Constantinople: Christian City, Christian Landscape1
In the year 446 C.E., when he was thirty-seven years old, Daniel, a monk from a village on the upper Euphrates, was elected abbot of his monastery.2 “Here you are, free at last,” he said to himself, “do not be afraid, leave and fulfil your plan.” He went south and visited his hero, St. Simeon the Stylite, standing on his column on a hillside in northern Syria. Simeon blessed him: “The Lord of Glory will be your traveling companion.” He headed on towards Palestine and the Holy Places, to carry out his long-meditated plan to live there as a hermit.3 On the way, he met an aged monk with long grizzled hair, who looked like Simeon. The old man warned Daniel against going any further towards Jerusalem:
Verily, verily, verily -- see I adjure you three times in the name of Christ -- do not go there, but go to Byzantium. There you will see a second Jerusalem, the City of Constantine. There you will rejoice in the shrines of martyrs and imposing places of prayer, and should you wish to lead a contemplative life in a desert place in Thrace or in Pontus, the Lord will not leave you.4
The old man disappeared, but Daniel saw him again that night in a dream. He turned north towards Constantinople and settled a few miles outside the city as the old man had advised, by a bay on the European shore of the Bosporus.5
Daniel's mysterious counselor was not alone in thinking that Constantinople was a place particularly favored by the Christian God. It was a notion with a long future;6 even as the Turkish army massed along the walls in the final fateful days of May 1453, there were those who hoped direct divine intervention would save the city.7 This paper considers how it was that Constantinople became the God-protected City. It will concentrate in particular on two phases of this process. One will be the years following the initial foundation of the city on the site of the ancient town of Byzantium by Constantine the Great once he had become supreme ruler of the Roman Empire in 324. But first we will look at the era of Daniel the Stylite, the last years of the fourth and the whole of the fifth century, the years during which Constantinople developed the distinctive Christian character that it retained throughout the Middle Ages.
There is more here than a simple transformation of urban ideology. The development of Constantinople was part of a larger process of considerable complexity, the process by which Christianity came to occupy the commanding heights of the ‘divine economy’ of the Roman Empire, and in doing so adapted itself to the new responsibilities that it had assumed in the time of Constantine. The conversion of the Roman Empire occurred at the level of the individual; its progress can be studied by counting those committed to Christianity and those who stood out against it.8 But the conversion of the empire was more than the sum of such individual commitments. It was a process involving the transformation of human habits and hopes, and of common patterns of behavior associated with them; it resulted in the formation of a distinctive Late Roman Christian civilization. Our consideration of Constantinople, therefore, should shed light on two current questions. First, what more was there to the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity than a change of heart on the part of numerous individuals; that is to say, how did a Christian civilization come into being in this city? And second, how did Christianity, a religion of the heart, become tied to particularities of place; how on earth, for a Christian, could a place become holy?9 Constantinople was not, of course, a typical Late Roman city, and it is because it is not typical that it constitutes a particularly instructive example. It was from the start an imperial city and its imperial founder dedicated it at its inception to the God of the Christian martyrs.10 In Constantinople, if anywhere, Christian emperors and the Christian faithful had a free hand to cooperate in creating a Christian civic community, to mold the landscape to make a Christian city.
The landscapes in which Christians found themselves in the fourth century were not secular or religiously neutral. Roman cities were religious communities because they were pathetically vulnerable to the forces of nature. They generally stored only one or two years’ grain, so they were never more than three bad harvests from famine.11 From time immemorial they had survived the threats and vagaries of nature because they were under divine protection, protection assured to them by elaborate consecration of the urban geography and by a complex program of rituals. “The Roman town, which is where Christianity first took root, was itself a sacred enclosure, marked off from its environment by a foundation rite which made the space enclosed by the town walls sacred, inviolable to defilement, equipped with gates for commerce with the outside world and for the elimination of pollution by the corpses of its dead.”12 The civic calendar of a Roman city was determined by a seasonally reiterated round of sacrifices and festivals. A pagan explained:
The reason we give the gods sacrifices and the other gifts is that, having become companionable after a fashion through our prayers, they may grant us good fortune and may avert evils from us... The gods are honored by these things... and if they have any recollection of offences committed by men, they disregard it, get rid of it, and renewing their friendship with us, once again become our patrons.13
Each festival had its appropriate location; the monuments and landscape of a Roman city and its surrounding countryside were intricately involved in the religious processes that prevented divine anger from bringing disaster upon the local economy.
The ancient city of Byzantium and the shores of the Bosporus were no exception; they were sacred landscapes punctuated by pagan temples and by places made holy by association with gods and heroes. A Byzantine mariner sailing down the Bosporus in the sixth century C.E. might use the lights in the dome of the Great Church of the Holy Wisdom as a guide to navigation.14 In the centuries before Constantine, a seaman's landmarks would have been monuments that commemorated the presence in the same waters of the very first ship known to Greek mythology, the Argo, carrying Jason and his crew to collect the Golden Fleece from Colchis.15 The bay of Sosthenion, above which Daniel was to have his pillar, for instance, was called Lasthenes, after one of the Megaran colonists who founded Byzantium; it had a temple of Amphiaraus, which had been founded at the command of an oracle. All the way along the Bosporus were places set apart for the honor of Hecate, Apollo, Poseidon and other divinities; Jason and the Argonauts weave in and out of the aetiological myths and etymologies of local place names.16 A poet of the reign of Nero contemplating a voyage across the open sea from Byzantium to Nicomedia might write lines commending his bark to Priapus and Apollo, worshipped on the further shore of the Propontis.17 For Christian Byzantines, the pagan monuments of the Bosporus and the stories associated with them were at best ancient history, at worst the work of demons; for those who lived by the Bosporus before the foundation of Constantinople, the associations which they thought existed between gods and heroes and the places along their shores were an integral aspect of the complex methods by which they ensured the continuing safety and success of their communities.
The transformation of religious geography brought about by Christianity in the maritime approaches to Constantinople can be seen occurring in the era of Daniel the Stylite; indeed the stylite himself had a hand in it. When Daniel first came to the Bosporus, he settled not on a pillar but in an abandoned pagan temple, where he did battle with the demons who infested the place and who had, so claimed the disciple who wrote his life, long constituted a danger to shipping in the swift and difficult currents of the Bosporus.18 In 460, after nine years in his temple, Daniel began to live on top of a column on a high and windy hilltop above the bay of Sosthenion, emulating deliberately the ascesis of St. Simeon.19 One admirer wrote verses that encapsulate the paradoxes at the center of the man’s angelic life and had the poem carved on the column:
Midway between earth and sky a man stands;
Winds blow all about, he is not bothered ...
He lives on hunger for heavenly food
And thirst for immaterial things
Proclaiming the Son of a Virgin Mother.20
Disciples gathered round Daniel -- one of whom wrote the Life from which we know about him. He lived on a succession of ever taller pillars on his windswept hill overlooking the Bosporus until 493, when he died at the age of 84.21
Daniel's column and the monastic community around it were far from being the only Christian landmarks for shipping passing between the Black Sea and the harbors of Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century. Near his demon-infested temple was a community with a church dedicated to St. Michael, whose members gave Daniel a far from friendly welcome in the early stages of his stay.22 Close to Constantinople, also on the European side of the Bosporus, was another sanctuary of the archangel Michael.23 Not far from Daniel, but on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus, was the large monastery of the Akoimetoi, the Sleepless Ones, whose 300 monks operated a shift system to sustain the Perpetual Adoration of God after the manner of the Sleepless Angels. The Akoimetoi was constantly tapped for monks to populate new monasteries in the city.24 It was indeed in the early years of Daniel's time by the Bosporus that the most famous of Constantinople’s urban monasteries was founded, that of St. John Studios, whose burnt-out church still stands in the southwest of the city, one of Constantinople’s oldest surviving monuments.25
During the fifth century, monks and monasteries became a powerful force in the formation of a distinctive Christian landscape in and around the city of Constantinople. Daniel doing battle with the demons in his temple had been preceded in the previous generation by Hypatius, who had told his monks: “Consider your calling, brethren; it is to an angelic company that you have been recruited ... if during the short course of your lives, you fight and by the grace of Christ you triumph over the artifices of the Enemy ... you will become even better than the angels.”26 Hypatius’ own triumph over demons included cures for the possessed, and various confrontations with pagan divinities when he traveled into the hinterland. On one occasion, three days’ journey away from the Bosporus, he encountered a household of 40 idol worshippers, one of whom had been beaten and thrown out by his companions because he wished to become Christian. Hypatius healed his sores and he lived for 30 years as a monk. His erstwhile companions did not last a year: they were taken by the anger of God, some died, their house was destroyed.27 On another occasion the country people warned Hypatius not to walk along a certain road, for fear of meeting the goddess Artemis. But “the righteous man has the confidence of a lion.” Hypatius actually met the goddess, ten times taller than a man, riding on wild boars (potnia theron). He made the sign of the Cross, the boars fled with a loud scream and the saint passed safely on his way.28 Monks were instrumental in breaking the associations of individual places with unchristian powers and also in endowing places -- not necessarily the same ones -- with a Christian aura. But monks in Constantinople and its surroundings were more a feature of the fifth century than of the fourth. The biographer of Hypatius could claim that when his hero came to the city around 400 C.E. there was only one monastery in the area, that of St. Isaac, which was founded ca. 380.29 The Christian character given to the city and its surroundings specifically by monks dates from late in the century after Constantine.30
The settlement of monks in and around the city at the end of the fourth century and in the fifth century coincides, in fact, with the earliest evidence we have of another aspect of Christian public life in Constantinople: religious processions through the streets. It was not simply that people went to church, the Church came to them; words of a patriarch of Antioch might equally be applied to Constantinople: “the whole city has become a church for us.”31 There is, though, a problem in studying these processions. The evidence for Christian devotional use of the city streets in the fifth century does not record the normal practice of the church: the processions that are mentioned in our sources are those that have some particular historical significance. We are reduced not so much to making bricks without straw as to making them only with a few drinking straws. For instance, we know that in the last decade of the fourth century adherents of the Arian heresy were forbidden to celebrate the Liturgy within the city. Accordingly, on every feast day, Saturday, and Sunday they would gather in the porticoes and proceed out beyond the city walls to celebrate the Liturgy in the suburbs, chanting psalms with suitably Arian antiphons and responses as they went. John Chrysostom, after becoming patriarch of Constantinople in 398, was determined to trump this devotional display and organized orthodox parades, embellished with silver processional crosses given by the empress and enlivened by appropriate antiphonal singing. Needless to say, there was fighting and it was the misfortune of the Arians that a stone, alas too well-aimed, happened to hit the forehead of an imperial eunuch who was conducting the orthodox chants. The Arian processions were stopped by an imperial order, though the orthodox continued to sing in the streets into the fifth century.32
In the Middle Ages, religious processions through the streets of the city involving the court, the clergy, or both formed a regular part of Byzantine life. Such processions marked church festivals and the feasts of saints. They also commemorated the deliverance of the city from a number of historical earthquakes. During one of these earthquakes “no one dared to remain at home, but all fled outside the city, chanting litanies day and night; for there was great peril, such as there had not been from the beginning of time.”33 The earliest record of emperor and people praying together in public after an earthquake comes from the year 396;34 the earliest to be commemorated in after-years with annual litanies and processions dates from the middle years of the fifth century.35 Such observances reinforce the impression that it was in those years that the city was acquiring its distinctive Christian traditions.
