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E05111: Coptic Martyrdom of *Viktor (son of Romanos, S00749), relates the saint’s conflict with his father Romanos at Antioch and his subsequent arrest and transportation to Alexandria, ordered and organised by Diocletian; written presumably during the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2018-02-21, 00:00 authored by gschenke
Brit. Mus. MS. Oriental, No. 7022, fol. 1a–11a

The martyrdom is introduced as follows:

Fol. 1a:
ⲧⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲓⲁ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲡⲉⲥⲧⲣⲁⲧⲏⲗⲁⲧⲏⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲓⲏⲩ ⲙⲡⲉⲭⲥ · ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡϥⲁⲓⲕⲗⲟⲙ ⲛⲁⲙⲉ · ⲛⲧⲁϥϫⲱⲕ ϫⲉ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲡⲉϥⲁⲅⲱⲛ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲓⲏⲩ · ⲛⲥⲟⲩ ϫⲟⲩⲧⲥⲁϣϥⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲃⲟⲧ ⲫⲁⲣⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ · ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲉⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ · ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲉϥⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲛⲁⲉⲓ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ {ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ} ⲉϫⲱⲛ ⲛⲧⲛⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲧⲏⲣⲛ ϩⲓ ⲟⲩⲥⲟⲡ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ :–

‘The martyrdom of saint Viktor, the general and revered martyr of Christ and the true crown bearer. He completed his glorious contest on day 27 of the month Pharmoute (22 April). In God’s peace. His holy blessing shall come down upon us and we shall be well all at once. Amen.’

The account begins with Diocletian and his edict at Antioch, the home of Viktor and his noble parents, the Roman army general Romanos and his wife Martha. Diocletian urges the sacrifice at the temple of Apollo, starting with members of the nobility, all the way down to the common citizens.

Basileides, a high ranking official at Antioch refused to sacrifice at the temple and was put to death.

Fol. 2a; Budge, p. 4, line 5–9:

ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲟⲣⲇⲓⲛⲟⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲡⲣⲟⲧⲉⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲧⲁϩⲟϥ · ⲉⲡⲉϥⲣⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ ⲃⲁⲥⲓⲗⲉⲓⲧⲏⲥ · ⲙⲡⲉϥⲑⲩⲥⲓⲁⲍⲉ ⲛⲛⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲣⲣⲟ · ⲁⲗⲗⲁ
ⲁⲇⲓⲟⲕⲗⲏϯⲁⲛⲟⲥ ⲙⲟⲟⲩⲧ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲁⲡⲉϥⲏⲓ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ·

‘When the turn of the protector came, whose name was Basileides, he did not sacrifice to the gods of the emperor. But Diocletian killed him together with all the people of his household.’

Soon it was the turn of the son of the general Romanos to sacrifice. Viktor, aged 19 was a pious Christian, devoted and humble, a Roman soldier who spend his time fasting and praying, refusing to wear high ranking clothes and adornments. When he refused to sacrifice, his father became very angry and brought the matter before the emperor. Viktor is immediately arrested, beaten and tortured. Diocletian forms the plan to banish Viktor to Alexandria, accompanied by four soldiers and a letter of instructions to Armenios, the comes of Alexandria. Armenios is instructed to put Viktor on trial and give him three chances to sacrifice, before burning him in the oven of the Roman bath should he refuse.

Viktor greets his mother and servants farewell, before being put onto a vessel and shipped to Alexandria where upon arrival he is put into prison.

(Text: E. A. W. Budge; summary and trans.: G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Viktor, son of Romanos, Egyptian martyr : S00749 Basileides, martyr at Antioch : S01897 John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲡⲉⲥⲧⲣⲁⲧⲏⲗⲁⲧⲏⲥ ⲃⲁⲥⲓⲗⲉⲓⲧⲏⲥ ⲓⲱ(ϩⲁⲛⲛⲏ)ⲥ ⲡⲃⲁⲡⲧⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom Literary - Colophons, marginalia etc.


