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E00556: Greek epigram, probably from an inscription, commemorating the dedication by a certain Agathonike of an akoubiton (dining couch) to *Trophimos (soldier and martyr of Nicomedia, S00393) in a place called Baē, possibly in Constantinople. Recorded in the 10th c. Greek Anthology.

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posted on 2015-05-27, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Greek Anthology, Book 1 (Christian Epigrams), 18

Εἰς ἀκούβιτον, εἰς Βαήν

Τῆς ἀγαθῆς ἀγαθὸς μὲν ἐγὼ κύκλος Ἀγαθονίκης

ἄνθετο δ᾽ ἀχράντῳ μάρτυρί με Τροφίμῳ.

'On a dining couch in Baē

I am the good circle of good Agathonikē . . . and she dedicated me to the immaculate martyr Trophimos.'

Text and translation: Paton and Tueller 2014.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Trophimos, soldier martyr in Nikomedeia, ob. 303-305 : S00393

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Literary - Poems


  • 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 Named after Saint

  • Other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

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 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.


According to its title, this epigram was inscribed on an ἀκούβιτον (accubitum), namely a semi-circular dining couch – or, much likelier, an apsidal dining room. The dedicant, Agathonikē, is apparently an aristocratic lady, otherwise unidentified, who seems to have dedicated to the martyr Trophimos a room in her house. The locality of Baē is also unknown – it is very probably the miscopied name of a locality in Constantinople. This is an interesting attestation of the cult of saints apparently in a non-cultic, domestic context. It is uncertain if Trophimos is to be identified as the soldier martyr of Nikomedeia, who is associated in hagiography with *Eukarpiōn (S00392). Their names are evocative of bounty and prosperity (they can be freely translated as the 'nourisher' and the 'fruitful'). Thus the invocation of Trophimos in a dining hall may not be fortuitous.


Edition and Translation: 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). 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).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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