id., ‘Christian Demography’, 72). 40  Waelkens et al., ‘Neon Library’, 425–437.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Figure 7.8 Burnt floor and fill deposits in the lower floor of the Market Building © sagalassos archaeological research project

exactly the same period as the Neon Library.41 Burnt wooden beams and large fragments of its mosaic and opus sectile floors were found close to the floor level of the subterranean latrine in the western aisle of the building (fig. 7.8). Here as well there are indications that this destruction was deliberate as the burnt and clean-up deposits found in the filled-in lower floor of the Market Building contained numerous fragments of mythological statuary and honorific monuments, some of which show traces that can most probably be attributed to iconoclasm. Interestingly, they included a piece of statue holding a cornucopia, that may well have belonged to an effigy of Tyche. If these pieces are indeed the result of iconoclasm directed against objects of idolatry, then the role of Christians played in these events becomes far more likely. Whatever the case, the two instances clearly indicate a society in turmoil which affected the very heart of the urban centre. And it is very tempting to relate the altogether sudden conversion of the Tychaeum to these events, especially as there are no other obvious reasons why it would have been closed. Moreover, the conversion of the Tychaeum was not a stand-alone event. It was to be the starting point for a process of de-sacralization involving several pagan shrines in the vicinity of the square and elsewhere in the city. The late Hellenistic Doric Temple, overlooking the Upper Agora from the west, was 41  Claeys et al., ‘Market Building’.



converted into a watchtower and incorporated into the late fortifications by the beginning of the fifth century.42 Another ritual installation that was reused in the newly built fortifications was the astragalos-oracle mentioned above. Along with the ban on sacrifice, laws were issued in the course of the fourth century that prohibited the prac­ tice of divination.43 The ritual installation may then have been removed from the agora and its blocks reused in the late antique walls. Two sides of the inscription were erased at the time by masons who recut the block for use in the late antique fortifications, thus terminating the use of this symbol of human credulity. As already stated, the sanctuary of Antoninus Pius at Sagalassus must still have served the imperial cult around the middle of the fourth century. Yet, test excavations within the temenos have demonstrated that the complex went out of use by the end of that century. Although the emperor remained a sacred person in Christianity, as the representative of God on earth, no building could be dedicated to his exclusive cult by the reign of Theodosius i. Once cult activity ceased, the large Corinthian peripteros and the surrounding Ionic porticoes were dismantled for reuse in encroaching structures within the temenos, as well as in late Roman fortifications.44 The religious impact of the violent events sketched above thus seems likely, as shortly afterwards at least three of the known public sanctuaries of the city were closed for good and Sagalassus officially stopped to be a polytheistic city around 378. That the Christian congregation also for the first time sent a bishop (the first known one) to the ecumenical council of Constantinople in 381 is perhaps no coincidence then.45 Was the Christianization process then complete by this time? Did Sagalassus too become a ‘Christ-loving’ city after a major religious conflict, just like the examples propagated by Christian authors? 5

Christian Triumph?

Remarkably, the early fifth century saw no major Christian interventions in the urban centre after the de-sacralization of the late fourth century. Four of the eight known churches at Sagalassus have been (partly) excavated so

42  Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’, 361. 43  Cod. Thds. 9.16.2 and 6; 16.16.4. 44  Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’, 355–356. 45  Mansi 3.570.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Figure 7.9 The ἀγαθὴ τύχη inscription on the north pillar of the south-east gate of Claudius © sagalassos archaeological research project

far—the Bouleuterion basilica, the basilica at the sanctuary of Apollo Klarios, the basilica on Alexander’s Hill, and the pq5 basilica—but none could be dated prior to the late fifth century.46 This hiatus hardly corresponds to the image of a triumphant Christian church. Indeed, the first positive signs of Christianity were very modest contributions to the urban landscape in the form of inscribed crosses and acclamations. The south-east gate of Claudius, for example, received a new, well-carved ἀγαθὴ τύχη or ‘Good Fortune’ inscription with an explicitly Christian character (fig. 7.9), to place the passage of those frequenting the agora under the protection of the Christian God. The fact that an arch, a structure which expressed power and triumph, got a Christian character, may have been telling for the new status of Christianity. The reference to Tyche, though, is equally striking.47 The same gate also carries two εἷς (θεός) graffiti on the south face of the north pier that may date to the same period and which suggest a context of religious 46  For the date of the Bouleuterion basilica see Talloen and Poblome, ‘Control Excavations’, 142–145; for the basilica at the sanctuary of Apollo Klarios see Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’, 368–369; for the basilica on Alexander’s Hill see Waelkens et al., ‘Saga­ lassos and Its Territory’, 241; for the pq5 basilica see Waelkens et al., ‘2013 Excavations’, 48–49. 47  Talloen, ‘Tychaion’.



rivalry. Although it is often questioned whether the formula is either in opposition to the traditional gods or rather to some Christian doctrinal formulation, the instance of the formula on the already mentioned half-column with a dedicatory inscription and mutilated relief for Demeter and Kore—undoubtedly related to a de-sacralization process at their sanctuary—suggests the former interpretation for at least some of the instances on the Upper Agora. These religious symbols and acclamations on monuments and pavements provide valuable clues about conflicts and tensions; they suggest that the square may have become an arena for religious competition between the Christian congregation and a part of the population which had not yet converted. Having said that, the closure of polytheistic shrines and removal of cultic installations on the one hand and the lack of Christian cult buildings to replace them on the other, effectively rendered the agora into a religiously neutral civic space. While traces of Christian presence are hard to find, remnants of traditional polytheism are prominent in the cityscape, as already exemplified by the Ty­ chaeum. The small shrine could easily have been dismantled. Instead the authorities opted to reuse it, making use of its prominent location but also of its ideological connotations: the personalities honoured there were responsible for the well-being of the city. The original protector of the city, the goddess Tyche, was now replaced by an empress, and it seems likely that the western emperors mentioned on the pedestals were identified with the statues of the Dioscuri placed on the baldachin roof.48 The reuse of the Tychaeum for display of portraits of contemporary rulers also confirmed the continued importance of the agora as representational centre of the city. Furthermore, the authorities who ordered the closure of sanctuaries also decreed that the statuary present in those shrines should be reused elsewhere to embellish the cityscape.49 Such reuse of pagan sculpture is attested at the Antonine Nymphaeum, where a series of statues related to cultic activities was found that does not belong to the original sculptural decoration of the monument. They comprise three associated statues of Asclepius (fig. 7.10), his mother Coronis and a third figure, possibly Apollo, of which only the feet remain. They were probably brought there at the end of the fourth century, when the Asclepieum that originally housed them, will have gone out of use.50

48  Talloen, ‘Tychaion’. 49  See the edicts collected in Cod. Thds. 16.10. On the late antique treatment of pagan statuary see Jacobs, ‘From Production to Destruction’; Kristensen, Making and Breaking the Gods. 50  Waelkens et al., ‘Sagalassos and Its Territory’, 225. Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’, 186–188, argue for a sixth-century reuse, though clear evidence is lacking.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus

Figure 7.10

The statue of Asclepius from the Antonine Nymphaeum © sagalassos archaeological research project




Although Christianity rejected the use of statuary to express its conception of the divine, Christians often shared the pagan belief that deities inhabited their images and could act through their representations. By desecrating the divine representations through decapitation or carving crosses in them, peo­ple made sure that the gods or demons would have no means of harming them.51 This fate may have befallen the statues of the Asclepius-group, as they miss their heads and other body parts. The question rises of course what the meaning would have been of such fragmented pagan statues to contemporary viewers. Were they monuments of historical and artistic value, or part of the visual narrative of Christian triumphalism, a potent symbol reminding the viewers of the defeat of pagan cult? Not all mythological imagery had to deal with such blatant Christian hostility. It seems that especially statues from cultic contexts were prone to Christian violence. Other pagan sculpture continued to function as decoration of the cityscape, often after having been ‘updated’. The statues of Dionysus from the Antonine Nymphaeum, for example, had been ritually mutilated by removing the genitals (fig. 7.4). This type of disfigurement, which was wide-spread in late antiquity for re-used naked statues, was responding to a new set of Christian ideas about the body, sex and morals. These minor interventions rendered them objects that could be appreciated for their historical and artistic value by Christians and pagans alike.52 But perhaps one of the most striking examples of continuing pagan influence in the public landscape is found at the city gate. The busts of Ares and Athena, which had previously watched over the council hall or more likely the Hellenistic gate of Sagalassus, were now incorporated into the new fortifications, where they again guarded the city gate. They clearly illustrate the continuing belief in the protective function of certain pagan effigies against enemies.53 Remarkably, no obvious role is attributed to Christianity in the defence of the city. The image of a public space imbued with traditional mythology, as esta­ blished on the basis of the excavated monuments, is confirmed for private space as well. In the archaeological record of Sagalassus portable objects bearing 51   Saradi-Mendelovici, ‘Christian Attitudes’, 54–56. 52  Smith, ‘Defacing the Gods’, 307. On the new Christian attitude towards the human body and sexuality see Brown, Body and Society. 53  Waelkens et al., ‘Sagalassos and Its Territory’, 220. Although Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Chris­ tians do not differ’, 180, claim otherwise, there were popular cults of Ares and Athena at Sagalassus as indicated by several categories of material evidence (Waelkens, ‘Religious Life’, 195–196; Talloen, Cult in Pisidia, 62–63, 89–90, 96, 222, and 333 n. 1145), which makes the reuse even more striking.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


religious scenes and symbols are of course far more numerous than structural remains. These finds include a considerable number of domestic utensils which offer an important window into social and religious life. Previous research has already concluded that the iconography present on such items cannot simply be cast away as decoration, but rather offers an opportunity to trace how the religious developments affected daily life.54 The material culture of the fifth century, as produced for example in the coroplast workshop recently excavated to the east of the former Neon Library, was still dominated by pagan motifs and scenes, with a host of heroes and deities continuing to feature on domestic objects (fig. 7.11).55 It has often been argued that by late antiquity mythological subjects were devoid of a specifically pagan character.56 Popular deities like Dionysus and Aphrodite would have become mere personifications of natural forces or human qualities. Like that, Dionysus was no more than a neutralized mythological subject that made an appropriate adornment for a drinking party, and Aphrodite became an allegory for female beauty. To a degree the evidence from Sagalassus might support this view. Yet, it can equally be argued that the imagery of the ceramics drew upon and reinforced rituals and propriety in honour of the gods, and that this continued in the fifth century in direct competition with the rise of Christianity.57 Generally though, it can no longer be ascertained how such scenes on decorated pottery were interpreted by their users. Prior to the middle of the fifth century, the impact of Christianity on material culture is virtually invisible. This lack of physical evidence is not a case in which the archaeological record fails us. Rather it reflects the fact that early Christian objects cannot be distinguished, because Christians utilized traditional household settings and items. There was a common iconographic repertoire shared by pagans and Christians alike, including idyllic-bucolic scenes of the vintage and the ‘good shepherd’. For many of these scenes, their meaning would have depended on the physical context and the interpretation of the viewer. Such interchangeable imagery echoes the flexibility of meaning and interpretation in late antiquity.58 The local pottery industry only gradually switched to decorative motifs proclaiming the new faith and a range of ceramic household items, including plates, wine flasks or oinophoroi, and oil lamps, 54  Talloen and Poblome, ‘Relief Decorated Pottery’. 55  Poblome et al., ‘Site le’. 56  Buckton, Byzantium, 39. 57  This does not mean that the material culture per se was ‘indicative of a cult of Dionysos’ as interpreted by Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’, 184; it merely suggests the possibility of a cultic interpretation by some of their users. 58  Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 577.


Figure 7.11


Round, relief decorated flask (diameter: 0.26 m) representing Dionysus standing between Ares and Aphrodite, with rabbits feeding on vines emanating from a cantharoid crater underneath, found at the potters’ workshop east of the Neon Library and dated to the fifth century ad (inv. SA2013LE-129-210) © sagalassos archaeological research project

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


came to display specific Christian symbols including crosses, cross-monograms and fish in the course of the fifth century ad.59 6

The Sixth Century: The Age of Christianity

While the religious character of fifth-century Sagalassus was obviously ambivalent, probably leaving room for various groups of worshippers, towards the turn of the century, the balance had definitely shifted in favour of Chris­ tianity which was now making its mark on society. A major development occurred when a church was constructed within the Bouleuterion (fig. 7.1, no. 10). While the former council hall itself became an open-air courtyard or atrium, its original forecourt came to house a tripartite pillar basilica with a semi-circular apse, which, based on the presence of a baptistery—the only one of the city—probably served as the city’s cathedral (fig. 7.12). Contrary to what had been assumed previously, recent control exca­ vations have established that this conversion did not occur until the first half of the sixth century ad.60 As the position of the church was becoming increasingly powerful, Christian officials looked at available buildings for the creation of new places of worship in an existing urbanized landscape. With the declining importance of the boule, council halls were falling out of use in the fourth and fifth centuries, and offered structures with a large internal space that answered ideally to the Christian liturgical demands.61 By converting the Bouleuterion, the church not only obtained a conspicuous site located in the very heart of Sagalassus, it also assumed the patterns of authority related to it. The conversion confirmed the supremacy of Christian religion and established the church as the new power in control of the city. This transformation of the political centre was part of a major building programme which also involved the construction of a monumental staircase leading to the atrium of the church (fig. 7.1, no. 11), which de facto made the square into a giant forecourt for the ecclesiastical complex. The centre of the city now came to serve as an architectural backdrop for the power-display of the local bishop. 59  Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 585–588. 60  Talloen and Poblome, ‘Control Excavations’, 142–145. The early-fifth-century date of Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’, 181, is still based on the stylistic date of the mosaic in the nave of the building, which has now been refuted on the basis of stratigraphical analysis. 61  Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’, 375–376.


Figure 7.12


Plan of the basilica installed in the forecourt of the Bouleuterion at Sagalassus © sagalassos archaeological research project

It was also at this time that the agora witnessed a major clean-up operation through the removal of numerous honorific monuments which were littering the square during the Roman imperial period. Traces on the pavement of the agora and on the stylobates of the porticoes indicate that only a fraction of the monuments originally populating the square remained in situ at the end of late antiquity. The architectural members of several such monuments were visibly reused in new constructions on and round the square, such as the fountain basin built in front of the western portico (fig. 7.1, no. 12), and the North-East Building at the northern end of the east portico (fig. 7.1, no. 13), both of which could be dated to the early sixth century.62 The removed bases of these monuments were reused displaying their inscribed sides. This suggests a strategy not to forget about the past curial elite, but to display that it was no longer relevant for the purposes of the present, when the bishop and leading class of the pro­ teuontes were in full control of the city. There are also some indications that the attitude towards the remaining pagan imagery hardened at this time. Tuff blocks with inscribed crosses were found in the vicinity of the corner aediculae of the Antonine Nymphaeum 62  Lavan, ‘Agorai’, 318–320; Talloen and Poblome, ‘Control Excavations’, 140.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


housing the effigies of Dionysus. They have been interpreted as remnants of walls sealing off the aediculae and hiding the statues from the public gaze sometime during the sixth century, which would then suggest some form of religious competition, although this remains highly hypothetical.63 Definite indications of iconoclasm, however, are a defaced head of Aphrodite which was buried between a newly constructed sewer and an exedra, and a head of Eros that was found buried between the stones of the stylobate of the eas­ tern portico during the same period.64 Corroborating such a tougher stance on mythological imagery is the fact that it was also disappearing from the decorated pottery of Sagalassus at this time.65 Yet, not all images were removed. The persistence of statue bases for several emperors, governors and heroes on the square indicate that some historical monuments were still considered significant by the Christian community. The image of the heroic founder Perseus remained welcome as a testimony of the glorious past, while emperors that were important for the city such as Claudius who gave first Roman citizenship to the elite of Sagalassus, and Caracalla who granted Roman citizenship to all, equally survived the clean-up. They provide instances of how selected monuments of the past were employed to create and uphold communal identity.66 This selection was the result of communal decisions and consensus, and its characterization will allow us to explicate the kind of memory Christian Sagalassus was propagating. The sixth-century clean-up operation gave the agora back much of its original character of the Hellenistic period as an ‘open’ square. Evidence, such as topos inscriptions, suggests that the open space was used for commercial, social and religious gatherings.67 One group that is particularly well attested on the square are the Michaelitai or adherents of St Michael the Archangel, a saint whose cult was very popular in the region.68 Their presence took the form of a set of large ceramic plates used for communal dining which carried the acclamation ‘May the fortune of the Michaelitai be victorious’. They were found in several locations in the western portico and can probably be related to 63  Waelkens et al., ‘1994 and 1995 Excavation Seasons’, 151 and 162, followed by Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 582; contra Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’, 187. It now seems more likely that the image of Dionysus was allowed to linger on in the cityscape due to his role in the prospering late antique viticulture at Sagalassus (Talloen and Poblome, ‘Age of Specialization’). 64  Talloen, Transformation. 65  Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 599–601. 66  See also Busine, ‘Conquest’. 67  Lavan, ‘Agorai’, 331–335. 68  Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 588–590; Huttner, Lycus Valley, 303; Nowakowski, ‘Cult of Saints’, 318–319.



dining activities in the vicinity.69 The same acclamation was also carved on the pedestal of the south-east honorific column (fig. 7.1, no. 4 and fig. 7.13) which suggests a rededication of the monument, possibly now carrying a Christian image, like a cross. The members of this religious association undoubtedly gathered on the square on special occasions like the nomination of a new bishop, ecumenical festivals like Easter, or the panegyris of a local saint. From there Christian processions will have moved through the city, spreading pra­yers and incense, and turning traditional civic places like the agora into ‘places filled by the presence of the Holy Spirit’ as intended by the processions organized by John Chrysostom at Constantinople.70 Also elsewhere in the city, the construction of Christian sanctuaries began in the late fifth/early sixth century, exemplifying the Christian takeover of public space. The temple of Apollo Klarios, one of the major pagan sanctuaries, was converted into a tripartite transept-basilica. The standing material was physically reshaped into a church, preserving in situ some remains of the pre-existing temple.71 Together with the Bouleuterion basilica, the converted temple of Apollo Klarios illustrates how the same focal points within the city, be it political or religious, were reused, in order to institutionalize Christianity and characterize it as the dominant religion, in control of the city. Having said that, Christianity also transformed the spatial rhythms of the community through the creation of new reference points within the urban fabric. The beliefs of the Christians that the end of the world was near and that the righteous dead would be raised, made the cemeteries foci of worship.72 These focal points were now monumentalized through the construction of basilicas. Contrary to the intramural civic churches, which corresponded to the organization of the Christian community and which had the celebration of liturgy as main function, this group of extramural basilicas had a commemorative function. An exceptional complex, associated with the north-western necropolis of Sagalassus, is situated inside the former stadium, and consists of a large transept-basilica (E1, the largest church of the city) and a more squarish tri­partite basilica (G) to its east (fig. 7.14). As suggested by its continuous transept-plan, 69  Contrary to what was previously contended, these plates did not necessarily belong to the Bouleuterion basilica and therefore do not corroborate the dedication of the church to St Michael (so Waelkens et al., ‘Sagalassos and Its Territory’, 220; Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’, 182), but can most probably be attributed to activities taking place in the public dining hall to the south of it (Uytterhoeven et al., ‘Prytaneion’). 70  Andrade, ‘Processions’. 71  Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’, 368–369. 72  See Yasin, Saints and Church Spaces.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus

Figure 7.13


Michaelitai acclamation on the pedestal of the south-east honorific column of the Upper Agora © sagalassos archaeological research project


Figure 7.14


Plan of the stadium with Basilicas E1 and G (the overlying grid has a side length of 5 m) © sagalassos archaeological research project

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Basilica E1 was constructed during the late fifth or early sixth century ad;73 a similar date can most likely be assumed for Basilica G. We are most probably dealing here with the remains of a martyrium complex housing the remains of a local Christian martyr. The spectacle building was perhaps the location where this saint—either historical or fictional—had been put to death, as the use of stadia for the public execution of condemned criminals is known from Christian martyrologies.74 The existence of a such centre for martyr cult at Sagalassus is also confirmed by locally produced devotionalia or religious souvenirs in the shape of ampullae and terracotta containers that can be identified as reliquary boxes.75 This intriguing complex addressed two needs of the local community: Firstly, after the abolishment of the cult of poliad deities, people needed to find new local heroes, such as a martyr saint, able to protect and personify the glory of their city. Furthermore, as an aspiring centre of pilgrimage, Sagalassus had the potential to become a major pole of attraction in the region, substituting its former role as regional centre for the imperial cult. The resulting picture from these types of church-construction is that of a rich and powerful ecclesiastical structure, strongly at home in the urban centre, but also incorporating the periphery. All this illustrates how the wider urban landscape was architecturally rewritten during this period as essentially ecclesiastical, thus constituting a new topography of the sacred, composed of Christian sanctuaries. Moreover, the presence of inscribed crosses as the central elements of two public game boards for dicing found on the Upper Agora suggests that even this mundane activity was placed under the protection of the Christian God.76 By the middle of the sixth century the Christianization of public space in Sagalassus was accomplished. The manifestation of Christianity at Sagalassus was of course not restricted to monumental buildings and public installations. At the same time private space equally became characterized as Christian, through the decoration of the related structures, but mainly through the presence of portable objects carrying religious symbols. From the beginning of the sixth century onwards, we witness the disappearance of pagan elements in the iconography of household items. Explicit Christian motifs and scenes took over, almost completely dominating the 73  Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’, 366–368. 74  e.g. Thompson, ‘Martyrdom of Polycarp’. 75  Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 590. 76  Talloen, ‘Rolling the Dice’.



material categories of daily life, from pottery to articles of adornment by the middle of the sixth century.77 Yet, the iconographical shift did not mark a complete break with pagan imagery. Alongside the distinctively Christian images it generated, the new Christian iconography also incorporated and at the same time re-interpreted some themes from the pagan past.78 For example, excavations throughout the city have unearthed a series of warrior figurines on horseback that could be dated to the late fifth/early sixth century (fig. 7.15). These terracotta fi­gurines are not to be seen as a late antique revival of paganism or a popular continuation of a local cult, for explicitly Christian figurines are present in the same stratigraphic contexts. The latter represent a bearded male figure wearing a mitre or cap decorated with a cross, which appears to identify the man as a saint, or at least a Christian figure. This type can be associated chronologically and typologically with the warrior figurines since they too were seated on horseback. These Christian holy riders can probably be seen as the descendants of indigenous rider deities, like Herakles-Kakasbos and Ares who offered protection in earlier times, thus continuing a long-standing pagan iconography.79 They would then illustrate how the newly converted Christians of Pisidia were willing to accept as saints and angels of the Christian God those powers which pagans had given the names of heroes and gods. While the pagan deities were embodied in their cult-statues, securing their permanent presence in the city, the Christian God was nowhere durably available. The periodic but unseen presence of the divine during mass or the permanent, visible presence of relics of the martyr saint only partially compensated for that loss. The depiction of saints in this manner may have provided an answer to this problem as they attest to the possibility of approaching the divine.80 This is the image of religious life that the archaeological evidence allows us to paint up the late sixth century when things start to take a turn for the worst and Sagalassus witnesses a process of ruralization which will eventually lead to a completely different form of society by the middle of the seventh century.81

77  Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 599–601. 78  Talloen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 590–596. 79  Delemen, Anatolian Rider Gods; Talloen, ‘Pious Neighbours’. 80  On the persistence of other ancient customs, such as the use of magical devices, see Tal­ loen, ‘From Pagan to Christian’, 596–599; Jacobs and Waelkens, ‘Christians do not differ’, 189–190. 81  On Sagalassus in the Dark Age and Middle Byzantine period see Poblome, Talloen, and Kaptijn, ‘Sagalassos’.

