Saint NameAkakios, martyr of Byzantion : S00468
Saint Name in SourceἈκάκιος
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before550
Evidence not after561
Activity not before306
Activity not after561
Place of Evidence - RegionConstantinople and region
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcConstantinople
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Constantinople
Major author/Major anonymous workProcopius
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsSaint as patron - of a community
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesMonarchs and their family
SourceProcopius of Caesarea, (c. 500 – c. 560/561 AD) was a soldier and historian from the Roman province of Palaestina Prima. He accompanied the Roman general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian (527-565). He wrote the Wars (or Histories), On Buildings and the Secret History.
On Buildings is a panegyric in six books. It lists, and sometimes describes, the buildings erected or renovated by the emperor Justinian throughout the empire (only on Italy is there no information). The bulk of these are churches and shrines dedicated to various saints; the Buildings is therefore a very important text for the evidence it provides of the spread of saintly cults by the mid 6th c.
On Buildings dates from the early 550s to c. 560/561; a terminus post quem is 550/551 as the text mentions the capture of Topirus in Thrace by the Slavs in 550 and describes the city walls of Chalkis in Syria built in 550/551; a probable terminus ante quem is 558 when the dome of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople collapsed, which is not mentioned in the book; or before 560 when the bridge on the river Sangarius was completed, as Procopius reports on the start of works. On Buildings thus belongs to the later years of Justinian’s reign. The work is not finished and is probably Procopius’ last work. It glorifies Justinian, depicting him as a great builder and an emperor restlessly transforming the state, expanding and reforming it, destroying paganism, extirpating heresy, and re-establishing the firm foundations of the Christian faith (Elsner 2007: 35).
More on the text: Downey 1947; Elsner 2007; Greatrex 1994 and 2013.
Overview of the text:
Constantinople and its suburbs
Frontier provinces of Mesopotamia and Syria.
Armenia, Tzanica, and the shores of the Black Sea.
Illyricum and Thrace (the Balkans).
Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine.
North Africa, from Alexandria to central Algeria.
DiscussionRevered as one of the earliest churches of Constantinople, the basilica of Akakios was believed to have been built under Constantine the Great between the founding of Constantinople in 324 and his death in 337. Its renovation by Justinian is also recorded in the Patria of Constantinople (3.1; 3.18; 4.1). Its antiquity was suggested by its basilical architectural plan which was reportedly similar to that of the Constantinian churches of old Saint Sophia and *Agathonikos (S01628; Patria 4.1). A Constantinian date is likely, since the shrine certainly existed by the 350s when bishop Macedonius had the Constantine's sarcophagus temporarily transferred there (E04004). The basilica of Akakios was associated with the burials of early bishops of Byzantium/Constantinople (Metrophanes [304-314] and Alexander I [314-326]), and may indeed have been part of an ancient, perhaps pre-Constantinian, Christian cemetery (E00569). The early fifth-century Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae records it as the main church of the Tenth Region of Constantinople (E###).
The shrine has not survived but it is known to have stood in the district of Staurion, near one of the ports of the Golden Horn (not on the Marmara Sea, as Janin and earlier scholars believed). The area is mentioned in the Byzantine sources also as Heptaskalon ('Seven Docks'), and must have been between the modern quarters of Unkapani and Fener.
Downey 1951, 57, 74, n. 58 (for the sources); Janin 1950, 221; Janin 1969, 14-15; Berger 1988, 464-468.
Haury, J., Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia, vol. 4: Περι κτισματων libri VI sive de aedificiis (Leipzig: Teubner, 1962-64).
Translations and Commentaries:
Compagnoni, G.R., Procopio di Cesarea, Degli Edifici. Traduzione dal greco di G. Compagnoni (Milan: Tipi di Francesco Sonzogno, 1828).
Dewing, H.B., Procopius, On Buildings. Translated into English by H.B. Dewing, vol. 7 (London: William Heinemann, New York: Macmillan, 1940).
Grotowski, P.Ł., Prokopiusz z Cezarei, O Budowlach. Przełożył, wstępem, objaśnieniami i komentarzem opatrzył P.Ł. Grotowski (Warsaw: Proszynski i S-ka, 2006).
Roques, D., Procope de Césarée. Constructions de Justinien Ier. Introduction, traduction, commentaire, cartes et index par D. Roques (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2011).
Veh, O., and Pülhorn, W. (eds.), Procopii opera. De Aedificiis. With a Commentary by W. Pülhorn (Munich: Heimeran, 1977).
Berger, A. Untersuchungen zu den Patria Konstantinupoleos (Poikila Byzantina 8; Bonn, 1988).
Downey, G.A., “The Composition of Procopius’ ‘De Aedificiis’," Transactions of the American Philological Association 78 (1947), 171-183.
Downey, G., “The Builder of the Original Church of the Apostles at Constantinople: A Contribution to the Criticism of the “Vita Constantini” attributed to Eusebius,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 6 (1951).
Elsner, J., “The Rhetoric of Buildings in De Aedificiis of Procopius”, in: L. James (ed.), Art and Text in Byzantine Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 33-57.
Greatrex, G., “The Dates of Procopius’ Works,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 18 (1994), 101-14.
Greatrex, G., “The Date of Procopius Buildings in the Light of Recent Scholarship,” Estudios bizantinos 1 (2013), 13-29.
Janin, R., Constantinople byzantine: développement urbain et répertoire topographique (Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines, 1950).
Janin, R. La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin I 3: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969).
Krautheimer, R., Three Christian Capitals: Topography and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983).
Mango, C., "Constantine's Mausoleum and the Translation of Relics," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 83 (1990), 151-162.
Mango, C., Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot: Variorum, 1997 [repr. of 1993]).
Van Millingen, A., Byzantine Churches in Constantinople: Their History and Architecture (London: Macmillan, 1912).
Woods, D., “The church of “St” Acacius in Constantinople,” Vigiliae Christianae 55:2 (2001), 201-207.