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E00549: Greek epigram, probably from a dedicatory inscription in the church, recording the dedication, during the 4th/5th century, of a church to *Thomas (the Apostle, S00199) by the aristocrat Amantios (probably a former admiral) on his property in Constantinople. Recorded in the 10th c. Greek Anthology.

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posted on 27.05.2015, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Greek Anthology, Book 1 (Christian Epigrams), 5


Εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου Θωμᾶ ἐν τοῖς Ἀμαντίου

Τόνδε Θεῷ κάμες οἶκον, Ἀμάντιε, μεσσόθι πόντου,
τοῖς πολυδινήτοις κύμασι μαρνάμενος.
οὐ νότος, οὐ βορέης ἱερὸν σέο δῶμα τινάξει,
νηῷ θεσπεσίῳ τῷδε φυλασσόμενον.
ζώοις ἤματα πολλά· σὺ γὰρ νεοθηλέα Ῥώμην
πόντῳ ἐπαΐξας θήκαο φαιδροτέρην.


'On the church of St. Thomas the Apostle, in the property of Amantios

With effort, you built this house for God, Amantios, battling the whirling waves in the midst of the sea. Neither south nor north wind will shake your divinely protected house, guarded as it is by this temple of God. May your days be many, for you rushed unto the sea, and rendered the younger Rome more glorious.'


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

History

Evidence ID

E00549

Saint Name

Thomas, the Apostle : S00199

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Literary - Poems

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

330

Evidence not after

550

Activity not before

330

Activity not after

550

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

Greek Anthology

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats Officials Soldiers

Source

The Greek Anthology is a collection of Greek epigrams from dating from the Archaic period to the 9th century AD. It was initially compiled by Meleager of Megara (100-90 BC), whose collection was edited and expanded by Philip of Thessalonica (under Nero), Agathias of Myrina (AD 567/8) and finally by Konstantinos Kephalas (c. AD 900). The word epigram literally means an inscription. Although most Greek inscriptions were in prose, the word came to be specifically connected to those written in verse, and eventually to include poetic texts which were not necessarily inscribed. From the earliest period of Greek literature, epigrams were mostly sepulchral or dedicatory: they either memorialised the dead or marked the dedication of an object to a god. Book 1 of the Greek Anthology contains Christian epigrams from Late Antiquity to the 9th century. It was compiled c. 880-900, containing a considerable number of poems copied directly from monuments. The scholar responsible for the transcriptions may have been Gregorios Magistros, a colleague of Kephalas. Epigrams 1-17 and possibly others were taken down from inscriptions at Constantinople and two of them, namely No. 1 (inscription from the bema arch of St. Sophia) and No. 10 (inscription from the church of St. Polyeuktos) have been found in situ, thus confirming the accuracy of the entries in the Anthology.

Discussion

The inscription does not mention the dedication of the church to Thomas, but it seems that it was inscribed on the building, which was widely known as the church of Thomas in the quarter of Amantios. The quarter of Amantios was one of the aristocratic residences surrounding the Port of Sophia, south west of the Hippodrome in Constantinople. It bordered on the quarters of Hormisdas, Ioustinos and Sophia, and was not far from the church of *Sergios and *Bakchos. The Patria ascribe the foundation of the church of Thomas to Amantios, an official of Anastasius I (491-518) (Patria 3.96), but the church is also mentioned by other sources in connection to events predating the reign of Anastasius, namely the return of the relics of John Chrysostom in 438 (Nicephorus Callistus, Ecclesiastical History 14.13 = PG 166, 1209), and the great fire of 461 (Theophanes, Chronographia, 112, lines 19-24). The text seems to imply that the dedicant had held a naval office, and participated in naval warfare. It is uncertain if he is to be identified with any of the historically known Amantioi, namely the consul of AD 345 (Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire I, 'Amantius 4'), the eunuch castrensis of the empress Eudoxia in c. 401 (Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire II, 'Amantius 1'), or the cubicularius (513/8) and praepositus sacri cubiculi (518) of the emperor Anastasius (Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire II, 'Amantius 4'). Further reading: Janin 1964, 307; Janin 1969, 248-250.

Bibliography

Edition and Translation: Paton, W.R., rev. Tueller, M.A., The Greek Anthology, Books 1-5, 2nd ed. (Loeb Classical Library; London, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2014). Other editions: Beckby, H., Anthologia Graeca (Munich: Ernst Heimeran Verlag, 1957). Conca, F., Marzi, M., and Zanetto, G., Antologia Palatina. 3 vols. Vol. 1 (Classici Greci; Turin: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 2005). Waltz, P., Anthologie Grecque (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1928). Further reading on the Greek Anthology: Cameron, A., The Greek Anthology: From Meleager to Planudes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). Further reading: Janin, R., Constantinople Byzantine - développement urbain et répertoire topographique. Vol. 4A (Archives de l'Orient chrétien; 2 ed.; Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines 1964). Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. (2nd ed.; Paris, 1969).

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