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E04398: Procopius of Caesarea, in his On Buildings, reports that the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) rebuilt the shrines of *Michael (the Archangel, S00181) at Anaplous and Brochoi, on the Bosphorus, and a nearby church of *Mary Theotokos, Mother of God (S00033). Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the 550s.

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posted on 21.11.2017, 00:00 by julia
Procopius, On Buildings, 1.8.1-16

καὶ πορθμοῖν δὲ τοῖν ἄλλοιν δυοῖν, ὧνπερ ἐπεμνήσθην ἀρτίως, οἰκοδομίαις τὰς ἠϊόνας ἐς μέγα τι κάλλος ἐξείργασται τρόπῳ τοιῷδε. 2 ἱερὰ δύο τῷ ἀρχαγγέλῳ Μιχαὴλ ἀνειμένα καταντικρὺ ἀλλήλοιν ἑστῶτα τοῦ πορθμοῦ ἑκατέρωθι ξυνέβαινεν εἶναι, θάτερον μὲν ἐν χώρῳ καλουμένῳ Ἀνάπλῳ ἐν ἀριστερᾷ εἰσπλέοντι τὸν Εὔξεινον Πόντον, τὸ δὲ δὴ ἕτερον ἐν τῇ ἀντιπέρας ἀκτῇ· 3 Προόχθους μὲν ἐκάλουν οἱ παλαιοὶ ἄνθρωποι τὴν ἀκτήν, ὅτι δὴ προβέβληται, οἶμαι, κατὰ πολὺ τῆς ταύτῃ ἠϊόνος, νῦν δὲ Βρόχοι ἐπικαλεῖται, διαφθειρούσης τὰ ὀνόματα τῆς τῶν ἐπιχωρίων ἀγνοίας τῷ μήκει τοῦ χρόνου. 4 ταῦτα δὲ τὰ δύο τεμένη οἱ μὲν αὐτῶν ἱερεῖς κατερρακωμένα ὑπὸ τοῦ χρόνου θεώμενοι καὶ περίφοβοι γεγενημένοι ὡς μὴ αὐτίκα δὴ μάλα σφίσιν ἐμπέσοιεν, βασιλέως ἐδέοντο ἀνοικοδομήσασθαι ἄμφω ἐφ’ οὗπερ σχήματος τὸ παλαιὸν ἦν. 5 οὐ γὰρ οἷόν τε ἦν ἐπὶ τούτου βασιλεύοντος ἐκκλησίαν τινὰ ἢ γίνεσθαι πρῶτον, ἢ καταπεπονηκυῖαν ἐπανορθοῦσθαι, ὅτι μὴ ἐκ χρημάτων βασιλικῶν, οὐκ ἐν Βυζαντίῳ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ πανταχόθι τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἀρχῆς. 6 βασιλεὺς δὲ αὐτίκα τῆς προφάσεως τυχὼν τῆσδε καθεῖλε μὲν ἑκάτερον ἐς τὸ ἔδαφος, 10 ὡς μή τι αὐτοῖς τῆς προτέρας ἀκοσμίας ἀπολειφθῆναι.

'And by erecting buildings he elaborated into a thing of great beauty the shores of the other two straits which I have just mentioned, in the following manner. 2 There happened to be two sanctuaries (hiera) dedicated to the Archangel Michael, standing opposite one another on either side of the strait, the one at the place called Anaplus, on the left bank as one sails toward the Euxine Sea [Black Sea], the other on the opposite shore. 3 The men of ancient times called this point Proöchthi, because, I suppose, it projects far out from the shore-line there, but now it is called Brochi, for with the passage of time names are corrupted through the ignorance of local residents. 4 And the priests of these two shrines (temenoi), seeing them utterly dilapidated by time and having become fearful that they would fall in upon them at any moment, petitioned the Emperor to restore both of them to their ancient form. 5 For it was not possible, during the reign of this Emperor, for any church (ekklesia) either to be built for the first time or to be restored when it had fallen into disrepair except with imperial funds, not only in Byzantion [Constantinople], but in every part of the Roman Empire. 6 So the Emperor no sooner had found this pretext than he at once tore them both down to the foundations, so that none of their previous untidiness was left.'

