Saint NameJohn the Baptist : S00020
Saint Name in SourceἸωάννης
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before620
Evidence not after640
Activity not before602
Activity not after602
Place of Evidence - RegionConstantinople and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcConstantinople
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Constantinople
Major author/Major anonymous workTheophylact Simocatta
Cult activities - Liturgical Activity
- Other liturgical acts and ceremonies
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesMonarchs and their family
SourceTheophylact 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.
Whitby and Whitby 1986, xiii-xxx (introduction); Whitby 1988; Frendo 1988; Olajos 1988.
DiscussionThis passage belongs to Simocatta's account of the usurpation of Phocas and the fall of Maurice in November 602. The incident is the proclamation of the usurper as emperor by the rebellious troops at the church of John the Baptist in the Hebdomon. Built under Theodosius I (E###), the church was the most important shrine of the aristocratic suburb of the Hebdomon, standing near the local imperial palace and military parade ground. According to the Book of Ceremonies, it was also the venue of Leo I’s coronation in 457 (De Caerimoniis, append. ad I; ed. Bonn, p. 498).
Janin 1969, 413-415.
de Boor, C., and Wirth, P., Theophylacti Simocattae Historiae (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana; Leipzig: Teubner, 1972).
Whitby, M., and Whitby, M., The History of Theophylact Simocatta: An English Translation with Introduction and Notes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).
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.
Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. (2nd ed.; Paris, 1969).
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).