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E00018: Theophylact Simocatta in his History recounts the story of *Golinduch (Persian convert to Christianity, ob. 590s, S00019) who flees to the Roman Empire and lives a holy life in Hierapolis (Syria). She prophesies the overthrow of Khosrau II and his flight to the Romans. Written in Greek at Constantinople in the early 7th century, based on a lost Life of Golinduch, written in Hierapolis.

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posted on 31.08.2014, 00:00 by CSLA Admin
Theophylact Simocatta, History 5.12.13

The subject of this hagiographical note in Simocatta's History is the life of Golinduch, a Persian woman who converts to Christianity, migrates to the Roman lands and dies at Hierapolis in Euphratensis.

The daughter of a prominent Persian family of magi in Babylonia, Golinduch decides to become a Christian after an ecstatic vision, while living with her husband. Although abused by him, she persists in her decision to convert and receives a vision of an angel predicting her husband’s imminent death, which indeed happens. Next she goes to Nisibis and is baptised by the local Christian clergy. The magi come in search of her and, failing to convert her back to their religion, they imprison her for a long time. She manages to escape with the help of an angel, migrates to Roman territory and, after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, settles in Hierapolis where she lives a holy life and dies. She prophesies Khosrau II’s overthrow and alliance with the Roman Empire. The final sentences of Simocatta’s account are the following:

5.12.13
πολλά τε περὶ τῶν ἐσομένων τῷ Χοσρόῃ προαναγορεύσασα τήν τε προσχώρησιν αὐτοῦ Ῥωμαίοις πρὸ τῆς τῶν πραγμάτων ἐνάρξεως καταμηνύσασα, βίον τε ἰσάγγελον πολιτευσαμένη, καὶ ὡς πρέπει ἁγίοις τὰ εἰς ψυχὴν καὶ τὸ σῶμα ὁρῶντα, ἀπέστη τῶν τῇδε τὸν τῆς καρτερίας στέφανον ἀκηράτοις ἀναδησομένη τροπαίοις.

'She made many predictions about what would befall Chosroes [Khosrau II] and revealed his approach to the Romans before the commencement of the events. After conducting her life like an angel and as befits the saints with regard to the matters of the body and the soul, she departed this world in order to bind on, with undefiled triumphs, the crown of endurance.'

Text: de Boor and Wirth 1972. Translation: Whitby and Whitby 1986, modified. Summary: E. Rizos.

History

Evidence ID

E00018

Saint Name

Golinduch, Persian convert to Christianity, ob. 590s : S00019

Saint Name in Source

Γολινδούχ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

620

Evidence not after

640

Activity not before

590

Activity not after

620

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Theophylact Simocatta

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future) Freeing prisoners, exiles, captives, slaves

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics – unspecified Pagans Other lay individuals/ people Monarchs and their family

Source

Theophylact Simocatta wrote his History in Constantinople probably in the late 620s. The period covered by his work is the reign of Maurice (582-602), and the main subjects of the historical narrative are the wars of the East Roman Empire with Persia, and with the Avars and the Slavs in the Balkans. Several digressions of hagiographical, chronographical and geographical interest are inserted in the narrative. Using various earlier sources, Simocatta produces a positive account of Maurice, portraying him as a good emperor overthrown by a tyrant (Phocas). In fact, Maurice was very unpopular in his own times, but cleansing his memory was important to legitimise the rule of Heraclius (610-641), who presented his own coup against Phocas as avenging the murder of Maurice. A supporter and successful official of Heraclius’ regime, Simocatta apparently served this particular political agenda. Further reading: Whitby and Whitby 1986, xiii-xxx (introduction); Whitby 1988; Frendo 1988; Olajos 1988.

Discussion

The story of *Golinduch belongs to a set of notes that follow Simocatta’s account of the events of Khosrau’s restoration to the Persian throne with the assistance of the emperor Maurice in 591. Simocatta’s source is a version of the hagiography of Golinduch used in the lost History of John of Epiphania. John, in his turn, most probably used the Syriac Life of Goliduch, composed by bishop Stephen of Hierapolis shortly after her death in the mid or late 590s. The same hagiographical text became the base of an extant Greek Life composed by Eustratius in Constantinople in 602 (E###), of a Georgian Life, also extant (E###), and of a passage in Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos' (1256-1317) Ecclesiastical History (18.25). Simocatta’s version of the story is closer to the Georgian text. Together with the stories of Khosrau's vows and dedications to *Sergios (E00025, E00030), and of his prophetic dream vision of *Mary (E00041), this episode probably serves Simocatta’s effort to justify Maurice’s controversial decision to help Khosrau II, which must have been remembered with bitter feelings after the latter’s conquests of Roman lands in the 610s. Simocatta probably aims to convince his readership that, despite Khosrau's later ingratitude, his restoration to the throne was a cause that had divine support. At the same time, under the impact of Heraclius’ successes against Persia in the 620s, stories like this may have also echoed contemporary Roman hopes that Persia would eventually be conquered and converted to Christianity. Further reading: Whitby 1988, 236-7, 240-1; Whitby and Whitby 1986, 148-149; Olajos 1988, 67-82.

Bibliography

Edition: de Boor, C., and Wirth, P., Theophylacti Simocattae Historiae (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana; Leipzig: Teubner, 1972). Translation: Whitby, M., and Whitby, M., The History of Theophylact Simocatta: An English Translation with Introduction and Notes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). Further reading: Frendo, J.D.C., “History and Panegyric in the Age of Heraclius: The Literary Background of the Composition of the Histories of Theophylact Simocatta,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 42 (1988), 143-156. Olajos, T., Les Sources de Théophylacte Simocatta Historien (Leiden: Brill, 1988). Whitby, M., The Emperor Maurice and his Historian: Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988).

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