There follows a detailed description of the building works at Anaplus, as well as of the newly rebuilt church (including a comparison with Justinian's church of John the Baptist at the Hebdomon) (7-15).

15 τοσαῦτα εἰπόντι καὶ τὸ Ἰωάννου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ τέμενός μοι δεδήλωται, ὅπερ αὐτῷ βασιλεὺς Ἰουστινιανὸς ἔναγχος ἐν τῷ Ἑβδόμῳ καλουμένῳ ἀνέθηκεν. 16 ἐμφερέστατα γὰρ ἄμφω ἀλλήλοιν τὰ τεμένη τυγχάνει ὄντα, πλήν γε δὴ ὅτι οὐκ ἐπιθαλάσσιον τὸ τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ ξυμβαίνει εἶναι.

'15 This same description can be applied equally well to the shrine (temenos) of John the Baptist, which the Emperor Justinian recently dedicated to him at the Hebdomon, as it is called. 16 For these two shrines happen to resemble each other closely, except that the shrine of the Baptist chances not to be on the sea.'

17 Ὁ μὲν οὖν ἐν τῷ Ἀνάπλῳ καλουμένῳ τοῦ ἀρχαγγέλου ναὸς τῇδε πεπόνηται. 18 κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀντιπέρας ἀκτὴν ὀλίγῳ τῆς θαλάσσης διέχει τις χῶρος, ὁμαλὸς μὲν φύσιν, συνθέσει δὲ λίθων ὑψοῦ ἀνέχων. 19 ἐνταῦθα τὸ τοῦ ἀρχαγγέλου δεδημιούργηται τέμενος, εὐπρεπείᾳ μὲν ἐξαίσιον, μεγέθει δὲ πρῶτον, πολυτελείᾳ δὲ ἀνακεῖσθαι μὲν τῷ Μιχαὴλ πρέπον, ἀναθεῖναι δὲ Ἰουστινιανῷ βασιλεῖ. 20 τούτου δὲ δὴ οὐ πολλῷ ἄποθεν τοῦ νεὼ τέμενος ἅγιον τῇ θεοτόκῳ ἀνενεώσατο τρόπῳ τῷ αὐτῷ καταπεπονηκὸς πολλῷ πρότερον, οὗ δὴ τὸ σεμνὸν μακρὸν ἂν εἴη καὶ διερευνήσασθαι καὶ λόγῳ σημῆναι.

'17 Now the Church (naōs) of the Archangel in the place called Anaplus was built in this way. 18 And on the opposite bank is a site somewhat removed from the sea, naturally level and raised to a height by courses of stone. 19 There has been built the other shrine (temenos) of the Archangel, a work of extraordinary beauty and unrivalled in size, and because of its magnificence worthy both of Michael, to whom it is dedicated, and of the Emperor Justinian, who dedicated it. 20 Not far from this place he restored in the same way a holy shrine (temenos) of the Theotokos which had fallen into disrepair a long time before, and it would be a long task to study this building and describe in words its majesty.'

Text: Haury 1913. Translation: Dewing 1940, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E04398

Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Μιχαήλ Θεοτόκος Ἰωάννης ὁ Βαπτιστῆς

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

550

Evidence not after

561

Activity not before

518

Activity not after

561

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople

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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Procopius

