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E01985: The emperor Julian in his Misopogon, of 361/362, refers to the removal of the relics of *Babylas (martyr of Antioch, S00061) at Daphne, and mentions that Christians prayed at the tombs of martyrs to get rid of the emperor; he also mentions the destruction of Christian shrines by pagans in Emesa. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria).

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posted on 03.11.2016, 00:00 by erizos
Julian the Apostate (Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus), Misopogon, 10. 10-19; 28. 17-23; 33.

10.10-19 (…) Ἀφεὶς δὲ τὴν σκηνὴν καὶ τοὺς μίμους καὶ τοὺς ὀρχηστὰς ἀπολώλεκας ἡμῶν τὴν πόλιν, ὥστε οὐθὲν ἡμῖν ἀγαθὸν ὑπάρχει παρὰ σοῦ πλὴν τῆς βαρύτητος, ἧς ἀνεχόμενοι μῆνα ἕβδομον τουτονί, τὸ μὲν εὔχεσθαι πάντως ἀπαλλαγῆναι τοῦ τοσούτου κακοῦ τοῖς περὶ τοὺς τάφους καλινδουμένοις γραϊδίοις ξυνεχωρήσαμεν, ἡμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸ διὰ τῆς ἡμῶν αὐτῶν εὐτραπελίας ἐξειργασάμεθα, βάλλοντές σε τοῖς σκώμμασιν ὥσπερ τοξεύμασι. Σὺ δέ, ὦ γενναῖε, πῶς ἀνέξῃ τὰ Περσῶν βέλη, τὰ ἡμέτερα τρέσας σκώμματα;»

‘(The people of Antioch addressing Julian) "[……] And, ignoring the stage and mimes and dancers, you have ruined our city, so that we get no good out of you except gloom. Having put up with this situation for seven months now, we have left it to the old crones who grovel among the tombs to pray that we may be entirely rid of so great a curse. As for ourselves, we have devised this solution by our own jolly spirit, shooting you with our satires like arrows. But how will you, brave sir, face the darts of Persians, when you take flight at our ridicule?"


28. 17-23 (……) Χριστὸν δὲ ἀγαπῶντες ἔχετε πολιοῦχον ἀντὶ τοῦ Διὸς καὶ τοῦ Δαφναίου καὶ τῆς Καλλιόπης, ἣ τὸ σόφισμα ὑμῶν ἀπεγύμνωσεν. Ἐμισηνοὶ Χριστὸν ἐπόθουν οἱ πῦρ ἐμβαλόντες τοῖς τάφοις τῶν Γαλιλαίων; ἐλύπησα δὲ ἐγὼ τίνας Ἐμισηνῶν πώποτε; ὑμῶν μέντοι πολλοὺς καὶ ὀλίγου δέω φάναι πάντας, τὴν βουλήν, τοὺς εὐπόρους, τὸν δῆμον. (……)

‘(Julian addressing the Antiochenes) [……] But, you say, you love Christ and have him as the patron of your city rather than Zeus and the god of Daphne, and Calliope who has revealed your ploy. Did the citizens of Emesa desire Christ, when they set fire to the tombs of the Galilaeans? Have I ever displeased any of the people of Emesa? Of you, however, I certainly have annoyed many, I should almost say all: the council, the wealthy, and the people! [……]’


33. Καὶ ὑμῖν γε αὐτὸ οἱ πολιοῦχοι τῆσδε τῆς πόλεως θεοὶ διπλοῦν δοῖεν, ὅτι πρὸς τούτῳ καὶ τὰς ἀστυγείτονας ἐσυκοφαντήσατε πόλεις ἱερὰς καὶ ὁμοδούλους ἐμοί, ὡς δὴ παρ’ αὐτῶν εἴη τὰ εἰς ἐμὲ ξυντεθέντα, ὃν εὖ οἶδ’ ὅτι φιλοῦσιν ἐκεῖναι μᾶλλον ἢ τοὺς ἑαυτῶν υἱέας, οἳ τὰ μὲν τῶν θεῶν ἀνέστησαν αὐτίκα τεμένη, τοὺς τάφους δὲ τῶν ἀθέων ἀνέτρεψαν πάντας, ὑπὸ τοῦ συνθήματος, ὃ δὴ δέδοται παρ’ ἐμοῦ πρῴην, οὕτως ἐπαρθέντες τὸν νοῦν καὶ μετέωροι γενόμενοι τὴν διάνοιαν, ὡς καὶ πλέον ἐπεξελθεῖν τοῖς εἰς τοὺς θεοὺς πλημμελοῦσιν ἢ βουλομένῳ μοι ἦν. Τὰ δὲ ὑμέτερα· πολλοὶ μὲν ἐγειρομένους ἄρτι τοὺς βωμοὺς ἀνέτρεψαν, οὓς ἡ πρᾳότης ἡμῶν ἐδίδαξε μόλις ἡσυχάζειν. Ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀπεπεμψάμεθα τὸν νεκρὸν τῆς Δάφνης, οἱ μὲν ἀφοσιούμενοι τὰ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἀντέδωκαν τοῖς ὑπὲρ τῶν λειψάνων ἠγανακτηκόσι τοῦ νεκροῦ τὸ τέμενος τοῦ Δαφναίου θεοῦ, οἱ δὲ εἴτε λαθόντες εἴτε μὴ τὸ πῦρ ἔδειξαν ἐκεῖνο, τοῖς μὲν ἐπιδημοῦσι τῶν ξένων φρικῶδες, ὑμῶν δὲ τῷ δήμῳ μὲν ἡδονὴν παρασχόν, ὑπὸ δὲ τῆς βουλῆς ἀμεληθέν, εἰσέτι δὲ καὶ ἀμελούμενον.