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus

Figure 7.15

A terracotta figurine of a warrior on horseback, found in a sixth-century workshop near the south-west gate of Claudius (inv. SA2010CG-102-162) © sagalassos archaeological research project




7 Conclusion The evidence presented in this paper has clearly characterized the rise of Christianity at Sagalassus not as a singular event but as a drawn-out process that took place between the early fourth and the middle of the sixth centuries. Political developments of the early fourth century, resulting in the loss of regional prominence, had delivered a first blow to the strongly polytheistic identity of the community, but the major turning point was undoubtedly the conversion of an emblematic monument, the Tychaeum, into an imperial honorific monument in ad 378. Rather than an end point, however, it signalled the start of a de-sacralization process throughout the city. This conversion was itself probably the result of the violent destruction of at least two public buildings which appears to have been religiously inspired, indicating severe tensions between local pagan and Christian groups. It was likely to address these tensions (and possibly also some external pressure) that local authorities decided to convert the Tychaeum and close other civic sanctuaries. Rather than a triumphant Christian wave rolling across the city, this desacralization was clearly a deliberated process: only those elements that were considered religiously controversial were removed, such as ritual installations and cult statues. Generally speaking, public monuments were stripped of their ritual associations and rebranded as harmless ornaments of city life. While the religious identity of Sagalassus was fundamentally altered, its historical identity was allowed to persist. Following the de-sacralization, which severed the old link between city identity and pagan cult, there was no immediate monumental Christian takeover of public space, but rather small-scale appropriations occurred. As spaces deprived of their traditional ritual installations and not yet harbouring any Christian ones, public areas like the Upper Agora appear to have become a kind of neutral terrain, a secular space used by Christians and pagans alike, at least for several decades. According to scholars like Peter Brown and Robert Markus, the end of the monopoly of traditional civic religion enabled the emergence of such a secular sphere and the development of a public culture in which all citizens could take part.82 Once Christianity became the dominant player towards the end of the fifth century, the Christian community of Sagalassus set about the creation of its 82  Brown, Authority, 40–54; Markus, End of Ancient Christianity. According to Aude Busine, for the period from Constantine to Justinian, when the traditional civic cults no longer addressed the totality of citizens and the Christian cults did not do so yet, we must recon­ sider the issue of cult-based citizenship (Busine, Religious Practices, 11).

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


own sacred space. It combined the demise of local paganism with the contemporary decline of civic political institutions—boule and demos—to establish itself as the power in control of the city by converting the Bouleuterion into a church. It also transformed other nodal points within the urban fabric, while adding its ritual foci in the periphery. Christian hegemony of the sixth century transformed society into a community dominated by Christian sanc­tuaries, rituals and imagery, incorporating local practices when necessary for the conversion process. As the sixth century progressed, a tougher stance towards pagan heritage led to the creation of a canonical iconography for Christian representations which had no place for pagan imagery. This transition from an older and more diverse culture towards a religious culture with a firm Christian basis in the course of the sixth century ad has been described by Robert Markus as the shift from ‘ancient’ to ‘medieval’ Christianity.83 In my opinion the scenario outlined above closely corresponds to the threestage model of Christianization recently proposed by Aude Busine:84 Firstly, a phase of secularization (de-sacralization of the urban landscape); followed by the adoption/appropriation of local religious practices (Christian appropriation of both places and imagery); and finally the elimination of alternatives (disappearance of pagan imagery). Although these clear-cut, successive stages cannot always be distinguished that plainly and distinctively in the archaeological record, which allows for somewhat more overlap, the model can be effectively used to describe the progressive integration of Christianity in the religious life of Sagalassus.85 Bibliography Andrade, N., ‘The Processions of John Chrysostom and Contested Spaces of Constantinople’, Journal of Early Christian Studies 18/2 (2010), 161–189. 83  Markus, End of Ancient Christianity. 84  Busine, Religious Practices, 11–13. 85  The author is assistant director of the Sagalassos Project directed until 2013 by Prof. em. Marc Waelkens and since then by Prof. Jeroen Poblome (both University of Leuven, Bel­ gium). This research was supported by the Belgian Programme on Interuniversity Poles of Attraction, the Research Fund of the University of Leuven and the Research Foundation Flanders (fwo). The author would like to thank Cilliers Breytenbach, Stephen Mitchell and Philipp Pilhofer for their kind invitation to participate in the Berlin Workshop, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, its Kültür Varlıkları ve Müzeler Genel Müdürlüğü and its representatives for the excavation permission, support and appreciated aid during the fieldwork campaigns.



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Huttner, U., Early Christianity in the Lycus Valley, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 85/Early Christianity in Asia Minor 1 (Leiden, 2013). Jacobs, I., ‘From Production to Destruction? Pagan and Mythological Statuary in Asia Minor’, American Journal of Archaeology 114/2 (2010), 267–303. Jacobs, I., and M. Waelkens, ‘“Christians do not differ from other people”: The Downto-Earth Religious Stance of Late Antique Sagalassos (Pisidia)’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 175–198. Kristensen, T.M., ‘Religious Conflict in Late Antique Alexandria: Christian Responses to Statues in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries CE’, in G. Hinge and J. Krasilnikoff (eds.), Alexandria: A Cultural and Religious Melting Pot (Aarhus, 2009), 158–175. Kristensen, T.M., Making and Breaking the Gods: Christian Responses to Pagan Sculpture in Late Antiquity (Aarhus, 2013). Lavan, L., ‘The Agorai of Sagalassos in Late Antiquity: An Interpretive Study’, in L. Lavan and M. Mulryan (eds.), Field Methods and Post-Excavation Techniques in Late Antique Archaeology, Late Antique Archaeology 9 (Leiden, 2013), 289–353. Markus, R.A., The End of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge, 1990). Mitchell, S., Anatolia: Land, Men and Gods in Asia Minor, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1993). Mitchell, S., and M. Waelkens, Pisidian Antioch: The Site and Its Monuments (London, 1998). Nollé, J., Kleinasiatische Losorakel: Astragal- und Alphabetchresmologien der hochkai­ serzeitlichen Orakelrenaissance, Vestigia 57 (Munich, 2007). Nowakowski, P., ‘Diffusion and Functions of the Cult of Saints in Asia Minor up to the End of the 6th Century’, in W. Ameling (ed.), Die Christianisierung Kleinasiens in der Spätantike, Asia Minor Studien 87 (Bonn, 2017), 307–330. Özhanlı, M., ‘Excavations at Pisidian Antioch in 2017’, Anmed 16 (2018), 90–94. Poblome, J., and M. Waelkens, ‘Sagalassos and Alexandria: Exchange in the Eastern Mediterranean’, in C. Abadie-Reynal (ed.), Les céramiques en Anatolie aux époques hellénistiques et romaines: Actes de la table ronde d’Istanbul, 23–24 mai 1996, Varia Anatolica 15 (Paris, 2003), 179–191. Poblome, J., P. Talloen, and E. Kaptijn, ‘Sagalassos’, in P. Niewöhner (ed.), The Archae­ ology of Byzantine Anatolia: From the End of Late Antiquity until the Coming of the Turks (Oxford, 2017), 302–311. Poblome, J. et al., ‘The 2012 to 2014 Excavation Campaigns at Site le, Sagalassos: The Structural Remains and General Phasing’, Anatolica 41 (2015), 203–240. Salzman, M.R., M. Sághy, and R.L. Testa (eds.), Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome: Conflict, Competition and Coexistence in the Fourth Century (Cambridge, 2015). Saradi-Mendelovici, H., ‘Christian Attitudes toward Pagan Monuments in Late Antiq­ uity and Their Legacy in Later Byzantine Centuries’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 44 (1990), 47–61.



Smith, R.R.R., ‘Defacing the Gods at Aphrodisias’, in B. Dignas and R.R.R. Smith (eds.), Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World (Oxford, 2012), 283–326. Talloen, P., ‘Pious Neighbours: Pisidian Religious Ties with Lycia; The Case of the Rider Deities’, in K. Dörtlük et al. (eds.), The iiird International Symposium on Lycia, 07–10 November 2005, Antalya: Symposium Proceedings, vol. 2 (Istanbul, 2006), 747–759. Talloen, P., ‘From Pagan to Christian: Religious Iconography in Material Culture from Sagalassos’, in L. Lavan and M. Mulryan (eds.), The Archaeology of Late Antique Pa­ ganism, Late Antique Archaeology 7 (Leiden, 2011), 575–607. Talloen, P., Cult in Pisidia: Religious Practice in Southwestern Asia Minor from Alexander the Great to the Rise of Christianity, Studies in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology 10 (Turnhout, 2015). Talloen, P., ‘Pisidian-Greek-Roman: Acting out Communal Identity on the Upper Agora of Sagalassos’, Colloquium Anatolicum 16 (2017), 199–216. Talloen, P., ‘Rolling the Dice: Public Game Boards from Sagalassos’, Herom 7 (2018), 97–132. Talloen, P., ‘The Road to Salvation: Travel and the Sacred along the Imperial Highway in Pisidia’, in L. Vandeput et al. (eds.), Roads, Routes and Pathways in Anatolia from Prehistory to the Seljuk Times (forthcoming). Talloen, P., ‘The Tychaion of Sagalassos: The Cultural Biography of an Emblematic Monument’, Istanbuler Mitteilungen (forthcoming). Talloen P., ‘The Upper Agora of Sagalassos during Late Antiquity: The Transformation of an Ideological Centre’, in B. Böhlendorf-Arslan (ed.), Urbanitas: Changes in City­ scape and Urban Life in Late Antiquity and Early Byzantine Times (forthcoming). Talloen, P., and J. Poblome, ‘What Were They Thinking of? Relief Decorated Pottery from Sagalassos; A Cognitive Approach’, Mélanges de l’École française de Rome: Anti­ quité 117/1 (2005), 55–81. Talloen, P., and J. Poblome, ‘The 2014 and 2015 Control Excavations on and around the Upper Agora of Sagalassos; The Structural Remains and General Phasing’, Anatolica 42 (2016), 111–150. Talloen, P., and J. Poblome, ‘The Age of Specialization: Dionysos and the Production of Wine in Late Antiquity; A View from Sagalassos’, Olba 27 (2019), 413–442. Talloen, P., and L. Vercauteren, ‘The Fate of Temples in Late Antique Anatolia’, in L. Lavan and M. Mulryan (eds.), The Archaeology of Late Antique Paganism, Late Antique Archaeology 7 (Leiden, 2011), 347–387. Talloen, P., and M. Waelkens, ‘Apollo and the Emperors (i): The Material Evidence for the Imperial Cult at Sagalassos’, Ancient Society 34 (2004), 171–216. Thompson, L.L., ‘The Martyrdom of Polycarp: Death in the Roman Games’, Journal of Religion 82/1 (2002), 27–52. Trombley, F., Hellenic Religion and Christianization, c. 370–529, 2 vols., Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 115 (Leiden, 1993).

The Rise of Christianity at Sagalassus


Trombley, F., ‘Christian Demography in the Territorium of Antioch (4th–5th c.): Obser­ vations on the Epigraphy’, in I. Sandwell and J. Huskinson (eds.), Culture and Society in Later Roman Antioch: Papers from a Colloquium, London, 15th December 2001 (Ox­ ford, 2004), 59–85. Uytterhoeven, I. et al., ‘The “Prytaneion” of Sagalassos: Unravelling an Architectural and Functional Palimpsest’, Anatolica (forthcoming). Van Dam, R., ‘From Paganism to Christianity at Late Antique Gaza’, Viator 16 (1985), 1–20. Waelkens, M., ‘Sagalassos: Religious Life in a Pisidian Town’, in C. Bonnet and A. Motte (eds.), Colloque F. Cumont: Les syncrétismes religieux dans le monde méditerranéen antique (Brussels, 1999), 191–226. Waelkens, M., ‘Romanization in the East: A Case Study; Sagalassos and Pisidia (sw Turkey)’, Istanbuler Mitteilungen 52 (2002), 311–368. Waelkens, M., ‘Hadrian and the “neokoria” of Sagalassos’, in H. Metin et al. (eds.), Pisi­ dian Essays in Honour of Hacı Ali Ekinci (Istanbul, 2015), 177–214. Waelkens, M., and I. Jacobs, ‘Sagalassos in the Theodosian Age’, in I. Jacobs (ed.), Pro­ duction and Prosperity in the Theodosian Period, Interdisciplinary Studies in An­cient Culture and Religion 14 (Leuven, 2014), 91–126. Waelkens, M., J. Poblome, and P. De Rynck (eds.), Sagalassos: City of Dreams (Tongeren, 2011). Waelkens, M. et al., ‘The 1994 and 1995 Excavation Seasons at Sagalassos’, in M. Waelkens and J. Poblome (eds.), Sagalassos, vol. 4: Report on the Survey and Excavation Cam­ paigns of 1994 and 1995, Acta Archaeologica Lovaniensia Monographiae 9 (Leuven, 1997), 103–216. Waelkens, M. et al., ‘The Sagalassos Neon Library Mosaic and Its Conservation’, in M. Waelkens and L. Loots (eds.), Sagalassos, vol. 5: Report on the Survey and Excava­ tion Campaigns of 1996 and 1997, Acta Archaeologica Lovaniensia Monographiae 11A (Leuven, 2000), 419–447. Waelkens, M. et al., ‘The Late Antique to Early Byzantine City in Southwest Anatolia: Sagalassos and Its Territory; A Case Study’, in J.-U. Krause and C. Witschel (eds.), Die spätantike Stadt: Niedergang oder Wandel? Akten des internationalen Kolloquiums in München am 30. und 31. Mai 2003, Historia Einzelschriften 190 (Stuttgart, 2006), 199–255. Waelkens, M. et al., ‘The 2013 Excavations and Restoration Activities at Sagalassos’, in 36. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı, Gaziantep, 02–06 Haziran 2014 (Ankara, 2015), 35–60. Yasin, A.M., Saints and Church Spaces in the Late Antique Mediterranean: Architecture, Cult and Community (Cambridge, 2009).

Chapter 8

Inscribing Caria: The Perseverance of Epigraphic Traditions in Late Antiquity Anna M. Sitz The fate of temples in the early Christian period has been vigorously discussed in recent years from both textual and archaeological perspectives. The late antique textual sources often describe violent confrontation between late pa­ gans and early Christians and the destruction of polytheist cult sites.1 The ar­ chaeological evidence, however, rarely indicates active destruction, but rather eventual collapse in an earthquake or Christian appropriation of sanctuaries only long after paganism had ceased to be a threat.2 Texts describing destruc­ tion are now usually understood not as descriptions of historical reality, but as ideological, and even aetiological, attempts to forge a new Christian identity and city history.3 But when early Christians entered the sacred precinct of a formerly pagan temple, what did they actually see there? How did the built fabric of these sanctuaries impact early Christian conceptualization of sacred space?4 What messages did these structures themselves project to viewers, and through what means? Which ancient habits of constructing the built environment did Chris­ tians maintain or reject? The actual appearance of temples during the period of Christianization is a critical piece of evidence in understanding late antique attitudes towards pagan sanctuaries and the creation of a distinct Christian identity. In this essay, I will consider one particular aspect of the appearance of an­ cient temples: the inscriptions written on their walls, antae, and architraves. Although the inscribing of these texts took place much earlier, they remained in place and visible centuries later, when late antique individuals encountered

1  Hahn, Emmel, and Gotter, From Temple to Church; Hahn, Spätantiker Staat; Drake, ‘Intolerance’. 2  Foschia, ‘La reutilization des sanctuaries païens’; Bayliss, Provincial Cilicia; Caseau, ‘Fate of Rural Temples’; Deligiannakis, ‘Late Paganism’; Talloen and Vercauteren, ‘Fate of Temples’; Sweetman, ‘Memory’. 3  Busine, ‘From Stones to Myth’. 4  For the view that the classical appearance of temples was important in their preservation, see Jacobs, Aesthetic Maintenance.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_010

Inscribing Caria


pagan cult places.5 My focus is on the region of Caria in south-western Asia Minor, because that area had an unusually high number of temples with in­ scriptions written on them. I will first give a brief introduction to the history of Caria in antiquity, before documenting the ancient (classical through Romanperiod) epigraphic habit of using inscriptions to enhance Carian temples. Col­ lecting data on the ancient practice of inscribing temples makes it possible to document the types and frequencies of texts that Christians would encounter at sanctuaries when they visited or appropriated cult sites. I will then present my preliminary observations on the fates of these texts in pagan sanctuaries in late antiquity as the framework for a future, in-depth investigation. My thesis is that inscriptions written on pagan temple structures were an especially Carian phenomenon and marker of local identity both at the time of their original inscribing and centuries later during the process of Christianization. 1

Ancient Caria

In antiquity, Caria was inhabited by a distinctive ethno-linguistic group at­ tested already in Homer and most likely even earlier in Hittite texts.6 The Carian language is part of the Anatolian family and is related to Luwian and Lycian; the few inscribed texts we have written in the Carian alphabet have been only partially deciphered in recent years.7 Some letters of this alphabet resemble Greek characters, but others are distinctive (fig. 8.1). Carians mixed with Greeks from the Dark Ages onwards and adopted the Greek language, although Carian continued to be spoken and written for centuries, including in inscriptions and on coins.8 The region never had clearly defined geographi­ cal boundaries but stretched roughly from the Maeander valley in the north to beyond the Cnidian peninsula in the south, with cities on the fringes some­ times considered Carian and other times not (fig. 8.2). Many Carians migrated to Egypt as mercenaries beginning in the sixth century bc, where they left be­ hind bilingual Carian and hieroglyphic funerary stelai.

5  I include in this essay only inscriptions written on the temple structure itself, because the assorted other inscriptions on bases, stelai, and votive objects at sanctuaries could have easily been cleared away in late antiquity to be reused elsewhere, as happened at numerous sites. Those on the temple itself, however, remained. 6  Hom. Il. 2.867ff. See also Herda, ‘Karkiša-Karien’; Carless-Unwinn, Caria and Crete. 7  Giannotta et al., La decifrazione del Cario; Adiego, Carian Language; Melchert, ‘Carian’. 8  Konuk, ‘Coinage of Hyssaldomos’.


Figure 8.1 Euromus, inscription in Carian on a spring house photo a.m. sitz

Figure 8.2 Caria and its sphere map a.m. sitz


Inscribing Caria


Caria reached its apex under the Hecatomnid dynasty of the fourth century bc. As semi-independent satraps of the Persian Empire, Hecatomnus (reigned c.395–377 bc) and his offspring maintained traditional Carian cults while com­ bining elements of Greek visual culture with experimental architectural styles, as can be seen, for example, at the Mausoleum in Halicarnassus, built for Heca­ tomnus’s son Mausolus (reigned 377–353 bc).9 The region came under the do­ minion of various warring Hellenistic kings in the subsequent centuries before becoming a part of the Roman province of Asia. An independent province of Caria was created in the fourth century ad, with the city of Aphrodisias as a flourishing provincial capital famous for its marble workshops. Aphrodisias has provided a wealth of material for the study of Christianization, especially at the former Temple of Aphrodite, converted into a church around ad 500.10 The remainder of Caria in this period, however, and the process of becoming Christian, is more opaque.11 2

Inscribing Temples in Ancient Caria

I will now document the earlier (late classical through Roman) epigraphic habit of inscribing temple walls in Caria, in order to clarify the inscriptions that Christians would have encountered when they took over sanctuaries and the long-standing cultural practice of using texts to delineate sacred space in this region. My broader investigation of the ancient habit of writing inscriptions on temples across Asia Minor and Greece reveals an unusual concentration of these texts in Caria; moreover, several of the earliest examples come from that region.12 While in the Roman period, inscribing dedications in Greek or Latin on temple architraves or columns was de rigueur, classical Greek temples, such as the Parthenon in Athens, typically bore no inscriptions at all; instead, texts were written on votive objects, stelai, and bases deposited in the sanctuary, 9  Jeppeson, Superstructure; Cook, Ashmole, and Strong, Relief Sculpture; Henry, Karia; Win­ ter and Zimmermann, Zwischen Satrapen und Dynasten. 10  Smith and Ratté, ‘Aphrodisias’, 46. 11  Ruggieri, La Caria bizantina, has studied the ecclesiastical remains of the region in this period. Individual sites, such as Labraunda and Iasus, have been investigated by Jesper Blid (‘Felicium temporum reparatio’ and Remains of Late Antiquity) and Ufuk Serin (Chur­ ches at Iasos and ‘Le chiese paleocristiane’) respectively. Serin has also carried out an ex­ tensive survey of the territory of Iasus from 2003 to 2011; the preliminary results have been published in Serin, ‘Karya’daki’. No full archaeological synthesis of the region in late antiq­ uity exists. 12  Sitz, ‘Writing on the Wall’.



while the temple itself communicated through figural imagery on its frieze and metopes.13 A few isolated examples of inscribed temples from the Archaic pe­ riod are known, notably the law code written on the Temple of Apollo Pythios at Gortyn on Crete in the seventh/sixth century bc, but the first sanctuaries to make use of monumental architectural inscriptions were in Caria or dedica­ tions by a Carian city.14 According to Gretchen Umholtz’s study of the devel­ opment of architectural dedications, the earliest known architrave dedication from the Greek world is the treasury of the Cnidians at Delphi from the midsixth century bc.15 Cnidus was a city in southern Caria.16 After a gap of more than a hundred years, when, to my knowledge, no inscribed architraves are known anywhere in the Greek world, the habit re­ appears at Labraunda, a Carian site famous for the sanctuary of Zeus Labraun‑ dos, with a sudden proliferation of architrave dedications by the Hecatomnids in the mid-fourth century bc (fig. 8.3).17 Mausolus and his brother (and suc­ cessor) Idrieus (reigned 351–344 bc) dedicated several buildings at the site: Androns A and B (feasting rooms), the Oikoi building, and even the Temple of Zeus, the first example of a temple architrave bearing an inscription, which reads: ‘Idrieus, son of Hecatomnus, a Mylasan, built the temple for Zeus Labraundos.’18 Around the same time, Idrieus also inscribed the architrave of the Temple of Arte­mis at Amyzon in Caria, if the recent reconstruction of

13  See Roels, ‘Queen of Inscriptions’, for several examples of inscriptions written on temple pronaoi. For an overview of the evidence for the early development of architectural dedi­ cations, see Umholtz, ‘Architraval Arrogance’. 14  Gortyn: ic 4.10. Archaic dedications were also found on column bases of the Artemisium at Ephesus, including four from the Lydian king Croesus, cf. I.Eph 5.1518.1–4; Umholtz, ‘Architraval Arrogance’, 265. 15  Umholtz, ‘Architraval Arrogance’. 16  Umholtz, ‘Architraval Arrogance’; F.Delphes 3/1.289[2]. 17  During this period, inscriptions did appear on ‘miniaturized’ architecture such as altars and dedicatory reliefs, as well as on stylobates. See Umholtz, ‘Architraval Arrogance’, 266–273. 18  I.Labraunda 16: Ἰδριεὺς Ἑκα[τόμνω Μυλασεὺς ἀνέθηκε τὸν ναὸν Διὶ Λαμβραύ]νδωι. The mis­ sing part of the inscription is confidently restored because of the formulaic nature of the other Hecatomnid building dedications at Labraunda, including contemporary archi­ trave inscriptions by Idrieus on Andron A (I.Labraunda 15), the Oikoi (no. 17), the South Propylaea (no. 18), and the earlier dedications by his brother, Mausolus, on the North Stoa (no. 13) and Andron B (no. 14). Idrieus’s dedication on the Oikoi is the best preserved: Ἰδριεὺς Ἑκατόμνω Μυλασεὺς ἀνέθηκε τοὺς οἴκους Διὶ Λαμβραύνδωι. Admittedly, τὸν ναόν on the temple dedication could rather be τὸν ἱερόν, but otherwise the restorations are fairly secure. See also Umholtz, ‘Architraval Arrogance’, 273ff. For the temple in general, see Hellström and Thieme, Temple of Zeus.

