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E00016: Theophylact Simocatta in his History describes the visit in 592 of the emperor Maurice to the shrine of *Glykeria (martyr of Perinthus/Heraclea, S00018) in Heraclea (eastern Balkans) while setting off on his campaign against the Avars, and offers funds for the restoration of damage caused by the Avars. Written in Greek at Constantinople in the early 7th century.

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posted on 2014-08-31, 00:00 authored by CSLA Admin
Theophylact Simocatta, History 6.1.3

... ἀναβὰς ἐπὶ τὸν βασίλειον ἵππον ἐς Ἡράκλειαν γίνεται. ἐπὶ τὸν τοίνυν Γλυκερίας, τῆς μάρτυρος νεὼν ἐντεμενίζεται, ὡς οἷόν τε ἦν τιμήσας τὸ τέμενος χρήματά τε ἐπιδούς, ἐφ’ ᾧ τὰ πυρὶ καταπεπτωκότα τοῦ ναοῦ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἀβάρων πρὸς νεώτερον κάλλος μεταχωρεῖν, τὰς δυνάμεις ἐκτάξας ἀπεφοίτα τοῦ ἄστεος.

'… he [Maurice] mounted the royal horse and came to Heraclea. He entered the temple of the martyr Glykeria and, having bestowed the greatest honours to the shrine and provided funds for the transformation to new beauty of those parts of the church that had been burnt down by the Avars, he marshalled his forces and left the city.'

Text: de Boor and Wirth 1972. Translation: Whitby and Whitby 1986.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Glykeria, martyr in Perinthus-Heraclea in Thrace, ob. 2nd c. : S00018

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Greek

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)

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Theophylact Simocatta

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Foreigners (including Barbarians) Monarchs and their family Soldiers


Theophylact Simocatta wrote his History in Constantinople probably in the late 620s. The period covered by his work is the reign of Maurice (582-602), and the main subjects of the historical narrative are the wars of the East Roman Empire with Persia, and with the Avars and the Slavs in the Balkans. Several digressions of hagiographical, chronographical and geographical interest are inserted in the narrative. Using various earlier sources, Simocatta produces a positive account of Maurice, portraying him as a good emperor overthrown by a tyrant (Phocas). In fact, Maurice was very unpopular in his own times, but cleansing his memory was important to legitimise the rule of Heraclius (610-641), who presented his own coup against Phocas as avenging the murder of Maurice. A supporter and successful official of Heraclius’ regime, Simocatta apparently served this particular political agenda. Further reading: Whitby and Whitby 1986, xiii-xxx (introduction); Whitby 1988; Frendo 1988; Olajos 1988.


At the beginning of his unsuccessful campaign against the Avars in 592, the emperor Maurice visits Heraclea in Thrace (classical Perinthus) and venerates the shrine of Glykeria (Κülzer 2008, 400). The emperor offers funds for the restoration of damage caused to the shrine by the Avars, but there is no precise information about the date of their attack. It must have been during one of the numerous Avar campaigns that ravaged the undefended Balkans, while Maurice’s army was busy fighting for the restoration of Khosrau II to the Persian throne. Once peace was concluded (592), Maurice could turn his attention to problems in the Balkans. Simocatta is the earliest source mentioning the shrine and miraculous cult of *Glykeria in Heraclea (cf. E00017). Simocatta's source must have been an official diary of Maurice's campaign or a journal of the imperial court (Olajos 1988, 138-139). The Avars are not known to have sacked Heraclea, but they certainly pillaged its environs several times. The whereabouts of the church of Glykeria is unknown (for a detailed discussion, see E00017).


Edition: de Boor, C., and Wirth, P., Theophylacti Simocattae Historiae (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana; Leipzig: Teubner, 1972). Translation: Whitby, M., and Whitby, M., The History of Theophylact Simocatta: An English Translation with Introduction and Notes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). Further reading: Frendo, J.D.C., “History and Panegyric in the Age of Heraclius: The Literary Background of the Composition of the Histories of Theophylact Simocatta,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 42 (1988), 143-156. Olajos, T., Les Sources de Théophylacte Simocatta Historien (Leiden: Brill, 1988). Whitby, M., The Emperor Maurice and his Historian: Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988). On Heraclea: Κülzer, A., Tabula Imperii Byzantini 12: Ostthrakien (Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008). Sayar, M.H., Perinthos-Herakleia (Marmara Ereğlisi) und Umgebung: Geschichte, Testimonien, griechische und lateinische Inschriften (Denkschriften der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 269; Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1998).

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