‘Now may the patron gods of this city grant you a double allowance of that Kappa [= a government like that of Constantius II]! For besides this, you have also slandered the neighbouring cities, which are godly and my fellow worshippers of the gods, claiming that the verses against me had presumably come from them. Yet I am sure that they love me more than their own sons, for they at once restored the shrines of the gods and destroyed all the tombs of the godless, on the signal given by me some time ago. And their spirits got so excited and their minds got so carried away that they harassed those indifferent towards the gods even more than I intended. Now, what about your behaviour? Many demolished the altars of the gods during their construction, but my clemency has just taught them how to be quiet. And when we drove away the corpse of Daphne, some of you, in expiation of their involvement in the worship of the gods, handed over the shrine of the god of Daphne to those angered on account of the dead man's remains, while the others, by accident or not, caused that fire which was horrendous for the strangers visiting your city to watch, but pleasing to your own people, and toward which your council was and still remains indifferent.’

Text: Lacombarde 1964. Translation: E. Rizos

History

Evidence ID

E01985

Saint Name

Babylas, bishop and martyr in Antioch, and his companions, ob. 282-284 : S00061

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories) Literary - Other

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

362

Evidence not after

363

Activity not before

362

Activity not after

363

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Julian (emperor)

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Destruction/desecration of saint's shrine

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Pagans Monarchs and their family Officials Foreigners (including Barbarians)

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics

Source

Born in Constantinople in 331/332, Flavius Claudius Iulianus reigned as emperor in 361-363. His reign is most famous for his attempt to restore paganism as the official religion of the Roman state. A man of letters, he has left a substantial corpus of rhetorical, philosophical and epistolary texts. Julian came to Antioch on his way to Persia in the autumn of 362 and stayed there until March 363. His relationship with the Syrian capital and its population proved to be difficult. Unlike other communities in the region, Antioch did not receive Julian and his pagan revival well. Besides, Julian’s somewhat puritan religiosity and ethics was in conflict with the frivolous spirit of a city notoriously corrupt and keen on theatrical shows and feasting. Faced with an austere emperor, who frequently fulminated against the city council for its indifference towards the religious traditions he was trying to revive, the Antiochenes circulated satires against him (§ 10), to which Julian replied with a partly self-ironic text, addressed to the Antiochenes under the title Misopōgōn, ‘Beard-Hater’ (in a city where the prevailing fashion required men to be clean-shaven, the emperor was mocked for sporting the full beard of a philosopher).

Discussion

Apparently satires against Julian had circulated under false titles presenting the texts as coming from the pro-pagan cities of the region, especially Emesa. Yet the Antiochene provenance of the texts was made evident by their Christian partisanship, expressed by the cryptic slogan that Antioch had not been harmed by the Chi and the Kappa (i.e. Christ and the emperor Constantius). For Julian, it was clear that the authors of such a text could not have come from the piously pagan Emesa which had supported his policy with enthusiasm, destroying the Christian churches and tombs (i.e. shrines of martyrs). Quite the contrary, it was Antioch that showed the least willingness to revive its shrines and to suppress the cult of Christian tombs. The specific incident in question (§ 33) is clearly the re-consecration of the oracular temple of Apollo at the suburb of Daphne, and the removal of the tomb shrine of the Christian martyr Babylas who had been buried there. Julian demanded that the Christian shrine be removed, but the city council appeared unwilling to comply, faced with the reaction of the Christians. Eventually, the martyr’s relics were removed, but, in the same night, the temple was burned down, struck by a thunderbolt, according to John Chrysostom (E02270). The reaction of the people to the event is used by the emperor as another proof of Antioch's hostility to him and the old religion: all strangers were horrified to see the temple burned, while the locals were overjoyed. Julian holds the council responsible for protecting Christian aggressiveness. Julian’s reference to ‘the old crones who grovel among the tombs’, in paragraph 10 probably alludes to prayers held by the Christians at the shrines of the martyrs, requesting to be rid of the pagan emperor. As elsewhere (§ 36), the emperor derides the popularity of the Christian religion among women.

Bibliography

Text and translations: C. Lacombrade, L'empereur Julien. Oeuvres complètes, vol. 2.2. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1964: 156-199 Wright, W. C.The Works of the Emperor Julian, vol. 3, Loeb classical library, London: W. Heinemann, New York: G. Putnam's Sons, 1913-1923, vol. III (listed as letter 19) (with English translation) Further reading: Athanassiadi-Fowden, P. Julian and Hellenism, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981. Bidez, J. La vie de l'empereur Julien, Paris: Belles Lettres, 1930. Lippold, A. "Iulianus I (Kaiser)." In Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, 442-83. Stuttgart: Heinemann, 2001. Rinaldi, G. La Bibbia dei pagani. La Bibbia nella storia. 2 vols. Vol. 1, Bologna: Edizioni Dehoniane, 1997, 319-414. Teitler, H. C. “Ammianus, Libanius, Chrysostomus, and the Martyrs of Antioch,” Vigiliae Christianae 67 (2013): 263-88. H. C. Teitler, The Last Pagan Emperor. Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

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