Inscribing Caria


Figure 8.3 Plan of Labraunda courtesy of o. henry, labraunda excavation

the temple architrave by Pontus Hellström is correct.19 In the third century bc, however, I know of only one example of an inscribed temple architrave, that of an extraurban sanctuary near Pergamum, suggesting that the practice

19  I.Amyzon 1: Ἰδριεὺς Ἑκατό[μνω Μυλασεὺς ἀνέθηκε τὸν ναὸν Ἀρτέμιδι] (according to Hell­ ström, ‘Sacred Architecture’, 276). Although this inscription is heavily restored, because only the first (leftmost) block of the architrave is preserved, it is clear that Idrieus is dedi­ cating a structure, presumably to Artemis, the goddess of the sanctuary (as attested in other epigraphic sources at the site). Hellström’s measurements of the block indicate that it fits better on the temple than the sanctuary’s propylaea, as Robert and Robert, Fouilles d’Amyzon, 93–96, had posited. The remainder of this architrave inscription is restored from Idrieus’s dedications at Labraunda.



was originally largely a Carian idiosyncrasy rather than a widespread habit.20 Likewise in Caria, the Temple of Zeus at Alabanda, whose altar depicted the same labrys (double-headed axe) that gave the Zeus of Labraunda his name, bore on its stylobate brief dedications to Zeus (δι); the temple dates from the fourth century bc or earlier.21 Beyond architrave dedications, temples could bear longer documents on their walls and antae. Many sanctuaries in the Greek world simultaneously made texts inviolable and displayed them to viewers on stelai, bases, or plaques within the temenos, but those inscribed on the temple structure itself achieved maximum visibility and became integral to the sacred structure, transforming the temple into a synergy of text and architecture.22 Famously at Priene, impor­ tant civic documents were written on the anta of the Temple of Athena Polias, below a dedication by Alexander the Great, from 285 bc onwards; this act of in­ scribing transformed the temple from the house of the goddess into a billboard advertising and safekeeping the city’s territorial privileges and relationships with distant kings.23 I propose, however, that even before Priene, it is likely that temples in Caria were used to display texts. A block attributed to the Temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus at Stratonicea bears multiple inscriptions: a royal letter and a fragmentary list of priests, both probably from the first quarter of the third century bc and, above them, a text in Carian (undated), perhaps a trans­ lation of the royal letter, or another document inscribed prior to the letter.24 The corpus of inscriptions written in Carian is limited, but other texts like this one may indicate an early, local habit of recording important documents on structures, as can be seen, for example, in a lengthy Carian inscription occupy­ ing an entire wall of a tomb at Stratonicea, or a Carian text on an architectural piece from ancient Chalcetor (near Milas).25 Likewise, at a sanctuary perhaps 20  The Temple of the Mother of the Gods, dedicated by Philetaerus (reigned 281–263 bc), son of Attalus, at Mamurt Kale; imt Kaikos 928: Φιλεταῖρος Ἀττάλου Μητ[ρ]ὶ Θεῶν. At Amyzon, a second line was added to Idrieus’s temple architrave in 203–200 bc. 21  Ateşlier, ‘Zeus Temple’, 249–252 with fig. 9 and 10. 22  As discussed by Roels, ‘Queen of Inscriptions’. 23  Blümel and Merkelbach, Inschriften von Priene, 2.184–185; see also Sherwin-White, ‘An­ cient Archives’; Davies, ‘Greek Archives’; Roels, ‘Queen of Inscriptions’, 228–231. I wish to thank Hakan Mert for kindly discussing the Priene material with me. 24  Letter probably of Seleucus i (reigned 305–281 bc): I.Stratonikeia 3.1001; seg 30.1279. Priest list: I.Stratonikeia 3.1063; seg 30.1281. Both were originally published in Şahin, ‘Inscriptions’, 205–211 with pl. 5.1. Carian texts are difficult to date because of the few ex­ amples connected to known historical figures and because of the great variety of letter forms employed. 25  An early visitor to Stratonicea, the Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier, who was the French am­ bassador to the Ottoman Empire, recorded that he found a large marble tomb of one

Inscribing Caria


belonging to Demeter at Caunus, a brief text in Carian is carved into the tem­ ple substructure.26 At the Temple of Artemis at Amyzon, where Idrieus had left his name on the architrave, decrees from the local council and royal letters were engraved in Greek on the antae of the temple probably beginning around 320 bc, but at the latest by 273 bc.27 It is likely, therefore, that Priene was not innovating by inscribing a dos­ sier of civic texts on its temple, but was rather participating in a regional habit: Priene, though an Ionian Greek city, is located at the edge of Caria and was closely connected with that region in the late classical period. The Hecatomnids expanded their political influence into the nearest cities of Ionia in the mid-fourth century bc and Pythius, the same architect who built the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, also designed Priene’s temple, if Vitruvius can be believed.28 The location of Alexander’s dedication on the anta at Priene may even indicate an awareness of Mausolus’s earlier dedication of the North Stoa at Labraunda, also inscribed on the anta.29 That is not to say that Alexander himself chose this placement of his dedication in conscious imitation of the Hecatomnid ruler during his stay at Priene in 334 bc; rather, in my view, it was likely the local Prieneans who determined the location of this inscription, perhaps after Alexander had already left to continue his conquest in the east. Carians also had a particular affinity for inscribing lists of priests on temples. These lists typically record the name of the priest, his patronymic, sometimes his ethnic, and on occasion the information that he had served the goddess two or three times. Of the eight probable examples of priest lists on temples that I have collected, six come from Caria: Stratonicea, Lagina, Koraia, Panamara,

Philekos with a lengthy inscription filling an entire wall of the monument and written in an unknown language. The characters seemed to him a mixture of Greek and non-Greek letters, and he could not make any sense of it before hastily leaving the site. Unfortunately he did not publish a copy of the inscription, but the text on this lost tomb was almost cer­ tainly in Carian. Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage pittoresque, 1.222–224. I thank Olivier Henry for bringing this example to my attention. The text from Chalcetor has been published by Neumann, ‘Inschrift aus Chalketor’, with a photo. 26  Adiego, Carian Language, 156–157 (C.Ka 8); Frei and Marek, ‘Karisch-Griechische Bilingue’; id., ‘Neues zu den karischen Inschriften’, 116–119. 27  Hellström, ‘Sacred Architecture’, 284. Hellström argues that I.Amyzon 2, a decree from the time of Philip iii (reigned 323–317 bc), most probably belongs to the temple anta, although it could possibly rather be from the anta of the sanctuary propylon. I.Amyzon 3 can confidently be placed on the temple anta and is a decree dated to 273 bc. 28  For the evidence concerning Pythius’s involvement in the building of the temple at Prie­ne, see Carter, Sculpture, 26–29; Koenigs, Athenatempel, 199–206. 29  Alexander’s temple dedication: I.Priene 149; Mausolus’s stoa dedication: I.Labraunda 13.



Heraclea Latmia and Aphrodisias.30 The sanctuary of Hecate at Lagina is particularly striking. Hundreds of priests were able to write their names as well as euergistic activity onto the walls of this Carian temple, spanning from the second century bc to the second century ad, in addition to the various civic/ political documents also recorded on the temple wall.31 The other sanctuaries present more concise lists. Although by the late Hellenistic period and Roman periods, the habit of inscribing temple architraves, walls, and antae with dedi­ cations, documents, and lists of priests had become more widespread, no region offers the wealth of examples that Caria does. The conception of the temple structure as a space for writing seems to have been especially strong in that region.32 3

Diachronic Texts

Although dating far earlier than the period under investigation in this volume, the trans-temporal nature of inscriptions meant that they had the potential to impact viewers long after their original inscribing. Pontus Hellström has argued that Hecatomnid sanctuary sites, such as Labraunda and Amyzon, functioned during the Hellenistic and Roman periods as ‘memory theatres’, preserving a sense of collective Carian identity that looked back to a glorious past, when Caria was a major player in the eastern Mediterranean.33 Some of the older texts inscribed on temples were re-copied and displayed anew. This can be seen at Labraunda, where a group of letters, known as the Olympichus dossier, engraved on the temple in the third century bc, were copied onto 30  I.Stratonikeia 3.1063 (Stratonicea); 2/1.601–741 (Lagina); 3.1501–1502 (Koraia), 1403–1414 (Panamara); Aphrodisias: unpublished. In some instances, it is not clear that a list of names represents priests. At Aphrodisias, for example, the unpublished list of names in­ scribed on the orthostates of the Temple of Aphrodite may represent priests (most likely, in my view), or other individuals who had donated to the sanctuary. I thank Angelos Chaniotis for sharing this text and his thoughts with me. In other cases, the inscribed blocks are attributed to a temple but may in actuality belong to a different structure. The two non-Carian examples of lists of priests engraved on a temple are the Temple of Augustus and Roma at Ankara, and on the temple above the Corycian Cave in Cilicia (although the identification of these individuals as priests is again not secure). 31  I.Stratonikeia 2/1.601–741; Van Bremen, ‘Temple of Hekate’; Roels, ‘Queen of Inscriptions’, 234–236. 32  It is perhaps noteworthy that so many Carians had travelled to Egypt as mercenaries, where they would have encountered Pharaonic temples covered in hieroglyphics. Wheth­ er those text monuments par excellence inflected Carian expectations of how a temple should look can of course not be known. 33  Hellström, ‘Sacred Architecture’, 267.

Inscribing Caria


Figure 8.4 Gerga, Building 1 (identified as a temple by W. Held) reproduced from w. held, gergakome, abb. 18, bau i

stelai in subsequent centuries, despite being still visible on the temple anta, presumably in order to make it easier for visitors to the sanctuary to read these texts.34 Hellström has even proposed that the architrave dedication from Idrieus on the ‘Doric House’ at Labraunda is actually a later copy, with text and letter forms imitated from the other dedications by Idrieus at the site in order to enhance the supposed history of this small fountain house and its connection to the Hecatomnids.35 Further evidence of the later importance of inscriptions on temples can be found at a very peculiar site called Gerga, not far from the Carian city of Alabanda (near modern Çine). Early western visitors to this remote place were confounded by the epigraphic repetition of one single name on all the 34  See I.Labraunda 1B and 2, both imperial-period copies of the Hellenistic texts engraved on the temple. For the wider phenomenon, see also Dignas, Economy of the Sacred, 273–278. 35  Hellström, ‘Sacred Architecture’, 279. The inscription is I.Labraunda 19, and the original editor, Jonas Crampa, had noted that the letterforms are ‘irregularly cut and the engrav­ ing is altogether inferior to that of the other architraval inscriptions of the period in the shrine’ (ibid.).



buildings of the site: Gerga or Gergas, multiple times in Greek and once in Latin (fig. 8.4).36 At least three monumental statues in an archaic style were also visible. A recent survey of the site by Winfried Held has suggested that the structures, which include a temple and several fountain houses, likely date to the second or third century ad; the place was a sanctuary, probably for a Cybele or mother goddess, with architecture, statues, and epigraphy all in faux archaic style.37 It has even been proposed that the word Gerga may be the Carian word for ‘Carian’, a person from Caria.38 Used in reference to the mother goddess, it may mark her as a particularly Carian deity, an attempt to local­ ize the more widespread Anatolian goddess. Apparently, when Carians of the Roman period imagined their own past and what an ancient Carian sanctuary should look like, prominent architectural inscriptions were a defining feature. 4

Inscribed Temples in Late Antiquity

I suggest that this close connection I have drawn between sacred architecture and inscribed texts in Caria continued to hold sway in the late Roman period. In the first place, Caria has produced not only many of the earliest examples of inscriptions written on temples, but also the latest examples. At Mylasa, letters from Theodosius ii confirming the tax-free status of Mylasa’s harbour, Passala, were engraved on the podium of the older Temple of Augustus and Roma around ad 428.39 Another tax document from a praetorian prefect named Flavius Illus Pusaeus Dionysius was then written on the temple in ad 480.40 The temple had surely been closed to pagan worship long before that date, but its function in the fifth century is unclear.41 By 1446, when Cyriacus of Ancona visited, it was being used as a church dedicated to St George by the local Greek population, but the date of the conversion is uncertain. The tem­ ple has been almost completely lost today, but early western visitors to Milas 36  For the site, see Bean, ‘Gerga in Caria’; Held, Gergakome. I thank Winfried Held for his kind permission to reprint his drawing of Building 1 at the site. 37  Held, Gergakome. 38  One can note that Geyre, the name of the modern village near the site of Aphrodisias, is believed to be a corrupted form of the name Caria; Aphrodisias was the capital of the province of Caria, and, at some point in late antiquity, attempted to change the name of the city itself to Caria and, later, to Stauropolis. 39  I.Mylasa 611 and 612. 40  I.Mylasa 613. 41  Ruggieri, ‘Annotazioni’, 83, notes that the Vita S. Eusebiae seu Xenae, composed in the late fifth or early sixth century at Mylasa, mentions a plot of land ‘near the holy (ἁγίας) church of God and (the place) called holy (ἱεροῦ)’, which he associates with the temple.

Inscribing Caria


recorded the excellent preservation of the temple, apparently with the dedi­ cation to Augustus and Roma on the architrave still intact along with the tax documents, even when the building was in use as a church.42 Since Christian churches could also be repositories for documents in late antiquity, it is not inconceivable that the temple conversion had happened in the fifth century when the tax documents were inscribed on it.43 Alternatively, the temple may have been secularized and used for some other purpose in the early Christian period, with the dedication to Augustus preserved in place as an ode to the continued importance of imperial figures, and converted to a church only later in the medieval period. Secondly, the higher number of texts inscribed on temples in earlier periods meant that late antique Christians in Caria were more likely than individuals in other regions of Asia Minor and Greece to encounter these documents and ded­ ications when they found themselves in control of formerly pagan temples. Not far from Mylasa, the Temple of Zeus at Labraunda was deconstructed at some point, most likely in late antiquity, when two churches were built on the edges of the site.44 Select marble antae blocks from the temple, including two with inscribed texts, were carefully taken down and moved into a nearby building, Andron A, the feasting room dedicated centuries earlier by Idrieus (and still bearing his architrave dedication).45 These documents from the Olympichus dossier on the temple anta documented Mylasa’s control of the sanctuary and its agricultural lands in the third century bc; as already mentioned, at least some of these texts were copied onto stelai in the Hellenistic and Roman pe­ riods. In 2014, a new marble anta block from the temple was uncovered in Andron A during excavations. The front face of the block holds the text of I.La­ braunda 137, another letter in the Olympichus dossier and a significant addition to our knowledge of Mylasa and surrounding territory in the third century bc 42  Rumscheid, ‘Tempel des Augustus’, 140. Cyriacus does not mention the architrave dedica­ tion, but correctly identifies the building as a Temple of Augustus and Roma, presum­ ably because he saw this architrave inscription. Later visitors include this dedication in their sketches of the temple, though sometimes transposed onto the frieze of the temple, rather than on the top fascia of the architrave, where it should have been. 43  For example, a collection of real estate transactions, disputes, contracts, and inheritance documents from the sixth century found in a church at Petra in Jordan (Frösén, Arjava, and Lehtinen, Petra Papyri). 44  Blid, ‘Felicium temporum reparatio’, and id., Remains of Late Antiquity. Unfortunately, the early excavators of the temple were less interested in the late phase of the structure, and therefore, the precise date of the temple disassembly is unclear. 45  I thank Olivier Henry for inviting me to work in Andron A and for giving me permission to use photos of Labraunda. I also thank Naomi Carless-Unwin for discussing the epigraphic material of the site with me.



Figure 8.5 I.Labraunda 137 courtesy of o. henry, labraunda excavation

(fig. 8.5).46 More relevant for our discussion, the stone exhibits a very curious feature: cut lines on the top and sides of the block suggest that there was an attempt to saw off the inscription face, presumably to display or preserve it (fig. 8.6).47 The block was abandoned before the cutting was complete, but even 46  Henry and Aubriet, ‘Le territoire de Mylasa’; Carless-Unwin and Henry, ‘New Olympichos Inscription’. 47  The reason for the attempted sawing off of this inscription face is not entirely clear: was it the text or the remainder of the marble block that was the desideratum? Sawing off the inscribed face certainly carried the risk of it splintering, and thereby destroying the text. The abandonment of the cutting in medias res may therefore indicate an aversion to destroying older inscriptions (whether or not the content was understood). If only the marble block was sought after, however, the text could have presumably been erased with less trouble. The precise date of the deposition of the marble antae blocks from the temple in Andron A is also unclear, but the on-going analysis of the ceramics in surround­ ings contexts from the 2014 and 2015 excavations should provide more chronological

Inscribing Caria


Figure 8.6 I.Labraunda 137 photo courtesy of o. henry, labraunda excavation

this failed attempt to separate the inscription from its stone, most likely taking place six hundred years or more after the original carving, indicates an engage­ ment with the text and the long reach these inscriptions had within the local community. Late antique Christians did not only encounter older texts on temple walls when they visited ancient sanctuaries, however. The Temple of Hecate at Lagina, already covered with ancient inscribed civic documents and lists of priests, was further marked in late antiquity with numerous graffiti, including many crosses and occasional kyrie boethi (‘Lord, help …’) texts.48 There is no evidence that the temple at Lagina was itself converted to a church, but a small chapel was installed next to the former altar of Hecate, and a larger ‘Byzantine building’ was constructed in front of it, perhaps a church. This proliferation of graffiti at both the temple and at the entrance to the sacred precinct has precision. In addition, the stone exhibits a large, shallow circular cutting on its top, of un­ certain purpose; whether it was carved before or after the attempt to cut off the inscrip­ tion face cannot be determined. See the preliminary reports, Henry, ‘L’Andron A d’Idrieus’, 334–355; Sitz and Henry, ‘Andrôn A’, 416–424. An in-depth investigation of the reuse and preservation of inscriptions in late antique Labraunda is in preparation. I thank Stephen Mitchell for his thoughts on this stone. 48  I thank the director of the site, Bilal Söğüt, as well as Zeliha Gider-Büyükközer, for their kind invitation to visit Lagina and permission to use photos of the site.



Figure 8.7 Lagina, Temple of Hecate, plantae pedum and kyrie boethi graffiti on the stylobate photo a.m. sitz

been noted by Vincenzo Ruggieri, who argues for continuity of pilgrimage at the site spanning from the pagan period to the Christian era.49 The graf­ fiti includes many plantae pedum, the outlines of feet, which Ruggieri identi­ fies as Christian, based on the proximity of one engraved foot to a kyrie boethi text, although the habit of tracing feet at sanctuary sites had begun already in pagan times (fig. 8.7).50 Graffiti are, of course, very difficult to date, but the texts, including at least two topos texts at the propylon of the sanctuary, do correspond with graffiti identified as late antique at other sites in Caria, such as Aphrodisias.51 Ruggieri’s hypothesis of continuity of pilgrimage is difficult to prove or dis­ prove; the graffiti, particularly the topoi texts, could just as easily indicate con­ tinuity of economic activity—the agricultural fairs celebrated initially for the goddess Hecate probably played an important role in the local economy and are unlikely to have stopped altogether because of the new religion. People still needed to eat, trade, share gossip, see and be seen, and Lagina is remote enough that shifting the festival to the nearest city (Stratonicea, c.19 km to the south) may have been a significant inconvenience to individuals travel­ ling from, for example, the territory of Alabanda to the north. Nonetheless, the concentration of identifiably Christian graffiti (crosses and kyrie boethi texts) on the temple and at the propylon of the sanctuary (as opposed to the dearth of graffiti in the stoa to the north-west of the temple) suggests a conscious attempt to use inscribed text/pictographs to Christianize the most charged

49  Ruggieri, ‘Annotazioni’. For graffiti at early Christian sites, see also Yasin, ‘Prayers on Site’, and for recognizing pilgrimage archaeologically, see Kristensen and Friese, Excavating Pilgrimage. 50  Ruggieri, ‘Annotazioni’, pl. x.7–8. The incising of footprints seems to have begun in New Kingdom Egypt and was spread abroad in the Roman period in tandem with Egyptian cults. See Revell, ‘Footsteps in Stone’. 51  For the Aphrodisias examples, see ala2004 xi.2–9.

Inscribing Caria


formerly pagan spaces.52 The temple was naturally a symbol of the former religion, and the entry space of the propylon was a ‘definitional’ space—that is, it defined a visitor’s initial experience and interpretation of the site. The many crosses marking this grand ancient entrance clarified for late antique viewers that this space was actively used in the present and had been reformu­ lated as a Christian place. At the thriving metropolis of Aphrodisias, the provincial capital of Caria in late antiquity, the famous Temple of Aphrodite, standing near the city centre, was not permitted to remain untouched as the city Christianized.53 The temple was largely deconstructed, and the blocks reused to build a large church on the same site around ad 500.54 The three-aisled basilica incorporated the temple’s exterior peristasis columns as the colonnades separating the north and south aisles from the nave; the sacred well of Aphrodite, formerly standing directly in front of her temple, was now located within the church apse, a situation without parallel, to my knowledge. Although the epigraphy of the site has been extensively studied and published in extremely useful open-access databases, the inscriptions have been largely separated out into Roman and late Roman categories, and consequently, the presence of older, Roman texts within the Christian basilica has received little attention.55 Older inscriptions from the Temple of Aphrodite, such as the dedication of the cella on a door frame and individual dedications on a number of the columns (now part of the nave col­ onnades) were incorporated into the new Christian structure; other inscribed elements were brought from other buildings to be used as building material.56 Most of these texts were left unaltered and on display in the new building: the names of Hadrian, Augustus, and even, on column dedications, the name of the goddess Aphrodite were permitted to remain. Other texts, however, required erasure, in particular, prominent dedications to the goddess, which framed entryways. Erasure is not as straightforward a description as one might assume, how­ ever. On the lintel of the central door into the nave, a dedication to Aphrodite from a Gaius Julius Zoilos, the leading citizen of Aphrodisias in the late first 52  At nearby Stratonicea, a recently published brick (Söğüt, ‘Stratonıkeia’, 438 fig. 5) with a dedication to Zeus Keraunios (Διὶ Κεραυνίῳ) was reused in the construction of the Erikli Church, and a cross was inscribed on top of the older dedication, leaving it visible but also visibly Christianized. 53  Ala2004; Roueché, Performers and Partisans; ead., ‘From Aphrodisias to Stauropolis’. 54  The fullest study of the temple-church is the unpublished dissertation of Hebert, ‘TempleChurch’. 55  Ala2004; IAph2007. 56  I would like to thank the excavation director, R.R.R. Smith, and site epigrapher, Angelos Chaniotis, for their kind permission to discuss these texts. See Sitz, ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’.



century bc, was, to quote the previous editor, Joyce Reynolds, ‘deliberately but not quite efficiently erased’.57 This statement does not, however, fully capture the state of the text, as visible in the published photographs and in on-site examination. Parts of the text are thoroughly expunged, requiring the trained eye of a professional epigrapher and a close inspection to make out any trace of a letter at all. Other parts, however, are only lightly chiselled, and a few letters even show no chisel marks at all (fig. 8.8). These were the parts of the inscrip­ tion naming the donor and his official titles as a citizen of Aphrodisias. These traces may have even been legible to people entering the church. Regardless of the degree of legibility, the presence of fragmentary words on the main entry door into the nave would indicate the door lintel’s status as spolia and evoke the pagan past, which had required this visible censoring before being incor­ porated into the church. The reuse of these older blocks within the templechurch of course held a certain amount of economic logic, but at a site like Aphrodisias, with the best marble workshop in Asia Minor, a more thorough re-dressing of the stones could have been carried out, if desired, completely re­ moving the older inscriptions from sight. Instead, snippets of these older texts were left on display in the new, late antique context. At the same time, various new texts and crosses were added to the Christian sacred structure as both graffiti and inscriptions. The new Christian role of the building was therefore defined simultaneously through both the erasure and the addition of texts. 5 Conclusion These preliminary observations at formerly pagan sanctuaries in Caria suggest that inscribed text continued to be significant for defining these sacred spaces even into the early Christian period. The data I have collected indicates a par­ ticular proclivity of ancient Carians for displaying inscriptions on the walls of sacred structures beginning in the late classical period. These texts remained markers of sacred space centuries later. The visible presence of older inscrip­ tions on temples, whether edited or unedited, evoked the pagan (Roman, Greek, Carian) past. The selective erasure and the addition of Christian sym­ bols and texts showed the dominance of the new god, while also assuring the late antique viewer that the space was still actively used: cross graffiti are not simply evidence of the Christianization of Caria, but were active agents in the on-going process. 57  Reynolds, ‘Temple of Aphrodite’, 37. The inscription is IAph2007 1.2; Reynolds, Aphrodisias and Rome, no. 37; IAphMcCabe 31.

