Saint NameThomas, the Apostle : S00199
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Literary - Poems
Evidence not before330
Evidence not after550
Activity not before330
Activity not after550
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 workGreek Anthology
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsBequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesAristocrats
SourceThe 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.
DiscussionThe 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').
Janin 1964, 307; Janin 1969, 248-250.
BibliographyEdition 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).
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).
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).