University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E05744: John Malalas in his Chronographia mentions the shrines of *Stratonikos (martyr venerated near Constantinople, S02163; perhaps the martyr of Ptolemais, S01657) and *Alexandros (martyr of Dryzipera, S00070) in the Thracian suburbs of Constantinople, in the context of a barbarian attack against Constantinople in 559. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria) or Constantinople, in the 560s.

online resource
posted on 2018-06-15, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Malalas, Chronographia, 18.129

Μηνὶ μαρτίῳ ἰνδικτιῶνος ζʹ ἐπανέστησαν οἱ Οὗννοι καὶ οἱ Σκλᾶβοι τῇ Θρᾴκῃ <πλήθη πολλά>· καὶ πολεμήσαντες πολλοὺς ἀπέκτειναν καί τινας ἐπραίδευσαν· τὸν δὲ υἱὸν Βάκχου <τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου> Σέργιον τὸν στρατηλάτην καὶ Ἐδέρμαν μειζότερον Καλοποδίου ἐπραίδευσαν, λαβόντες αὐτοὺς αἰχμαλώτους. ηὗρον δὲ τοῦ τείχους Κωνσταντινουπόλεως τόπους καταπεπτωκότας, κἀκεῖθεν εἰσελθόντες κατέδραμον ἕως τοῦ τόπους καταπεπτωκότας, κἀκεῖθεν εἰσελθόντες κατέδραμον ἕως τοῦ ἁγίου Στρατονί[κου] ***

‘In the month of March of the 7th indiction the Huns and the Slavs made an attack on Thrace. They killed many in battle, and abducted some. They abducted the magister militum Sergius, the son of Bacchus the Elder, and Edermas, major domo of Kalopodios, taking them hostages. They found collapsed parts of the wall of Constantinople and, entering through there, they raided as far as Saint Stratonikos’.’

The rest of the chapter is reconstructed from a quotation in Theophanes (p. 233-34)

The emperor Justinian sends a force to repel the invaders without success. He orders that all precious items from the shrines outside the Theodosian Walls be brought inside the city, and appoints Belisarius to the command of the army present in the Constantinople, who manages to repel the barbarians.

Theophanes, Chronographia, p. 233-234

[……] οἱ δὲ νομίσαντες, ὅτι πλῆθος πολύ εἰσιν, ἔφυγον καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὰ μέρη τοῦ ἁγίου Στρατονίκου εἰς τὸ Δέκατον. μαθόντες δὲ ἐκ τῶν κατασκόπων, ὅτι παραφυλακὴ πολλή ἐστιν εἰς τὰ τείχη Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, ἦλθον εἰς τὰ μέρη Τζουρουλοῦ καὶ Ἀρκαδιουπόλεως καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Ἀλεξάνδρου Ζουπαρῶν καὶ ἔμειναν ἐκεῖ παρακαθήμενοι ἕως τὸ ἅγιον πάσχα.

‘They [the invaders], thinking that an enormous force was there, fled and went to the district of Saint Stratonikos at the Dekaton. When they learned from scouts that a great garrison force was at the walls of Constantinople, they went to the region of Tzouroulon, Arkadioupolis and Saint Alexandros of Zoupara, and remained encamped there until holy Easter.’

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Alexandros, martyr of Dryzipera/Drusipara (Thrace) : S00070 Stratonikos, martyr venerated at Rhegium (Constantinople) : S02163 Stratonikos, soldier and martyr in Ptolemais under Aurelian : S01657

Saint Name in Source

Ἀλέξανδρος Στρατόνικος Στρατόνικος

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 - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Foreigners (including Barbarians)


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:


The shrine of Stratonikos was located, according to Theophanes (also mentioning it in p. 231), in the locality of Dekaton, namely the 10th mile of the Via Egnatia, between the settlements of Rhegion and Hebdomon. The identity and legend of this martyr are unknown. The shrine of the Thracian martyr Alexandros lay at Drusipara or Dryizipera, a settlement outside the Anastasian walls (see E00321).


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), 478-479.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager