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E03575: Coptic fragments of the Martyrdom of *Theodore the Easterner (possibly the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita, S00480) of unknown Egyptian provenance, relating his influence over the war between Rome and Persia, his torture and death, written most likely in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2017-08-18, 00:00 authored by gschenke
When Nikomedes was fighting with the Persian army against the Romans, they called out to the Persians that Theodore the Easterner was about to kill them. As soon as the Persians heard that name, they fled and Nikomedes was captured.

Till, KHML 2, p. 144, column 1, lines 2–10:

[ⲛⲧⲉ]ⲣⲟⲩⲥ⳨ⲟⲩ ⲙ[ⲡϩⲁⲅⲓ]ⲟⲥ ⲑⲉⲟⲇⲱⲣ[ⲟⲥ ⲡⲁ]ⲛⲁⲧⲟⲗⲉⲩⲥ ⲉⲡ[ⲉϣⲟⲩⲉⲃⲉ ⲁⲩⲛ[ⲟϭ] ⲛⲗⲩⲡⲏ ⲥⲱⲣ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲛ[ⲧ]ⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ
ⲙⲡ[ⲉϩⲟ]ⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲙⲙⲁⲩ

‘After saint Theodore the Easterner was crucified on a persea tree, a great sadness spread throughout the city of the kingdom on that day.’

(Text: W. C. Till, KHML 2, 143–145; summary and trans. G. Schenke)

A papyrus leaf at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, ed. Elanskaya, mentions a companion of Theodore, *Leontios, the Arab (ⲗⲉⲟⲛⲧⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲁⲃⲉⲩⲥ), attacking the leader of the Persian army, cutting off his right arm holding the sword. Theodore then asks him to bring that leader of the Persian to Antioch before the emperor Diocletian.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Theodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita : S00480 Leontios, martyr in Nicomedia : S00953 Leontios, martyr of Tripolis (Phoenicia) : S00216

Saint Name in Source

ⲑⲉⲟⲇⲱⲣ[ⲟⲥ ⲡⲁ]ⲛⲁⲧⲟⲗⲉⲩⲥ ⲗⲉⲟⲛⲧⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲁⲃⲉⲩⲥ ⲗⲉⲟⲛⲧⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲁⲣⲁⲃⲉⲩⲥ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

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

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous interventions in war


Six pages of a former parchment codex preserve parts of the story of Theodore the Easterner. The fragments belong to collections in Naples/Rome (Z 148, pages 37–40) and Vienna (K 9398 and K 2853, both lacking page numbers). Layout and script suggest a date of manufacture somewhere in the 9th–11th century. A papyrus leaf at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, I.1.b.308 (5405, Copt. 50), presumably from Edfu, and datable on palaeographical grounds to the 10th/11th century.


Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. 2 vols. (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1935-36), vol. 1, 200–202; vol. 2, 143-145. Text and English translation of the papyrus fragment in Moscow: Elanskaya, A.I., The Literary Coptic Manuscripts in the A. S. Pushkin State Fine Arts Museum in Moscow (Leiden, 1994), 115–119.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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