Inscribing Caria

Figure 8.8 Aphrodisias, door lintel of main entrance to the temple and, later, the church, inscribed dedication partially erased photo a.m. sitz




A future phase of this research project will expand to look also at newlybuilt churches in Caria. Christian houses of worship bear few external simi­ larities to polytheist temples: the architectural layout of a Christian church was drawn rather from civic basilicas; patterns of usage shifted to gatherings inside the church rather than offering sacrifices outdoors; and the decorative program of churches drew on an entirely new aesthetic palette and functional aims. Both pagan sanctuary and Christian church, however, were inscribed spaces, where the written word could shape viewer perceptions of cult and deity. Did these Christian houses of worship maintain any distinctively Carian epigraphic habit in terms of the frequency or placement of inscriptions in de­ fining new Christian spaces? At least in one case, there is evidence that the distant past was appropriated to enhance a Christian holy place. At Euromus, a Carian city near Mylasa, a small extramural church incorporated an older spring house with a natural water source in its south aisle, reinterpreted in a Christian context as a hagi­ asma, a sacred spring (fig. 8.9). Built into the wall of the hagiasma and visible to viewers is an ancient inscription written in Carian (fig. 8.1). The context of this text in the chapel has been largely ignored by scholars.58 Certainly unin­ telligible by the time of the construction of the church, the text was none the less left on display and in excellent condition, visually drawing a connection between early Christian present and distant Carian past.59 58  I thank the director of the Euromus excavation, Abuzer Kızıl, for kindly inviting me to visit this chapel and giving me permission to use photos. Scholars have only mentioned that the Carian inscription is found in the church, without considering what it may have meant to Christian viewers. The stone is sometimes described as ‘reused’ in the fountain, but to me it appeared possible that it is in its original location; it was rather the chapel that was built around the much older fountain, which still flows with water today. Unfortunately the chapel has recently been badly damaged by illegal looters. Cf. Robert, Hellenica, 8.13 no. 8; Deroy, AnCl 24.2 (1955), 315 no. 8; Blümel, ‘Epigraphische Forschungen’, 261–262; Ruggieri, La Caria bizantina, 90–91; Gusmani, ‘Karische Beiträge’, 49; Adiego, Carian Language, 133–134 (C.Eu 2). 59  My thanks to the organizers of the workshop, Cilliers Breytenbach, Stephen Mitchell, and Philipp Pilhofer, as well as to all my fellow participants for their stimulating insights and comments on the theme of Christianization. I also wish to thank R.R.R. Smith, Abuzer Kızıl, Bilal Söğüt, Zeliha Gider-Büyükközer, Angelos Chaniotis, Winfried Held, Robert Ousterhout, C. Brian Rose, and Franz Alto Bauer. Olivier Henry was especially helpful in discussing this material with me and arranging for visits to several sites. I also thank the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut and the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, as well as the SFB 933 ‘Materiale Textkulturen’ group at the Universität Heidelberg. Portions of the research in this essay first appeared in my unpublished dissertation: Sitz, ‘Writing on the Wall’.

Inscribing Caria

Figure 8.9 Euromus, spring house used as a hagiasma in an extramural chapel photo a.m. sitz




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Konuk, K., ‘The Coinage of Hyssaldomos, Dynast of Mylasa’, in R. Einicke et al. (eds.), Zurück zum Gegenstand: Festschrift für Andreas E. Furtwängler, vol. 2 (Langenweiß­ bach, 2009), 357–363. Kristensen, R.M., and W. Friese (eds.), Excavating Pilgrimage: Archaeological Ap­ proaches to Sacred Travel and Movement in the Ancient World (London, 2017). Melchert, H.C., ‘Carian’, in R.D. Woodard (ed.), The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor (Cambridge, 2009), 64–68. Neumann, G., ‘Eine neue karische Inschrift aus Chalketor’, Kadmos 8/2 (1969), 152–157. Revell, L., ‘Footsteps in Stone: Variability within a Global Culture’, in S.E. Alcock et al. (eds.), Beyond Boundaries: Connecting Visual Cultures in the Provinces of Ancient Rome (Los Angeles, 2016), 206–221. Reynolds, J., Aphrodisias and Rome: Documents from the Excavation of the Theatre at Aphrodisias (London, 1982). Reynolds, J., ‘Inscriptions and the Building of the Temple of Aphrodite’, in C. Roueché and K.T. Erim (eds.), Aphrodisias Papers: Recent Work on Architecture and Sculpture (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1990), 37–40. Robert, L., Hellenica, 13 vols. (Paris, 1940–1965). Robert, J., and L. Robert, Fouilles d’Amyzon en Carie, vol. 1: Exploration, histoire, mon­ naies et inscriptions (Paris, 1983). Roels, E.J.J., ‘The Queen of Inscriptions Contextualized: The Presence of Civic Inscrip­ tions in the Pronaos of Ancient Temples in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor (Fourth Century bce–Second Century ce)’, in E.M. van Opstall (ed.), Sacred Thresh­ olds: The Door to the Sanctuary in Late Antiquity (Leiden, 2018), 221–253. Roueché, C., Performers and Partisans at Aphrodisias in the Roman and Late Roman Periods (London, 1993). Roueché, C., ‘From Aphrodisias to Stauropolis’, in J. Drinkwater and B. Salway (eds.), Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected: Essays Presented by Colleagues, Friends, & Pupils (Lon­ don, 2007), 183–192. Ruggieri, V., La Caria bizantina: Topografia, archeologia ed arte (Mylasa, Stratonikeia, Bargylia, Myndus, Halicarnassus) (Soveria Mannelli, 2005). Ruggieri, V., ‘Annotazioni in margine alla trasformazione del tempio in Chiesa in am­bito rurale: Il caso di Lagina in Caria’, Bizantinistica 9 (2007), 73–99. Rumscheid, F., ‘Der Tempel des Augustus und der Roma in Mylasa: Eine kreative Mi­schung östlicher und westlicher Architektur’, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologi­ schen Instituts 119 (2004), 131–178. Şahin, M.Ç., ‘A Carian and Three Greek Inscriptions from Stratonikeia’, zpe 39 (1980), 205–213. Serin, U., ‘Le chiese paleocristiane e bizantine di Iasos: Considerazioni cronologiche e problemi relativi alla topografia cristiana’, Bollettino dell’Associazione Iasos di Caria 7 (2001), 30–35.

Inscribing Caria


Serin, U., Early Christian and Byzantine Churches at Iasos in Caria: An Architectural Survey, Monumenti di antichità cristiana 2/17 (Vatican City, 2004). Serin, U., ‘Karya’daki geç antık ve bizans dönemi yapı ve yerleşimleri üzerine bazı gözlemler’, metu Journal of the Faculty of Architecture 30/1 (2013), 199–211. Sherwin-White, S.M., ‘Ancient Archives: The Edict of Alexander to Priene, a Reap­ praisal’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 105 (1985), 69–89. Sitz, A.M., ‘The Writing on the Wall: Memory and Inscriptions in the Temples of Late Antique Greece and Asia Minor’, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2017. Sitz, A.M., ‘Hiding in Plain Sight: Epigraphic Reuse in the Temple-Church at Aphro­ disias’, Journal of Late Antiquity 12/1 (2019), 136–168. Sitz, A.M., and O. Henry, ‘Andrôn A’, Anatolia Antiqua 24 (2016), 339–457. Smith, R.R.R., and C. Ratté, ‘Archaeological Research at Aphrodisias in Caria, 1993’, American Journal of Archaeology 99/1 (1995), 33–58. Söğüt, B., ‘Geç antik çağ’da Stratonıkeia’, in C. Şimşek and T. Kaçar (eds.), Geç Antik Çağ’da Lykos Vadisi ve Çevresi (Istanbul, 2018), 429–458. Sweetman, R., ‘Memory, Tradition, and Christianization of the Peloponnese’, American Journal of Archaeology 119/4 (2015), 501–531. Talloen, P., and L. Vercauteren, ‘The Fate of Temples in Late Antique Anatolia’, in L. Lavan and M. Mulryan (eds.), The Archaeology of Late Antique ‘Paganism’, Late Antique Archaeology 7 (Leiden, 2011), 347–388. Umholtz, G., ‘Architraval Arrogance? Dedicatory Inscriptions in Greek Architecture of the Classical Period’, Hesperia 71 (2002), 261–293. Winter, E., and K. Zimmermann (eds.), Zwischen Satrapen und Dynasten: Kleinasien im 4. Jahrhundert v.Chr., Asia Minor Studien 76 (Bonn, 2015). Yasin, A.M., ‘Prayers on Site: The Materiality of Devotional Graffiti and the Production of Early Christian Sacred Space’, in A. Eastmond (ed.), Viewing Inscriptions in the Late Antique and Medieval World (Cambridge, 2015), 36–60.

Chapter 9

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus: A Preliminary Study Daniela Summa 1

Earlier Studies

The earliest study of the epigraphy of early Christian Cyprus was conducted in 1950 by the British archaeologist and epigraphist Terence Bruce Mitford, who published twenty-eight Greek and three Latin inscriptions in the journal Byzantion.1 About twenty years later, the same Mitford collected the epigraphic evidence from Curium, and together with Ino Nicolaou the inscriptions of Salamis, delivering another fifty early Christian documents.2 Since then, the number has more than doubled, thanks especially to the systematic annual publication of new inscriptions in the Report of the Department of Antiquities (rdac) by the late Ino Nicolaou. In the last years, several studies on the late antique and early Christian period in Cyprus have stressed the crucial role of epigraphic evidence for the archaeology and art of the ‘Christian landscape’,3 for hagiography, the cult of saints and bishops, and for the transition between paganism and Christianity in the eastern Roman Empire.4 In 2013, Doria Nicolaou collected a useful selection of late antique inscriptions of Cyprus at a conference in honour of Ino Nicolaou.5 However, a desideratum for scholarship remains a proper edition of Cypriot inscriptions from the early Christian age until the middle of the seventh century, that is, the date of the Arabic invasion in Cyprus, which is universally accepted as marking the end of late antiquity 1  Byzantion 20 (1950), 105–175. 2  Respectively Mitford, I.Kourion (1971) and Mitford and Nicolaou, I.Salamis (1974). A collection of the inscriptions of Paphus has recently appeared: I.Paphos, including a chapter on Christian inscriptions (pp. 347–357). The Jewish inscriptions have been collected by Mitford, Byzantion 20 (1950), 110–116, and more recently in ijo 3, pp. 213–226. 3  Cf. recently Horster, Nicolaou, and Rogge, Church Building in Cyprus, esp. the contributions of Doria Nicolaou, Demetrios Michaelides, and Fryni Hafjichristofi. 4  Cf. Nicolaou, ‘Transition’; Efthymiadis, ‘Cult of Saints’; Deligiannakis, ‘Last Pagans’; id., ‘From Aphrodite(s) to Saintly Bishops’; for the political context Kantirea, ‘Gouverneurs’. On the history of Cyprus in early Byzantine age with an epigraphic overview see Metcalf, Byzantine Cyprus, esp. 215–225. 5  Cf. Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004410800_011

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


on the island (see below). This is exactly our purpose in the wider frame of the corpus of Cypriot inscriptions in the Inscriptiones Graecae (vol. 15), in preparation by Maria Kantirea and myself. In the corpus we will, of course, also include the very few secular inscriptions of the early Christian centuries, such as milestones, imperial rescripts, and diplomatic documents. For the purposes of this paper, I will discuss only Christian inscriptions, that is, those documents containing elements that identify them as indisputably Christian. Around fifty Christian inscriptions have been found in and near the city of Salamis in the eastern part of the island. Salamis was renovated after several devastating earthquakes during the fourth century and renamed Constantia as the province’s new capital, either, according to the traditional view, by the emperor Constantius ii or, according to a new study,6 by Constantine i. The former capital Paphus, in the western part of the island, and the areas of Amathus and Curium in the south have each produced around twenty inscriptions. About fifty other Christian inscriptions have been discovered in Lapethus, Soli, Citium, Trimithus, and elsewhere (fig. 9.1).

Figure 9.1 Map of ancient Cyprus map a. karnava

6  Deligiannakis, ‘Imperial and Ecclesiastical Patrons’.

228 2


The Christian Tradition on Cyprus

According to the Acts of the Apostles (13:4–12), Cyprus was introduced to Christianity at a very early age. During the first missionary journey, the apostles Saul/Paul, Barnabas and his reputed cousin John Mark sailed from Antioch to Cyprus, where they preached in the two main cities: Salamis, centre of a large Jewish community, and Paphus, capital of the island and the centre of the cult of Aphrodite Kypria. In Paphus, St Paul publicly manifested divine powers in front of the proconsul Sergius Paullus, temporarily blinding the Jewish magus Elymas Bar-Jesus, who was a member of the governor’s entourage. This miraculous event induced the proconsul to conversion. Barnabas, originally a Cypriote Jew, subsequently returned to Cyprus (Acts 15:39) to continue the evangelization of the island, and according to the later Acts of Barnabas became a martyr in Salamis.7 For this reason, St Barnabas is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. We do not have documents from this early period that offer us incontestable evidence about these episodes. Instead, what we have is fertile material for speculation especially concerning the tradition of St Paul in Cyprus.8 This material remains the object of lively scientific and theological discussion. I give here the two most striking examples. The first is well known to specialists of Ancient Cyprus: an extremely fragmentary document from Chytri (in the north of the island) dated to the mid-first century,9 containing ritual prescriptions for the cult of the Paphian Aphrodite, which mentions an emperor

7  The apocryphal Acta Barnabae were probably written in the late fifth century ad in order to sustain the claim of autocephaly of the Cypriot church (ed. Bonnet, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, 2/2.292–302; see also the updated commentary and French translation by Norelli, ‘Actes de Barnabé’). On the apostle Barnabas in Cyprus see also Öhler, Barnabas, esp. 272–290. 8  No epigraphic evidence concerns St Barnabas, if we except prayers and acclamations (see an example below): a fragment of an inscribed pilaster found in proximity of St Barnabas monastery and dated to the end of the fifth century ad may have been part of the ritual complex founded by Bishop Anthemios after the invention of Barnabas reliquiae at the time of Emperor Zeno (425–491), see Byzantion 20 (1950), 107–110 no. 2 with fig. 2; I.Sa­lamine 205. However, the few letters preserved on it do not give any reference to the saint. 9  i gr 3.935; Gabba, Iscrizioni greche e latine, 71–73 no. xxi with pl. 4; Boffo, Iscrizioni greche e latine, 242–246. Cf. Mitford, ‘Notes’, 206 n. 21; J. and L. Robert, be 1959, 271 no. 492; Mitford, ‘Roman Cyprus’, 1300 n. 54, 1330 n. 195; Mitchell, Anatolia, 2.7; Öhler, Barnabas, 282–283; Breytenbach, Paulus und Barnabas, 38–43, 181–182 with photo; Campbell, ‘Sergius Paul[l]us’; Weiß, ‘Sergius Paullus’, 188–192.

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


variously identified as Tiberius, Caligula or Claudius,10 and possibly a governor whose name appears in the genitive case: – – –]ίου Καίσαρος Σεβαστοῦ καὶ – – – – Κοίντου Σερ– – – (see pir² 7/2.531). The latter has been supplemented by most scholars as Κοίντου Σερ[γίου and identified by several scholars with the proconsul Sergius Paullus of Acts (pir² 7/2.527).11 This inscription is generally accepted as one of the historical sources for the study of the Bible. The family of Sergii Paulli, which originated from Pisidian Antioch or had close connections with this city, is historically known through numerous documents.12 However, since the name Sergius on the Chytri inscription is not entirely certain and the cognomen Paullus has to be completely supplemented, the grounds for linking the text to the proconsul named in Acts are very precarious.13 The second example is not yet widely known to scholars, although it has already gained a regrettable level of visibility in the digital network: In recent years the excavations conducted by the University of Catania in the Paphian area of Toumballos (called ‘area dei grandi santuari’) have uncovered an early Christian basilica dated to the fourth century,14 built above the remains of a pre-existing pagan sanctuary. Here a small marble fragment bearing only seven letters in two lines λου | οστο has been enthusiastically supplemented as [Παύ]λου [ἀπ]οστό[λου] (fig. 9.2).15 However, firstly because of the extremely early appearance of the letters, dateable to the first or second century,16 and secondly because of the highly fragmentary state of the document, this textual restoration appears impossible. If we retain the division of letters that the 10  First dated to the time of Emperor Claudius (ad 41–54), after the new reading of Mitford in 1980 (l. 9: Γ]αίου) to Caligula’s time (ad 37–41); the reading was rightly refused by Mitchell after checking autoptically the text in 1984. In 2005, Campbell suggested Tiberian time (ad 14–37). 11  Reading [– – – – ἐπὶ] Κ̣ οίντου Σεργ[ίου Παύλλου ἀνθυπάτου] (Mitford, Gabba, Campbell; contra Mitchell [who reads Σερα̣ or Σερδ̣ or Σερλ̣ ], Weiß). 12  Christol and Drew-Bear, ‘Sergii Paulii’. 13  A second inscription from Soli (igr 3.930) mentions a consul Paulus, but is dated to the time of Hadrian, see Boffo, Iscrizioni greche e latine, 244. Very suspect is the monument that Alessandro Palma di Cesnola (Salaminia, 108 with fig. 118) claimed to have found in Salamis, a sarcophagus decorated with four busts at each corner with an inscription roughly scratched in Latin around the pedestal or plinth of a female bust, reading – – – – T. ∙ I. ∙ proconsul ∙ P. ∙ Serge – – – –. Cf. I.Salamine 105. 14  Possibly entitled to St Hilarion, according to the excavators, see Giudice, ‘Nea Paphos’, 86–87. 15  Giudice, ‘Nea Paphos’, 87. 16  Except very few questionable cases, such as the funerary inscription below, an epigraphic visibility of the Christian communities does not seem to exist before the third century, defined ‘prehistory’ of Christian epigraphy, see Felle, ‘Judaism and Christianity’, 359; Ameling, ‘Neues Testament und Epigraphik’, 23–24.



Figure 9.2 Inscribed fragment from the Paphian area of Toumballos reproduced from f. giudice, ‘nea paphos’, 87 fig. 21

editor has proposed, we could suggest many other names, such as [Αὔ]λου [Π]οστο[μίου], [Εὐν]όστο[υ], [Φιλαρμ]όστο[υ], or supply other substantives or adjectives such as [εἰκ]οστό[ς]. If we change the word division to –οσ το–, it hardly needs to be said that innumerable other supplements are possible. The fragment no doubt belongs to the context of the pre-existent pagan sanctuary and has nothing to do with the apostle Paul. A more reliable but much later document, dating to the fourth century at earliest, may perhaps concern St Paul. It is a block of sandstone, found by Mitford, which was used as step in the monastery of St Barnabas near Salamis, with the name of Paul in genitive preceded by a cross and followed by a palm frond (+ Παύλου [palma], fig. 9.3).17 On the basis of the lintel-shape of the monument and of the very large size of the inscribed letters (8–11 cm), the inscription might indicate the existence of a nearby chapel or cult place dedicated to the saint. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that it was simply a gravestone of a Christian called Paulus.18 3

The Main Epigraphic Categories

In Cyprus we find the common epigraphic genres of the early Christian period: funerary, votive, honorific, and building inscriptions, as well as biblical or gospel quotations, acclamations, invocations, and prayers carved on stone or on amulets.19 I will here focus on some significant or newly discovered 17  Byzantion 20 (1950), 105–107 no. 1 with fig. 1; I.Salamine 201. Cf. Efthymiadis, ‘Cult of Saints’, 106–107. 18  As Stephen Mitchell observes. 19  The most significant examples are collected in Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’.

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


Figure 9.3 Squeeze of block bearing the name of Paul, Monastery of Saint Barnabas reproduced from t.b. mitford, byzantion 20 (1950), 106 fig. 1

documents, that highlight characteristics and peculiarities of the Christian epigraphic habits in Cyprus. As previously Mitford and Nicolaou, and Doria Nicolaou have pointed out, the earliest Christian inscriptions of Cyprus that have been found up to now are funerary inscriptions, which already appear as early as the second and third centuries. Yet, they are hardly distinguishable, since they mostly, like pagan funerary inscriptions, take the form of cippi and the funerary formula is dull and uniform, comprising the name of the deceased and the address χρηστὲ/-ὴ χαῖρε.20 These inscriptions have been defined as ‘crypto-Christian’, because the letter chi (Χ) takes a cross shape,21 or because the engraver is supposed to have intentionally carved χριστέ with iota instead of χρηστέ with eta.22 However, neither the letter chi in cross shape, nor the form χριστέ, which may be simply an itacistic form of χρηστέ, prove that the deceased was Christian. Other funerary inscriptions beside the name of the deceased use ambiguous words of consolation, including numerous occurrences of εὐψύχει and several of ἄλυπε, εὐθύμει, θάρσει, οὐδεὶς ἀθάνατος, which occur in both pagan and Christian funerary epigraphy and do not allow any conclusion about the faith of the deceased. The only inscription that is certainly identifiable as 20  In Greece funerary inscriptions dated between the fourth and sixth centuries are usually easily identifiable as Christian, because of the definition of the grave by the terms κοι­ μητήριον, θήκη, μνημόριον, τόπος, οἶκος, or οἰκητήριον, or because of the mention of the clerical profession of the deceased (frequent in Attica), or other attributes such as ἀνα­ γνώστης (lector), δοῦλος, ταπεινός, or the verb ἀνεπαύσατο, see e.g. ig ii/iii² 5 (Attica); ig iv 3 (Corinth); Bandy, Greek Inscriptions (Crete). 21  It is the case, for instance, of the following cippi published in rdac 1980, 262–263 no. 3 with pl. xxxix (Διόσκορος Μηνοδότου χρηστ̣ὲ̣� [χαῖρε]); rdac 1963, 41 no. 2 (Θεοδώ�̣ ρα χρη­ στὴ χαῖρε); rdac 1998, 163 no. 5 with pl. xvii (Τιμόδωρε χρεστὲ χε͂ρε); and I.Kourion 150 (Μητρόδωρε Μήτρωνος χρησ{σ}τ χαῖρε); for more details see Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επι­ γραφική’, 247. 22  Cf. Mitford, ‘Cults’, 2208 n. 167: Εὐφρόειτος χριστὸς χε͂ρε.



