File(s) not publicly available

E04422: Procopius of Caesarea, in his On Buildings, reports that the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) built both the cathedral and the church of *Bartholomew (the Apostle, S00256) in the city of Dara in Mesopotamia. Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the 550s.

online resource
posted on 2017-12-04, 00:00 authored by julia, dlambert
Procopius, On Buildings, 2.3.26

ἀλλὰ καὶ ἱερὰ πεποίηται δύο, τήν τε μεγάλην ἐκκλησίαν καλουμένην καὶ τὸν τοῦ ἀποστόλου Βαρθολομαίου νεών.

'Furthermore, he constructed two shrines (hiera), both the Great Church (ekklesia), as it is called, and the Church (neōs) of the Apostle Bartholomew.'

Text: Haury 1913. Translation: Dewing 1940.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Bartholomew, the Apostle : S00256

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)



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.


The information given by Procopius that it was the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) who built the Great Church and the church of Bartholomew contradicts that found in other sources of the early 6th c. which credit this to the emperor Anastasius I (r. 491-518), the builder of the city of Dara which henceforth was named Anastasiopolis. Theodore Lector (Hist. eccl. 2.57) leaves no doubt it was Anastasius (E###), whereas Pseudo-Zachariah of Mytilene (Hist. eccl. 7.6) and John Malalas (Chronogr. 16.10) say that Anastasios ordered the building of the city walls, porticoes, churches, granaries and cisterns in Dara. Michael Whitby (1986, 769), however, does not exclude Justinian's participation in finishing the work on both the churches. The remains of the two churches have been tentatively identified at the site of Dara (see Keser Kayaalp, Erdogan, and Palmer 2017, 156-160). Procopius mentions the church of Bartholomew again in On Buildings 2.2.1. It is not known whether the Great Church was dedicated to any saint.


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: Croke, B. and Crow J., "Procopius and Dara," Journal of Roman Studies 73 (1983), 143-159. 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. Keser Kayaalp, E., Erdoğan, N., and Palmer, A., "Recent Research on Dara/Anastasiopolis," in E. Rizos (ed.), New Cities in Late Antiquity: Documents and Archaeology (Bibliothèque de l’Antiquité Tardive 35; Turnhout, 2017), 153-175. Whitby, M., "Procopius' Description of Dara (Buildings II, 1-3)", in: P. Freeman and D. Kennedy (eds.), The Defence of the Roman and Byzantine East: Proceedings of a Colloquium Held at the University of Sheffield in April 1986, vol. 2 (Oxford: British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, 1986), 737–83.

Usage metrics