Regular processions claimed the streets for Christ. Processions accompanying the transfer of relics of the saints to shrines in and around the city left a more tangible Christian mark on the landscape. In the first year that John Chrysostom was patriarch of Constantinople, the empress accompanied a crowd carrying the relics of a martyr out to the church at Drypia, nine miles west of the city, along the Marmara coast. The procession, says Chrysostom, emptied the city; its torches as they were carried through the night formed a moving river of fire.36 No doubt ceremonies had attended the earlier transfer of relics of St. Andrew, St. Luke, and St. Timothy to the Holy Apostles at Constantinople in 356-57, the first known case of a long-distance translation of relics.37 But it is in the course of the last decade of the fourth century and the early fifth century that Constantinople, its hinterland, and the shores of the Marmara and Bosporus came to be dotted with shrines of the saints, such as St. John the Baptist at the Hebdomon and St. Isaac the monk, nearby.38 The remains of the prophet Samuel arrived in 406, and were conducted to their new home by an enthusiastic procession that stretched, says St. Jerome, all the way back to the Jewish sage's former resting-place in Palestine; the praetorian prefect and the prefect of the city were present; the emperor led the way.39 Similarly, some years later, the hand of St. Stephen was ceremoniously installed, while in 438, the relics of John Chrysostom, himself, were brought back from the depths of Cappadocia, where he had died in exile.40 In the fifth century, it came to be believed that fragments of the True Cross found by Constantine's mother were lodged in his statue on top of the Porphyry Column at the center of the Forum of Constantine. The story is unlikely to be true; it tells us more about the fifth century than about the time of Constantine.41
The process by which signs of Christianity -- monks, processions, relics -- came to be integrated into the landscape of Constantinople and its surroundings from the very end of the fourth century onwards coincides with a significant change in the relationship of the city with its ruler. Constantinople had been founded by Constantine as an imperial city, dominated by the emperor and his officials. From the last decade of the fourth century onwards, it became the permanent imperial residence. Emperor Theodosius I, who died in 395, was the last emperor until Heraclius in the early seventh century to go himself with his army on campaigns. His son (395-408) set an example that lasted for over two centuries by not stirring from Constantinople:
The Emperor Arcadius
Stayed within a ten-mile radius.
It was rather laborious
For the Emperor Honorius.
Imperial immobility had great consequences for Constantinople. The hippodrome, for instance, acquired fresh significance as a political arena. It had long been a familiar political fact that emperors were obliged to confront the crowd of the city where they were residing when they attended public festivals.42 From the end of the fourth century onwards, it was specifically the hippodrome crowd of Constantinople which had the freedom to chant its praise or blame of the emperor and his policies. In the early sixth century, a newly chosen emperor would be brought up the spiral stair from the Great Palace to the imperial box in the hippodrome to be exhibited to the assembled people of the city for their acclamation.43
It was not merely the permanent presence of the emperor that changed Constantinople; it also was the permanent presence of his court. For the bishops assembled across the Bosporus at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Constantinople was the city made honorable not only by the emperor but also by the senate.44 An ordinary Roman city was dominated by its resident grandees, the local landowners who constituted its city council and controlled the local food supply, even to the inconvenience of a visiting emperor.45 By contrast, the senate of Constantinople was from its inception the imperial court seen in a different aspect.46 From the end of the fourth century onwards, this court found a permanent home in a single city. The process parallels the way that in the twelfth century the functions of English government eventually came to rest in one place; the Angevin Court of the Exchequer “could be held in any considerable town,” but the treatise that describes in detail the way it worked was written by a civil servant who clearly felt most at home staring out of an upstairs window at Westminster across the Thames.47 The archives of the central administration at Constantinople were stored in vaults under the hippodrome; they extended back to the generation before that in which the emperors came to rest permanently in the city, that is to say, to the generation that would have provided the most accessible precedents for the late fourth century.48 It was the next generation of Byzantine bureaucrats, that which populated the court at Constantinople in the fifth century, which codified Roman law in the Theodosian Code.49 Some senators of this generation, such as the generals Aspar and Ardabur, who gave valuable vessels to the Church of the Anastasis in the mid-fifth century, were distinguished military figures.50 But those who served in a civilian capacity were learned men, chosen for their aptitude at civilized and literary pursuits; in the memorable phrase of Fr. Gervase Matthew, the Byzantine civil service “possessed some of the close-knit texture of a good Late Victorian club.”51 This articulate class was integral to the development of the customs and institutions of the imperial city.
Constantinople, then, enjoyed the patronage not only of the emperor, but also of the expansive noblesse de robe that worked for him. The importance of these courtiers is well illustrated by the Life of Daniel. The erection of Daniel's first pillar was paid for by Marcus, an admirer who had sailed out to see him; Marcus was a silentiary, one of a select corps of imperial attendants who maintained silence in the emperor's consistory and often shared his confidence.52 The land on which it was decided to erect the column belonged to one Gelanius, the chamberlain in charge of the imperial food and drink, and he objected to the trespass. Having complained to the emperor and the patriarch and got nowhere, Gelanius came out to confront the saint. He was greeted with a hailstorm, which ruined the ripe grapes of his vineyard. Eventually, the two made a deal, both speaking in their native Syriac so that bystanders would not understand. Daniel came a few steps down from his pillar, Gelanius rushed forward, shouting, “Go back to your home and your way of life and pray for me,” and honor was satisfied on both sides.53 The admirer who decorated Daniel's column with a poem in honor of his paradoxical way of life was Cyrus, who had been prefect of the city and praetorian prefect both at the same time. Indeed, he became so popular with the people that court intrigue unseated him -- on accusations of paganism. He was obliged to be consecrated a bishop and was sent off to a provincial see which allegedly had already killed four bishops. It says something for his political skill that he was able to survive and retire to Constantinople.54
It is true that not all the mandarins of the imperial service were keen Christians. One has only to think of the comes Zosimus, an official of the fisc who, as late as the last years of the fifth century, composed a history bitterly blaming Christianity and Constantine for everything that had gone wrong in the Empire over the past two centuries.55 But Christianity was as much a part of the culture of the Byzantine bureaucracy as classical Greek literature. Even a prefect of the city keen to revive Olympic games in the city of Chalcedon across the Bosporus -- to the fury of St. Hypatius -- was required by imperial edict to burn the books of the “nefarious and sacrilegious” heretic Nestorius, so that his followers might not “misuse the name of Christians.”56 In the fifth century, the God-loving emperor and the resident Byzantine bureaucracy came to dominate Constantinople, and whatever the views of individuals, it was Christian practice that held the city together.