Christian, and which has been dated to the early third century, is on a cippus kept in the museum of Larnaka which reads Δημητριοῦ χρηστὰ χαῖρε, the chi being engraved twice in shape of a staurogram (fig. 9.4).23 The only funerary inscriptions containing more words are, to the present day, four monuments for clergymen, diakonoi and presbyteroi, dated to the fourth, fifth or sixth century, that offer brief information about the ecclesiastical career of the deceased, and included a word denoting the grave (σορός, μάκρα, ‘sarcophagus’).24 In one case an invocation to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is added for protecting the grave against desecrators with a reference to punishment in the Judgement to come.25 Surprisingly, funerary texts are the least represented category in the Christian epigraphy of Cyprus, currently amounting to about twenty inscriptions. More funerary cippi may be identifiable as Christian as the island’s epigraphy is further investigated. As elsewhere, Christian individuals and communities become epigraph­ ically more visible in Cyprus in the fifth and sixth centuries. The large cate­ gory of building inscriptions mainly dates to the sixth century, when the island enjoyed a high point of monumentality and building activity, evident in a landscape studded with over seventy churches, according to the latest archaeo­ logical evidence.26 Building inscriptions commemorate the funding by private benefactors of furniture, mosaics, parts of or entire buildings, cultic or secular. This genre often incorporates dedicatory and honorific inscriptions, which are otherwise rare in Cyprus. Apart from a few anonymous exceptions, it was mostly bishops and clergymen, ranking high in the hierarchy, who immortalized their names, quite frequently accompanied by the title κτίστης or φιλοκτίστης (‘founder’, ‘fond of building’), on dedications, simultaneously honouring themselves and dedicating their gift to God and/or to one of his

23  Inv. μλα 1331, found in the town of Kofinou; see rdac 1987, 177 no. 1 with pl. lv; Oziol, ‘Inscriptions grecques’, 294 no. 2138 with pl. 35. The chronology is fixed on the basis of the palaeography. Feminine nouns ending in -οῦς (corresponding to older nouns ending in -ώ) occur in late antique Cyprus as elsewhere, cf. Schulze, Kleine Schriften, 308–310. 24  For this terminology, frequent in Asia Minor, a fundamental study is still Kubińska, Les monuments funéraires. 25  For those inscriptions see Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’, 248–249; for the last inscription Mitford, Byzantion 20 (1950), 165–167; J. and L. Robert, be 1951, 205–209 no. 236a; similar evidence of funerary imprecations in Breytenbach and Zimmermann, Lycaonia, 525–533. 26  Cf. Horster and Nicolaou, ‘Introduction’, 11. Rapp, ‘Christianity in Cyprus’, 31, notes that the island had the remarkably high number of fifteen bishops around the year 400. The prosperity of sixth- and seventh-century Cyprus is treated by Metcalf, Byzantine Cyprus, 51–60.

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus

Figure 9.4 Funerary cippus with staurograms, Archaeological Museum of Larnaka (inv. μλα 1331) photo t. galanopoulos, with kind permission of the cyprus department of antiquities




saints.27 In a manner not much different from Roman imperial times, the attribute κτίστης occurs in the early Christian ages as a synonym for a benefactor of a public building (εὐεργέτης), while the compound φιλοκτίστης appears first in late antiquity, mainly in the eastern Roman Empire.28 The epigraphic evidence from Cyprus offers many new occurrences of the term, which have been generally overlooked until now. These texts show that φιλοκτίστης, like the imperial attributes φιλόκαισαρ and φιλοσέβαστος, had become in the fifth/sixth century a honorific epithet, attributed to exceptionally generous public benefactors, and the term was frequently associated with members of the clergy. Κτίστης/φιλοκτίστης was often combined with the verbs ἀνενέωσε (‘restored’), ἀνήγειρεν, ἐξήγειρε, and ἤγιρεν (‘raised’, ‘raised up’), relating to building, and the objects τὴν πόλιν or τὴν Κύπρον (‘the city’, ‘Cyprus’). One of the most significant building inscriptions is an awkwardly composed iambic metric text set in a mosaic which was inserted in the floor of the Agios Spyridon Basilica in Trimithus, and commissioned by a bishop Sp(h)yridon (fig. 9.5).29 The mosaic has been dated by the first editor to the late fourth century basing on the identification of Sp(h)yridon with the famous fourth-century bishop St Spyridon, who participated in the First Council of Nicaea (325), but he may more probably have been a homonymous bishop.30 The exegesis of this text is much discussed. We give here our interpretation. ψηφίδι γραπτῇ ποικίλῃ ται τὴν χρόαν τόπον κοσμῆσαι ἁγίων ἐπισκόπων Καρταιρίου χερσὶν προσέταξεν ἀγαθε͂ς μνήμης Σφυρίδων μεταίχων ἁγίας ἴσος ὁμοίῳ δυνάμι πνευματικῇ. +31 27  On the power of the clergymen, who replace the nobles in power and sponsoring see Kantirea, ‘Gouverneurs’, 120–121. 28  Evidence is collected and discussed by Begass, ‘Φιλοκτίστης’, who does not, however, include Cyprus in this survey. 29  Papageorghiou, ‘῎Ερευνα εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Ἁγίου Σπυρίδωνος’, 24–25 with fig. viii.1–2; Pallas, Les monuments paléochrétiens, 287–288; Nicolaou, Cypriot Inscribed Stones, 35–36 no. 47 with pl. xlvii; Pelekanidis and Atzaka, Σύνταγμα, 142–143 no. 135 with pl. 125–126; Micha­ elides, Cypriot Mosaics, 72 with fig. 38; O. Masson, be 1994, 588–589 no. 614; id., ‘Kypriaka’, 411–413 with fig. 3; Nicolaou, ‘Transition’, 13–17 with pl. 1.1; Musso, ‘Northern Face of Cyprus’, 86–87 with fig. 12. 30  The first editor and others identified the Spyridon commissioner of the mosaic with the saint. Contra Pallas and D. Feissel, be 1996, 676 no. 618; Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’, 260–261. See also Efthymiadis, ‘Cult of Saints’, 108–110 with fig. 4; Deligiannakis, ‘From Aphrodite(s) to Saintly Bishops’, 344–345. For the help with the interpretation of the text I am thankful to Klaus Hallof and Stephen Mitchell. 31  Understand τε instead of ται (l. 1), ἀγαθαῖς (l. 3), and μετέχων (l. 4).

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


Figure 9.5 Floor mosaic commissioned by a bishop Spyridon, Agios Spyridon Basilica, Trimithus reproduced from d. michaelides, cypriot mosaics, 72 fig. 38

Sp(h)yridon, sharing saintly memory, equal to his peer in spiritual power, instructed the virtuous hands of (mosaicist) Karterios, to adorn this place of the holy bishops with an inscribed and multicoloured mosaic. With the words ἁγίων ἐπισκόπων, ‘saintly bishops’, dedicatees of the church, the mosaic provides early evidence for the Cypriot cult of the local bishops.32 The Cypriot ‘patriotic’ peculiarity of venerating local bishops, such as Spyridon, patron of the church, Barnabas or the strenuous fourth-century defender of orthodoxy Epiphanius,33 was one of the many arguments used by the Cypriot church from the fifth century, to support its claim to autocephaly. The Cypriot church was thus the first in the orbis Christianus to achieve independence from the see of Antioch at the Council of Ephesus (431), and maintained this status through the promotion of local cults, hagiographies and the discovery of holy relics.34 The hagiographer Theodore of Paphus narrates that the Cypriot 32  Stephen Mitchell remarks the possibility that the term ἅγιος could just mean ‘holy’ or ‘saintly’ without any necessary connotation of a cult. 33  On the famous bishop of Constantia see Rapp, ‘Vita of Epiphanius’; ead., ‘Epiphanius of Salamis’; Kim, Epiphanius of Cyprus. 34  Such as the discovery of the reliquiae of the apostle Barnabas in the late fifth century by Bishop Anthemios, that proved to Antioch the apostolic origin of the Cypriot church, see Rapp, ‘Christianity in Cyprus’, 33; Huffman ‘Donation of Zeno’. On the Acta Barnabae see n. 7 above. For the early history of the Cypriot church see Jones, Later Roman Empire,



bishops gathered in the church of Agios Spyridon in December 655 to celebrate the feast day of St Spyridon and to hear him reading his Life of Spyridon.35 Whether or not the mosaic pretends to be more ancient than it is, it would be preferable to date the inscription at the earliest to the fifth rather than to the fourth century.36 There are other important building inscriptions. In the sixth century a Ni­ kodemos, who used the humble self-description δοῦλος and was possibly the local bishop, sponsored an hagiasma (holy well) in Salamis/Constantia,37 which was decorated with several painted inscriptions comprising invocations to God, Christ the Saviour, the emperor Constantine, the Holy Cross, the most celebrated bishop-saints Barnabas and Epiphanius, and passages from Ps 28:3 and from the 4 Kgdms 2:21–22 concerning water.38 The inscriptions on the hagiasma identify the most prominent religious figures in the eyes of Nikodemos and his Cypriot contemporaries: God and Christ the Saviour are followed by the patron saints of Salamis/Constantia, Barnabas and Epipha­ nius. The puzzling mention of Emperor Constantine seems best explained if we follow Georgios Deligiannakis’s recent proposal that Constantine and not

1.376–377; 2.873; von Falkenhausen, ‘Bishops and Monks’; Kantirea, ‘Gouverneurs’, 123– 124; Rapp, ‘Christianity in Cyprus’; Deligiannakis, ‘From Aphrodite(s) to Saintly Bishops’, 344–345. The crucial role of Cyprus and its church in the eastern Mediterranean has been highlighted by Bowersock, Late Antique Cyprus. 35  The third Life of Spyridon written in the seventh century and the only preserved is edited by Van den Ven, La légende de S. Spyridon. Cf. Delehaye, ‘Saints de Chypre’, 239–241; Rapp, ‘Cypriot Hagiography’, 405–407. 36  As already seen by Pallas, Les monuments paléochrétiens, 288. 37  I.Salamine 238; Sacopoulo, ‘La fresque chrétienne’. Cf. Rapp ‘Epiphanius of Salamis’, 177; Whitehouse, ‘Painted Water-Cistern’; Felle, Biblia Epigraphica, 102–103 nos. 140–142 and 576 no. A914; Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’, 253–254 with fig. 11–13; Efthymiadis, ‘Cult of Saints’, 107–108; Deligiannakis, ‘From Aphrodite(s) to Saintly Bishops’, 342–343 with fig. 14.5. 38  A. Χ(ριστ)ὲ φύλαξον ἡμᾶς – – – + ϵ I I[– – – – ἀ]μήν. Ὑ(ι)ὲ τ(οῦ) θ(εοῦ). Ὁ θ(εὸ)ς μεθ’ [ἡμ]ῶ[ν ἔστω] (‘Christ, protect us … amen. God’s son, God be with us’); B. Χ(ριστ)ὲ ὁ θ(εὸ)ς ὁ σωτὴρ σκέπασον κὲ διατήρησον τὸν δοῦλό(ν) σ(ου) Νικόδημον κ(ὲ) π[ά]ντας τοὺς ὑπὸ τὴ[ν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ]. + (‘Christ, God Soter, protect and preserve your servant Nikodemos and all those who are under his authority’); C. + φωνὴ κυρίου ἐπὶ το͂ν ὑδάτον | Βαρνάβας ὁ ἀπόστολος στίρηγμα ἡμο͂ν (‘Voice of God upon the waters. Apostle Barnabas is our protector’); D. + κύριος ἐπὶ ὑδάτ̣[ον] πολλο͂ν | Ἐπιφάνιος ὁ μέγας [ἔπ]α̣ρχ̣ ος ἡμο͂ν (‘The Lord upon the many waters. Epiphanius the great is our governor’); E. + β(οήθησ)ον ὀ�͂ Κοσταν + τῖνε κ(ὲ) τὸ σίγνο(ν) σο(υ) + (‘Constantinus, help us, you and your signum [cross]’); F. + Ἐλησεοῦ φωνή· τάδε λέγι κ(ύριο)ς· + ἤαμε τὰ ὕδατα ταῦτα + + (‘Voice of Elisha: the Lord said these words: I purify these waters’). Understand τῶν ὑδάτων, ἡμῶν and πολλῶν.

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


Constantius ii re-founded Salamis as the province’s new capital with the name of Constantia.39 Still concerning Salamis/Constantia: eight inscriptions from the reign of the emperor Heraclius in the first half of the seventh century, including one recently identified in a manuscript of Cyriacus of Ancona, commemorate the building of at least twenty-eight new arches of the aqueduct bringing water from Chytri to Salamis/Constantia, under the supervision of the two consecutive archbishops of Constantia, Plutarchus and the well-known Arcadius (625–642).40 Since the texts contain similar wording, I give here only one example: + ἐγένετο τὸ | ἔργων ἐκ τού|τω ἐπὶ Πλου|τάρχου τῶ σο||φωτάτου [ἀ]ρχι|επισκόπου + (‘from here the work has been made under the very wise archbishop Plutarchus’).41 On the basis of the documentation, Jean-Pierre Sodini has argued that the aqueduct was first built in the seventh century. Its construction and enlargement testify to the remarkable flourishing of the Cypriot capital and of the island in the period before the imminent Arabic raids, whose catastrophic effects can be seen in the following evidence. Further building evidence from the seventh century has recently become better understood. In 2013, Denis Feissel was able to identify the bishop Ioan­nes iii of Soli as one of the greatest benefactors of the seventh century, having assembled a dossier of both old and new evidence mentioning his name in several churches including an inscription which attests the restoration of a hostel in Soli.42 According to another inscription Bishop Ioannes was also probably responsible for the restoration of the Basilica of Soli after Arabic raids in the two consecutive years 649 and 650. This last document, dated to ad 654– 655, provides us with otherwise unknown historical information, for example that ‘at the time of the seventh indiction, the year 365 of Emperor Diocletian (ad 649), the raid against the island, provoked by our sins, occurred: many (Cypriots) perished and some 120,000 of them were deported as prisoners. In the following year the island suffered an even worse attack than the first time, in which many more than before died by the sword and 50,000 were taken away as prisoners’.43 39  Deligiannakis, ‘From Aphrodite(s) to Saintly Bishops’, 343 n. 54; id., ‘Imperial and Eccle­ siastical Patrons’. 40  Mitford, Byzantion 20 (1950), 116–121; I.Salamine 219–226; Sodini, ‘Kythrea’. Cf. D. Feissel, be 2000, 610 no. 869. 41  I.Salamine 222 (understand ἔργον, τούτου, and τοῦ in ll. 2, 2–3, and 4). 42  Feissel, ‘Jean de Soloi’; id., be 2014, 598 no. 584. 43  First published by Tran Tam Tinh, ‘Deux inscriptions’, with corrections by D. Feissel, be 1987, 380–381 no. 532.7–16: Ἐν χρόνοις τοίνυν ἰνδ(ικτίωνος) ζʹ τοῦ τξεʹ Διοκλητιανοῦ ἔτους (i.e. ad 649) γέγονεν ἡ ἐξ ἡμετέρων ἁμαρτιῶν κατὰ τῆς νήσου ἐπέλευσις κ(αὶ) ἀναιροῦνται



Concerning secular buildings, it is remarkable that after the destructive earthquakes of the mid-fourth century, which offered the opportunity for massive changes to the religious and civic landscapes, the gymnasium of Salamis was repaired, as many inscriptions attest, and was still in use in the fifth and sixth centuries with some Christian alterations, such as the addition of crosses, acclamations, and the removal of the pudenda of the naked sculptures.44 A column from the gymnasium has an acclamation of Bishop Epiphanius (+ Ἐπιφανίου + ἐπισκό[που – ? –]),45 who was known to be critical of lascivious behaviour in the gymnasium,46 carved on its plinth. A fifth/sixth-century building inscription from the sudatorium, perhaps as acclamation, mentioned unidentified emperors (ἀγαθοὶ βασιλεῖς) and a certain Eustorgios, who is said to have renovated the city alone or in cooperation with the emperors (fig. 9.6).47 The name of the great benefactor Eustorgios was revealed a few years ago by three other fifth/sixth-century acclamatory inscriptions. They were carved on reused material, uncovered by the Australian excavations,48 two found in the orchestra of the Paphus theatre and located in a way to create a sort of access gate to a little platform, that could have had the function of a podium (fig. 9.7),49 the third nearby in the Chrysopolitissa Basilica, which was built in the late fourth or early fifth century with material from the ancient theatre (fig. 9.8). The first inscription was engraved on a granite column: Εὐστόργις τὴν Κύπρον ἤγιρεν (‘Eustorgios raised Cyprus’). The second, containing the φιλοκτίστης μὲν πολλοί, ἀπάγονται δὲ αἰχμάλωτοι χιλιάδες ὡσεὶ ἑκατὸν κ(αὶ) εἴκοσι. Πάλιν δὲ τῷ ἐπελθόντι χρόνῳ ἑτέραν ὑπέμεινεν ἐλεεινοτέραν ἡ νῆσος [ἔ]φοδον, καθ᾿ ἣν πίπτουσι μὲν μαχαίρᾳ [π]λείους ἢ τὸ πρότερον, ἤρθησαν δὲ [αἰχμάλωτοι χιλιά]δες ὡσεὶ πεντήκον[τα – –] (‘Ainsi donc, au temps de la septième indiction, l’an 365 de Dioclétien, eut lieu l’attaque contre l’île provoquée par nos péchés: beaucoup périssent et quelque 120,000 prisonniers sont déportés. À nouveau l’année suivante l’île subit une autre agression plus lamentable encore, au cours de laquelle tombe sous le glaive un plus grand nombre que la première fois et quelque 50,000 prisonniers furent enlevés …’, trans. Feissel). 44  Deligiannakis, ‘From Aphrodite(s) to Saintly Bishops’, 338. 45  I.Salamis 55 with pl. ix.6; I.Salamine 233. 46  Cf. Epiph. haer. 30.7 (gcs 25.341–343). 47  I.Salamis 43 with pl. x.3; I.Salamine 208 with pl. 18 (cf. D. Feissel, be 1989, 508 no. 1013; Cayla, I.Paphos, p. 351): (vacat) Ἀγαθοὶ βασιλε[ῖς ̣ – ? –] | (vacat) Εὐστόργις (vacat) | [τὴ]ν πόλιν ἀνεν[έωσε vel -έωσαν] (Mitford and Nicolaou; Mitchell read ἀνενέωσαν or ἀνενεώσαντο in l. 3; Green and Handley; Cayla ἀνεν[έου]). The ‘good kings’ (l. 1) are tentatively identified by the first editors as Emperors Justinian and Theodora (542/543). The terminology without article could point rather to a vocative than to a nominative. 48  Green and Handley, ‘Eustorgis in Paphos’; I.Paphos 278–280 with fig. 262–265. 49  As Cayla, I.Paphos, p. 351, rightly pointed out: ‘les colonnes formaient une sorte de portail pour accéder à la plate-forme [de 3,75 × 2,5 m] … une tribune de fortune, un βῆμα pour des orateurs ou une estrade judicieusement placée dans l’arc de cercle de l’ancienne cavea.’

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


Figure 9.6 Inscription from the gymnasium of Salamis mentioning the basileis and Eustorgios reproduced from t.b. mitford and i.k. nicolaou, i.salamis 43, pl. x.3

formula, on a limestone basis reads Εὐστόργι φιλοκτίστα (‘Eustorgios, fond of building!’). The third on a marble column, reading Εὐστόργις μηδέποτε δίψῃ (‘may Eustorgios never thirst’), expressed a Christian wish for the benefactor’s health and life.50 The editors of the Paphus theatre publication assumed that Eustorgios was a benefactor of the quarrymen, the workers who were gradually removing building material from the theatre ruins, a process which would have 50  On the photo of the last text, it could also be read Εὐστόργιε (vocative). Only autopsy will allow us to check this possibility. The verb διψάω recalls the passage of Ps 41:3 in a mosaic of the same church: ‘As the heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, God’ (Michaelides, Cypriot Mosaics, 68–70; I.Paphos 274).



Figure 9.7 Reused statue-base and column (right) bearing acclamations for Eustorgios in the Paphus theatre reproduced from j.r. green and e.w. handley, ‘eustorgis in paphos’, 202 fig. 4

Figure 9.8 Reused column with acclamation for Eustorgios in the Chrysopolitissa Basilica, Paphus photo t. galanopoulos, with kind permission of the cyprus department of antiquities

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


occurred during the fifth and sixth centuries. This seems to me, however, too trivial task for a great benefactor, who was honoured for raising Cyprus. There is one more mention of Eustorgios, on a reused cylindrical basis, also dated to the fifth or sixth century, and located in the orchestra of the Salamis/ Constantia theatre: [κ]ὲ τοῦτο τὸ ἔργον Εὐστοργίου [τοῦ] | [ἁ]γνοῦ κόμητος καὶ ἀπὸ βικαρίας.51 An official named Eustorgios, ‘pious comes from the vicariate’, seems to be the same individual.52 Based on this last honorific building inscription, located like the two inscriptions in the Paphus theatre in the most visible area of the theatre, I would conclude that the φιλοκτίστης Eustorgios, among many other works, sponsored works in the theatre buildings of the two main cities, Salamis and Paphus. The location of these monuments furthermore demonstrates that both theatres still received an audience and had a public function. There is no particular difficulty in accepting this interpretation: archaeological, epigraphic and literary sources attest that, despite Christian condemnation, theatres continued to be used and constructed for stage performances,53 for civic purposes or for celebrations such as imperial birthdays.54 Finally, the mention of comes Eustorgios in the second rank after the basileis as the restorer or rebuilder of Cyprus, makes us quite confident that he was not just a prominent local leader, but rather the highest officer of the island, the provincial governor, or even the Comes Orientis.55 Some of the most famous Christian mosaics must be mentioned among the building inscriptions.56 Both the iconography and the epigraphy of five mosaics in the so-called civic complex of Eustolios, dated possibly to the beginning of the fifth century ad, testify to the preservation of mythological elements and

51  I.Salamis 132 with pl. xviii.5; I.Salamine 207; D. Feissel, be 1989, 508 no. 1013. Cf. plre 2.xxxviii (Eustorgius); on the administration cf. n. 55 below. 52  Pace Green and Handley, ‘Eustorgis in Paphos’, who exclude the identification of the two Eustorgioi. See also Cayla, I.Paphos, p. 351. 53  For example at Gerasa and Edessa around ad 500, at Aphrodisias and at Gaza under Emperor Justinian, at Thessalonica even later, cf. Barnes, ‘Christians and the Theater’. 54  Kantirea, ‘Imperial Birthday Rituals’, esp. 49 with n. 41. 55  The changes to the Cypriot administrative structure in the fifth and sixth centuries are not easy to follow. Since Diocletian’s reforms in ad 293, Cyprus was part of the Diocesis Orientis. A praeses and successively a consularis governed the island, who was directly subordinated to the Comes Orientis based in Antioch. The situation changed under Jus­ tinian, who created a new office, the quaestor exercitus, to take charge of the provinces of Scythia Minor, Moesia Secunda, the Aegean islands, Caria and Cyprus, see Jones, Later Roman Empire, 1.482–483; Chrysos, ‘Cyprus’; Kantirea, ‘Gouverneurs’. Cayla, I.Paphos, p. 351, does not exclude the identification of Eustorgios with the Comes Orientis. 56  Mosaics are frequent in Christian Cyprus, see Michaelides, Cypriot Mosaics; id., ‘Mosaic Decoration’; Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’, 250–252; Musso, ‘Northern Face of Cyprus’, 85–93.



Figure 9.9 Floor mosaic mentioning Eustolios in the so-called complex of Eustolios, Curium photo t. galanopoulos, with kind permission of the cyprus department of antiquities

continuity with the city’s past history.57 In a highly fragmentary epigram, the prominent Christian Eustolios seems to compare himself to Apollo, pagan patron of Curium, presenting himself as the successor of Phoebus in the protection of the city (fig. 9.9).58 A rare personification of κτισισ, the force of foundation and building, portrayed as dark-haired woman holding a metal rod, occupies the central spot in the frigidarium (fig. 9.10).59 No doubt Eustolios can be classified as another κτίστης/φιλοκτίστης. Concerning the other categories of inscriptions, unlike in Greece, but similarly to the practice in neighbouring Syria,60 the custom of engraving or painting quotations from the Psalms in public and private contexts on mosaics, walls, altars, in graves or amulets, appears to have been very common all over the island, with a preference for themes related to water. Some of these can be mentioned here.61 There are at least four occurrences of the passage from Ps 28:3, φωνὴ κυρίου ἐπὶ τῶν ὑδάτων (‘voice of the Lord upon the waters’). On amulets it follows the beginning of Ps 90, and in one case it was painted in its 57  I.Kourion 201–206; Michaelides, Cypriot Mosaics, 81–87. 58  I .Kourion 204 with photo; Peek, ‘Mosaik-Inschrift’; Nicolaou, ‘Transition’, 13–17 with photo; Pelekanidis and Atzaka, Σύνταγμα, 143–144 no. 136 with pl. 128. Cf. Boskos, Αρχαία Κυπριακή Γραμματεία, 2.126–127 (E52) with photo; Deligiannakis, ‘Last Pagans’, 23–25. The restorations of the text are much discussed. We give here the text proposed by Peek: [Κουριέας] τ̣ὸ πάρ[οιθε ἐν ὄλβῳ] παντὶ πέλοντας | [νῦν ἐν δίῃ ἰδ]ὼν ἐκ ποδὸς Εὐστόλιος | [οὐ πατρίης χώ]ρης ἐπελήσατο, ἀλλ’ ἄρα καὶ τῆς | [ἐμνήσθη φιλί]ως λουτρὰ χαρισσάμενος· || [ἦ ῥ᾽ αὐτὸς δὴ] δί�ζ̣ ε̣ το Κούριον, ὥς ποτε Φοῖβος, | [γαίην δὲ β]ρ̣υχ̣[ί]ην̣ θῆκεν ὑπηνεμίην (‘Eustolios, having seen that the citizens of Curium, who were once considerably wealthy, suffered now in abject misery, did not forget his homeland, but remembered it with love, presenting the baths to the city. He indeed took care of Curium, as Apollo in the past did, by restoring calm in the earthquake-struck land’). 59  I.Kourion 205. 60  Biblical quotations are mostly found in Anatolian and Syro-Palestinian inscriptions, cf. Felle, Biblia Epigraphica, passim. 61  For a more detailed overview of these evidence see Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’, 255–259.

