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E00547: Greek epigram, probably from a dedicatory inscription in the church, recording the dedication by the consul Stoudios of a basilica to *John the Baptist (00020) on his estate in Constantinople before 454. Recorded in the 10th c. Greek Anthology.

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posted on 2015-05-26, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Greek Anthology, Book 1 (Christian Epigrams), 4

Εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Προδρόμου ἐν τοῖς Στουδίου

Τοῦτον Ἰωάννῃ, Χριστοῦ μεγάλῳ θεράποντι,
Στούδιος ἀγλαὸν οἶκον ἐδείματο· καρπαλίμως δὲ
τῶν κάμεν εὕρετο μισθόν, ἑλὼν ὑπατηΐδα ῥάβδον.

'At the Church of the Forerunner in the quarter of Stoudios

Stoudios built this splendid house to John, the great servant of Christ, and quickly gained the reward for his work by obtaining the consular staff.'

Text and translation: Paton and Tueller 2014; translation adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Poems Literary


  • 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

Greek Anthology

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials 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 1 of the Greek Anthology contains Christian epigrams from Late Antiquity to the 9th century. It was compiled c. 880-900, containing a considerable number of poems copied directly from monuments. The scholar responsible for the transcriptions may have been Gregorios Magistros, a colleague of Kephalas. Epigrams 1-17 and possibly others were taken down from inscriptions at Constantinople and two of them, namely No. 1 (inscription from the bema arch of St. Sophia) and No. 10 (inscription from the church of St. Polyeuktos) have been found in situ, thus confirming the accuracy of the entries in the Anthology.


This epigram was originally inscribed in the basilica of John the Baptist founded in Constantinople by the patrician Stoudios (eastern consul in 454: Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire II, 'Studius 2'). Attached to the church was also a monastery, the community of which was drawn from the great monastery of the Akoimetoi (the ‘Sleepless Monks’) on the Bosphorus. The basilica, still standing, though in ruins (İmrahor İlyas Bey Camii), was built in the Psamathia (mod. Samatya) quarter of Constantinople, near the Golden Gate of the Theodosian Walls. The inscription suggests that the church was built before the election of Stoudios to the consulship in 454, which is presented as a reward granted by the Baptist to the founder of his church. Other sources ascribe the foundation to a slightly later period. The 6th century historian Theodore Lector ascribes the foundation of the Stoudios monastery to the time of Patriarch Gennadios (458-471) (Epitome 384) while the early 9th century Chronicle of Theophanes ascribes it to AD 462 (AM 5955). It is possible that the building was started before the consulship of Stoudios and was dedicated later. The Stoudios Monastery became one of the major monastic centres of the Byzantine capital and a centre of learning through to the end of the empire. Further reading: Janin 1964, 431; Janin 1969, 430-440; Mango 1978; Müller-Wiener 1977, 147-152.


Edition and Translation: Paton, W.R., revised Tueller, M.A., The Greek Anthology, Books 1-5, 2nd ed. (Loeb Classical Library; London, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2014). 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 basilica: Janin, R., Constantinople Byzantine - développement urbain et répertoire topographique. Vol. 4A (Archives de l'Orient chrétien; 2 ed.; Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines 1964). Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. (2nd ed.; Paris, 1969). Mango, C., "The date of the Studios Basilica at Istanbul," Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 4 (1978), 115-122. Müller-Wiener, W., Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls (Tübingen: Ernst Wasmuth, 1977), 147-152.

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