Fifth-century Constantinople seems the very model of a Christian imperial city. But that does not necessarily mean that all its elements were present when the city was first founded by Constantine in 324 and dedicated by him in 330. It is possible that in its earliest years Constantinople was a city no less Christian and imperial, but Christian and imperial in different ways. Such gradations of change were often smoothed over in Byzantine accounts of the early history of Constantinople. Byzantines valued continuity; the development of the Christian imperial city at the mouth of the Bosporus is presented as an easy transition. A story from the sixth-century chronicle of John Malalas illustrates the point. It concerns a temple, perhaps of Attis, at Sosthenion, near the pillar of Daniel. Emperor Constantine, says the chronicle, looked carefully at the cult statue when he came to the temple and thought it looked like an angel dressed in the habit of a Christian monk. He prayed in the place and slept there in order to determine which power was present; he had a dream, as a result of which he dedicated the place to the archangel Michael.57 The story represents Constantine not merely as a Christian emperor, but as a Christian emperor similar in tastes and habits to the devout potentates of early Byzantium. A similar preoccupation with continuity is to be found in fragments of a history written in the early years of the sixth century by Hesychius of Miletus. This comprehensive work spanned world history in six sections from the time of Bel to the early sixth century, each section being inaugurated by a significant event. The final segment started with Constantine's dedication of Constantinople 362 years after the start of the reign of Augustus. The surviving fragments provide a circumstantial account of the history of the city of Byzantium and its surroundings, treating, as did Malalas, the local myths as ancient history. In the context of a longue durée shaped by a mathematically-minded providence, the foundation of the Christian imperial city is made to appear part of a smooth and continuous evolution.58
To understand the religious and political character of Constantinople in its earliest years it is necessary to step behind such Byzantine antiquaries. Constantinople was the most important and last-founded of a series of imperial cities frequented by emperors during most of the third and fourth centuries. By the time of Constantine, emperors had long since ceased to live at Rome, except for Gallienus (d. 268), because he liked it and was prepared to allow the Levant and Gaul to be run by usurpers, and Maxentius (306-12), because he had no choice, being surrounded by competing potentates.59 The reason was simple. Since the early third century, the empire had been obliged to defend itself regularly on three fronts, the Rhine in Germany, the Danube in the North Balkans and the Persian front, which ran through modern eastern Turkey and Syria. Emperors were to be found on the move between these fronts or stationed in cities within easy reach of them. A number of imperial cities rose to prominence, many of them along the great roads that linked Antioch in Syria (convenient for the Persian front) to Nicomedia in northwestern Asia Minor, crossed the Bosporus and went through Serdica (modern Sofia in Bulgaria), Naissus (Nish) and Sirmium (Mitroviča) in Serbia, entering Italy at Aquileia at the head of the Adriatic before crossing northern Italy to Milan and then the Alps to Arles in Provence, Trier in the Rhineland and eventually York. It is a constant surprise how much Late Antique history happened along this road. It was the outward route taken by the earliest pilgrim to the Holy Land to record his journey, the Bordeaux Pilgrim of 333; leading churchmen, such as Gregory of Nazianzus relegated from Constantinople to Sasima in the fourth century, or Theodore of Mopsuestia in the fifth century, held bishoprics in cities sited along it.60 Some cities on the road saw the births of emperors (Constantine at Nish and Valentinian I at Cibalae), others their deaths (Maximinus Daia at Tarsus and Constantius II at Mopsucrene just beyond Tarsus, south of the Cilician Gates).61
With the reassertion of relative military security after the accession of Diocletian (at Nicomedia) in 284, and its consolidation by the creation of a tetrarchy in 293, many of these cities were provided with monuments appropriate for an imperial residence. The Christian apologist Lactantius, no admirer of Diocletian, complained about the emperor's lust for building, his libido aedificandi: “here a law court, here a mint, here a weapons factory, here a house for his wife, here for his daughter... It was thus that he was always raving trying to make Nicomedia the equal of Rome.”62 There is a family resemblance between these imperial cities. All, except the retirement palace of Diocletian at Split and Galerius' rural residence at Romulianum, were grafted on to existing cities. Many have residences with sea or river frontages; the palaces regularly enjoyed direct access to the city hippodrome, a political as well as a sporting space; mostly they had mints, and some had mausoleums to receive the remains of emperors.63
Diocletian and his senior colleague Maximian abdicated, at Nicomedia and Milan respectively, on 1 May 305, and were succeeded by their two junior colleagues and two fresh junior emperors. This new tetrarchy soon crumbled into bloody civil war. At one point seven emperors contended for mastery.64 From this tangled conflict Constantine, first proclaimed as an emperor by his father’s troops at York in 306, emerged in 324 as the ultimate victor. The principal points in Constantine’s progress stand out. In 312, a victory just outside Rome, the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, made him master of everything west of the Balkans and enabled him to make an alliance with Licinius, who was able to bring down the last of the emperors responsible for the Great Persecution of the Christians. Licinius subsequently became superfluous to Constantine's plans. An attack on him, down the road that crossed the North Balkans, in 316-17, ended in stalemate at Cibalae, but in 324 a combined naval and military operation incorporating a siege of Byzantium enabled Constantine to eliminate his last rival:
Having the power of this God as ally, beginning from the shores of Ocean I have raised up the whole world step by step with sure hopes of salvation, so that all those things which under the slavery of such great tyrants yielded to daily disasters and had come near to vanishing, have enjoyed the general restoration of right, and have revived like a patient after treatment.65
The new master of the East might have chosen to maintain Nicomedia, the favored residence of the tetrarchs and also of Licinius, as his principal city. The choice not to do so was swift and deliberate, too swift for us to give any credence to the charming later story that Constantine actually planned to build his new city at Troy.66 One may suggest reasons for the choice of Byzantium. It was, for one thing, a strategic spot. In the classical Greek period, the grain that came from the Black Sea to feed Athens and other Greek cities had been obliged to pass by Byzantium.67 As every Russian and British diplomat of the nineteenth century knew, the Straits at Constantinople control access from the Black Sea to the warm water ports of the Mediterranean. But in Late Antiquity, its strategic importance ran the other way. It commanded the shores where Europe comes closest to Asia. An army marching between the Danube Frontier -- along the line of the Orient Express -- and the East would need to cross the Straits, and a force in Byzantium could deny it that crossing. This had made it a key point in recent civil wars, not only in Constantine’s war against Licinius of 324 but further back, in the war between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger in 193-96, when the city had sustained a three-year siege.68
For all its strategic importance, however, Byzantium had never been a great city. This was for a simple reason: it was an extremely difficult place to provision. The water supply had always been fraught with difficulty; water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink.69 Equally, despite the fact that it had lands on both sides of the Sea of Marmara, Byzantium lacked the sort of broad fertile plain that made great cities out of places like Antioch and Ephesus.70 In the pre-Roman period it lived largely off levies on trade passing through the Straits to the cities around the Black Sea, which were obliged to import their wine and olive oil, two of the three staples of the Mediterranean diet: “the Byzantines dwell in a place most fortunate as regards the sea ... but as regards land most unsuitable.”71 Ancient Byzantium covered little more than the tip of the peninsula now occupied by Istanbul. Stray classical tombstones have been found near Hagia Sophia and Sirkeçi Station; a substantial concentration, indicating the presence of the principal cemetery, was near Beyazit Square.72 These tombs, on the Second Hill of mediaeval Constantinople, would have been outside the walls of ancient Byzantium. This was not a large city.73
These defects Constantine turned to his benefit. He planned for a vast area to be enclosed by the walls of the city; it tripled, even quadrupled in size.74 And he arranged for its people to be fed not from local produce but by grain imported by sea from Egypt.75 This arrangement was essential for the growth of the city. The importance of the regular shipments from Alexandria is illustrated by an incident that occurred little more than ten years after the city’s foundation. The theological enemies of Athanasius, the patriarch of Alexandria, had been trying, with only limited success, to influence the emperor against him. Eventually they averred that Athanasius had been using magical means to control the winds, which would prevent the sailing of the grain fleet for Constantinople. Athanasius was in exile before you could say “the Father is not greater than the Son.”76
For the grain fleet was about more than food. To provision his city, Constantine did not need to rely on the favor of local gods, who might need to be placated with appropriate fertility rites. Equally, he did not need to rely on local grandees. Drastic shortages could occur when the acts of an emperor did not please the large landowners of the city where he happened to be residing. Julian the Apostate, resident in Antioch with a large army during the winter of 362-63, wanted to lower the price of food. He was warned by the local notables that this often led to shortages, but persisted in his policy for the sake of popularity and was rewarded by a severe shortage in a time when there was known to be plenty in store.77 Constantinople, unlike Antioch or Nicomedia, was not a provincial capital of ancient prosperity. Constantine could control it because he could control its food supply; he was not at the mercy of its local councilors and their public gods. The pagan historian who wrote in 500 C.E. that Constantine settled in Constantinople because he could not endure being blasphemed against by everyone was a shrewd observer.78 Constantine’s city was unusual in the closeness of control exerted over it by the emperors.
