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E00339: A poem in Greek, ascribed to Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390), describes the family mausoleum of the Christian aristocrat Amphilochos, in Diokaisareia of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor), which consisted of an oratory dedicated to martyrs and an underground burial chamber. Written in Cappadocia; recorded in the 10th c. Greek Anthology.

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posted on 2015-03-12, 00:00 authored by CSLA Admin
Greek Anthology, Book 8 (Gregory of Nazianzus, Epigrams ), 118

Εἰς Λιβίαν τὴν γαμετὴν Ἀμφιλόχου

Εἷς δόμος, ἀλλ᾿ ὑπένερθε τάφος, καθύπερθε δὲ σηκός·
τύμβος δειμαμένοις, σηκὸς ἀεθλοφόροις·
καί ῥ᾿ οἱ μὲν γλυκερὴν ἤδη κόνιν ἀμφεβάλοντο
ὡς σὺ μάκαιρα δάμαρ Ἀμφιλόχου, Λιβίη,
κάλλιμέ θ᾿ υἱήων, Εὐφήμιε· τούσδ᾿ ὑπόδεχθε,
μάρτυρες ἀτρεκίης, τοὺς ἔτι λειπομένους.

'For Livia, wife of Amphilochos

One house, but beneath is a grave, above a temple: a tomb for its builders, a temple for the triumphant victors [= a chapel dedicated to martyrs]. Some of the builders have already put on sweet dust, like you, Livia, blessed wife of Amphilochos, and you, Euphemios, best of sons. Martyrs of Truth, welcome the rest of them!'

Text and Translation: Paton 1916-1918; translation modified.


Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Nazianzos Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Nazianzus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Women Aristocrats


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 8 consists entirely of epigrams by Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 329-390). Since most of them are sepulchral, they were included as an appendix to Book 7, which contains sepulchral epigrams from the Classical period. Gregory was born in c. 330 to a wealthy Christian family in Cappadocia. He was educated at Nazianzos, Kaisareia/Caesarea, Athens, and Alexandria, and in 361 he returned to Nazianzos where he was ordained priest by his father, Gregory the Elder, who was bishop of Nazianzos. He was ordained bishop of Sasima in Cappadocia by Basil of Caesarea in 372, but stayed in Nazianzos, administering the local community after the death of his father. After retreating as a monk in Isauria for some years, he moved to Constantinople in 379, in order to lead the struggle for the return of the city to Nicene Orthodoxy. Two years later, the Arians were ousted by the emperor Theodosius I, and Gregory became bishop of Constantinople. In 381, he convened the Council of Constantinople, at the end of which he resigned his throne and retired to Cappadocia where he died in 390.


This is one of 33 sepulchral epigrams written for Amphilochos of Diokaisareia, his wife, Livia, and his two young sons Euphemios and Amphilochos the younger (the later bishop Amphilochios of Iconium). Amphilochos (or Amphilochios), a wealthy landowner, fellow student of Libanius, and teacher of rhetoric, was Gregory's uncle (Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire I , 'Amphilochius 2' and 'Amphilochius 4'). The family lived at the town of Diokaisareia/Diocaesarea of Cappadocia near Nazianzos. This poem describes the family mausoleum which, at that time contained only the burials of Livia and Euphemios - Euphemios died at the age of 20 while still studying rhetoric. Gregory describes the mausoleum as a chapel dedicated to martyrs, with a burial chamber housing the tombs of its builders. It is unknown if Gregory's poems were intended to be inscribed in some form on the mausoleum. Epigram 129 in the same collection suggests that the building was located in the countryside, probably in a private estate of Amphilochos. The place was named Euphemias, in memory of young Euphemios.


Edition and Translation: Paton, W.R., The Greek Anthology. 5 vols. (Loeb Classical Library; London, New York: Heinemann/Putnam's, 1916-1918). 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). [With updated bibliography] 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). Further reading on the poetry of Gregory of Nazianzus: Duval, Y. Auprès des saints corps et âme. L’inhumation « ad sanctos » dans la chrétienté d’Orient et d’Occident du IIIe au VIIe siècle. Paris : Etudes Augistiniennes, 1988, 69-73. Simelidis, C., Selected Poems of Gregory of Nazianzus (Hypomnemata. Untersuchungen zur Antike und ihrem Nachleben; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009). Vertoudakis, B.P., Το όγδοο βιβλίο της Παλατινής Ανθολογίας. Μία μελέτη των επιγραμμάτων του Γρηγορίου Ναζιανζηνού (Athens: Kardamitsa).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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