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family

Source

Procopius of Caesarea, (c. 500 – c. 560/561 AD) was a soldier and historian from the Roman province of Palaestina Prima. He accompanied the Roman general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian (527-565). He wrote the Wars (or Histories), On Buildings and the Secret History. On Buildings is a panegyric in six books. It lists, and sometimes describes, the buildings erected or renovated by the emperor Justinian throughout the empire (only on Italy is there no information). The bulk of these are churches and shrines dedicated to various saints; the Buildings is therefore a very important text for the evidence it provides of the spread of saintly cults by the mid 6th c. On Buildings dates from the early 550s to c. 560/561; a terminus post quem is 550/551 as the text mentions the capture of Topirus in Thrace by the Slavs in 550 and describes the city walls of Chalkis in Syria built in 550/551; a probable terminus ante quem is 558 when the dome of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople collapsed, which is not mentioned in the book; or before 560 when the bridge on the river Sangarius was completed, as Procopius reports on the start of works. On Buildings thus belongs to the later years of Justinian’s reign. The work is not finished and is probably Procopius’ last work. It glorifies Justinian, depicting him as a great builder and an emperor restlessly transforming the state, expanding and reforming it, destroying paganism, extirpating heresy, and re-establishing the firm foundations of the Christian faith (Elsner 2007: 35). More on the text: Downey 1947; Elsner 2007; Greatrex 1994 and 2013. Overview of the text: Book 1. Constantinople and its suburbs Book 2. Frontier provinces of Mesopotamia and Syria. Book 3. Armenia, Tzanica, and the shores of the Black Sea. Book 4. Illyricum and Thrace (the Balkans). Book 5. Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine. Book 6. North Africa, from Alexandria to central Algeria.

Discussion

According to Sozomen, the great shrine of Michael at Anaplous was built by Constantine the Great (see E03993). Procopius is the only source mentioning the shrines of Michael and Mary at Brochoi, opposite Anaplous, across the Bosphorus. The site, whose name was a corruption of Proochthoi (Gr. 'steep heights'), as Procopius explains, must have been in the area of today's Kandilli or Vaniköy. The multitude of shrines dedicated to Michael there was probably related to the perils of sailing along the narrowest and most dangerous part of the strait.

Bibliography

Edition: Haury, J., Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia, vol. 4: Περι κτισματων libri VI sive de aedificiis (Leipzig: Teubner, 1962-64). Translations and Commentaries: Compagnoni, G.R., Procopio di Cesarea, Degli Edifici. Traduzione dal greco di G. Compagnoni (Milan: Tipi di Francesco Sonzogno, 1828). Dewing, H.B., Procopius, On Buildings. Translated into English by H.B. Dewing, vol. 7 (London: William Heinemann, New York: Macmillan, 1940). Grotowski, P.Ł., Prokopiusz z Cezarei, O Budowlach. Przełożył, wstępem, objaśnieniami i komentarzem opatrzył P.Ł. Grotowski (Warsaw: Proszynski i S-ka, 2006). Roques, D., Procope de Césarée. Constructions de Justinien Ier. Introduction, traduction, commentaire, cartes et index par D. Roques (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2011). Veh, O., and Pülhorn, W. (eds.), Procopii opera. De Aedificiis. With a Commentary by W. Pülhorn (Munich: Heimeran, 1977). Further Reading: Downey, G.A., “The Composition of Procopius’ ‘De Aedificiis’," Transactions of the American Philological Association 78 (1947), 171-183. Elsner, J., “The Rhetoric of Buildings in De Aedificiis of Procopius”, in: L. James (ed.), Art and Text in Byzantine Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 33-57. Greatrex, G., “The Dates of Procopius’ Works,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 18 (1994), 101-14. Greatrex, G., “The Date of Procopius Buildings in the Light of Recent Scholarship,” Estudios bizantinos 1 (2013), 13-29. Janin, R., "Les sanctuaires byzantins de saint Michel (Constantinople et banlieue)," Échos d'Orient 33 (1948), 28-52. Janin, R., Constantinople byzantine: développement urbain et répertoire topographique (Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines, 1950). Janin, R. La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin I 3: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969). Mango, C., Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot: Variorum, 1997 [repr. of 1993]). Van Millingen, A., Byzantine Churches in Constantinople: Their History and Architecture (London: Macmillan, 1912).

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