It was unusual also in being a city that was not held together by the observance of public rites in honor of civic gods. Paganism at the time of the foundation of Constantinople was not the object of mere antiquarian interest it was to become by the sixth century; it was still a living force and at its core was the practice of public sacrifice. The gods of a classical city were something more than totems, symbols of communal unity; they were the forces of Nature whose co-operation was essential for the survival of a city. Normality was sustained by the correct sacrifices being offered at the appropriate times: too much sacrifice might produce a rush of divine favor which it would be impossible to sustain, neglect brought divine anger and disaster.79 Civic religion did not center on ideas or articulate belief. Such explanations as were necessary were provided not by theology but by myth, “socially pervasive truths of low cognitive value.”80 Christians would point out that their religion was odd precisely because it supplied a rational account of its practices; it brought together ideas and acts, sapientia and religio, in an unprecedented manner.81 The core of ancient paganism was ritual action: rem, facias rem. It was precisely because Christians had refused to offer even the simplest sacrifice that they had been subjected to a sustained persecution, which in the eastern half of the Roman Empire had lasted a full decade, from 303 to 313.82
Constantine’s first act on succeeding his father in the imperial power at York in 306 had been to stop the persecution of Christians in his dominions.83 At some point in his reign, presumably after his conquest of the East in 324, Constantine actually made blood sacrifice illegal. The law in which he did this is known only from a reference in legislation by his son; the text does not survive.84 But Constantine’s hatred for the practice of sacrifice runs like a leitmotif through other legislation. The good people of Umbria may build a temple of the imperial cult provided there is no filthiness of polluting sacrifice performed in it.85 “Foul sacrifices” had contaminated Mamre in the Holy Land.86 If public buildings are struck by lightning, the normal rites may be performed to ascertain what the sign portends, and private individuals may perform the same procedures, provided that they abstain from sacrifice.87 Imperial administrators were specifically forbidden to engage in pagan worship while performing their public duties. Only a single generation had passed since Christians were executed for trying to prevent provincial governors from inaugurating official business with sacrifice.88
Constantine’s loathing for “sacrilegious abominations” was reflected in the public practice of his new city.89 Constantinople did not witness the rites and processions normal in other cities; Constantine, his biographer avers, saw fit to purge Constantinople of all idol worship, “so that nowhere in it appeared those images of the supposed gods which are worshipped in temples, nor altars foul with bloody slaughter, nor sacrifice offered as holocaust in fire, nor feasts of demons ….”90 Such absence of pagan observance in the city’s public life did not make each of its inhabitants automatically Christian. In the generation after Constantine, there were notable citizens who did not profess the Christian faith and yet spoke well of the city;91 the apostate emperor Julian was noted for his affection for the place of his birth.92 But the presence of individual non-Christians is irrelevant in assessing the un-pagan character of Constantinople’s public life. This was a community that was not ordered around a cycle of pagan civic ritual; it had no means of allaying the anger of the gods, it dared to risk its survival in the face of the capricious forces of nature.93 The reason that the Christians had been persecuted, according to one of their principal opponents, was precisely that “such willfulness had invaded those same Christians and such great folly had taken possession of them, that they did not follow those things set up by the ancients ... they made up for themselves laws to observe, just as it pleased them and in accordance with their own whim.”94 To such a devotee of “the old laws and the public discipline of the Romans,” the civic life of Constantinople would have seemed profoundly irresponsible; as late as 500 C.E. pagans were puzzled that, despite its rashness, the city seemed to enjoy an obvious success and prosperity.95
The absence of normal pagan cult may be illustrated by the celebrations that early Byzantine sources say were held to observe the birthday of the city every May 11, and which they claim were inaugurated by Constantine to mark the anniversary of his foundation.96 It is not possible to be sure that this celebration was begun by Constantine or that it was performed in the early days of the city’s existence; the sources were written considerably later. They describe a procession in which a gilded wooden image of Constantine, standing on a carriage and escorted by soldiers wearing cloaks and carrying candles, was borne into the hippodrome and brought to rest opposite the imperial box, where the emperor of the day would rise from his seat and bow down before it. The statue bore in its hand an image of the Tyche, the Good Fortune of the City. The elements strikingly absent from this ceremony are sacrifice and statues of real gods. Constantine could be deemed human. The Fortune of the City was not a god in the same way as was Poseidon, the father of Byzas; she fell into that “wide no-man’s land between explicit pagan worship and uncompromising Christian rejection of all its trappings and associations,” which was characteristic of the early fourth century.97 Some Christians might find Fortune inoffensive, and others could object; a bishop might bluster against the city’s Fortune as an instance of idolatry or he might appease Christians who had participated in celebrations of the civic totem because “we know she is no god.”98 The course of events at Caesarea in Cappadocia is instructive. By the year 362, there was only one temple in the city in working order, the temple of the Tyche. In that year Eupsychius, a local Christian notary, protested against the neo-pagan policies of the emperor, Julian the Apostate, by destroying this shrine as well. Christians in Caesarea in the early fourth century had drawn the line in one place; Eupsychius, impelled by disgust, had drawn it in another.99 It may be that the birthday ceremony of Constantinople underwent a similar if less violent evolution; one writer says that the procession continued to be held in his own time in the sixth century, but another, writing later, says that Theodosius the Great abolished it in the late fourth century.100 Early Byzantine traditions about the time of Constantine, as we have seen, entangle historical fact with wishful thinking, but if this ceremony is accurately described it fits well our image of a city whose principal public ceremonies lacked solid pagan content.
The monuments of Constantine’s city tell a story similar to that of its ceremonies. The old acropolis of Byzantium with its three temples was dwarfed by the new conurbation where such structures were, so far as is known, conspicuously absent.101 Constantine, it is true, is said to have built a pair of temples associated with the tutelary powers of the cities of Rome and Byzantium. One housed a statue of Rhea, Mother of the Gods, associated with Jason and the Argonauts, the other a representation of the Fortuna of Rome.102 These buildings are described as temples by a keen pagan of ca. 500 C.E.; they may in fact have been no more than alcoves in a portico. There is no record of a cult being offered there, except by Julian the Apostate, and the pairing of the local goddess with the Fortuna of Rome suggests that she was being presented as a civic totem rather than as a part of the local pantheon.103 It is also possible that the image of Rhea was associated with a statue of Constantine’s mother, Empress Helena.104 If this is so, it would provide a parallel to the Great Statue of the emperor himself that stood on the Porphyry Column in the center of the Forum of Constantine till it fell in 1106, and which is persistently associated in the sources with Apollo and the Sun.105 It may even be that a “transfer of religious value onto his own person” by Constantine in erecting these statues was inspired by an account of the pagan gods put forth by one of the emperor’s Christian associates and was, therefore, meant to cut them down to size, not accord them an ecumenical courtesy. Lactantius, appointed by Constantine as tutor to his son, had demythologized the gods by arguing that they were simply ancient rulers whom their doting subjects had mistakenly deified after they had died.106 Constantine could simply have been reversing the process, transforming divinities back into princes.
Whatever idea inspired him to erect them, these statues were not the only ancient images to decorate the city of Constantine. The emperor dedicated Constantinople “having stripped almost all the other cities naked,” remarked a chronicler.107 The public places of the city were liberally bedizened with pagan statues divorced from their original context and function.108 Constantine built a hippodrome at his new residence like those of other tetrarchic cities -- or rather enlarged an existing one.109 The central reservation of the racecourse was embellished with sculpture brought from all over the Mediterranean world, including the Serpent Column, cast in bronze eight centuries before and dedicated at Delphi, which is still there.110 The council chamber of the new Senate House was decorated with statues of the Muses brought in from Mount Helicon; before its doors stood the statue of Zeus from the oracular shrine at Dodona and Athena from the island of Lindos.111 A pagan senator might flatter the oratorical achievements of his colleagues by referring to their place of assembly as a temple of the Muses, but any honor offered to the statues was entirely rhetorical.112 No sacrifices were offered on the sacred tripod brought from Delphi. Like icons in a museum which never get kissed, these images had been lifted out of their ritual context: they were merely art.
The evidence for overtly Christian monuments and observances in Constantine’s city, on the other hand, while not copious, is striking for its novelty. It is true that we look in vain for great church buildings like those Constantine gave to the church at Rome. Nothing is known of the city's first cathedral, Hagia Eirene.113 The first Great Church of the Holy Wisdom was not consecrated until 360.114 It seems that the Holy Apostles, in its earliest form, was an imperial mausoleum, comparable to the Rotunda of Galerius at Thessalonica, though an imperial mausoleum equipped with an altar for offering the bloodless sacrifice of the Christian Eucharist.115 Constantine positioned Christian emblems at strategic spots: a cross high on the frontage of the imperial palace and representations at fountains in public squares of the Good Shepherd and of Daniel, whose survival in the lion's den had made him a model for persecuted Christians.116 Indeed, the emperor dedicated his city, says Eusebius, to the God of the martyrs,117 and chose 11 May 330, the anniversary of the death of the martyr St. Mocius, a local victim of the Great Persecution, to perform the dedication. The basilica dedicated to St. Mocius is not attested before the fifth century, but there was already by 359 a shrine later associated with St. Acacius, allegedly a military martyr of the Great Persecution.118 To judge by its monuments, the city of Constantine was not that of Daniel the Stylite, with its Christian public processions and calendar customs, but the novelty of their presence, added to the unprecedented absence of civic cult designed to ensure the cooperation of the forces of nature, made it a distinctively Christian place.
For the Christianity of Constantine’s court was a novel phenomenon. Many people, Stoics and Platonists among them, had long believed that in the end there was a single divinity who holds all things together, but they were not concerned with the worship of so remote a being: they called upon the god who was effective for the job at hand, whether the protection of a city’s crops or the victory of an emperor’s army. The appropriate response to the One God could only be a philosophic silence.119 Christians asserted the existence of a single God and were quite willing to compare him to the Sun, “one and alone, of perfect majesty and might and splendor.”120 But they claimed also to know how to offer him practical honor; Christianity was not only wisdom, sapientia, but also worship, religio: “where is sapientia joined with religio? There indeed where One God is worshipped, where all life and action are referred to a single head and a single purpose, there, in the end, where the teachers of wisdom are the same as the priests of God.”121 The worship of the Most High God rendered redundant all other worship. If lesser beings were in opposition to God, then worship of them was erroneous; if they were God’s subordinates it was otiose.122 Christians claimed that they had the means to supersede the public cults of cities, which is why theirs could never be one of the private observances that existed alongside civic religion. If there was a “vacuum of holiness” in Constantine’s city, it was more a consequence than an intention of its foundation.123 The absence of pagan worship was in itself something distinctively Christian.
