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E05733: John Malalas in his Chronographia, within his account of naval confrontations between the emperor Anastasius and the rebellious general Vitalian in 515, mentions the shrines of *Thekla (martyr and companion of Paul, S00092) at Sykai, *Mamas (martyr of Kaisareia/Caesarea, S00436), and *Michael (the Archangel, S00181) at Sosthenion; all on the European shores of the Bosphorus, close to Constantinople. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria) or Constantinople, in the mid-6th c.

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posted on 2018-06-15, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Malalas, Chronographia, 16.16

καὶ ἦλθεν πραιδεύων πάλιν πᾶσαν τὴν Θρᾴκην καὶ τὴν Εὐρώπην, ἕως οὗ ἦλθεν ἐν Συκαῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀνάπλουν πέραν Κωνσταντινουπόλεως βουλόμενος καὶ αὐτὴν Κωνσταντινούπολιν λαβεῖν. καὶ ἐκάθητο ἐν τῷ Ἀνάπλῳ ἐπὶ τὸ λεγόμενον Σωσθένιν ἐν τῷ εὐκτηρίῳ τοῦ ἀρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ. [……]

καὶ ὥρμησεν εἰς τὸ πέραν κατὰ Βιταλιανοῦ καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων αὐτοῦ. καὶ κατήντησαν καὶ τὰ πλοῖα Βιταλιανοῦ, καὶ ηὑρέθησαν ἔγγιστα ἀλλήλων κατέναντι τῆς ἁγίας Θέκλης τῆς ἐν Συκαῖς εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦ ῥεύματος, ὅπου λέγεται τὸ Βυθάριν. καὶ γίνεται ἐκεῖ ἡ ναυμαχία ὥραν τρίτην τῆς ἡμέρας· καὶ ἀνήφθησαν ἐξαίφνης ὑπὸ πυρὸς τὰ πλοῖα ἅπαντα Βιταλιανοῦ τοῦ τυράννου καὶ ἐποντίσθησαν εἰς τὸν βυθὸν τοῦ ῥεύματος μεθ’ ὧν εἶχον Γότθων καὶ Οὕννων καὶ Σκυθῶν στρατιωτῶν συνεπομένων αὐτῷ. ὁ δὲ Βιταλιανὸς καὶ οἱ εἰς τὰ ἄλλα πλοῖα προσεσχηκότες τὸ γεγονός, ὅτι ὑπὸ πυρὸς αἰφνίδιον ἀνάπτονται τὰ ἑαυτῶν πλοῖα, ἔφυγον καὶ ὑπέστρεψαν ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀνάπλουν. Μαρῖνος δὲ ὁ ἀπὸ ἐπάρχων περάσας ἐν Συκαῖς, ὅσους ηὗρε τῶν Βιταλιανοῦ εἰς τὰ προάστεια ἢ εἰς οἴκους ἀνεῖλε, καταδιώκων αὐτοὺς ἕως τοῦ ἁγίου Μάμαντος· καὶ γενομένης ἑσπέρας ἔμεινε Μαρῖνος καὶ ἡ βοήθεια αὐτοῦ φυλάττουσα τὰ ἐκεῖ. ὁ δὲ Βιταλιανὸς ἔφυγε νυκτὸς μετὰ τῶν ὑπολειφθέντων αὐτῷ ἐκ τοῦ Ἀνάπλου ὁδεύσας ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ νυκτὶ μίλια ξʹ· καὶ πρωίας γενομένης οὐδεὶς εὑρέθη εἰς τὸ πέραν ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ Βιταλιανοῦ, καὶ ἐνίκησεν ὁ σωτὴρ Χριστὸς καὶ ἡ τοῦ βασιλέως τύχη. καὶ ἐποίησε πρόκεσσον ὁ βασιλεὺς Ἀναστάσιος εἰς τὸ Σωσθένιν ἐν τῷ ἀρχαγγέλῳ Μιχαὴλ εὐχαριστῶν ἐπὶ ἡμέρας πολλάς.

‘He [Vitalian] marched plundering through the whole of Thrace and Europa, until he arrived in Sykai and Anaplous in Constantinople's area beyond the Golden Horn, intending to capture Constantinople itself. He took up his position in Anaplous, at the so-called Sosthenion, in the shrine of the archangel Michael. [……]

So he [Anastasius’ admiral, Marinos] set out for the side across the Golden Horn against Vitalian and his men. Vitalian's ships came to meet them and they drew very close to one another opposite Saint Thekla's in Sykai, at the part of the strait which is called Bytharion. The sea battle took place there at the third hour of the day. Suddenly all the ships of the rebel Vitalian were set ablaze with fire and plunged to the bottom of the strait, with their crews of Gothic, Hunnish and Scythian soldiers. As for Vitalian and those on the other ships, when they realised that their own ships were being spontaneously set ablaze, they fled and returned to Anaplous. The ex-prefect Marinus crossed over to Sykai and killed any of Vitalian's men he found in the suburbs and houses, pursuing them as far as Saint Mamas’. When evening fell, Marinus and his force remained there, guarding those areas. Vitalian left Anaplous at night with his remaining men, and travelled 60 miles that night. At daybreak none of Vitalian's men could be found in Peran [the areas beyond the Golden Horn]. Thus Christ the Saviour and the emperor's genius triumphed, and the emperor Anastasius made a processus to the Sosthenion and Saint Michael’s, offering thanks for several days.’

Text: Thurn 2000. Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092 Mamas, martyr of Kaisareia/Caesarea in Cappadocia : S00436 Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source

Θέκλα Μάμας Μιχαὴλ

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 Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople Antioch on the Orontes

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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Malalas

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Soldiers Officials


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:


This account of Vitalian's invasion and the naval confrontations on the Bosphorus and Constantinople's suburbs beyond the Golden Horn contains several references to shrines, on which see Janin 1969, 143, 314, 346.


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. Further reading: Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin. I 3: Les eglises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969), 143, 314, 346.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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