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus

Figure 9.10


Floor mosaic representing Ktisis in the so-called complex of Eustolios, Curium photo t. galanopoulos, with kind permission of the cyprus department of antiquities



entirety probably on the wall of an important cultic building.62 The first verse or the first words of Ps 90, ὁ κατοικῶν ἐν βοηθείᾳ τοῦ ὑψίστου ἐν σκέπῃ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ αὐλισθήσεται (‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty’), were often inscribed in Syria for apotropaic purposes on private houses, tombs and bracelets. Psalm 117:20 was inscribed on a mosaic covering tombs: Αὐτὴ ἡ πύλη τοῦ κυρίου, δίκεοι εἰσελεύσοντε ἐν αὐτῇ, (‘This is the gate of the Lord of which the righteous shall enter’).63 Psalm 24:18 is attested on a white marble plaque: κ(ύρι)ε, εἰδὲ τὴν ταπίν[ωσίν] μου κὲ τὸν κόπο[ν μου] καὶ ἄφες πάσας [τὰς] ἁ�̣[μαρ]τίας μ[ου] (‘God, see my affliction and my trouble, forgive all my sins’).64 The single known epigraphical attestation of Ps 34:4 was inscribed on a sarcophagus lid to protect the tomb against violation, continuing a pagan habit: ἀποστραφήτωσαν ἰς τὰ ὠπίσο κὴ κατεσχυθήτοσαν οἱ λωγιζόμενοί μοι κ̣ ακά (‘Let them be turned back and confounded who devise evil against me’).65 Among the other categories of inscriptions, acclamations to saints or benefactors (as discussed above), Christian victory acclamations (Χριστὸς νίκᾷ), invocations and personal pleas, such as ἐλέησον τοῦ σοῦ δούλου; μνήσθητι, κύριε; or βοήθει τῷ δούλῳ σου (‘God, have mercy on your servant’; ‘Lord, remember me’; ‘help your servant’), blessings and prayers are very common in Cyprus, as elsewhere. Some of these were inscribed on amulets, rings, bracelets and have been defined as ‘portable epigraphy’. Two examples have recently become better understood thanks to a fascinating study, entitled ‘Lucky Wearers’, republished with updated evidence in 2015. Annewies van den Hoek, Denis Feissel and John Herrmann Jr established the Cypriot provenance of an extraordinary golden ring in octagonal shape kept in the Boston Museum.66 Dated to the third or fourth century, the ring bears the inscription ἐπ’ ἀγαθῷ τῇ φορούσῃ (‘Good luck to the woman who wears [it]’). Their investigation has drawn attention to numerous parallels of similar rings with the analogous inscription ἐπ’ ἀγαθῷ, almost exclusively originating from 62  Feissel, ‘Notes’, 571–579; I.Salamine 235; Felle, Biblia Epigraphica, 105–106 no. 144. 63  Michaelides, ‘Ayioi Pente’; id., ‘Basilica at Agioi Pente’. Cf. D. Feissel, be 2008, 590 no. 92, and be 2009, 584 no. 649 (understand … δίκαιοι εἰσελεύσονται …). A floor mosaic with an inscription quoting this psalm has recently been excavated in the so-called Basilica B of Akrotiri-Katalymata ton Plakoton and published by Procopiou, ‘New Evidence’, 88–89 with fig. 12–13. 64  Byzantion 20 (1950), 160–161 no. 21 with fig. 21; Felle, Biblia Epigraphica, 106 no. 145. 65  Byzantion 20 (1950), 134–136 no. 9 with fig. 9; Kiourtzian, ‘Enépigraphos plinthos’, 396–397 no. 4 with photo; Felle, Biblia Epigraphica, 106 no. 145 (understand … εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω καὶ …). Cf. Arzt-Grabner, ‘Auswertung’, 34. 66  Van den Hoek, Feissel, and Herrmann Jr, ‘More Lucky Wearers’, 310–316.

The Christian Epigraphy of Cyprus


Cyprus. Some of them are so small that they seem to have been made for the upper joints of the fingers or children. Another fragmentary silver lamella, in the collection of the Cabinet de Médailles (Bibliothèque nationale de France), containing an invocation to Jesus Christ the Nazoraean, has been recognized by Roy Kotanski as a Christian liturgical exorcism of the fourth century and restored on the basis of parallels: ‘I adjure you, in the name of the Nazoraean, Jesus Christ, of his holy apostles and of his angels to come out of …’ ([ὀρκίζω σε ὀνόμα]|[τι τοῦ] Ναζωραίου | [τ]οῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ | [κ(αὶ) τῶ]ν ἁγίων ἀπ||[οστόλ]ων αὐτοῦ | [κ(αὶ) τῶν ἀγγ]ελλῶν | [αὐτοῦ ἐξελθεῖν …]).67 As Kotansky remarked, the formulaic text presents similarities with a passage of Epiphanius: ἐν ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου τοῦ σταυρωθέντος, ἔξελθε ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ τὸ δαίμονιον (haer. 30.10.4).68 Finally, as far as magic is concerned, a peculiar phenomenon has come to light in the city of Amathus: an impressive quantity of pagan curse tablets with a political content (reportedly over 200 according to David Jordan), dated to the third century, were discovered in a well in 1890. Only twenty-two of these, in the collection of the British Museum, have been published so far.69 Literary sources recount the resistance of the city Amathus to Christianity and the battles of its first bishop, St Tychon, in the late fourth century against the daimo­ nes located on the Acropolis of Amathus, the site of Aphrodite’s sanctuary. It is remarkable that the daimones are also invoked in the third-century curses from the city.70 Nevertheless, a recent publication in 2008 by Pierre Aupert of a new love-defixio,71 dated to the seventh century and also recovered from a well, proves the persistence of the use of curse tablets in Amathus in an established Christian period. The authors were probably not pagans, as the absence of any mention of demons or deities shows.

67  Kotansky, Greek Magical Amulets, 387–389 no. 68 with fig. 65. A further much later (early 8th cent.) Christian exorcistic text from Trikomos (Northern Cyprus), containing a dialogue between the archangel Michael and the daimon Abyzou, was published in 2004 by Giannobile, ‘Un dialogo’. 68   g cs 25.345.20–21. Examples of nominative instead of vocative also in similar contexts are collected by Blass and Debrunner, Grammatik, § 147. 69  Cf. Jordan, ‘Late Feasts’. A further Cypriot defixio was published by Giannobile, ‘Una nuo­ va defixio’. 70  The hagiographical dossier of Bishop Tychon is collected by Delehaye, ‘Saints de Chypre’, 229–232 and 244–245. Cf. Rapp, ‘Cypriot Hagiography’, 403–405. 71  Aupert, ‘Hélios’, 370–378 with fig. 21–28: Δαμ(ά)τρι φημο͂ τούτις ἡ ὄσχισι(ς) οηιν πονᾶ (‘Je lie Damatri par un sort en ces termes: que la copulation [ou les bourses], oiin, lui fasse[nt] mal’). In the same well an oinochoe with dedicatory inscription to Helios Adonis dated to the first century ad has been found.



4 Conclusions This general overview on Christian epigraphy of Cyprus provides a view of the work on the Cypriot ig corpus in its early stages. It is marked by the scarceness of funerary inscriptions, compared to the other epigraphic categories, and the early date of at least one epitaph. There are elements typical of epigraphic practice throughout the orbis Christianus orientis, such as the use of inscribing psalms, welcoming or protecting people in life and death, and the frequency of the honorific epithet φιλοκτίστης in honorific building inscriptions, as well as acclamations on both stone and mosaics. The large category of building inscriptions, frequently including a combination of dedicatory and honorific elements, as well as invocations and prayers, testifies to the considerable wealth of the island from the fifth to the mid-seventh centuries. The infrequent occurrence of anonymous Christian benefactors in Cyprus is remarkable. Many of the named donors were prominent ecclesiastical figures. We noticed, additionally, the persistence and preservation of pagan elements in iconography, in buildings or in beliefs until the sixth and seventh centuries, for example in the gymnasium of Salamis, in the complex of Eustolios in Curium, and in habits and practices that involved magic. Our work is now advancing with the autopsy of every single testimonium and with a philological edition of the texts, several of which are not yet fully read nor properly understood.72 Bibliography Ameling, W., ‘Neues Testament und Epigraphik aus der Perspektive der epigraphi­ schen Forschung’, in T. Corsten, M. Öhler, and J. Verheyden (eds.), Epigraphik und Neues Testament, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 365 (Tübingen, 2016), 5–26. Arzt-Grabner, P., ‘Die Auswertung inschriftlicher Zeugnisse für die neutestamentliche Exegese: Erfahrungen, Chancen und Herausforderungen’, in T. Corsten, M. Öhler, and J. Verheyden (eds.), Epigraphik und Neues Testament, Wissenschaftliche Unter­ suchungen zum Neuen Testament 365 (Tübingen, 2016), 27–44. Aupert, P., ‘Hélios, Adonis et magie: Les trésors d’une citerne d’Amathonte (Inscriptions d’Amathonte VIII)’, bch 132 (2008), 347–387. Bandy, A.C., The Greek Inscriptions of Crete (Athens, 1970). 72  I express my warm thanks to Georgios Deligiannakis, Klaus Hallof, Matthäus Heil, Maria Kantirea, Artemis Karnava, Stephen Mitchell, Philipp Pilhofer, Franz Xaver Risch, Dietmar Wyrwa for helpful observations and stimulating discussions.

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Deligiannakis, G., ‘Imperial and Ecclesiastical Patrons of Fourth-Century Salamis/Con­ stantia’, in S. Rogge et al. (eds.), Salamis of Cyprus: History and Archaeology from the Earliest Times to the Late Antiquity, Schriften des Instituts für Interdiziplinäre Zypern-Studien (Münster, forthcoming). Efthymiadis, S., ‘The Cult of Saints in Early Byzantine Cyprus as Mirrored in Church Building and Epigraphy’, in M. Horster, D. Nicolaou, and S. Rogge (eds.), Church Building in Cyprus (Fourth to Seventh Centuries): A Mirror of Intercultural Contacts in the Eastern Mediterranean, Schriften des Instituts für Interdisziplinäre ZypernStudien 12 (Münster, 2018), 99–115. Falkenhausen, V. von, ‘Bishops and Monks in the Hagiography of Cyprus’, in N. Patterson Ševčenko and C.F. Moss (eds.), Medieval Cyprus: Studies in Art, Architecture, and History in Memory of Doula Mouriki (Princeton, 1999), 21–33. Feissel, D., ‘Notes d’épigraphie chrétienne vii’, bch 108 (1984), 545–579. Feissel, D., Chroniques d’épigraphie byzantine 1987–2004 (Paris, 2006), 169–173. Feissel, D., ‘Jean de Soloi: Un évêque chypriote au milieu du viie siècle’, in C. Zuckerman (ed.), Constructing the Seventh Century, Travaux et mémoires 17 (Paris, 2013), 219–236. Felle, A.E., Biblia Epigraphica: La Sacra Scrittura nella documentazione epigrafica dell’Orbis christianus antiquus, iii–viii secolo (Bari, 2006). Felle, A.E., ‘Judaism and Christianity in the Light of Epigraphic Evidence (3rd–7th cent. ce)’, Henoch 29 (2007), 354–377. Gabba, E., Iscrizioni greche e latine per lo studio della Bibbia (Turin, 1958). Giannobile, S., ‘Un dialogo tra l’arcangelo Michele e il demone Abyzou in un’iscrizione esorcistica cipriota’, Mediterraneo antico 7 (2004), 727–750. Giannobile, S., ‘Una nuova defixio da Cipro’, zpe 171 (2009), 129–130. Giudice, F., ‘Gli scavi della missione italiana a Nea Paphos 1988–2013: L’area dei Grandi Santuari (già detta “Garrison’s Camp”)’, in C. Balandier (ed.), Nea Paphos: Fonda­tion et développement urbanistique d’une ville chypriote de l’antiquité à nos jours (Bor­ deaux, 2016), 79–90. Green, J.R., and E.W. Handley, ‘Eustorgis in Paphos’, in A. Tamis, C.J. Mackie, and S.G. Byrne (eds.), Philathenaios: Studies in Honour of Michael J. Osborne (Athens, 2010), 197–211. Hoek, A. van den, D. Feissel, and J. Herrmann Jr, ‘More Lucky Wearers: The Magic of the Portable Inscriptions’, in D. Boschung and J.N. Bremmer (eds.), The Materiality of Magic, Morphomata 20 (Paderborn, 2015), 309–356. Horster, M., and D. Nicolaou, ‘Introduction’, in M. Horster, D. Nicolaou, and S. Rogge (eds.), Church Building in Cyprus (Fourth to Seventh Centuries): A Mirror of Inter­ cultural Contacts in the Eastern Mediterranean, Schriften des Instituts für Inter­ disziplinäre Zypern-Studien 12 (Münster, 2018), 9–19. Horster, M., D. Nicolaou, and S. Rogge (eds.), Church Building in Cyprus (Fourth to Seventh Centuries): A Mirror of Intercultural Contacts in the Eastern Mediterranean, Schriften des Instituts für Interdisziplinäre Zypern-Studien 12 (Münster, 2018).

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Mitford, Terence B., ‘Roman Cyprus’, Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2.7.2 (1980), 1285–1384. Mitford, Terence B., ‘The Cults of Roman Cyprus’, Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2.18.3 (1990), 2176–2211. Musso, L., ‘The Northern Face of Cyprus: The Mosaics in Their Relation to Eastern Mediterranean Production’, in L. Summerer and H. Kaba (eds.), The Northern Face of Cyprus: New Studies in Cypriot Archaeology and Art History (Istanbul, 2016), 81–115. Nicolaou, D., ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική κατά τον 4o–7o μ.Χ αιώνα’, in D. Michaelides (ed.), Epigraphy, Numismatics, Prosopography and History of Ancient Cyprus: Papers in Honour of Ino Nicolaou (Uppsala, 2013), 245–272. Nicolaou, I., Cypriot Inscribed Stones (Nicosia, 1971). Nicolaou, I., ‘The Transition from Paganism to Christianity as Revealed in the Mosaic Inscriptions of Cyprus’, in J. Herrin, M. Mullet, and C. Otten-Froux (eds.), Mosaic: Festschrift for A.H.S. Megaw, British School at Athens Studies 8 (London, 2001), 13–17. Norelli, E., ‘Actes de Barnabé’, in P. Geoltrain and J.D. Kaestli (eds.), Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, vol. 2 (Paris, 2005), 617–642. Öhler, M., Barnabas: Die historische Person und ihre Rezeption in der Apostelgeschichte, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 156 (Tübingen, 2003). Oziol, T., ‘Inscriptions grecques’, in M. Yon, Kition-Bamboula, vol. 5: Kition dans les textes (Paris, 2004). Pallas, D., Les monuments paléochrétiens en Grèce de 1959 à 1973 (Vatican City, 1977). Papageorghiou, A., ‘῎Ερευνα εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Ἁγίου Σπυρίδωνος ἐν Τρεμετουσιᾷ’, Κυπριακαὶ Σπουδαί 30 (1966), 17–33. Peek, W., ‘Metrische Mosaik-Inschrift aus Kurion’, zpe 23 (1976), 97–98. Pelekanidis, S., and P. Atzaka, Σύνταγμα των παλαιοχριστιανικών ψηφιδωτών δαπέδων της Ελλάδος: Νησιωτική Ελλάς (Thessaloniki, 1974). Procopiou, E., ‘New Evidence of the Early Byzantine Ecclesiastical Architecture of Cyprus’, in M. Horster, D. Nicolaou, and S. Rogge (eds.), Church Building in Cyprus (Fourth to Seventh Centuries): A Mirror of Intercultural Contacts in the Eastern Medi­ terranean, Schriften des Instituts für Interdisziplinäre Zypern-Studien 12 (Müns­ter, 2018), 73–98. Rapp, C., ‘The Vita of Epiphanius of Salamis: A Historical and Literary Study’, PhD thesis, University of Oxford, 1991. Rapp, C., ‘Epiphanius of Salamis: The Church Father as Saint’, in A.M. Bryer and G.S. Georghallides (eds.), ‘The Sweet Land of Cyprus’: Papers Given at the Twenty-Fifth Jubilee Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Birmingham, 1991 (Nicosia, 1993), 169–187. Rapp, C., ‘Christianity in Cyprus in the Fourth to Seventh Centuries: Chronological and Geographical Frameworks’, in C.A. Stewart, T.W. Davis, and A. Weyl Carr (eds.),

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Index of Sources Old Testament Gen 25:14 32 37:35 132 Exod 34:6 lxx 138 Num 16:30 132 Deut 2:23 28 4 Kgdms 2:21–22 236 1 Chr 1:30 32 Ps

Isa Jer

24:18 244 28:3 236, 242 34:4 244 41:3 239 54:16 132 90 242, 244 113:25 132 117:20 244 131:14 94 65:1 110 39:19 lxx 137

Amos 9:7


Other Early Jewish Literature Josephus A.J. 20–22 32

Philo Mut. 18


Wis 7:23 139 New Testament Matt 11:23 132 11:29 135 20:1ff. 134 21:5 135 Mark 4:36–40 parr.


Luke 10:15 132 18:7 138 John 10:16 140 Acts 13, 37 2:1–11 28 2:8–10 29 2:9 29 13:4–12 228 15:39 228 Rom 2:4 138 9:22 138 1 Cor 1:3 7:7

132 132

2 Cor 1:2 132 5:8 98 6:18 136


Index of Sources

Gal 5:22 138 5:23 135 6:1 135 Eph 1:2 4:2

132 135

Col 3:12

135, 138

1 Tim 1:2 6:11

132 135

2 Tim 132 1:6 2:25 135 Titus 3:2


1 Pet 13, 15 1:1 29 1:1–2 15 4:10 132 Rev 136 1:8 136 4:8 21:22 136 Other Early Christian Literature A. Barn.

228, 235

A. Paul. 2


Acta Iustini B 4.3 B 4.7

16 16

Acta S. Carteris Cappadociae 121 10

Ambrose of Milan ep. extra collectionem 9


Amph. or. 138 1.3 3.2 138 Seleuc. 126, 141, 144 33–63 141 326 138 Ps.-Amph. v. Bas. 17


Anth. Pal. (Gr. Naz.) 142 8 8.3 129–130 134 8.7 8.10 140 8.12 139 8.13 140 23, 140 8.15 8.17 139 8.18 140 8.19 140 8.21 140 8.29 138 8.50 140 8.57 140 8.77 139 8.81 139 8.83 139 8.84 139 8.93 139 8.94 139 8.95 140 8.98 139 8.102 139 8.104 141 8.109 141 8.124 140 8.125 139 8.128 141 8.140 139 8.143 140 8.149 129


Index of Sources 8.152 139 8.167 139 8.169 139 8.170 139 8.175 139 8.180 141 8.187 141 8.205 141 8.222 141 Apos. Con. 8.13.10 138 Arn. Adv. nat. 1.3.11 19 Ath. ep. mort. Ar.


Bas. ep. 73 49 49 63 70 22 22, 117 94 155 98 99.4 100 26 100 121 52 142 26 150.4 97 141 161 161.2 36 22, 73 164 26 176 141 188 188.1 100 141 190 190.1 8 191 141 199.28 33 199.47 100 199–202 141 200 26 217.56 23 217.75 23

217–218 141 225 103 231 103 231–233 141 237.2 103 238 103 239.1 103 240 103 243.2 26 248 141 252 26 307 52 Eun. 1.1.32 102 hex. 97 3.4 hom. 11.5 139 26 14.1 18 109–110 18.1 26, 112, 114 18.2 96, 110, 115 18.2–3 116 24, 31, 39, 96, 110, 18.3 115 112, 117 18.6 18.7 140 18.8 112 119 19 19.8 57 109 23 23.1 109, 111 23.2 26, 114 23.3 109, 116 hom. in divites 33 2 8 26 hom. in martyrem Iulittam 120 hom. in Ps. 14b.1 (pg 29) 265.35 141 leg. lib. gent. 141 4.6 28 reg. fus. 26 41 Spir. 100 74


Index of Sources

Clem. paed. 126 140 str. 139 140 1 Clem. 23:1 132 2 Clem. 140 14:1 14:3 140 Cod. Thds. 176 9.16.2 180 9.16.6 180 16.1.3 157 16.10 182 16.16.4 180 Concilia Ancyra (314) can. 18 150 Antioch (341) can. 22 149 Constantinople (381) 150, 156 can. 2 148, 155–159, 161 can. 3 can. 4 157 Laodicea can. 12 149–150 Nicaea (325) can. 4 158 can. 5 148 150, 156 can. 6 can. 7 156 Serdica (c.343) can. 3 153 can. 4 153 can. 5 153 Cypr. ep. 72 75

18 22

75.4 18 75.7.3 18 75.7.4–5 18 75.10.1 18 75.10.1–5 19 75.10.2 19 75.10.5 19 75.11 18 Cyr. ador. 3.93 37 fr. Jer. (pg 70) 1453 139 Ps. 32:1 140 Didym. Trin. 138 2.11 3.2.1 139 3.2.6 139 3.2.9 139 Digenes Akritas 8.203–205 93 Ephr. enc. bas. 55 421 422ff. 55 433 55 hom. in xl martyrum 240 55 Epiph. haer. 30.7 238 30.10.4 245 80.2.1–2 37 hom. 5 138 Eus. ep. Flacc. praef. 138 h.e. 3.1.2 15


Index of Sources


3.4.2 15 5.5.1–6 16 6.11 17 6.11.6 17 6.14.8–9 17 6.17 21, 30 6.20.1 17 6.27 21 6.46.3 21 6.46.5 17 7.5.1 21 7.5.4 21 7.27.2 21 7.28.1 21 7.30.3–5 21 7.30.4–5 21 8.1.7 72 8.2.4 67 8.2.5 67 52, 67 8.6.8 8.6.8–10 67 8.6.9 25 8.6.10 67 8.12.1 25 8.7–13 25 9.8.2 52 139 10.8.10–12 61 10.8.15 61

1.63 28 m.P. praef. 67 67 3.1 p.e. 7.12.6 139 11.14.10 139 v.C. 2.1–2 61 4.43.4 23 Firmilian, see Cypr. ep. 75 Gaudentius Sermo 17


George Cedrenus


Gr. Naz., see also Anth. Pal. above carm. de seipso 127 11.55 35 11.55–56 34 11.57–59 35 11.59 35 13.94 140 13.99 139 13.168 140 137, 141 17.17 127 39 39.35 144 39.37–46 144 44.297 138 45.297 141 50.41–42 97 50.59 140 87.8 139 carm. de virtute 141 1a 20.76 1b 6.12.52 141 carm. dogmatica 127 141 1.9 1.33 139 2.19 139 2.28 139 3.52 141 5.47 141 8.38 141 9.44 141 31.1 141 34.8 141 35.1 139 carm. moralia 127 1.26 139 1.121 141 1.198 140 1.237 139 1.447 141 1.455 141 1.493 137, 140 1.497 141 1.662 141 1.708 141 2.40 141 2.673 132

258 Gr. Naz (cont.) carm. quae spectant ad alios 127 1.55–64 97 1.190 139 3.4 139 3.258 138, 141 3.268 139 3.297 139 7.320 138 ep. 25 50 57.3 23 26 58 86 26 101 126 101.2 140 26 122 122.1 25 160–161 184 185 161 186 161 197 26 Liturgia sancti Gregorii (pg 36) 141 713 733 139 or. 2.117 140 28 4.5 4.24–25 26 4.24–26 112 140 9.5 18.5 34 18.12 23 18.38 35 18.39 78 41.17 28 43.56–57 103 43.58 25 43.62.4–5 97 43.63 117 43.63.6 99 43.80.3 31 109, 114 44.12 Gr. Nyss. bapt. diff. (pg 46) 416C 26

Index of Sources ep.