Where pre-Christian religion did obtrude, as with Constantine’s pagan statues, it served the purposes of the new city in ways that recall the incorporation of pagan features into the Christian view of the world adumbrated in the Divine Institutes of Constantine’s courtier, the rhetorician Lactantius. Sculpture from Delphi and Dodona adorned Constantinople. Lactantius had taken utterances from oracles, edited them and used them as Christian testimonies. He justified his citations by explaining that the powers behind oracles were once agents of God but had left his service, so their prophecies were to be trusted when they retailed knowledge obtained from their previous employer.124 We have already seen how Lactantius could incorporate the gods into a Christian account of world history by claiming that they were ancient rulers mistakenly divinized.125 Similarly, his prophecy of the ‘last times’ incorporates poetic prophecy of a golden age, but entirely on Christian terms; Vergil’s poetry is quoted to describe a millennium of plenty to be enjoyed only by Christians.126 This is not syncretism, nor is it pandering to residual paganism; it is the ruthless reinterpretation of the familiar in a fresh and Christian light.127 Pagan elements in the Institutes serve a Christian purpose; the old city of Byzantium was dwarfed by what Constantine built beside it.128
Lactantius also discourages us from using buildings as a measure of Christianity. Solomon had built a temple for God and a city that he had named Jerusalem, after himself, but “the dwelling which he erected did not result from faith, as does the Church, which is the true temple of God constituted not by walls but by the heart and faith of men who believe in him and are called the faithfuI.”129 Lactantius applied to Christian worship of the Most High God a passage in which Seneca had expounded the way a Stoic ought to honor the greatest of all powers: “for him there should not be built up into the heavens temples on the crowded crags, he should be consecrated in the hearts of each one of us.”130 Persecutors who destroyed church buildings were wasting their time, “for the true temple of God is among men.”131 Lactantius rejected the notion that places might be holy in the sense that the pagan temples were holy, set apart as places where the gods were peculiarly present to their worshippers. But at the same time he asserted that particular places had a special function in the Dispositio Summi Dei, God’s overall plan for the world.132 The world would not come to an end while the city of Rome lasted.133 Similarly, the final millennium of prosperity for the righteous will be inaugurated with the foundation of a “holy city” in the middle of the earth, where God its founder will dwell with the righteous as they rule.134 More important, he had a sense of the relation of God to the world as a whole, conceived not as an agglomeration of particular holy places, but as a single entity entirely created by God, not out of pre-existing raw material, but out of nothing.135
Domini est terra et plenitudo ejus. In a world wholly the handiwork of a single divinity, all things could be assimilated to the universal explanations supplied by Christianity: the pagan gods as historical characters and their myths as garbled versions of their earthly deeds, the oracles as inventions of forces in rebellion against God, the Roman Empire as one of the four world empires whose rise and fall had been predicted in the Book of Daniel.136 Locating holiness was not, therefore, a matter of delineating individual places sacred to particular gods and guarding them against ritual pollution.137 It was more a matter of amplifying the obvious, of illustrating the importance of a place in the plans of the Christian God by eliminating the accretions of generations of demonic activity -- as at the temple on the site of the Holy Sepulchre -- or by transforming the familiar by giving it a Christian interpretation. Constantine, it is said, marked out the boundaries of Constantinople in the manner customary for the founding of a city, but he said as he did so that he was led onwards by a power whose presence was not part of the traditional ritual.138 Customary ceremonial practice was thereby given an interpretation that might link it to a larger sense of the providence of the Christian God.
Christian appropriation of the landscape involved subtle and profound changes in patterns of habit, and “a far from negligible proportion of human action follows recognized patterns.”139 But it was not, despite the pious wishes of later Byzantine chroniclers, a matter of easy continuity. The spirit of authentic Christianity did not simply succumb to syncretism with stubborn pagan survivals; there was no straightforward transfer of power. Visitors to Daniel the Stylite’s column by the Bosporus sailed through a landscape that was marked, interpreted, and protected by sacred rites. So had Dionysus of Byzantium when he thought himself following in the wake of the good ship Argo, of Jason, Hercules and their crew. But in between, Daniel, in his old pagan temple overlooking the Bosporus, had to do battle with demons. And Constantine’s city had been founded at the culmination of a generations bitter dispute between pagans and Christians over the proper performance of public religion, a mythopoeic trauma which in the persons of the martyrs provided Christians with heroes for more than a millennium.140 The development of Constantinople as a Christian imperial city in the fourth and fifth centuries was the history of a new community finding fresh ways of coming to terms with the landscape in which it lived. But it also was a part of the long and sometimes violent process by which the Roman Empire became Christian. If Christians of the age of Constantine really thought that soon “almost everybody would in future belong to God, once the polytheistic madness had been removed,” they were optimists.141 But the emperor's new city did at least demonstrate to those Romans prepared to take notice that civic life was possible without the protection of the gods, a risk which by the Roman way of thinking only a Christian was equipped to take.142
Reprinted from The Making of Christian Communities in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. Mark Williams (London, 2005), 24-47, 155-64; reformatted and edited to comply with this series; by permission of Anthem Press.
The text of the two recensions of the ancient Life of Daniel is published in H. Delehaye, Les Saints stylites, Subsidia Hagiographica 14 (Brussels, 1923), 1-94. Annotated French translation by A. J. Festugière, Les Moines d'Orient II: Les moines de la région de Constantinople (Paris, 1960), 93-165. The English translation by E. Dawes and N. H. Baynes, Three Byzantine Saints (London, 1948), 1-48, will soon be replaced by Professor Miriam Raub Vivian of California State University at Bakersfield. The historicity of the Life is explicated by Robin Lane Fox, “The Life of Daniel,” in Portraits: Biographical Representation in the Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire, ed. S. Swain and M. J. Edwards (Oxford, 1997), 175-225.
Vita Danielis 9. For Daniel's origins, see Vita Danielis 2. He came from a little village in the territory of Samosata, now under a large Turkish lake formed by damming the Euphrates.
Vita Danielis 10-11. Adjuration in the name of God had particular force: Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis, had his deacons gag one unwilling ordinand “lest in his eagerness to free himself he might adjure me in the name of Christ”: Letter of Epiphanius to John, bishop of Jerusalem, translated into Latin by the brother of the ordinand, Jerome Epistles 51, 1 (of 394 C.E.).
Vita Danielis 13-14 tells how he came to a place called Anaplous, where there was an oratory of the archangel Michael. J. Pargoire, “Anaple et Sosthène,” IRAIK (Bulletin of the Russian Archaeological Institute of Constantinople) 3 (1898): 60-80, argues that the name Anaplous may be understood in three ways: as the journey up the Bosporus, as the European shore of the Bosporus, and as a particular place on that shore.
N. H. Baynes, “The Supernatural Defenders of Constantinople,” in his Byzantine Studies and other Essays (London, 1955), 248-60.
Macarius Melissenus [Phrantzes] Chronicum Majus III, 8; cf. Steven Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople 1453 (Cambridge, 1969), 121-22.
For recent consideration of this aspect of conversion, T. D. Barnes, “Statistics and the Conversion of the Roman Aristocracy,” Journal of Roman Studies 85 (1995): 135-55.
The question is asked by R. A. Markus, “How on Earth Could Places be Holy?”, Journal of Early Christian Studies 2 (1994): 257-71, and is a persistent theme of his The End of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge, 1990).
Eusebius Vita Constantini, in Eusebius: Life of Constantine, trans. Averil Cameron and Stuart G. Hall (Oxford, 1999), III, 48, 1.
Columella (in describing winnowing, De Re Rustica II, 20, 6) allows for the possibility that grain may be kept for more than one year. Ausonius stored two years’ supply at his estate, see Herediolum II, 27-28. The army kept a year’s supply on hand; see G. Rickman, Roman Granaries and Store Buildings (Cambridge, 1971),288. P. Horden and N. Purcell, The Corrupting Sea (Oxford, 2000), emphasize the instability of the Mediterranean environment (chap. 8) and the complexity of Mediterranean reliance on cereals (pp. 201-9).
Markus, End of Ancient Christianity, 141. This is spelled out for one great city by G. M. Rogers, The Sacred Identity of Ephesus: Foundation Myths of a Roman City (London, 1991).
Arnobius Adversus Gentes VII, 10, 1 and VII, 33, 1; in G. E. MacCracken, trans., Arnobius: the Case Against the Pagans; Ancient Christian Writers 8 (Westminster MD, 1949), 489, 516. For change in civic calendars in the fourth century, Markus, End of Ancient Christianity, 107-24; and Michele Salzman, On Roman Time: the codex-calendar of 354 and the rhythms of urban life in late antiquity (Berkeley, CA, 1990).
Lights in the Holy Wisdom guide the sailor who has left the Black Sea and is following fearfully a course towards the city: Paul the Silentiary Descriptio Sanctae Sophiae lines 903-14.
A detailed description of the geography and monuments of the Bosporus in Roman times is provided by Dionysius of Byzantium, Anaplus Bospori, ed. R. Güngerich (Berlin, 1927, rprt. 1958). An annotated translation of this text is being prepared by the present writer.
Dionysius mentions Lasthenes at section 63 (the etymology differs significantly from that of Sosthenion offered by Malalas, on whom see below, note 57), Amphiaraus at 34 and 63, a temple of Hecate at 62, temples and altars of Apollo at 26, 38, 46, 74 (with the Mother of the Gods), 86 (set up by Romans) and 111 (with an oracle second to none) and a temple of Poseidon (father of Byzas, 24) at 9; Jason and the Argonauts are mentioned at 24,46,49, 75 (Jason sacrificed to the Twelve Gods at Fanum/Hieron; cf. Polybius IV, 39, 6), 87 and 88 (tower of Medea).
Antiphilus of Byzantium Anthologia Palatina X,17, elegantly explicated by 1. Robert, “Un voyage d’Antiphilos de Byzance Anthologie palatine X,17, Gèographie antique et byzantine,” Journal des savants (1979): 257-94.
For the temple and the activities of the demons Vita Danielis 14-15. The alternative recension (D’, Mss. P and V) of the Life of Daniel in Vita Danielis (Delehaye, Les saints stylites, 14, line 31, with Delehaye’s explanation on p. xxxviii) adds that the temple was at a place called to Philemporin -- this is the only reference to this name in R. Janin, Constantinople Byzantine (Paris, 1964), 476. The demons’ stone-throwing is again mentioned in Vita Danielis 22.
Vita Danielis 23-25 describes how the location of the column was chosen. The Life repeatedly emphasizes Daniel’s connections with Symeon: Vita Danielis 21 (vision); and 22 (Sergius gives Daniel Symeon’s garment).
Vita Danielis 36, 11. 13-14, 17-18. The poem is found also in Anthologia Palatina I, 99; on it, see Hippolyte Delehaye, “Une épigramme de l’Anthologie Grecque,” Revue des études grecques 9 (1896): 216-24. On Cyrus, see note 53 below.
The location of the column at Sosthenion by the harbor of Stenos is given by the Life of the tenth-century holy man St. Luke the Stylite, Vita Lucae Stylitae 3, in Les Saints stylites, ed. H. Delehaye, 197, 11. 34-36; cf. R. Janin, Églises et monastères, 86-87 and 347.
Vita Danielis 17.
