Saint NamePeter the Apostle : S00036
Paul, the Apostle : S00008
Saint Name in SourceΠέτρος
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Poems
Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before518
Evidence not after527
Activity not before518
Activity not after527
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
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.
DiscussionThis epigram was apparently inscribed in the basilica of Peter and Paul in the Quarter of Hormisdas, which stood next to the still extant church of *Sergios and *Bakchos. Procopius’ Buildings (1.2.4: E04332) and the 10th-century Patria (3.39) confirm that these two churches were built by Justinian as part of his personal residence in the quarter of Hormisdas. The palace or property of Hormisdas was a residence south of the hippodrome, named after a Persian prince who lived in Constantinople in the 4th century. Justinian and Theodora lived there until his accession as emperor in 527.
Procopius informs us that this was the first church dedicated to the two apostles in Constantinople, and that it differed from the octagonal church of Sergios and Bakchos, by its basilical architectural plan. The church was probably built in c. 519, perhaps in celebration of the restoration of communion with the church of Rome at the end of the Acacian Schism. In 519, Justinian requested from Pope Hormisdas contact relics and pieces of the chains of Peter and Paul, and a piece of the grate of *Laurence, in order to have them deposited at the church (E00615, E00616, E00617).
Croke 2006; Janin 1969, 451; Müller-Wiener 1977, 177-183; Mango 1972; Vasiliev 1950, 377-378.
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).
Croke, B., "Justinian, Theodora, and the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 60 (2006), 25-63.
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., "The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus at Constantinople and the Alleged Tradition of Octagonal Palatine Churches," Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 21 (1972), 189–93.
Müller-Wiener, W., Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls (Tübingen: Ernst Wasmuth, 1977).
Vasiliev, A.A., Justin the First: An Introduction to the Epoch of Justinian the Great (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1950).