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E00560: Greek epigram by Agathias Scholastikos, probably originally an inscription, commemorating the dedication by four law students of an image at the shrine of *Michael (the Archangel, S00181) in the Constantinopolitan suburb of the Sōsthenion. Written in the late 6th c. and 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), 35


εἰς τὸν αὐτόν, ἐν τῷ Σωσθενίῳ

Καρικὸς Αἰμιλιανὸς Ἰωάννης τε σὺν αὐτῷ,
Ῥουφῖνος Φαρίης, Ἀγαθίης Ἀσίης,
τέτρατον, ἀγγελίαρχε, νόμων λυκάβαντα λαχόντες,
ἄνθεσαν εἰς σέ, μάκαρ, τὴν σφετέρην γραφίδα,
αἰτοῦντες τὸν ἔπειτα καλὸν χρόνον. ἀλλὰ φανείης
ἐλπίδας ἰθύνων ἐσσομένου βιότου.

'By the same author [Agathias Scholastikos]

On the same [the Archangel Michael], in the Sōsthenion

Aimilianos the Carian, and with him also Iōannēs, Rouphinos of Egypt, and Agathias of Asia, having completed the fourth year of their legal studies, chief of the angels, dedicated to you, blessed one, their painting, requesting that the rest of their time may go well. May you manifestly lead their hopes for their future life.'

Text: Paton and Tueller 2014. Translation: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Inscriptions



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Sosthenion Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Greek Anthology

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Commissioning/producing an image

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Aristocrats

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects



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.


This is one of the epigrams attributed by their titles to the author Agathias Scholastikos (presumably Justinian’s historiographer Agathias of Myrina, c. 530-582/594). The dedicants are four students, evidently friends, finishing law school. After the successful conclusion of their studies, they offer a gift at the great shrine of Michael at the Sōsthenion (İstiniye) on the European coast of the Bosporus, asking for the angel’s assistance in their careers. The votive gift is described as γραφίς (graphis), which literally means a stylus, but here is probably used poetically denoting an image.


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). Cline, R. Ancient Angels: Conceptualizing Angeloi in the Roman Empire, Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2011, 158 ff.

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