Hestiai: see Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica II, 3, 8-13. Pargoire, “Anaple et Sosthène,” 60; G. Dagron, Naissance d’une capitale: Constantinople et ses institutions de 330 à 351 (Paris, 1974), 396; and Janin, Églises et monastères, 459-62, distinguish clearly between this and the oratory of St. Michael at Sosthenion.
For their earlier moves, Callinicos, Vita Hypatii 41, in Callinicos: Vie d’Hypatios, ed. and trans. G. J. M. Bartelink; Sources Chrétiennes (Paris, 1971), 242-47, and Life of Alexander the Sleepless, ed. E. de Stoop; Patrologia Orientalis 6/5 (1911). After the death of Alexander the Sleepless at Gomon in Bithynia (Vita Alexandri 52; de Stoop, Life of Alexander, 60, and Janin, Constantinople Byzantine, 485), in about 430, his community finally constructed a monastery (Vita Alexandri 53; de Stoop, Life of Alexander, 60-61) at Irenaion on the Asiatic shore of the Bosporus, modern Çubuklu (Janin, Constantinople Byzantine, 486-87). For the location of their monastery vis-à-vis Daniel, Vita Danielis 22, l. 14.
C. Mango, “The Date of the Studius Basilica at Istanbul,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 4 (1978): 115-22, rprt. in his Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot, 1993), chap. 12 with additional notes on pp. 6-7, which places the building before 454.
Callinicos Vita Hypatii 24, 36.
Callinicos Vita Hypatii 43, 16-23.
Callinicos Vita Hypatii 45.
Callinicos Vita Hypatii 1, 6. For further sources on Isaac, see G. Dagron, “Les moines et la ville: Ie monachisme à Constantinople jusqu’au condIe de Chalcédoine (451),” Travaux et mémoires 4 (1970): 229-76 at 232. Sozomen Historia Ecclesiastica II, 14, 38, and Socrates Historia Ecclesiastica II, 38, record the foundation of monasteries at Constantinople by the heresiarch Macedonius in the time of Constantius II (337-61), but ecclesiastical disapproval meant that they remained marginal: Dagron, “Les moines et la ville,” 238-39, 244-53.
In general, on monks and monasteries in Constantinople, see Dagron, “Les moines et la ville.” M. Kaplan points out that for some monks settling in the outskirts rather than in the dty itself was “un pis-aller”: “L’Hinterland religieux de Constantinople; moines et saints de banlieue, d’après l’hagiographie,” in Constantinople and its hinterland: papers from the Twenty-seventh Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Oxford, April 1993, ed. C. Mango, G. Dagron and G. Greatrex (Aldershot, 1995), 191-205 at 192.
J. F. Baldovin, The Urban Character of Christian Worship: the Origins, Development and Meaning of Stational Liturgy; Orientalia Christiana Analecta 228 (Rome, 1987), 268, elaborates the significance of this sentence from John Chrysostom on Antioch, Homily 15, On the Statues; in Patrologia Graeca, XLIX, col. 155. A procession bearing a martyr’s relics from Constantinople to a suburban shrine made the sea into a church: John Chrysostom Homilia in S Phocam martyrem 1; Patrologia Graeca L, col. 699-706 at col. 700. For general discussion of the evidence for religious processions in Constantinople, see Baldovin, The Urban Character, 181-87.
Socrates Historia ecclesiastica VI, 8; Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica VIII, 8.
Chronicon Paschale, 586 Bonn ad ann. 447 AD, trans. M. and M. Whitby (Liverpool, 1989), 76. The Chronicon Paschale provides a doublet of its account of the earthquake of 447 in its record for the year 450.
Orosius Historiae Adversum Paganos III, 3, 2; Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica II, 4, 4.
The records of the commemorations of the earthquakes of 438 and 447 are disentangled by Brian Croke, “Two Early Byzantine Earthquakes and the Liturgical Commemoration,” Byzantion 51 (1981): 122-47; see also Brian Croke, Christian Chronicles and Byzantine History, 5th-6th Centuries (Aldershot, 1992), chap. 9.
John Chrysostom Homilia 2; in Patrologia Graeca LXIII, col. 467-70. The emperor arrived with a military detachment the following morning: Homilia 3; in Patrologia Graeca LXIII, col. 473.
Jerome Chronicle 240i Helm, ad ann. 357 AD, Consularia Constantinopolitana ad ann. 357; in Theodor Mommsen Chronica Minora I, 239; Chronicon Paschale 542 Bonn, ad ann. 357 AD; Paulinus of Nola, Carmen 19. C. Mango, “Constantine's Mausoleum and the Translation of Relics,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 83 (1990): 51-62, rprt. in his Studies on Constantinople, chap. 5 (with addendum), 52-53, places the translation in its context.
C. Mango, “The Date of the Studius Basilica at Istanbul,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 4 (1978): 115-22; idem., Studies on Constantinople, chap. 12, 122.
Jerome Contra Vigilantium 5. The other sources are discussed in H. Delehaye, Les Origines du culte des martyrs; Subsidia Hagiographica 20, 2nd ed. (Brussels, 1933),56. The relics lay initially in the Great Church (Chronicon Paschale 569, Bonn, ad ann. 406 AD) but were moved in 411 to a sanctuary at the Hebdomon (Chronicon Paschale 570-71, Bonn, ad ann. 411 AD).
Stephen: Theodore Lector Historia Tripartita II, 64; cf. Theophanes Chronicon ad ann mund., 5919-20. Chrysostom: Socrates Historia ecclesiastica VII, 45; Theodoret Historia ecclesiastica V, 36.
Socrates Historia ecclesiastica I, 17.
Alan Cameron, Circus Factions (Oxford, 1976), 157-92. For the particular instance of Julian at Antioch in 363: Maud W. Gleason, “Festival Satire: Julian’s Misopogon and the New Year at Antioch,” Journal of Roman Studies 76 (1986): 106-19 at 110-11.
A. A. Vasiliev, Justin the First (Cambridge, MA, 1950), 68-82, discusses the accession of Justin I in detail.
Canon 28. The two things are not always the same. C. M. Kelly points to ways that an efficient bureaucracy could threaten the free play of the emperor's authority: “bureaucracy’s marked preference for order directly challenged the whimsicality and unpredictability of action fundamental to the unfettered exercise of imperial power”: “Later Roman Bureaucracy: Going through the Files,” in Literacy and Power in the Ancient World, ed. Alan K. Bowman and Greg Woolf (Cambridge, 1994), 161-76, 167.
The first miracle of a pagan wonder-worker of the time of Christ was to persuade the potentates of Aspendus in Cilicia to disgorge their hoarded grain: Philostratus Life of Apollonius of Tyana 2. Lactantius explains the lost plenty of the ancient golden age by the fact that in that distant time, so unlike his own, the barns of the righteous rich stood open to all; Divinae institutiones V, 5, 8. In the fourth century, bishops were concerned about grain-hoarding by the powerful. Ambrose De officiis III, 6, 39-44, answers the self-justifications of rapacious landowners who claimed they were emulating Joseph in storing grain. In the Cappadocian famine of 369 C.E., Basil used influence with the magistrates and most powerful men of the city to open up the storehouses of the rich: for sources and discussion, see P. Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley CA, 1994), 136-39. For further references, Horden and Purcell, The Corrupting Sea, 267. On Julian at Antioch, see note 76 below.
Dagron, Naissance, 119, traces the development of the Senate of Constantinople. “Le sénat de Constantinople n’est d’abord que l’ensemble des sénateurs qui ont suivi Constantin dans sa nouvelle residence,” 120. Reforms in the latter years of Constantius II opened it “à des categories de plus en plus larges de fonctionnaires,” 130. On the senate’s local government functions, 141-43.
Such are the continuities of life in Whitehall. The prologue to Dialogus de Scaccario describes how in 1175/6 the author of the Dialogus was inspired to write a description of his own government department (6); the editors discuss its places of business on p. xliii-iv: Dialogus de Scaccario: The Course of the Exchequer by Richard, Fitz Nigel, ed. C. Johnson, F. E. L. Carter, and D. E. Greenway (Oxford, 1983), xliii-iv.
They went back to the reign of Valens (ob. 378): John Lydus, De Magistratibus III, 19, cited by C. M. Kelly “Later Roman Bureaucracy,” 161, 165.
John Matthews, Laying Down the Law: A Study of the Theodosian Code (New Haven, CT, 2000).
Rochelle Snee, “Gregory Nazianzen's Anastasis Church: Arianism, the Goths, and Hagiography,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 52 (1998): 157-86.
Gervase Mathew, Byzantine Aesthetics (London, 1963), 70.
He was his friend “from the start”: Vita Danielis 23, 1. 16 and erected his first pillar: Vita Danielis 23-26. Marcus is known only from the Life of Daniel; see J. R. Martindale, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire II AD 395-527 (Cambridge, 1980), hereinafter PLRE, II, 720 s.n. Marcus 3.
Vita Danielis 25-30. Gelanius is known only from the Life of Daniel: PLRE, II, 499, s.n. Gelanius.
For the career of Cyrus: PLRE, II, 336-39, s.n. Cyrus 6; cf. note 19 above.
For the career of Zosimus: PLRE, II, 1206, s.n. Zosimus 6. The text of the history is in F. Paschoud, Zosime: Histoire nouvelle (Paris and Budé, 1971-), with comprehensive notes. On his views, see Walter Goffart, “Zosimus: the First Historian of Rome's Fall,” American Historical Review 76 (1971): 412-41.
Callinicos Vita Hypatii 33. On Leontius, Prefect of the City of Constantinople 434-45, PLRE, II, 669, s.n. Leontius 9. The anti-Nestorian edict addressed to him is Codex Theodosianus XVI, 5, 66 (August 3, 435).
