Saint NameTheodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita : S00480
Saint Name in SourceΘεοδώρος
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Poems
Evidence not before395
Evidence not after460
Activity not before450
Activity not after470
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 CustomsConstruction of cult buildings
Cult Activities - MiraclesMiraculous protection - of people and their property
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.
DiscussionThese epigrams were probably inscribed in the church of Theodoros in the quarter of Sphōrakios, which was located immediately west of Saint Sophia, and was served by the clergy of the Great Church. The church does not survive, but it must have stood very close to the basilica of the Chalkoprateia.
Several sources ascribe the foundation of the church to the patrician Sphōrakios who, according to the Patria (3.30), flourished under Arcadius and Theodosius II (395-450). Flavios Sphōrakios served as comes domesticorum peditum (450-451) and became eastern consul in 452 (PLRE II, 'Sporacius 3'). This was one of several churches built by aristocrats within their palaces in Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries.
These two epigrams are fully discussed by Mango 1986, 25-26; see also Janin 1969, 152-153.
The first epigram informs us that the church was a votive offering by Sphōrakios after he survived a fire, which he apparently ascribed to the protection of the saint. The miracle is also described in the Encomium and Miracles of Theodore, written by Chrysippus of Jerusalem sometime in the third quarter of the fifth century (E04625, Miracle 12), which informs us that the church (small and insignificant before the fire) stood next to the palace of a rich but virtuous man (here not named), who was able to save his house by invoking the help of Theodoros, who was then seen leaping around the building tackling the flames. This fire was very probably an event recorded in 465.
The second epigram, by Sphōrakios’ nephew Anatolios, is less than clear in its meaning. It may have been sepulchral, in which case it would suggest that Sphōrakios was buried in the church. During the 5th century, it would have been unusual, though not impossible, to bury an important man in a private intramural church. Alternatively, the text may refer to the dedication of a memorial portrait, possibly a painting in the church. The note in the title concerning the treasure was added by a Byzantine editor of the Anthology. It refers to a story described in the Patria (3.30), according to which a treasure hidden in the gallery of the church was discovered by a visitor from Rome who read the Latin inscription marking the spot, under Leo VI (886-912).
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).
Furrther reading on the Greek Anthology:
Cameron, A., The Greek Anthology: From Meleager to Planudes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).
Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. (2nd ed.; Paris, 1969).
Mango, C., "Epigrammes honorifiques, statues et portraits à Byzance," in: Aphieroma ston Niko Svorono (Rethymno: University of Crete, 1986), vol. 1, 23-35. Reprinted in Mango, C., Studies on Constantinople, Aldershot: Ashgate, 1993.