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Edfu Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Relatives of the saint Monarchs and their family Soldiers Officials


The parchment manuscript BM Ms. Oriental No. 7022 is housed at the British Museum. According to the colophon, the codex dates to the year 951. Other martyr stories concerning Viktor and an encomion dedicated to him are included in the same parchment codex. The codex is composed of the following: 1. The martyrdom of saint Viktor 2. The second martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05112) 3. The third martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05113) 4. The fourth martyrdom of saint Viktor (E05114) 5. The Encomion on saint Viktor attributed to Celestinus, archbishop of Rome (E04643) 6. Colophon and date 7. Drawing of tamed lioness The colophon (fol. 59b) provides the date and purpose of the manuscript. It mentions the 13 April 951 as the date of production for the entire codex dedicated to Viktor. The codex was originally donated to the church of saint Merkurios at Tebo/Apollonos Ano/Edfou belonging to a monastery dedicated to the same saint. The donor of the book was a deacon named Pourot, who at the time of the colophon was deceased and expected to bring blessing onto the monastery together with all the saints. The scribe of the codex was a monk named Joseph, son of an archdeacon of the church of John the Baptist in Sne/Esna/Latopolis (Upper Egypt). He mentions Apa Abraham, the head of the monastery of Merkurios at Tebo/Apollonos Ano/Edfou and expresses hopes for his own salvation and the forgiveness of his sins, as well as for the salvation of all the monks associated with this monastery. ϩⲓⲧⲛ ⲇⲉ ⲥⲡⲟⲩⲇⲏ ⲙⲛ ⲧⲙⲛⲧϥⲁⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲙⲡⲑⲉⲟⲫⲓⲗⲉⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ ⲛⲇⲓⲁⲕⲟⲛⲟⲥ · ⲡⲟⲩⲣⲟⲧ · ⲁϥϥⲓ ⲡⲣⲟⲟⲩϣ ⲙⲡⲉⲓϫⲱⲱⲙⲉ · ⲁϥⲇⲱⲣⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲧⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲙⲉⲣⲕⲟⲩⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲃⲱ · ⲧⲁⲡⲟⲗⲗⲱⲛⲓⲁ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲧⲁⲥⲡⲉ ⲛⲁⲗⲉⲝⲁⲛⲇ(ⲣⲓⲛⲟⲥ) · ⲡϫⲥ ϩⲁⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲡⲱⲛϩ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲧⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣⲁ · ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲓⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲥⲟⲛ ⲉⲧⲧ(ⲁⲓⲏⲩ) ⲡⲟⲩⲣⲟⲧ · ⲛϥⲁⲁϥ ⲛⲙⲡϣⲁ ⲙⲧⲉⲩⲫⲣⲟⲥⲩⲛⲏ ⲛⲧⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ ⲛⲙⲡⲏⲩⲉ · ⲛϥϫⲟⲕϥ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲙ ⲡⲃⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲅⲅⲉⲗⲓⲕⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲁϥⲫⲟⲣⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ · ⲛⲑⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲛⲉⲓⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲣⲟⲡⲁⲧⲱⲣ ⲛⲧⲕⲟⲓⲛⲱⲛⲓⲁ ⲛϥⲙⲡⲉϥⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲉϫⲱⲛ · ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ϩⲁⲙⲏⲛ ‘Through zeal and the care of the most pious deacon Pourot, he took care of this book and donated it to the church of saint Merkurios at Tebo, i.e. Apollonia according to the Alexandrian language. May the Lord protect the life and salvation of the pious and honourable brother Pourot, and may he make him worthy of the happiness in the kingdom of the heavens, and may he make him complete through the angelic life which he has led, just as our forefathers in the community, and may he bring his blessing over us together with all the saints. Amen.’ (trans. G. Schenke)


The martyrdom account of Viktor is presented as four separate accounts, suffering trial and tortures under four different authorities (Diocletain, Armenios, Eutychianos, and Sebastianos) in four different locations (Antioch, Alexandria, (south of) Antinoopolis, and Hierakonpolis). Although the story continuous from one part to the next, the separate titles underline the importance of this far travelled martyr saint in accordance with evaluations of early church fathers, such as John Chrysostom, who claim that the status of the Apostles is higher than that of martyrs, because the latter only suffered in one place, while the former did so in multiple places; see E01925.


Text and translation: Budge, E.A.W., Coptic Martyrdoms etc. in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (Coptic Texts 4; London: British Museum, 1914), 1–19 (text) and 253–271 (trans.).

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