Saint NameNeilos, ascetic in Sinai, ob. c. 430 : S00405
Saint Name in SourceΝεῖλος
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Poems
Evidence not before430
Evidence not after500
Activity not before430
Activity not after500
Place of Evidence - RegionConstantinople and region
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Constantinople
Major author/Major anonymous workGreek Anthology
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsComposing and translating saint-related texts
SourceThe 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.
DiscussionAlthough not named, the author of the text is probably Kyros (Cyrus) of Panopolis, who held a series of high offices (Urban Prefect of Constantinople, Praetorian Prefect, and Consul) under Theodosius II (Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire II, 'Cyrus 7'). Cyrus was famous as a learned man and poet. Epigram 99, which precedes this one in the Greek Anthology and refers to *Daniel the Stylite (see E00566), is ascribed to Kyros. It is likely to have been part of a hagiographic text or a book containing the works of Neilos.
BibliographyEdition 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).
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).