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E00300: Eusebius' Martyrs of Palestine includes the story of the martyrdom of *Apphianos from Lycia (martyr of Caesarea, S00159). Written in 311 in Caesarea (Palestine); written in Greek, but parts of the text survive only in Syriac.

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posted on 2015-02-16, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Eusebius of Caesarea, Martyrs of Palestine, 4.1-15

Originating from Lycia, Apphianos received a secular education in Berytus (modern Beirut) and, after that, moved to Caesarea, where he was trained 'in the divine studies' and 'in the sacred Scriptures' under *Pamphilos of Caesarea (S00140). One day, when the city's governor Urbanus (PLRE I, p. 983) was offering a libation to the gods in public, Apphianos approached him and, seizing Urbanus by the right hand, rebuked him and exhorted him to abandon paganism. The martyr was at once apprehended, severely beaten by the governor's guard and sent to prison, where he underwent more tortures. On the next day, Apphianos was brought into a court, where Urbanus, enraged by his public interruption of the performance of the religious ritual, ordered more tortures to be inflicted upon him. After the martyr staunchly endured all these and refused to provide the judge with any information, save that he was Christian, his feet were wrapped in linen cloths soaked in oil and set on fire, while he himself was suspended on high, to be seen by all spectators. When even this torture did not break the martyr's spirit, the governor ordered him to be cast alive into the sea, his feet fastened with stones. After that, a miracle took place, when an earthquake shook the sea, the shore and the city itself, and the dead body of the martyr was brought by the sea to the city gates. According to Eusebius, the execution of Apphianos took place on 2 April 306.

Summary: Sergey Minov


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Apphianos from Lycia, martyr in Palestine, ob. 306 : S00159

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Caesarea Maritima

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

Caesarea Maritima Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Eusebius of Caesarea

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle at martyrdom and death Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics – unspecified Officials


In this work Eusebius presents an account of the suffering and death of Christian martyrs executed during the eight years of the Diocletianic (or Great) persecution, i.e. 303-311. Most of the martyrdoms described by Eusebius took place in Palestine, with the provincial capital city of Caesarea as the most prominent setting. Martyrdom of Apphianos: ed. Cureton 1861, pp. 13*-19* (long recension); ed. Schwartz et al. 1999, vol. 2, pp. 911-918 (short and long recensions); English trans. Lawlor and Oulton 1927-1928, vol. 1, pp. 344-352. For the Greek version of the Martyrdom of Apphianos see also BHG 161. For a full discussion of Martyrs of Palestine, see E00294.


Like most entries in Eusebius' description of the martyrs of Palestine, this entry consists of a brief account of torture and death. It deviates, however, from the rest in that it contains description of a miracle, i.e. the miraculous recovery of the martyr's body, a motif which is not common for Eusebius. There is no suggestion in the text that the martyr's body had miraculous power as a relic, but it is still regarded as important enough to be recovered. Although there is no explicit reference to the martyr's commemoration, the record of his death by Eusebius might suggest that he was commemorated in Caesarea.


Editions and translations: Cureton, W. (ed.), History of the Martyrs in Palestine, by Eusebius, Bishop in Caesarea, Discovered in a Very Ancient Syriac Manuscript (London / Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate / Paris: C. Borrani, 1861). Lawlor, H.J., and Oulton, J.E.L. (trans.), The Ecclesiastical History and the Martyrs of Palestine. 2 vols (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1927-1928). Schwartz, E., Mommsen, T., and Winkelmann, F. (eds.), Eusebius Werke, Band 2, Teil 2 (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte NF 6/2; 2nd ed.; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1999). Further reading: Jones, A.H.M., Martindale, J.R., and Morris, J., The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Vol. 1: A.D. 260–395 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971). = PLRE I

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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