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E04511: Procopius of Caesarea, in his On Buildings, reports that the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) built an aqueduct named after *Eugenios (martyr of Trapezous, S02275), in the Black Sea city of Trapezous (north-east Asia Minor). Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the 550s.

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posted on 2017-12-21, 00:00 authored by erizos
Procopius, On Buildings, 3.7.1

Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἐν Τζάνοις Ἰουστινιανῷ βασιλεῖ εἴργασται. ἐν δὲ δὴ τῇ μετ’ αὐτοὺς χώρᾳ, ἣ παρὰ τὸν Εὔξεινον οἰκεῖται Πόντον, πόλις ἐστί που, Τραπεζοῦς ὄνομα· οὗ δὴ ἀπορίας ὑδάτων οὔσης, ὀχετὸν ἐτεκτήνατο Ἰουστινιανὸς βασιλεὺς ὅνπερ Εὐγενίου καλοῦσι μάρτυρος, ταύτῃ τε τὴν ἀπορίαν τοῖς τῇδε ᾠκημένοις διέλυσεν.

'These things, then, were done by the Emperor Justinian in Tzanica. In the land beyond this which lies along the Euxine Sea there is a city named Trapezus and since there was a scarcity of water in that city, the Emperor Justinian built an aqueduct (ochetos) which they call the Aqueduct of Eugenios the martyr, and thus he put an end to the scarcity for the inhabitants of this place.'

Text: Haury 1913. Translation: Dewing 1940, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Eugenios, martyr of Trapezous : S02275

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 - Places Named after Saint

  • Other

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 is the earliest evidence to the cult of Eugenios in Trapezous, from which it may be presumed that the saint already had a shrine in the city (Bryer and Winfield 1985, 223); it is possible that the aqueduct was so called because it was located near this church, which traditionally is identified with the present-day mosque of Yeni Cuma (Bryer and Winfield 1985, 224). There are remains of several aqueducts in Trabzon, but it is uncertain if any of them is the one built by Justinian. Note: the extant version of the Greek Martyrdom of Eugenios dates from the 9th-10th c., but there is an Armenian short Martyrdom of Eugenios of uncertain date, believed to be a translation of a lost Greek Martyrdom composed in the 6th-9th c., which we have not been able to examine: see Martin-Hisard, B. (ed.), "Les textes anonymes grec et arménien de la Passion d'Eugène, Valérien, Canidios et Akylas de Trébizonde," Revue des études armeniennes, n.s. 15 (1981), 115-185.


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: Bryer, A., and Winfield, D., The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontus (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Publications Office, 1985). 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. Martin-Hisard, B., "Trébizonde et le culte de Saint Eugène (6e–11e s.)," Revue des Études Arméniennes, 14 (1980), 307-343.

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