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E06781: The 'epic' Greek Martyrdom of *Artemios (martyr of Antioch under the emperor Julian, S01128) recounts the martyrdom of the dux of Alexandria, Artemios, and the translation of his relics to Constantinople, and mentions the torture and exile of *Eugenios and Makarios (confessors/martyrs under Julian, S02560). Written, probably in Constantinople in the 5th-6th century.

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posted on 2018-10-08, 00:00 authored by Nikolaos
Martyrdom of Artemios (BHG 169y-z)

Brief summary:

The impious apostate emperor Ioulianos arrives in Cilicia and, after persecuting Christians in Tarsus and Aegae, arrives in Antioch. The priests Eugenios and Makarios are tortured. At the same time, the pious Artemios is promoted to doux of Alexandria, with an authority extending also to Syria. Artemios, however, expresses his conviction that Iοulianos owes his rule to Satan. The enraged emperor strips Artemios of his office and subjects him to torture, trying in vain by various devices to convince him to renounce Christianity.

While Artemios is imprisoned, Eugenios and Makarios are exiled to Augasis, where they die forty days later, on December 20. At length Artemios is summoned again to the emperor and, after refusing to sacrifice, is tortured by being crushed between two halves of a large rock so that his eyes fall out. When the saint remains unyielding, the emperor orders him to be executed. Artemios says a final prayer and is killed by the sword on 20 October. A female deacon, Ariste, places the relics in a casket and sends it to Constantinople for the purpose of building a church there. Artemios' martyrdom took place at Daphne outside Antioch.

Text: Bidez - Winkelmann 1981, 166-175.
Summary: N. Kälviäinen.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Artemios, martyr of Antioch under the emperor Julian : S01128 Eugenios and Makarios, brothers and martyrs in Mauretania or Arabia under Julian : S02560

Saint Name in Source

Ἀρτέμιος Εὐγένιος, Μακάριος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • 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

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle at martyrdom and death Miracles experienced by the saint Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Pagans Monarchs and their family Torturers/Executioners Officials Crowds Angels

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Reliquary – privately owned Privately owned relics


For the manuscript tradition, see Bidez - Winkelmann 1981, lxviii and For another later version of the Martyrdom (BHG 170, of uncertain date but composed before the 9th century according to de Gaiffier 1960, 38), whose author identifies himself as one Ioannes, a monk from Rhodes, and who makes use of both the earlier Martyrdom BHG 169y-z and the ecclesiastical historian Philostorgios (4th-5th cent.), see Bidez - Winkelmann 1981, xliv-lxviii.


For the problem of the date of composition of the Martyrdom, see Dufourcq 1900, 185-188; Crisafulli and Nesbitt 1997, 2-4; de Gaiffier 1960, 38. A fairly stereotypical 'epic' Martyrdom, it shows no knowledge of the Arian affiliations of the historical dux Artemius who is said to have distinguished himself as a destroyer of pagan idols and who was executed by the emperor Julian, and it was clearly written long after his death. According to tradition, the relics of the martyr were at some point brought from Antioch to Constantinople, where they eventually came to be deposited in the church of saint John Prodromos in the Oxeia quarter, traditionally considered to have been built in the reign of Anastasius I (491-518) and where the saint is later attested as performing healing miracles in his 7th century miracle collection (E04227). This has been supposed by some to provide a terminus post quem of c. 500 for the composition of the Martyrdom (Bidez - Winkelmann 1981, 357). However, although the text does recount the translation of the relics to Constantinople, it does not mention at all the Anastasian church of John Prodromos in Oxeia (unlike the later Armenian synaxarial entries based on it, as Dufourcq points out), which it probably would do if it had been composed in the context of that shrine; instead, the text merely attributes the translation to the initiative of the deaconess Ariste and her intention of building a church. Dufourcq therefore suggests that the preserved textual tradition of the Martyrdom goes back to an archetype written before the 6th century, itself derived from a hypothetical earlier version (originating before the presumed translation), while the relics remained in Antioch (Dufourcq 1900, 186-187). In any case, we cannot even be certain when the translation took place (Crisafulli and Nesbitt 1997, 4) or when exactly they were deposited in the church in Oxeia. At the very latest, the Martyrdom was composed before the reign of Maurice (582-602) which is when the first datable healings in the miracle collection are said to have taken place (see E04227). According to the text (Bidez - Winkelmann 1981, 167 and 171), the martyrdom of Artemios was contemporary with the torture and exile to Augasis of the presbyters Eugenios and Makarios (martyrs under Julian, S02560), for whose legend see E06779.


Text: Bidez, J. - Winkelmann, F., Philostorgios Kirchengeschichte. Mit dem Leben des Lucian von Antiochien und den Fragmenten eines arianischen Historiographen (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 21; Berlin, 1981), 166-175. Further reading: Crisafulli, V., and Nesbitt, J. The Miracles of St. Artemios: A Collection of Miracle Stories by an Anonymous Author of Seventh-Century Byzantium (Leiden, 1997), 1-7. Dufourcq, A. "Gestes d'Artemius," in: idem, Étude sur les Gesta Martyrum romains V. Les légendes grecques et les légendes latines (Paris, 1900), 183-190. de Gaiffier, B., "Les martyrs Eugène et Macaire morts en exil en Maurétanie," Analecta Bollandiana 78 (1960), 38.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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