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E02287: Sozomen, in his Ecclesiastical History, reports that in 362/3, after the destruction of the pagan shrine of Daphne near Antioch, the emperor Julian ordered the destruction of shrines of *unnamed martyrs built near the temple of Apollo at Didyma (western Asia Minor). Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/450.

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posted on 2017-01-27, 00:00 authored by erizos
Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 5.20. 7

On the context of this passage see E02274:

... ὡς οἶμαι δὲ ἐκ τῶν συμβάντων ἐν Δάφνῃ διὰ τὸν μάρτυρα Βαβύλαν, πυθόμενος ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐπὶ τιμῇ μαρτύρων εὐκτηρίους οἴκους εἶναι πλησίον τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ Διδυμαίου Ἀπόλλωνος, ὃς πρὸ τῆς Μιλήτου ἐστίν, ἔγραψε τῷ ἡγεμόνι Καρίας, εἰ μὲν ὄροφόν τε καὶ τράπεζαν ἱερὰν ἔχουσι, πυρὶ καταφλέξαι, εἰ δὲ ἡμίεργά ἐστι τὰ οἰκοδομήματα, ἐκ βάθρων ἀνασκάψαι.

'... In my opinion, it was due to the things that happened at Daphne, on account of the martyr Babylas, that the emperor, when hearing that there were prayer houses honouring martyrs near the temple of Apollo at Didyma, which is near Miletus, wrote to the governor of Caria ordering that these be burned down, if they had a roof and holy table, or razed from the foundations, if their structures were unfinished.’

Text: Bidez and Hansen 1995. Translation: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • 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


Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Destruction/desecration of saint's shrine

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Pagans Monarchs and their family


Salamenios Hermeias Sozomenos (known in English as Sozomen) was born in the early 5th c. to a wealthy Christian family, perhaps of Arab origins, in the village of Bethelea near Gaza. He was educated at a local monastic school, studied law probably at Beirut, and settled in Constantinople where he pursued a career as a lawyer. Sozomen published his Ecclesiastical History between 439 and 450, perhaps around 445. It consists of nine books, the last of which is incomplete. In his dedication of the work, Sozomen states that he intended to cover the period from the conversion of Constantine to the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius II, that is, 312 to 439, but the narrative of the extant text breaks in about 425. The basis of Sozomen’s work is the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates, published a few years earlier, which our author revises and expands. Like Socrates, Sozomen was devoted to Nicene Orthodoxy and the Theodosian dynasty, but his work is marked by stronger hagiographical interests, a richer base of sources, and different sympathies/loyalties. Sozomen probably lacked the classical education of Socrates, but had a broader knowledge of hagiographical and monastic literature and traditions, which makes him a fuller source for the cult of saints. Besides Greek and Latin, Sozomen knew Aramaic, which allowed him to include information about ascetic communities, monastic founders, and martyrs from his native Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia, to which Socrates had had no access. Much like the other ecclesiastical historians of the fourth and fifth centuries, Sozomen focuses on the East Roman Empire, only seldom referring to the West and Persia.


Text: Bidez, J., and Hansen, G. C., Sozomenus. Kirchengeschichte. 2nd rev. ed. (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte, Neue Folge 4; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995). Translations: Grillet, B., Sabbah, G., Festugière A.-J. Sozomène, Histoire ecclésiastique. 4 vols. (Sources chrétiennes 306, 418, 495, 516; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1983-2008): text, French translation, and introduction. Hansen, G.C. Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica, Kirchengeschichte, 4 vols. (Fontes Christiani 73; Turnhout: Brepols, 2004): text, German translation, and introduction. Hartranft, C.D. “The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Comprising a History of the Church from AD 323 to AD 425." In A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church: Second Series, edited by P. Schaff and H. Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 179-427. Further reading: Chesnut, G. F. The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius (Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986). Leppin, H. Von Constantin dem Grossen zu Theodosius II. Das christliche Kaisertum bei den Kirchenhistorikern Socrates, Sozomenus und Theodoret (Hypomnemata 110; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996). Teitler, H.C. “Ammianus, Libanius, Chrysostomus, and the Martyrs of Antioch,” Vigiliae Christianae 67 (2013), 263-88. Teitler, H.C. The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). Van Nuffelen, P., Un héritage de paix et de piété : Étude sur les histoires ecclésiastiques de Socrate et de Sozomène (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 142; Leuven: Peeters, 2004).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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