51 1 1.5–8 55 2.9 98 2.18 98 12.3 100 25 68, 78 Eun. 1.1.105 102 1.34 102 1.49 102 1.105 102 2.1.406 100 3.10.50 102 38.2 36 laud. Bas. 139 2 mart. 52 1 2 50, 55, 57 26 3 occurs. (pg 46) 1172 138 or. catech. 18.2–4 99 18.3 99 paup. 33 2 Pss. tit. 2.10 139 Thdr. (pg 46) 736.30 140 741.1–4 50 744.8–15 50 v. Ephr. (pg 46) 828 132 v. Gr. Thaum. (pg 46) 7, 52 905C 21 v. Macr. 33.4–5 26 Gr. Thaum. ep. can. (pg 10) 52 1022B–1024D 22


Index of Sources Hesych. H. m. Long. 20.17 30

Meth. symp.

Hier. vir. ill. 3.133 142 54 21 17 62

Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus Historia ecclesiastica 16.26 80

Jo. Mal. chron. 12.35 24 79 16 16.17 80 Lactant. De mort. pers. 10.1–5 72 67 13.1 Leo Diaconus Historia 1.1 3.1 3.11

93 92 92

Ps.-Linus Passio sancti Pauli apostoli 15 5 Marcellinus Comes Chronica ad ann. 515, 5


Mart. Pol. 6–8 64 Martyrium sanctorum xlv martyrum (pg 115) 53–54, 62, 71 62, 71 324 337–338 54 Martyrologium Hieronymianum 113 Menologium Syriacum



Notitiae episcopatuum


Odes Sol.


Or. comm. in Mt. 20 39 fr. in Mt. 18:21 140 Jo. 13.51.341 140 Orosius Historiae adversum paganos 7.19.1–2 19 Pall. h. Laus. 64.1–2 30 v. Chrys. 159 13–20 148 Passio Athenogenis 60, 62–68, 70–71, 74 62, 65 1 63 2 2–21 64 67–68 11 68 13 15 64 16 64 19 63 22 66 22–39 64 23 65 23–24 65


Index of Sources

Passio Athenogenis (cont.) 24 66 65–66 26 29 64 65 32 33 65 35 66–67 36 65–66 39 68 42 62

Passion of Gordius (Armenian) 74, 118–120 1 119 5–15 119 7 119 12 119 13–14 119 15 119 16 114, 119–120 Passion of Hesychius of Antioch 120

Passio Eustratii 54, 61–62, 68–74 2 51, 69 3 69 5 65, 70 6 70 7 54, 69 10 70 12 70 13 54, 69 14 71 18 71 20 71 21 71 28–30 72 32 72

Passion of Mamas (Greek) 22, 120–122 4–5 121 120 6 6–9 120 9 121 10–12 121 10 120 12 121 13–17 120 121 14 19–20 121 22 121 24 121

Passio S. Blasii et sociorum 61, 74

Passion of St Sabas


Passio S. Hieronis 78–85, 91, 93–94, 96 80–81 3 4 81 5 81 10 82 11 83 12 84 16 79

Passion of Zosimus

110, 165

Passio xl martyrum 23, 52, 54–55, 57, 60–63, 74, 119 13 57 Passion of Eupsychius


Philost. h.e. 2.5 22, 151 101 2.9 3.7–11 101 152 5.1 5.3 154 9.8 154 10.6 102–103 app. 7.31 152 Sib. Or. 128 1:152 139 5:352 139


Index of Sources 6:2 139 11:250 139 12:187–200 16 fr. 5.3 139 Socr. h.e. 1.36.2 102 2.38.3–4 151 2.38.29–32 152 2.41.23 151 2.42.3–4 152 4.4.2 153 4.6.4–8 154 4.7.10 154 4.12.3 153 4.12.8 153 4.12.10–20 153 5.8.14 156 5.8.15 160 5.10 158 5.10.8–10 158 Soz. h.e. 2.6 22 2.33.4 102 3.3.1 154 4.20.1–2 151 4.25.6 154 111, 122 5.2.12–14 26, 112 5.11.7–11 6.8.5–8 154 6.12.5 153 6.34.7–9 99 6.37.8 151 7.9.6 160 158 7.11 7.12.3–12 158 7.17.1 102 8.6.1–9 160 8.6.2–9 159 8.6.5 159 9.2 55 Synaxarium ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae 199–200 80 199–201 79

203–204 79 858.21–25 120 Tertullian Ad Scapulam 3.5 4.6 Apologeticus 5.6

13, 16 16 16 16

Testamentum xl martyrum 55–62, 73–74 56, 58, 60–61, 72 1 56, 58, 60 2 8, 56, 58, 60–61 3 56, 59–60 4 Thdt. haer. 100 4.3 h.e. 2.27 154 2.29 154 4.37.1–5 22 Ps. 63:14 139 65:9 139 67:19 139 Theodore of Paphus Life of Spyridon


Thphn. chron. 37.24 102 37.29 102 43.30–31 102 47.16–17 102 79 A.M. 6008 Tim. cp haer. (pg 86) 24C 101 Vita S. Eusebiae seu Xenae 212


Index of Sources

Other Graeco-Roman Literature Ael. Herodian De prosodia catholica 139 Partitiones 11.8 139 Amm. Marc. 29.1.36 135 Anth. Pal. (Antagoras) 7.103 138 Ap. Rhod. Argon. 1.22 139 1.1311 139 Ar. Thesm. 315


Arius Didymus Liber de philosophorum sectis (fpg 2) 89 135 Callim. Hymn 2


Cass. Dio 72.8–10 55 Corpus Hermeticum Ἐκ τοῦ ὕμνου πρὸς τὸν παντοκράτορα 140 3

1.16 129 1.375 129 2.867ff. 203 3.236 129 24.749 134 Od. 5.306 138 18.152 129 It. Ant. 176.3 51 176.8–178.5 51 178.6 51 180.7 51 203.9 51 204.6 51 204.7 51 205.6 51 206.8 51 206.8–207.9 51 207.1 51 207.10–208.5 70 208.5 59 212.5 51 213.6 51 214.1–10 51 214.6 51 215.12–216.3 70 Julian Εἰς τοὺς ἀπειδεύτους κύνας 20.9 135 ep. 9 78 Lucian Necyomantia 12 Somn. 9


Gal. De semine 1.15


Hes. Theog.


Manetho Apotelesmatica 2.295 139 2.332 139


Maximus of Tyre Dissertationes 2.8.24–25 115

Hom. Il.



Index of Sources Men. Rhet. 371


Not. Dign. [or.] 38.22 61 38.23 70 38.29 70 Oppian Cynegetica 2.372 139 Origo Constantini 6.30 157 Petron. Sat. 65.5 31 68.7–8 32 68.8 31 69.2 31 69.5 32 96.4 32 96.7 32 97.1 32 Pl. Ti.


Plin. hn 6.3 [8]


Plin. ep. 10.96.9 8 Procop. Aed. 1.7.3 55 3.4.16–20 51 4.19–20 80

sha Marc. Aur. 24


Soph. Ant. 148


Strabo 12.2.3 (C 535) 12.3.1 (C 541) 12.3.32 (C 557) 12.8.9 (C 575)

28 51 33 33

Suet. Ner. 18


Tac. Hist. 3.47 51 Theoc. Id. 22.116 139 Zonar. 12.12 17 12.23 30 Inscriptions and Papyri* Adiego, Carian Language 220 133–134 (C.Eu 2) 209 156–157 (C.Ka 8) ala2004 xi.2–9 216 AnCl 24.2 (1955) 315 no. 8


AnSt 19 (1969) 27 no. 3.09


*  For short titles used in this section, see the bibliographies accompanying the relevant chapters.


Index of Sources 116–121 nos. 4–5 237 244 134–136 no. 9 160–161 no. 21 244 165–167 232

Aupert, ‘Hélios’ 370–378 245 bch 25 (1901) 334 no. 29


bch 33 (1909) 67–68 no. 46 68 no. 47

13 13

be 1951 205–209 no. 236a


Giudice, ‘Nea Paphos’ 87


be 1959 271 no. 492


Haspels, Highlands 349 no. 132


be 1987 380–381 no. 532


be 1989 508 no. 1013

238, 241

I.Amyzon 1 2 3

207 209 209


IAphMcCabe 31


be 1996 676 no. 618


IAph2007 1.2


be 2000 610 no. 869


be 2008 590 no. 92


be 2009 584 no. 649


be 2014 598 no. 584


Byzantion 6 (1931) 529–533 nos. 1–6 532–533 nos. 5–6

53 64

Byzantion 20 (1950) 105–107 no. 1 107–110 no. 2 110–116 no. 3

230 228 226

be 1994 588–589 no. 614

Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage pittoresque 1.222–224 209 F.Delphes 3/1 289[2] 206

ic icg

4.10 206 136, 141 20 135–136 28 52 136 135 55 133 62 133 81 133, 135, 137, 141 82 132, 136–138 92 133, 135 97 101 134 103 132–133, 135 107 133 116–122 134 138 137 149 132, 138, 141 136 177


Index of Sources 210 136, 138 270 136–137 278 136 303 136 345 134 347 138 349 134, 136 350 134 352 136 136, 140 371 133, 135–136, 372 139–140 136–137 374 382 134 396 134 133, 136 476 480 135–136 135–136 481 495 136 498 134 507 133 518 137 537 134 132, 136 561 132, 136, 138, 141 562 585 133, 136–137, 141 596 140 597 136 602 137 133, 134–135, 141 603 604 133 605 134 606 136 134, 136, 141 608 134 610 648 134 749 132 762 134–135 785 136 872 134 894 136 1497 133 1498 133 1502 133 I.Eph 5.1518 206


3.930 229 3.935 228

I.Kourion 150 231 201–206 242 204 242 205 242 I.Labraunda 1B 2 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 137 ils

211 211 206, 209 206 206 206 206 206 211 213–215

2535 61

imt Kaikos 928 208 I.Mylasa 611 612 613

212 212 212

I.Paphos 274 239 278–280 238 I.Perinthos 52


I.Priene 149


I.Sagalassos 8–9 173 173 28 37a–d 175 174 47


Index of Sources

I.Salamine 105 229 201 230 203 238 205 228 207 241 219–226 237 222 237 233 238 235 244 238 236

Nicolaou, ‘Η κυπριακή επιγραφική’ 247 231 248–249 232 253–254 236 260–261 234

I.Salamis 43 55 132

rdac 1963 41 no. 2


rdac 1980 262–263 no. 3


rdac 1987 177 no. 1


rdac 1998 163 no. 5

231 113

238 238 241

I.Stratonikeia 2/1.601–741 210 3.1001 208 3.1063 208, 210 3.1403–1414 210 3.1501–1502 210

P.Oxy. 15.1786 126 Procopiou, ‘New Evidence’ 88–89 244

I.Tyana 77


reg 15 (1902) 321 no. 23

Jordan, ‘Late Feasts’


Reynolds, Aphrodisias and Rome 37 218

Kotansky, Greek Magical Amulets 387–389 no. 68 245 mama 1.170 72 3.786 122 Mitchell, ‘Cult of Theos Hypsistos’ 143 no. 242 36 Mitford, East of Asia Minor 2.523 no. 31 61 2.525–526 no. 33 53 53 2.530 nos. 44–45 2.541–542 nos. 78–83 53 Nicolaou, Cypriot Inscribed Stones 35–36 no. 47 234

Robert, Hellenica 2.156 8.13 no. 8

22, 122 220

Robert, Noms indigènes 486–487 36 548–549 113 rrmam 3/3 131–132 51 Ruggieri, ‘Annotazioni’ pl. x.7–8 216 seg 26.252 137 30.1279 208 30.1281 208 47.1751 135


Index of Sources sgo 3 131, 142 13/06/04 13/06/05 131 13/07/02–04 131 13/07/06 131 13/08/02 131 16/06/01B 132 16/07/01 130 16/07/02 130 16/31/17 131 16/31/83 132 16/31/97 132 16/43/07 138

20 72 139

8 8 20

Thonemann, ‘Poets of the Axylon’ 1–4 133 5–9 133 8 133 12 133 van den Hoek, Feissel, and Herrmann Jr, ‘More Lucky Wearers’ 310–316 244

Söğüt, ‘Stratonikeia’ 438 fig. 5


StudPont 3 11 15

von der Osten, Bittel, and Mac Ewan, ‘Ankara müzesine’ 89–90 36

8 8

zpe 115 (1997) 156–167 nos. 28–57


Index of Names Abel 109 Ἀβεννήριγος 32 Abercius 130 Abin(a) 32 Abraham 136–137 Absalon 25 Abyzou 245 Acacius of Caesarea 152 Achilles 178 Aelia Eudoxia 175 Aetius, martyr 56, 58–61, 74 Aetius, teacher of Eunomius 100 Agapius 158 Agrikolaos/Agricola 54, 57, 61–62, 65–67, 69, 71–72, 74, 119 Alexander, from Hierapolis 130 Alexander of Jerusalem 17 Alexander the Great 181, 208–209 Alexandros, governor 120 Ambrose of Milan 103, 159–160, see also index of sources Ammia 22, 121 Ammonius 57 Amphilochius of Iconium 36, 97, 138, 141–144, 157, 161, see also index of sources Anicetus 25 Antagoras 138 Anthemios 228, 235 Anthimus of Tyana 155 Antoninus Pius 167, 173, 180 Antonius 84 Anysius 62, 64–65 Aphrodite 185–186, 189, 205, 210, 217, 245 Aphrodite Kypria 228 Apollinaris the Younger 126 Apollo 182, 242 Apollo Klarios 181, 190 Apollo Pythios 206 Arcadius, emperor 175 Arcadius of Constantia 237 Ares 184, 186, 194 Arion/Urion the Cappadocian 15, 31 Ariston 64–66, 74 Aristoxenus of Tyana 9 Arius, Arian(s), Arianism 100–103, 150–151, 154, 158, 175

Arnobius 19, see also index of sources Arnouphi 16 Arsacius 159 Artemis 206–207, 209 Ascholius 73 Asclepius, Asclepieum 182–184 Asterius 102 Athanasius, martyr 25 Athanasius of Alexandria 102, 150–151, see also index of sources Athena 170, 184 Athena Polias 208 Athenodorus 21 Athenogenes of Pedachthoe 60, 62–68, 71, 74, see also index of sources Attalus 208 Augustine 128 Augustus 210, 212–213, 217 Aurelian 22, 24, 120 Ausonius 126 Auxentius, martyr 62, 70–72 Auxentius of Milan 103 Barach(i)us 25 Bargates 32 Barnabas 228, 230–231, 235–236, see also index of sources Basil of Ancyra 112 Basil of Caesarea 3, 7–9, 13, 22–26, 28, 31, 33, 36, 39, 54, 57, 73, 78–79, 83, 96–98, 100, 102–103, 109–112, 114–115, 117, 119–120, 122, 126, 129–130, 141, 154–155, 157, 160, see also index of sources Basilla 59 Bellona, see Ma Biagius 25 Bosporius of Colonia 160–161 Bostrychus/Ostrychus 25 Caligula 229 Callimachus 128, see also index of sources Callinicus 25 Capitolina 24 Caracalla 17, 30, 168, 173, 189 Carterius 25, 121, see also index of sources Cassius Dio 16, see also index of sources Castricius 25


Index of Names Claudianus 25 Claudius, emperor 168, 173, 181, 189, 195, 229 Claudius ii, emperor 170 Claudius, priest 59 Clement of Alexandria 17, 126, 128, see also index of sources Cleonicus 68 Commodianus 126 Commodus 15–16 Conon 7 Constans 168, 174 Constantia 175 Constantine 6–8, 35, 39, 61, 68, 101, 150, 157, 174, 176, 196, 227, 236 Constantine vii Porphyrogenitus 92 Constantius ii 35, 151–152, 157, 168, 174–175, 227, 237 Cornelius 21 Coronis 182 Crisp(in)us, see Lutanius Crisp(in)us Croesus 206 Cybele 212 Cyprian of Carthage 17–19, see also index of sources Cyriacus, brother of Hieron 84 Cyriacus of Ancona 212–213, 237 Cyril of Alexandria 37, see also index of sources Cyrillus, from Sareim 57 Cyrillus, martyr 24 Damas(us), martyr 26 Damasus, pope 22 Damatri 245 David 109 Decius 22, 24 Demeter 176, 182, 209 Demokritos 120 Demophilus 154, 158 Demosthenes 103 Diocletian 23–25, 49, 54, 61–62, 67, 69, 73–75, 78–80, 92, 96, 237–238, 241 Diodorus of Tarsus 158 Diodotus/Theodochus 25 Diogenes, unspecified 58 Diogenes the Cynic 135 Dionysius of Alexandria 21 Dionysius of Caesarea 22

Dionysus 168–169, 171, 184–186, 189 Dios 113 Domnus 59 Dorothea 24 Dorotheus, martyr 25 Dorotheus of Heraclea 154 Ducetius/Dulcitius 25 Elasippus 24 Eleusius of Cyzicus 154, 158 Elias, see Iles Elijah 96, 115 Elisha 236 Elpidius, martyr 25 Elpidius, unspecified 59 Elymas Bar-Jesus 228 Emmelia 57, 61 Ephraem the Syrian 54–55, 126, see also index of sources Epiphanius, martyr 25 Epiphanius of Salamis 37, 235–236, 238, 245, see also index of sources Eros 189 Erotheis 24 Eudoxius, martyr 25 Eudoxius of Antioch 152–154 Εὐέλπιστος 16 Eugenius, from Laodicea Combusta  139–140 Eugenius, martyr (Arauraka) 62, 70–72 Eugenius, martyr (Melitene) 25 Eugenius of Nicaea 154 Eulalius 160–161 Eunomius 35, 100–103, 152, 154, 158 Eupsychius 17, 23, 26, 112, 121, see also index of sources Eusebius of Caesarea 16–17, 21–23, 25, 52, 67, 68, 75, see also index of sources Eusebius of Nicomedia 102, 151 Eusebius of Samosata 155 Eustathius 103 Eustolios 241–243, 246 Eustorgios 238–241 Eustratius/Kyrisikes of Arauraka 50, 53–54, 60–62, 65–66, 68–74, see also index of sources Eutychius, martyr (Melitene) 25 Eutychius, martyr (Zimara) 56, 58–61, 74

270 Eutychus, martyr 22 Eutychus, see Meletius Expeditus 25 Faustinus 143 Firmilian 17–23 Gaius Iulius Zoilos 217 Galen 33, see also index of sources Galerius 80 Gallus 111, 114 Gaudentius of Brescia 54, 57, see also index of sources Gebadius 158 George of Alexandria 102 George the Cappadocian 24, 85, 212 Gerontius, father of George the Cappadocian 24 Gerontius of Nicomedia 159–160 Gigantius 25 Gordius, martyr 23–24, 26, 31, 39, 73, 85, 96, 109–122, see also index of sources Gordius, see Lutanius Gordius Gratian 175 Gregory of Nazianzus 3, 8, 13, 23, 25, 27–28, 31, 33–37, 39, 55, 78, 97–100, 109, 112, 114, 126–144, 157, 160–161, see also index of sources Gregory of Nyssa 3, 7–8, 13, 25, 33, 35–37, 39, 50–52, 54–55, 57, 61, 68, 73, 78, 98–100, 102–104, 126, 157, see also index of sources Gregory Thaumaturgus 21, 52–53, see also index of sources Gregory the Elder 23, 33–36, 78 Gregory the Illuminator 53, 55 Habinnas 31–32 Hadrian 17, 166–167, 173, 217, 229 Hecate 210, 215–216 Hecatomnus, Hecatomnid(s) 205–207, 209–211 Helenus of Tarsus 21 Helios, see Iles Helios Adonis 245 Helladius 157, 159–161 Hellenius 97 Heraclius 237 Herakles-Kakasbos 194

Index of Names Hermes 169 Hermogenes 25 Hesychius, martyr 25, 68 Hesychius of Antioch 120, see also index of sources Hesychius of Jerusalem 30, see also index of sources Hieron 25, 78–93, 103, see also index of sources Hilarion 229 Hilarius, martyr 25 Hilarius Pyrrhachas 65 Homer, Homeric 126, 128, 131, 133–134, 136–138, 203, see also index of sources Hosios kai Dikaios 165 Hyperechius 59 Iles/Elias/Helios 59–60 Illus Pusaeus Dionysius, Flavius 212 Idrieus 206–209, 211, 213 Ioannes iii of Soli 237 Iunius Soranus 73 Jacob 109 Jesus Christ 10, 29, 34, 56, 89, 109, 115, 126, 129, 134–142, 164, 180, 236, 244–245 John Chrysostom 9, 148, 157, 159–160, 190 John Mark 228 John of Ephesus 6–7, 28 John the Baptist 84 John Tzimiskes 86 Joshua 85, 89 Jovian 152 Judith 23 Julia/Junilla 24 Julia, mother of Eutychius 59 Julitta 23–24, 96, 120–121 Julius 151 Justin i, emperor 80 Justin Martyr 15, see also index of sources Justinian 6, 51, 78, 113, 196, 238, 241 Julian 9, 27–28, 35, 111–112, 114, 152, see also index of sources Juliana 21, 30 Juvencus 126 Karterios 234–235 Kore 176, 182


Index of Names Ktisis 242–243 Kyrilla 59 Kyrisikes, see Eustratius Lacedaemon 173 Lactantius 128, see also index of sources Leo Diaconus 79, 92, see also index of sources Libanius 143 Liberius 153 Licinius, emperor 23, 53–55, 61, 74, 119 Licinius Serenianus 19 Longinus, martyr (Caesarea) 17, 30, 85 Longinus, martyr (Melitene) 25 Lorgius 25 Lucius, martyr 25 Lucius Claudius Hieronymianus 16 Luke 29 Lutanius Crisp(in)us 56–60 Lutanius Gordius 56–60 Lysias 54, 61–62, 69–72, 74–75 Ma/Bellona 28, 33 Macarius 25 Macedonius, Macedonian(s) 122, 151–153 Macrina 26 Magnus, martyr 24 Magnus, unspecified 59 Mamas, martyr (Caesarea) 22–24, 26, 73, 109–122, see also index of sources Mamas, martyr (Melitene) 25 Marcion, Marcionites 100 Marcus, from Sareim 57 Marcus Aurelius 15–16, 24, 51, 55, 169 Marcus Iulius Eugenius 72, 140 Mardarius 54, 62, 71–72 Maris of Chalcedon 154 Mars 117 Mary 138 Massa 31–32 Matronianus 84 Mausolus, Mausoleum 205–206, 209 Maximian, emperor 54, 67, 69, 80, 120 Maximianus, martyr 25 Maximinus, martyr 68 Maximinus Daia 52 Maximinus Thrax 18–20 Maximus, prefect 24 Maximus, unspecified 59

