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E04393: Procopius of Caesarea, in his On Buildings, reports that the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) built the church of *Anthimos (bishop and martyr of Nicomedia, S00124) on the shore of the Golden Horn, across from the district of Blachernae at Constantinople. Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the 550s.

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posted on 2017-11-21, 00:00 authored by julia
Procopius, On Buildings, 1.6.9-11

9 Τοῦ δὲ κόλπου ἐπὶ θάτερα μαρτύριον οἰκοδομησάμενος βασιλεὺς οὐ πρότερον ὂν ἀνέθηκεν Ἀνθίμῳ μάρτυρι παρ’ αὐτὴν μάλιστα τὴν τοῦ κόλπου ἠϊόνα. 10 καὶ τὰ μὲν κράσπεδα τοῦ ἱεροῦ πραϋνομένῃ ἐπικλυζόμενα τῇ τῆς θαλάσσης ἐπιρροῇ τὸ εὔχαρι ἐπιεικῶς ἔχει. 11 οὐ γὰρ ξὺν θορύβῳ τὸ κλυδώνιον ἐπανεστηκὸς εἶτα εἰς τοὺς ἐκείνῃ λίθους ἀράσσεται, οὐδὲ μεγάλα τὸ κῦμα ἠχῆσαν, οἷά γε τὰ θαλάττια, καὶ σχιζόμενον ἀποκρίνεται εἰς εἶδος ἀφρῶδες, ἀλλὰ πρόεισι μὲν προσηνές, σιωπηλὸν δὲ ὂν ἐπιψαύει τῆς γῆς, ἀναστρέφει δὲ μόνον.

'9 Across the bay the Emperor built a martyr's shrine (martyrion) which had not existed before, by the very strand of the bay, and dedicated it to the martyr Anthimos. 10 The foundations of the shrine (hieron) are washed by the caressing flow of the sea in an altogether charming manner. 11 For the incoming waves do not rise up with a roar and break on the stones there, nor do the breakers thunder aloud like those of the sea and divide and break up in a foaming mass, but the water comes forward gently, and silently touches the land and then quietly draws back.'

A description of the building then follows (§§ 12-14).

Text: Haury 1913. Translation: Dewing 1940.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anthimos, bishop and martyr of Nicomedia : S00124

Saint Name in Source


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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family


Procopius 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: Book 1. Constantinople and its suburbs Book 2. Frontier provinces of Mesopotamia and Syria. Book 3. Armenia, Tzanica, and the shores of the Black Sea. Book 4. Illyricum and Thrace (the Balkans). Book 5. Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine. Book 6. North Africa, from Alexandria to central Algeria.


This church was located on the shore of the Golden Horn, in the suburban district of Constantinople called ta Pikridiou (modern Hasköy in Istanbul), across from the district of Blachernae. Procopius is the only source to mention the building of this church. It has not survived. Further reading: Janin 1969, 33.


Edition: 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). Further Reading: Downey, G.A., “The Composition of Procopius’ ‘De Aedificiis’," Transactions of the American Philological Association 78 (1947), 171-183. 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). 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).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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