Malalas Chronicle IV, 13 (Bonn, 78-79). The Michaelium at Sosthenion is mentioned again in Malalas Chronicle XVI, 16 (Bonn, 403 and 405); Agathias wrote an epigram about an icon of the archangel there, for which see Anthologia palatina I, 35. Further references in Janin, Églises et monastères, 346-50. On the story in Malalas and the possible connection with Attis, see C. Mango, “St. Michael and Attis,” Deltion tes Christianikes Arkhaiologikes Hetaireias 12 (1986): 39-62. On Malalas’ reinterpretation of other Greek mythology to maintain continuity with the past: Roger Scott, “‘Malalas’ View of the Classical Past,” in Reading the Past in Late Antiquity, ed. Graeme Clarke et al. (Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales, 1990), 147-64.
Fragments in Th. Preger, Scriptores Originum Constantinopolitanum (Leipzig, 1901), I: 1-18. Summary of scheme in Dagron, Constantinople imaginaire, 23-26. The schemes of historians like Malalas and Hesychius sustain the early Christian interest in universal chronography first evident in Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum; cf. A. Luneau, L’Histoire du salut chez les Pères de l’Eglise (Paris, 1964).
F. Millar, The Emperor in the Roman World (London, 1977), 43 ff., provides considerable detail about the “gradual shift from Rome.” The next generation’s estimate of Gallienus’ administration was expressed by Lactantius De mortibus persecutorum 5, 5 (did not rescue his father from captivity in Persia) and a panegyrist in 297-98: Latin Panegyric VIII (V), 10, 1-3; further historical references in the notes of C. E. V. Nixon and B. S. Rodgers, In Praise of Later Roman Emperors: The Panegyrici Latini (Berkeley, CA, 1994), 122-24. At Rome, Gallienus patronized Plotinus (Porphyry Vita Plotini 12) and encouraged fine sculpture in the classical manner: see Gervase Mathew, “The Character of the Gallienic Renaissance,” Journal of Roman Studies 33 (1943): 65-70. Maxentius faced Constantine in Gaul, Galerius and then Licinius in the Balkans, and for a time Domitius Alexander in Africa: T. D. Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius (Cambridge, MA, 1981), 37-39, 41-43, with references.
Text of the Bordeaux Pilgrim, P. Geyer, ed., Itineraria et Alia Geographica; Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 38 (Vienna, 1898), rprt. in Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 175, (Turnhout, 1965). The route of the road across Asia Minor is studied by David H. French, Roman Roads and Milestones of Asia Minor fascicle 1: The Pilgrims’ Road; British Archeological Reports International Series 105 (Oxford, 1981).
Constantine: T. D. Barnes, The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine (Cambridge, MA, 1982), 39. Valentinian I PLRE I, 933, s.n.Valentiniaus 7. Maximunus Daia: Lactantius De Mortibus Persecutorum 49; Constantius II: Ammianus Marcellinus Res Gestae XXI, 15, 2.
Lactantius De Mortibus Persecutorum 7, 10. Ammianus Marcellinus Res Gestae XXII, 9, 3 also makes a passing comparison of Nicomedia to Rome.
E.g. recently, S. Curčič, “Late-antique palaces: the meaning of urban context,” Ars Orientalis 23 (1993): 67-90.
To the six mentioned by Lactantius De Mortibus Persecutorum 29, 2, one may add Domitius Alexander, usurper in Africa.
Letter of Constantine to the Shah of Persia in Eusebius Vita Constantini IV, 9. For a narrative, see Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 28-43 and 62-77.
For Constantine’s movements in 324-25, see Barnes, New Empire, 75-76 (surrender of Licinius September 19, foundation of Constantinople November 8, 324). For the Troy story, Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica II, 3; Theodore Lector Historia Tripartita 17-18; Theophanes Chron. ad ann. mund., 5816.
Demosthenes On the Crown 87; Eunapius Lives of the Philosophers 462. For further examples, Peter Garnsey, Famine and Food Supply in the Greco-Roman World (Cambridge, 1988), 121-22 (fifth century B.C.E.), 135 and 142-43 (fourth century B.C.E.).
Millar, Emperor in the Roman World, 53, points to the frequency of tetrarchic visits. For the siege of Byzantium in the campaign of 324, Anonymous Valesianus 5, 25 and 27; Zosimus Historia Nova II, 2.3-5. For the war between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger: Dio Cassius (Xiphilinus) Roman History LXXXV, 9, 4-14, 6 (with 7,3 and 8,3) and Herodian Roman History III, 1,5-7 and 6,9.
C. Mango, “The Water Supply of Constantinople” in Constantinople and Its Hinterland, 9-18. Richard Bayliss and James Crow, “The fortifications and water supply systems of Constantinople,” Antiquity 74/283 (March, 2000): 25-26, is the first report of a survey project.
Byzantium enjoyed some territory on the Asiatic side of the Sea of Marmara: Polybius Histories IV, 52, 9, (treaty with Prusias cites lands in Mysia); Strabo Geographica XII, 8, 11 (on Dascylium), with 1. Robert, “Inscriptions de Yalova,” Hellenica 7 (1949): 39-41.
Polybius Histories IV, 38, 1-10. It is true that the principal disadvantage perceived by Polybius on the land side was having the “rich lands” (IV, 45, 7) of the city pillaged by tribes from the Thracian interior, which was not the same problem in the time of Constantine.
N. Firatli and L. Robert, Les Stèles funéraires de Byzance gréco-romaine (Paris, 1964), 9-10; C. Mango, Le Développement urbain de Constantinople (IVe-VIIe siècles) (Paris, 1985), 15.
On the topography of ancient Byzantium, see W. Müller-Wiener, Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls (Tübingen, 1977), 16-19, with references.
Claudia Barsanti, “Costantinopoli: Testimonianze archeologiche di età Costantiniana” in Costantino il grande dall’antichità all’umanesimo, ed. G. Bonamente and F. Fusco (Macerata, 1992), I: 115-50 at 116.
On the grain supply, Dagron, Naissance, 530-41.
T. D. Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius (Cambridge MA, 1993), 24 and n. 17, reconstructs the events. Julian, marching east to take power from Constantius II, did not commandeer for his army an African grain fleet destined for Constantinople, and could therefore on his arrival be presented as a benefactor of the city; Mamertinus Latin Panegyric III (XI), 14, 5-6.
For the advice of the notables, Ammianus Marcellinus Res Gestae XXII, 14, 1-2. The dynamics are well presented by Robert Browning, The Emperor Julian (London, 1976), 152-55.
Zosimus Historia Nova II, 30, 1. His shrewdness was anticipated by Eunapius Lives of the Philosophers 462.
See above at note 12. Amminus Marcellinus Res Gestae XXII, 12, 3, cf. 6, reports critics of Julian who considered that the emperor’s lack of moderation in sacrifice when things were going well would lead to destruction, his prosperity falling away velut luxuriantes ubertate nimia fruges.
M. Cook and P. Crone, Hagarism (Cambridge, 1977), 47.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones IV, 3, 1-10. See below at note 120.
Narrative of the Great Persecution in Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 19-27, 38-43, 148-63, with recent amplification in idem, “Constantine and Christianity: Ancient Evidence and Modern Interpretations,” Zeitschrift fur Antikes Christentum 2 (1998): 274-94.
Lactantius De mortibus persecutorum 24, 9.
Eusebius Vita Constantini IV, 23-25, avers that sacrifice was banned everywhere. Codex Theodosianus XVI, 10, 2 of 341 C.E. speaks of sacrifice as “violation of the law ... of our father.” On Constantine’s abolition of sacrifice, see Scott Bradbury, “Constantine and the Problem of Anti-Pagan Legislation in the Fourth Century,” Classical Philology 89 (1994): 120-39.
J. Gascou) “Le Rescrit d’Hispellum)” Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’école française d’Athènes et de Rome 79 (1967): 600-59.
Eusebius Vita Constantini III, 53, 1.
Codex Theodosianus XVI, 10, 1.
Eusebius Vita Constantini II, 44. For the martyrdom of three Christians who assaulted the governor of Palestine as he was sacrificing, Eusebius Martyrs of Palestine IX, 4-5.
The phrase is from the letter to the bishops of Palestine about the pagan cults at Mamre in Eusebius Vita Constantini III, 52.
Eusebius Vita Constantini III, 48, 2.
Themistius Oration 23, 292-93 (prefers living in Constantinople to living in his native city); 294-96 (students of philosophy at Constantinople). Himerius Oration 41, may be read as praise of attempts by Julian to alter the Christian character of the city’s public life: T. D. Barnes, “Himerius and the Fourth Century,” Classical Philology 82 (1987), rprt. in his From Eusebius to Augustine (Aldershot, 1994), chap. 16, 206-25 at 221-22.
Mamertinus Latin Panegyric III, 14,5-6.
Averil Cameron and Stuart G. Hall, trans., Eusebius: Life of Constantine, (Oxford and New York, 1999), 298, in their note on Eusebius, Vita Constantini III, 48, 2, claim that “what Eusebius suggests is impossible,” because there would be non-Christian individuals and were non-Christian monuments in the city. On the monuments, see below. What was missing from Constantinople was a calendar of “feasts of demons” designed to articulate the city’s public life.
Palinode of Galerius of 311, in Lactantius De mortibus persecutorum 34, 2.
Zosimus Historia Nova II, 36-37, who found an explanation in the words of a Hellenistic oracle concerning King Prusias. The quoted words are from the Palinode of Galerius.
Malalas Chronicle XIII, 8, 322; Chronicon Paschale 530; Parasteis Syntomoi Chronikai 5; cf. 56; Judith Herrin and Averil Cameron, eds., Constantinople in the Eighth Century: the Parasteis Syntomoi Chronikai (Leiden, 1984), 60, cf. 130-32.
Poseidon, father of Byzas: Dionysius of Byzantium Anaplus Bospori 24; his temple was on Seraglio Point (Dionysius 9) and in the sixth century housed the church of St. Menas (Hesychius, Patria 15). The quotation is from Markus, End of Ancient Christianity, 33.