Maximus of Tyre 115, see also index of sources Maximus the Cynic 157, 160 Medusa 170 Melesippus 24 Meletius/Eutychus 56, 58–61, 74 Melias 86 Men Askaenos 176 Mercurius 23–24, 85 Methodius of Olympus 126, see also index of sources Metopus 135 Michael, Michaelitai 85, 89, 189–191, 245 Mithridates vi 49 Montanus, Montanist(s) 18 Moses 109 Mucator 71 Narcissus 17 Nectarius 148, 157–161 Neon 24 Neonilla/Leonilla 24 Nero 15, 51 Nerva 15 Nicander 25 Nicephorus Phocas 85–87, 92 Nicon 25 Nike 137 Nikodemos 236 Nonna 34–35, 129 Novatian, Novatians 21, 152, 158 Onesimus 152 Optimus of Antioch 143, 157 Orestes, martyr (Sebastea) 62, 66, 71–72 Orestes, martyr (Tyana) 24–25, 85 Origen 17, 20–21, 30, 32, 38, see also index of sources Orosius 19, 21, see also index of sources Orpheus 121 Otreius 157 Pachomius 104 Palladius 159, see also index of sources Panhellenios 174 Pantenus 17 Pasiphilus 135 Paul, apostle 15, 31, 34, 37, 228–231, see also index of sources

272 Paul of Constantinople 150 Paul of Samosata 21 Paulus, consul 229 Perseus 168, 170, 189 Peter, apostle 15, 29, 31 Peter of Sebastea 55, 57 Petronius 31, see also index of sources Philekos 209 Philetaerus 208 Philip, apostle 5 Philip iii of Macedon 209 Philippus, priest 58 Philostorgius 4, 22, 100–103, 154, see also index of sources Philtatius 128, 132 Phoebus 242 Pliny the Elder 51, see also index of sources Pliny the Younger 8, see also index of sources Plutarchus 237 Polycarp 64, 119 Polychronia 24 Polyeuctus 22, 25 Pompeius Magnus 49, 51 Porphyrius, martyr 24 Porphyry of Gaza 164 Prisca 18 Proclianus 58, 60 Procopius, usurper 152–153 Procopius of Caesarea 55, see also index of sources Proidus 57 Prudentius 126 Pythius 209 Quintus Ennius 127 Regulus 59 Roma 210, 212–213 Romulus 17 Rufina 22 Rufus 59 Rusticius 84 Sabas the Goth 23, 73, see also index of sources Sapricius 57 Seleucus, nephew of Amphilochius of Iconium 141

Index of Names Seleucus i Nicator 208 Septimius Severus 17 Serapis/Sarapis 115, 121, 176 Serenianus 18, 20 Sergius Paullus 165, 228–229 Severianus 64–66, 74 Severus Alexander 18, 23 Severus of Laodicea Combusta 139–140 Shâpûr 24 Silius Italicus 127 Simeon Metaphrastes 79–80 Simplicius 23 Sisinus 132 Sixtus 21 Socrates 4, 101, 111, 151, 153, 156, see also index of sources Sozomen 4, 55, 99, 101–102, 111–112, 122, 148, 154, 159, see also index of sources Speusippus 24 Sp(h)yridon 234–236, see also index of sources Stephen 17–18, 21 Strabo 26, 33, see also index of sources Symmachus 30 Tertullian 16, 19, 73, see also index of sources Theagenes/Theogenes 25 Themelius 25 Themistius 157 Theocritus 128, see also index of sources Theoctistus of Palestine 21 Theodora 238 Theodore of Paphus 235 Theodore of Tyana 160 Theodoret 100–101, see also index of sources Theodorus, martyr 25, 85 Theodorus, recruit 50 Theodosius i 114, 120, 155–158, 160, 175–176, 180 Theodosius ii 120, 212, see also index of sources Theodotus, martyr 22, 25 Theodotus of Nicopolis 52 Theodulus 25 Theophilus, martyr (Caesarea) 24 Theophilus, martyr (Melitene) 25, 68 Theophilus of Alexandria 148, 164 Theophilus of Antioch 128 Theophilus scholasticus 24


Index of Names Theophrastus 68 Theos Hypsistos (θεὸς ὕψιστος), Hypsistarian(s) (Ὑψιστιανοί/Ὑψιστάριοι)  27, 33–39 Theotima 84 Thespesius 23 Tiberius 229 Timotheus of Constantinople 100, see also index of sources Tiridates iii 53 Trajan 15, 17, 51 Trimalchio 31, 32 Tyche, Tychaeum 167–170, 174–175, 179, 181–182, 196 Tychon 245 Valens, emperor 35, 103, 152, 154–155, 175 Valens, unspecified 59 Valentinian ii 175 Valerian 22, 24, 30 Valerius 25 Venantius Fortunatus 126 Vespasian 49, 173 Victor 83 Vitruvius 209

Wulfila 22, 151 Xanthias/Xanthicus 25 Xenophon 79 Yahweh 137 Zeno, emperor 228 Zeno, martyr 25 Zeus 28, 36, 115, 137, 208 Zeus Belos 176 Zeus Chrysaoreus 208 Zeus Dolichenus 38 Zeus epēkoos 113 Zeus Gordios 113 Zeus Keraunios 217 Zeus Labraundos 206, 208, 213 Zeus Marnas 176 Zeus Olybreus 113 Zeus Sabazius 38 Ζεὺς Ὕψιστος 36 Zeus Uranius 38 Zosimus 110, 165, see also index of sources

Index of Places Adana 86 Africa 16, 18 Agios Prokopios (Ürgüp) 82–84, 93–94 Aigai 121 Akrotiri-Katalymata ton Plakoton 244 Aksaray, see Archelais Alabanda 208, 211, 216 Alahan 8 Alexandria 17, 21, 102, 150, 156–158, 164, 176 Amasea 20, 50, 61, 63 Amathus 227, 245 Amisus 8 Amyzon 206, 208–210 Analiba 49, 70 Analibozora 72 Anatolia 1–9, 13, 29–30, 32–33, 36, 38, 49, 51, 53, 60, 68, 85, 130, 157, 166, 170, 203, 212, 242 Anazarbus 86 Ancyra (Ankara) 23, 36, 51, 84, 143, 149, 210 An(n)isa (Kültepe) 36, 57, 61 Antioch, Pisidian 165, 174, 176, 229 Antioch on the Orontes 3, 9, 21, 120, 149–151, 157–159, 161, 228, 235, 241 Antitaurus 49 Apamea 176 Aphrodisias/Caria/Stauropolis (Geyre) 205, 210, 212, 216–219, 241 Apollonia 165–166 Appia 131 Aquileia 160 Arabia 25, 151, 158 Arauraka/Arauracos 50, 54, 69–73 Archelais (Aksaray) 122 Ardos 70 Argaeus 83, 96, 111, 115–116, 121 Arianzus 25–26, 126 Armenia 3, 8, 49, 51–54, 62–63, 69, 71, 74, 100, 114, 118–119, 155 Armenia Minor/Prima 2, 8, 49–75, 119, 155 Armenia Secunda 63 Asia 15, 20, 29, 101–102, 148, 153, 205 Asiana 157 Athens 205 Attaleia 166

Attica 1, 231 Avanos, see Venasa Avcılar, see Matiane Balkans 1–2 Basilias 83, 117 Basilica Therma 113 Bedohtun, see Pedachthoe Bithynia 8, 15, 29, 148, 151–154, 159 Borissus 103 Bostra 158 Byzantium, see Constantinople Caesarea, Palestinian 21 Caesarea Mazaka (Kayseri) 13, 17, 20–26, 29–32, 39, 51, 53–55, 57, 61, 73–74, 79, 83, 100, 102–103, 109–115, 117–122, 142, 154–155, 157, 159–160 Calycadnus 7 Camisa 64 Camisene 64 Cappadocia 2–4, 7–9, 13–39, 49, 51, 54–55, 57, 61, 69, 73, 78–104, 109–122, 126, 129–131, 142, 154–155, 157, 159–161 Cappadocia Prima 154 Cappadocia Secunda 30, 82, 154–155, 160 Caria 2, 4, 7, 9, 202–221, 241 Carsaga 70 Carsagis 70 Caucasus 79 Caunus 209 Çavuşin, see Kodessane Cayster 6 Çeşmelisebil, see Gdanmaa Çine 211 Chadoubi 59–60 Chalcetor 208–209 Chamanene 99 Chrispsone 59–60 Chytri 228–229, 237 Cilicia 1, 7, 18, 21, 25, 85, 92, 120–122, 153, 158, 210 Cimmeria 79 Çirçir Dere 64 Citium 227


Index of Places Claudiopolis 7 Cnidus 203, 206 Colonia (Şebinkarahısar) 23, 49 Colopene 51 Comana in Cappadocia 23, 28, 113 Comana Pontica 33 Constantia, see Salamis Constantinople/Byzantium 2–3, 54, 79, 92, 101, 103, 126, 142, 148–162, 180, 190 Corinth 231 Corinthia 1 Corycus 7, 122, 210 Cremna 170 Crete 206, 231 Curium 226–227, 242–243, 246 Cybistra 23 Cyprus 2, 4, 7, 10, 226–246 Cyzicus 151–152, 154 Danube 73 Dakor(o)a 102 Daora (Tavra) 63–64 Dascusa 49, 61 Delphi 206 Doara 103, 155 Dryzion 86 Eden 136 Edessa 241 Egypt 16–17, 104, 126, 148, 150, 166, 203, 210, 216 Endire, see Suşehri Ephesus 206, 235 Epiklesoi 63 Erzincan 51, 53–54, 70 Eski Malatya, see Melitene Etruria 31 Euphemias 26 Euphrates 2, 8, 49–51, 53–54, 59, 68, 70, 73–75 Euromus 204, 220–221 Galatia 1, 3–4, 15, 18, 21, 29, 99, 102, 135 Garsauritis 99 Gaza 164, 176, 241 Gdanmaa (Çeşmelisebil) 133, 143 Gerasa 241 Gereme/Gedeme 83

Gerga 211 Geyre, see Aphrodisias Gölcük, see Limnai Göreme, see Korama Gortyn 206 Greece 1–2, 205, 213, 231, 242 Güllü 89 Gülşehir 83 Güneykaya, see Pedachthoe Güzelöz, see Mavrucan Hades 132 Hadrianopolis 175 Halicarnassus 205, 209 Halys (Kızıl Irmak) 52, 55, 57 Helenopontus 60, 63 Hellespontus 9, 29, 152–153 Heraclea Latmia 210 Heraclea Perinthus 154 Herakleopolis, see Pedachthoe Hierapolis 5, 130 Horeb 96, 109, 115–116 Iasus 205 Ibora 26, 50 Iconium 18, 22, 36, 97, 139, 141, 143 Ilica 13 Ionia 209 Isauria 1, 4, 7, 153 Italy 20, 31, 159 Jericho 86 Jerusalem 17, 19, 23, 28–29, 104, 112, 157 Jordan 213 Judaea 21, 29 Kayseri, see Caesarea Mazaka Kelkit Çay, see Lycus Kemah 70 Kemerhisar, see Tyana Kimouasos (Yıldız Köy?) 63–64 Kitanaura 170 Kızıl Irmak, see Halys Kodessane (Çavuşin) 80, 84–86, 88–90, 92, 99 Kofinou 232 Koraia 209, 210 Korama (Göreme) 4, 78, 81–87, 89–95

276 Korniaspa 102 Köroğlu Dağ 64 Kültepe, see Anisa Kuyulusebil 133 Labraunda 205–207, 209–211, 213, 215 Lagina 209–210, 215–216 Lampsacus 153 Laodicea, Syrian 126 Laodicea Combusta 132, 137, 139–140 Laodicea on the Lycus 149 Lapethus 227 Laranda 7 Larnaka 232–233 Libya 150 Limnai (Gölcük) 22, 122 Lycaonia 1, 3–4, 6–8, 53, 100, 130–134, 136–139, 141–143 Lycia 9, 148, 153, 203 Lycus (Kelkit Çay) 1, 8, 49 Lydia 9, 206 Maçan/Matchan, see Matiane Macellum 111–112, 114, 122 Maeander 6, 203 Mamurt Kale 208 Mantinium 152 Mataza (Mazıköy) 93–94 Matiane (Avcılar, former Maçan/Matchan)  80, 82–84, 89, 92, 94 Mavrucan (Güzelöz) 93–94 Mazıköy, see Mataza Mecidye 70 Megalopolis, see Sebastea Melitene (Eski Malatya) 16–17, 22–23, 25, 49, 51–52, 55, 67–69, 75, 79–80, 157 Messogis 6 Milan 159–160 Milas, see Mylasa Moesia Secunda 241 Mokissos 82 Mopsuestia 86, 92 Morimene 99 Mylasa (Milas) 206–208, 212–213, 220 Nar 89 Nazianzus 25, 35, 78, 122, 126, 160 Neocaesarea (Niksar) 23, 51–52

Index of Places Neoclaudiopolis 8 Nevşehir 4, 82–83, 89 Nicaea 3, 7, 14, 17, 23, 39, 52, 103, 115, 148–151, 154–155, 158, 165, 234 Nicomedia 67, 151–154, 159–160 Nicopolis (Yeşilyayla, former Pürk) 49–51, 53, 62, 70–72, 74, 103 Niksar, see Neocaesarea Nyssa 78, 99, 103, 155, 157 Olotoedariza 70 Oltiseris 102 Ören 89 Oriens 158 Orontes 120 Ororeia 71 Palestine 21, 25, 37, 67, 86, 98, 242 Pamphylia 9, 29, 153, 165–166 Panamara 209–210 Paphlagonia 152 Paphus 227–230, 238–241 Parnassus 22–23, 103 Passala 212 Pedachthoe/Herakleopolis (Güneykaya, former Bedohtun) 53, 63–64, 68 Pedesia 84 Pentapolis 150 Pepuza 100 Pergamum 207 Perge 165–166 Persia 24, 34, 80, 205 Petra 213 Phidela 58, 60 Phoenicia 37 Phrygia 1, 3–6, 8, 13, 18, 29, 53, 130–133, 135, 138, 148, 165 Pingan, see Zimara Pisidia 2, 4–5, 7, 153, 164–166, 169–170, 173–175, 194 Pontica 103, 157, 159 Pontus 3–4, 8, 15, 18, 20–21, 26, 29, 50–51, 53, 61 Pontus Mediterraneus 51 Pontus Polemonianus 49, 51 Priene 208–209 Prostanna 170 Pürk, see Nicopolis


Index of Places Rhosus 120 Rome 31–32, 49, 52, 54, 101, 150–151, 153, 156–157, 166, 176 Sabus 49 Sadagolthina 22 Sadopa 63 Sadopine 63–64 Sagalassus 4–6, 164–197 Salamis/Constantia 226–230, 235–239, 241, 246 Sareim 57, 59–60, 73 Sasima 22, 122, 155 Satala 49, 51, 53–54, 69–72 Scythia 73, 79 Scythia Minor 241 Sebaste(a)/Megalopolis (Sivas) 49–75, 89, 103, 119 Sebastopolis (Sulusaray) 51, 63 Şebinkarahısar, see Colonia Seleucia, Isaurian 7, 153 Seleucia, Pisidian 165 Serdica 153 Side 166 Sidon 96 Sinervas 70 Sivas, see Sebastea Soandos (Soğanlı) 93 Soli 227, 229, 237 Spania/Spalia 23 Stauropolis, see Aphrodisias Stratonicea 208–210, 216–217 Suis(s)a/Soissa 50, 70 Sulusaray, see Sebastopolis Sungurlu 135 Suşehri (former Endire) 49 Synnada 18, 22 Syria 32, 54, 67, 75, 86, 104, 120, 126, 242, 244

Tarsus 153, 158 Taurus 86 Tavium 51 Tavra, see Daora Termessus 170 Thebaid 25 Thessalonica 73, 241 Thrace 157 Toraç Dağ 64 Toumballos 229–230 Trabzon, see Trapezus Tralles 6 Trapezus (Trabzon) 49, 52 Trikomos 245 Trimithus 227, 234–235 Troja 178 Turkey 3–4, 164 Tyana (Kemerhisar) 23, 25, 30, 86, 160 Tyanitis 99 Tyre 150 Umbria 31–32 Ürgüp, see Agios Prokopios Venasa (Avanos) 82, 93 Ximara, see Zimara Yeşilyayla, see Nicopolis Yıldız Dağ 64 Yıldız Köy, see Kimouasos Zela 8, 57, 60–61, 73 Zengen 133 Zimara/Ximara (Pingan) 8, 49, 59–61, 70, 73–74 Zıvarık 133

Index of Subjects acta martyrum, see index of sources architecture (Christian) baptistery 187 basilica 5, 22, 53, 168, 181, 187–188, 190–193, 217, 229, 234–235, 237–238, 240, 244 chapel 26, 84, 89, 121–122, 215, 220–221, 230 church 4–5, 23, 26, 53, 61, 73, 78, 83–92, 94, 101, 103, 112, 118, 121–122, 142, 144, 164, 180–181, 187, 190, 193, 197, 205, 212–213, 215, 217–220, 232, 235–237, 239 hagiasma 220–221, 236 martyrium 24, 26, 68, 78, 111–112, 114, 117, 120, 122, 193 Arian(s), Arianism, see Arius in the index of names army (Roman), see military presence baptism, rebaptism 17–19, 21–23, 26, 31 bishops, bishoprics, see episcopal appointment, see also the relevant entries in the index of names and places benefactors 5, 232–234, 237–242, 244, 246 cave dwellers (Troglodytes) 79–81, 83–84, 92, 96–97, 99, 100–103 church councils/synods, see the relevant place names in the index of places conversion 10, 27, 34, 37, 53, 115 of communities, cities 52, 150, 152, 164, 182, 194 of individuals 7, 14, 16, 23–24, 35, 53, 151, 217, 228 of sanctuaries, civic buildings 164, 175, 178–180, 187, 190, 196–197, 205, 212–213, 215, 217 countryside, see rural areas dice oracle 169–170, 172, 180 education 126–128, 131–133, 141–144, 178 encomium, see panegyris epigram 127–144, 174, 242

epigraphy/inscriptions, see also index of sources acclamations 177–178, 181–182, 189–191, 228, 230, 238, 240, 244, 246 biblical quotations 94, 230, 242–244 building inscriptions (Christian) 72, 175, 232–242 building inscriptions (pagan) 4, 202–220 dedicatory inscriptions 36, 176–177, 182, 205–213, 217–219, 232, 245 epigraphic habit (non-Christian) 129, 203, 205, 220 erasure of inscriptions 19, 180, 214–215, 217–219 funerary inscriptions, epitaphs 3–5, 8–9, 13, 20, 22, 30, 53, 94, 127–141, 143–144, 165, 229–233, 242, 246 honorific inscriptions 174–175, 232, 234, 241, 246 ‘One God’ inscriptions 177–178, 181 ‘portable epigraphy’ 244–245 priest lists (pagan) 208–210, 215 episcopal appointment 2–3, 63, 103, 141, 148–162 epitaphs, see under epigraphy estates, see landowner grace (χάρις) 18, 34, 56, 132, 136 grave (monument), see also under epigraphy arcosolium 94 cippus 231–233 funerary stela 129–130, 203 sarcophagus 94, 122, 130, 229, 232, 244 tomb (Roman) 83–84, 94, 96, 112, 208–209 hagiasma, see under architecture hagiography 3, 7, 9, 17, 23, 25, 50, 52–53, 60, 62, 72–75, 78–80, 85, 91, 93–94, 96, 113, 119–121, 164–165, 226, 235, 245, see also acta martyrum, panegyris rhetoric, rhetorical devices in 110–111, 116 Harnack, A. von 1, 3, 14–23, 27, 38–39

Index of Subjects hippodrome 110, 119 Homeric influence, see Homer in the index of names Hypsistarians, see Theos Hypsistos in the index of names imperial cult 166–168, 173–175, 180, 189, 193 inscriptions, see epigraphy Judaism 3, 15, 18, 27–39, 99, 117, 132, 134–137, 165, 226, 228, see also syncretism landowner, family estates 6, 8, 25–26, 33, 50, 57, 83, 85, 102, 142 libellus 64–66 Macedonians, see Macedonius in the index of names martyrs, see also hagiography acta martyrum, see index of sources cult 7, 9, 14, 22–26, 54–55, 57, 73–74, 79, 81, 85, 91–92, 109, 111–115, 117, 119–122, 190, 193–194 dedicated church, basilica, martyrium, shrine 22, 24–26, 57, 61, 68, 73, 78, 84–85, 111–112, 114, 117–118, 120–122, 193, see also under architecture iconography 22, 85–93 martyrdom 3, 9, 15–17, 22–25, 31, 54–55, 60–62, 64–68, 70–74, 79–84, 96, 109–110, 112, 119–121, 193, 228, see also the relevant martyr names in the index of names Messalians (Μασσαλιανοί) 37 military presence 8, 16–17, 31, 49–51, 54–55, 61, 69–72, 74–75, 79–84, 92, 152 monasticism 3, 8, 25, 78, 84, 93–94, 96–100, 103–104, 114, 148, 228, 230–231 Montanists, see Montanus in the index of names mountain (sacred) 115–116, 121, see also Argaeus in the index of places neokoros 166, 173–174, see also imperial cult Novatians, see Novatian in the index of names offices (Christian) anagnostes (reader/lector) 25, 64, 231

279 bishop, see the relevant names in the index of names chorepiskopos (country bishop) 7, 23, 62–63, 67, 74, 160 diakonos (deacon) 19, 25, 56, 59, 135, 149, 159, 232 presbyteros (presbyter/priest) 17–19, 21, 25, 35, 56–59, 63, 68, 70–73, 75, 101, 103, 134–135, 149–150, 232 offices (state) comes 241 commentariensis 54, 70, 83 consularis 241 dux 54–55, 61–62, 69–70, 72–73 exceptor 70 governor (provincial) 16, 19–20, 23, 51, 57, 61–62, 64–67, 69, 71–72, 74, 83–84, 119–120, 173–174, 189, 228–229, 241 hegemon 54–55, 61, 69 magister 86 numerarius 26 officialis 70 praeses 16, 19, 72, 119, 241 prefect 25, 212 proconsul 16, 228–229 quaestor exercitus 241 quaestor sacri palatii 65 vicarius 103 ‘One God’ inscriptions, see under epigraphy paganism 3–7, 9, 27–28, 32–39, 52, 54, 64–66, 72, 74, 81, 94, 99, 113–117, 121, 126–144, 157, 164–197, 202–221, 226, 228–231, 242, 245–246 panegyris, encomium 24, 26, 33, 50, 52, 57, 74, 96, 110–111, 114–115, 119–120, 122, 190 patriarchate 3–4, 148, 152, 156–157, 161–162 persecution, see the names of the relevant emperors in the index of names pilgrimage 29, 98, 104, 167, 193, 216 poetry (Christian) 3, 126–144 priest lists, see under epigraphy relics, reliquiary 22, 26, 53–57, 59–61, 68, 73–74, 84, 120–122, 157, 193–194, 228, 235, see also martyrs rural areas 6–9, 13, 15, 19, 22–23, 26, 29–30, 51–52, 58–60, 63–64, 70–71, 79–83, 94,


Index of Subjects

rural areas (cont.) 99–101, 103–104, 131, 133, 135, 139, 143, 194, 216, see also cave dwellers, landowner, viticulture

statue (pagan) 115, 167–171, 173–176, 179, 182–184, 189, 194, 196, 212, 240 syncretism (Judaeo-pagan) 27, 32–39 synods, see church councils

Saccophori 100, 135, 140 sanctuary (pagan) 4, 28, 33, 37, 50, 115–116, 121, 164–165, 167–168, 173–182, 190, 196, 202–203, 205–220, 229–230, 245 destruction of 50, 64–66, 176, 178–179, 196, 202, 217, see also under conversion Second Sophistic 111 semantics (Christian) 132, 134–141, 143 soldier, see military presence stadium 39, 110, 112, 116–119, 121, 190, 192–193, see also hippodrome

temple, see sanctuary tomb, see under grave Troglodytes, see cave dwellers Tychaeum, see Tyche in the index of names village, see rural area viticulture 52, 79–80, 84–85, 91–92, 94, 169, 186, 189 warrior saint 81, 85, 87–92