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E00563: Greek epigram, by the medical scholar Senekas, composed to be inscribed on the book of the Miracles of *Kyros and Ioannes (Cyrus and John) (physician and soldier, martyrs of Egypt, S00406) by Sophronius of Jerusalem (written in c. 610). 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), 90


εἰς Κῦρον καὶ Ἰωάννην

Κύρῳ, ἀκεστορίης πανυπέρτατα μέτρα λαχόντι,
καὐτῷ Ἰωάννῃ, μάρτυσι θεσπεσίοις,
Σωφρόνιος, βλεφάρων ψυχαλγέα νοῦσον ἀλύξας,
βαιὸν ἀμειβόμενος τήνδ᾽ ἀνέθηκε βίβλον.

'Senekas the professor of medicine

On Cyrus and John

To the excellent martyrs Kyros, possessor of unsurpassable means in the art of healing, and also to John, Sophronios dedicated this book, as a small recompense for his escape from a distressing disease of the eyes.'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyros and Iōannēs, physician martyrs in Egypt, ob. early 4th c. : S00406

Saint Name in Source

Κύρος, Ἰωάννης

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople Alexandria

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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul Alexandria Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Greek Anthology

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Healing diseases and disabilities Miracle after death

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Physicians Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

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 epigram was probably written as a dedicatory colophon on a book containing the Miracles of Kyros and Iōannēs (Cyrus and John) by Sophronius of Jerusalem (see E###). During his stay in Alexandria, in the company of John Moschos in c. AD 580, Sophronius was afflicted by blindness and was cured after a visit to the shrine of Kyros and Iōannēs in Menuthis. In c. 610, he composed and dedicated the book of miracles as a votive offering for his own cure. The identity of the composer of the epigram, Senekas the iatrosophistēs (‘medical scholar’), and its precise date are unknown.


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).

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