Markus, End of Ancient Christianity, 110-20, contrasts the preaching of Severus of Antioch in the early sixth century with that of Augustine at Carthage in 399.
The fullest account of the destruction of the temple of Fortune at Caesarea is by Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica V, 4, 1-6 and V, 11, 8. The earliest allusion to the event is Gregory of Nazianzus Oration IV Against Julian 92. Basil (Epistle 100), connects the temple with Eupsychius, and Libanius Oration 16, 14, describes Julian’s withdrawal of privileges from the city of Caesarea.
Sixth century: Malalas Chronicle XIII, 8, 322; Theodosius the Great: Parasteis 5. The Chronicon Paschale does not say if the ceremony continued but refers disparagingly to a similar ceremony as having been performed under the Emperor Phocas in the early seventh century; see Chronicon Paschale 701.
Malalas Chronicle XIII, 39, 345, claims that three temples on the Acropolis were destroyed under Theodosius I: that of the Sun was turned into a courtyard, that of Artemis into a gambling den still known in the sixth century as “The Temple,” and that of Aphrodite into a carriage house for the Praetorian Prefect. They are not mentioned by Dionysius of Byzantium.
Zosimus Historia Nova II, 31, 2-3. The interpretation builds on that of Dagron, Naissance, 373-74. For references to the pairing of Roma and Constantinopolis (as the City Tyche) on fourth-century coins, Sabine MacCormack, “Roma, Constantinopolis, the Emperor and his Genius,” Classical Quarterly 25 (1975): 131-50 at 147.
For Julian’s sacrifice at the Temple of the Tyche of Constantinople, Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica V, 4, 8.
“Si l’on songe que Constantin s’assimile lui-même à l’Hélios byzantin, on ne peut s’empècher de penser à un transfert de la valeur religieuse de Rhéa-Cybèle sur sa mere”: Dagron, Naissance, 374 n. 6.
On the Great Statue, see C. Mango, Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot, 1993), chap. 2: “Constantinopolitana,” 305-13; ibid., chap. 3: “Constantine’s Column” and chap. 4: “Constantine’s Porphyry Column and the Chapel of St. Constantine,” and for this argument my abstract “The Great Statue at Constantinople,” Bulletin of British Byzantine Studies 20 (1994), 70-72. Parasteis uses the expression “great statue” in chaps. 10, 17, 23, though not, as it happens, in its fullest discussions in chaps. 56 and 68a.
The passage in quotation marks translates a phrase of Dagron, Naissance, 373. Lactantius as tutor to Crispus: Jerome De viris illustribus 80; Chronicle 230e Helm. For his account of the earthly rule of the gods, see Lactantius Divinae institutiones I, 8-23, cf. V, 5-7. Saturn lived on earth 322 years before the Trojan War (i.e., around 1,506 years B.C.E.): Divine Institutes I, 23.
Jerome Chronicle 232g Helm.
Eusebius Vita Constantini III, 54,2.
On the common characteristics of tetrarchic circuses, John Humphrey, Roman Circuses (London, 1986), 632-38. For Constantinople, Müller-Wiener, Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls, 64-71.
Zosimus Historia Nova II, 31, 1; Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica II, 5, 4; Socrates Historia ecclesiastica I, 16. Thomas Madden, “The Serpent Column of Delphi in Constantinople: Placement, Purposes and Mutilations,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 16 (1992): 111-45.
Zosimus Historia Nova V, 24, 6-7; Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica II, 5, 4.; Socrates Historia ecclesiastica I, 16, cf. Dagron, Naissance, 139-40. Eusebius Vita Constantini III, 54, 3, places the Muses of Helicon at the palace.
Themistius Oration 31, 355.
Socrates Historia ecclesiastica I, 16 and II, 16; cf. Dagron, Naissance, 392-93.
Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica IV, 26; Socrates Historia ecclesiastica II, 43 and II, 16; Chronicon Paschale 544-45 Bonn; cf. Dagron, Naissance, 397-401.
Holy Apostles, see Eusebius Vita Constantini IV, 58-60 and 70-71. Altar: Eusebius Vita Constantini IV, 60, 2; Eusebius uses the phrase “bloodless sacrifice” of the liturgy at the dedication of the Holy Sepulchre in Vita Constantini IV, 45. Mango, “Constantine’s Mausoleum,” 51-62, proposes a sequence of construction at the Holy Apostles starting with the mausoleum rotunda and proceeding to the building of the church only under Constantius II.
Eusebius Vita Constantini III, 49. The placing of Christian images at fountains recalls the propaganda value for the German empire in the years before the Great War of the placing of the Alman Çeşmesi, today rather a lonely-looking monument, near the spot where people gathered to watch the Whirling Dervishes and could get refreshment from its waters.
Eusebius Vita Constantini III, 48, 1.
On St. Mocius and St. Acacius and their cults, see Delehaye, Origines du culte des martyrs, 233-36. Socrates Historia ecclesiastica II, 38; Sozomen Historia ecclesiastica IV, 21, 36; Theodore Lector Historia Tripartita 47; Theophanes tells how the body of Constantine was moved in 359 from the Holy Apostles to the church of St. Acacius nearby in Theophanis Chronographia, 2 vols., ed. Carl de Boor (Leipzig, 1883, 1885) 46. Socrates Historia ecclesiastica VI, 23, also mentions an oratory on the site of the saint’s execution. David Woods, “The Church of St. Acacius at Constantinople,” Vigiliae Christianae 55 (2001): 201-7, suggests that the association was not originally with the saint.
Porphyry De abstinentia II, 34.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones 11, 9, 12. The fact is worth emphasizing. Often Helios or Sol are written of as though they were only specific pagan divinities; the Sun is also the Sun, open to appropriation by all Late Roman religions.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones IV, 3, 7.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones II, 16, 9.
The phrase is from C. Mango, “Constantine's Mausoleum,” 62. Similarly the secularity which Markus, End of Ancient Christianity, 15-17, sees as characteristic of the fourth century but supplanted by a pervasive sense of the sacred as Late Antiquity proceeds may be seen as an interlude between two eras in which the sacred was omnipresent.
For Lactantius’ selective quotation of an oracle of Apollo at Divinae institutiones I, 7, 1-3, D. S. Potter, Prophecy and History in the Crisis of the Roman Empire: a Historical Commentary on the Thirteenth Sibylline Oracle (Oxford, 1990), 351-55, with references; and the basic study of L. Robert, “Une oracle gravée à Oenoande,” Comptes-rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1971): 597-619. For the demons who manipulate oracles, Divinae institutiones II, 15, 1-16, 4; with Oliver Nicholson, “Broadening the Roman Mind: Foreign Prophets in the Apologetic of Lactantius,” Studia Patristica 36 (2001): 364-74.
Above at note 105. For the chronology, see Oliver Nicholson, “The Sources of the Dates in Lactantius’ Divine Institutes,” Journal of Theological Studies 36 n.s. (1985): 291-301.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones VII, 24, 11.
For the similar appropriation in Lactantius’ thought and Constantinian portrait sculpture of pre-Christian notions about the human body, see Oliver Nicholson, “Lactantius and a Statue of Constantine the Great,” Studia Patristica 34 (2001): 177-96.
Mango, Le Développement urbain, 33-34, evokes the way that the old Acropolis became a backwater of Byzantine life until it was used by Mehmet II to build the Topkapi Saray.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones IV, 13, 24-27, quoting 26. In Divinae institutiones, “ecclesia” denotes the Christian community, though De mortibus persecutorum 12, 3, is the first use of it in Latin to denote a church building.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones VI, 25, 3 = Seneca frag. 123. The quotation, like so many of Lactantius’ citations from Seneca, is from a lost work.
Lactantius De mortibus persecutorum 15, 7. H. Koch, “Der Tempel Gottes bei Laktanz,” Philologus 85 (1920): 235-38, collects the numerous passages from Lactantius which illustrate this thought. V. Loi, Lattanzio nella storia del linguaggio e del pensiero teologico preniceno (Zurich, 1970), 244, compares Lactantius with earlier Christian authors. Markus, End of Ancient Christianity, 139-32, contrasts pagan holy places with Christian holy people.
For the phrase, a favorite of Lactantius Divinae institutiones IV, 10, 1-2; IV, 7, 3; VII, 2,1 and II, 16, 14; cf. IV, 26, 2.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones VII, 25, 6-8; cf. Oliver Nicholson, “Civitas quae adhuc sustentat omnia: Lactantius and the City of Rome,” in The Limits of Ancient Christianity: Essays presented to Robert Markus, ed. William Klingshirn and Mark Vessey (Ann Arbor, MI, 1999), 7-25.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones VII, 24, 6, has God as the founder of the city, Lactantius’ Epitome of the Divine Institutes (Epit.) 67, 3, has it founded by “rex ille justus et victor,” who will have won the “fourth battle.”
Argued at length in Lactantius Divinae institutiones II, 8-9.
Lactantius Divinae institutiones VII, 15, 13 lists the four empires; cf. Nicholson, “Broadening the Roman Mind,” at 374. Garth Fowden, Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Princeton, NJ, 1993), considers the problems of connecting monotheism and universal empire.
Plentiful examples of such regulation in Franciszek Sokolowski, Lois Sacrés des cités grecques (Paris, 1969).
Philostorgius Historia ecclesiastica II, 9.
A. D. Nock, “Conversion and Adolescence,” in his Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, vol. I, ed. Z. Stewart (Oxford, 1972), 474.
The only martyr securely attested during Licinius’ rule in the East between 313 and 324 is Basil, bishop of Amasya; see Jerome, Chronicle, 230g Helm, but for Christian fears see Eusebius Vita Constantini I, 48-56.
Eusebius Vita Constantini II, 45, 1.
Except that Zosimus Historia Nova V, 24, 6-8, thought that the presence of the statues of pagan gods assured the safety of the city.