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E05669: John Malalas in his Chronographia mentions the martyrdom of *Ignatios (bishop of Antioch, S00649), Five Female Martyrs (S02138), and *Drosis (martyr of Antioch, S01189) under Trajan (r. 98-117). Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria) or Constantinople, in the mid-6th c.

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posted on 2018-06-07, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Malalas, Chronographia, 11.10

Ἐμαρτύρησε δὲ ἐπὶ αὐτοῦ τότε ὁ ἅγιος Ἰγνάτιος ὁ ἐπίσκοπος τῆς πόλεως Ἀντιοχείας· ἠγανάκτησε γὰρ κατ’ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἐλοιδόρει αὐτόν. συνέσχεν δὲ τότε καὶ πέντε ὀνόματα χριστιανῶν γυναικῶν Ἀντιοχισσῶν καὶ ἐξέτασεν αὐτὰς λέγων· ‘τίς ἐστιν ἡ ἐλπὶς ὑμῶν, ὅτι οὕτως ἐκδίδοτε ἑαυτὰς εἰς θάνατον;’ αἱ δὲ ἀπεκρίθησαν λέγουσαι, ὅτι· ‘φονευομένας ἡμᾶς παρ’ ὑμῶν ἀνίστασθαι ἡμᾶς πάλιν ὡς ἔχομεν σώματι εἰς αἰωνίαν ζωήν.’ καὶ ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὰς πυρικαύστους γενέσθαι καὶ τὸν χοῦν τῶν ὀστέων αὐτῶν συνέμιξε χαλκῷ καὶ ἐποίησε τὸν χαλκὸν εἰς ὃ ἐποίησε δημόσιον χαλκία τοῦ θερμοῦ. καὶ ὅτε ἤρξατο παρέχειν τὸ δημόσιον, εἴ τις ἐὰν ἐλούετο εἰς αὐτὸ τὸ δημόσιον, ἐσκοτοῦτο καὶ ἔπιπτεν καὶ ἐξήρχετο βασταγμῷ. καὶ μαθὼν ὁ βασιλεὺς Τραϊανὸς τοῦτο, ἤλλαξε τὰ αὐτὰ χαλκία καὶ ἐποίησεν ἄλλα ἀπὸ καθαροῦ χαλκοῦ, λέγων ὅτι· ‘οὐ καλῶς ἐποίησα χοῦν σωμάτων συμμίξας αὐτοῖς καὶ κοινώσας τὰ θερμὰ ὕδατα.’ ταῦτα δὲ ἔλεγεν, ἐπειδὴ οἱ χριστιανοὶ ὑπώξιζον τοῖς Ἕλλησι καυχώμενοι. τὰ δὲ πρῶτα χαλκία ἀναχωνεύσας ἐποίησε στήλας χαλκᾶς πέντε ταῖς αὐταῖς γυναιξί, λέγων ὅτι· ‘ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ αὐτὰς ἀνέστησα καθὼς εἶπον καὶ οὐχὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτῶν.’ αἵτινες στῆλαι εἰς αὐτὸ τὸ δημόσιον λουτρὸν ἵστανται ἕως ἄρτι. ἐποίησε δὲ καὶ κάμινον πυρός, καὶ ἐκέλευσε τοὺς βουλομένους χριστιανοὺς βάλλειν ἑαυτοὺς ἐν προθέσει. καὶ πολλοὶ ἔβαλλον ἑαυτοὺς καὶ ἐμαρτύρησαν. ἐμαρτύρησε δὲ τότε ἡ ἁγία Δροσινὴ καὶ ἄλλαι παρθένοι πολλαί.

’11. 10. Saint Ignatios, the bishop of the city of Antioch, was martyred then during Trajan's visit, for he incurred the emperor's anger through abusing him.

At that time Trajan also arrested five persons, Christian women of Antioch, and interrogated them, saying, "What is your hope, that you give yourselves up to death like this?" In reply they said, "When we are killed by you, we shall rise again in the body, as we are, to eternal life". He ordered them to be burned and he mixed the ashes from their bones with bronze, and from this metal he made hot water vessels in the public bath that he had constructed. When the bath came into use, anyone who went to bathe in the bath became dizzy and fell down and had to be carried out. When the emperor Trajan learned this he replaced those bronze vessels and made others of pure bronze, saying, "It was not right of me to mix in the ashes from their bodies and to pollute the hot water". He said this since the Christians had become strident in boasting against the Hellenes. He melted down the original bronze vessels and made five bronze statues of the women, saying, "Look, it is I who have resurrected them as they said, and not their god". These statues are standing at that public bath to the present. He also made a fiery furnace and ordered any Christian who wished to throw himself into it deliberately. Many threw themselves in and became martyrs. It was at this time that Saint Drosine and many other virgins were martyred.’

Text: Thurn 2000. Translation Jeffreys, Jeffreys, and Scott 1986.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Ignatios, bishop of Antioch and martyr of Rome : S00649 Drosis, daughter of Hadrian, martyred with female companion Junia : S01189 Five Female Martyrs in Antioch, ob. 98-117 : S02138

Saint Name in Source

Ἰγνάτιος Δροσινὴ

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

Syria with Phoenicia Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Malalas

Cult activities - Places

Place of martyrdom of a saint

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Descriptions of images of saints

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous behaviour of relics/images Punishing miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Monarchs and their family Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - corporeal ashes/dust


The Chronographia of John Malalas (c. 490–c. 570) is a Christian chronicle of universal history, from Adam to the death of Justinian I (565). It appears to have been composed in two parts, the earlier of which focuses on the history of Antioch and the East, ending in c. 528 or 532. The second part focuses on the urban history of Constantinople up to the death of Justinian. Malalas is likely to have pursued a career in the imperial administration at both Antioch and Constantinople, writing the two parts of his chronicle while living in these two cities. Malalas was widely used as a source by Byzantine chroniclers and historians, including John of Ephesus, John of Antioch, Evagrius Scholasticus, the Paschal Chronicle, John of Nikiu, John of Damascus, Theophanes, George the Monk, pseudo-Symeon, Kedrenos, Zonaras, Theodore Skoutariotes, and Nikephoros Kallistou Xanthopoulos. The text of the chronicle is preserved in a very fragmentary form, based on quotations in other sources (notably the Paschal Chronicle and Theophanes), and on a Slavonic translation which follows a more extensive version of the original text. It is believed that we now have about 90% of the text. On the composition and manuscript tradition of the text, see Thurn 2000, and:


Malalas places the account of the martyrs Ignatios and Drosine under Trajan, immediately after an account of the emperor’s buildings in Antioch, thus integrating their stories into the civic memory and topography of his native city. The story of the five virgins seems to be a legend offering a Christian interpretation for an urban monument consisting of five bronze statues adorning the baths of the city. It is unknown whether these stories rendered this bath house a site of special Christian veneration.


Text: Dindorf, L., Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae; Bonn, 1831). Thurn, J., Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 35; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000). Translation: Jeffreys, E., Jeffreys, M., and Scott, R., The Chronicle of John Malalas: A Translation (Sydney, 1986). On Malalas: Carrara, L., Meier, M., and Radtki-Jansen, C. (eds.), Die Weltchronik des Johannes Malalas. Quellenfragen (Malalas-Studien 2; Göttingen: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2017). Jeffreys, E., Croke, B., and Scott, R. (eds.), Studies in John Malalas (Sydney, 1990). Meier, M., Radtki-Jansen, C., and Schulz, F. (eds.), Die Weltchronik des Johannes Malalas: Autor, Werk, Überlieferung (Malalas-Studien 1; Göttingen: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016). Treadgold, W.T. The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 235-256.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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