Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yet another Toselli Discovery

Richard Forster, the most prominent Antioch scholar between Muller and Downey, worte a small piece in the Jahrbuch des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Volume 16 in 1901 highlighting another find by the enigmatic Engineer Toselli.

Speaking of this find, Toselli said "Je vous joins ici le releve de inscription gravee sur la roche dans laquelle est ouvert un puisard sur le canal des eaux de Daphne un peu au sud et en amont des ruines du Monastere antique des St St Pierre et Paul laquelle est gravee en trois lignes dans un encadrement de 40 centimetres environ de la maniere suivante:"

Forster dismisses the likelihood of its dating from the time of Trajan's building of the water channel and instead thinks it is late Greek. He transliterated the above as: ΘΠΟΙ ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟΥ ΡΑΛΛΑΔΙΟΝ.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Procopius of Gaza's lost Monody

The paucity of materials on Antioch in the ancient literature means that each mention much be cherished. One of the pieces that we know of and that is now lost is the Monody for Antioch (Monodia per Antiochia/μονωδια Αντιοχαιαζ)by Procopius. This work appears to have still existed into the 12th century when it was used as a reference source for some homilies written and delivered by a Sicilian monk, Philagathus Cerami (otherwise known as Filogato Cerameo). 

The most extensive reference to this lost work is made in an article by Professor Aldo Corcella in, «Echi del romanzo e di Procopio di Gaza in Filagato Cerameo», Byzantinisches Zeitschrift 103, 2010, pp. 25-38..

Procopius (c. 465-528 AD) came from Gaza, a city now better known for its political football status, but back in the fifth century had somewhat of a literary fame. The Monody (in form most usually a poem in which one person laments another's death) he wrote was in relation to the devastating earthquake of AD 526 that flattened Antioch.

Allusions to the Monody in Philagathus's Homily No. XII (in the Patrologia Graeca numbering): "In Sanctos Innocentes dicta in ambone archiepiscopalis ecclesiae" on the theme would appear to be a vestige of this elusive work by Procopius of Gaza.



Monday, October 17, 2011

Hilton in the Forum of Valens?

Rumours that a "Hilton" was being built on the site of the Forum of Valens have swirled for a couple of years now. The brand name may be wrong but the latest discovery on the site would seems to suggest that we are talking of a site that could very well be the long-lost forum that was redesigned by the Emperor Valens. The area had structures built by the Romans as far back as Julius Caesar, while others such as Tiberius and Commodus has added to the mix.

The article recording the discovery is here:

The site photo in the article shows the massive area uncovered.


Our thoughts are that 3,000 sq metres of marble paving is not even one of the famed marble streets but quite clearly a very large open space. Morover the 850 sq metre mosaic uncovered is clearly not a domestic structure to have a room of such dimensions and could very well be one of the many basilicas the surrounded the forum, or the Library (the Museion) or some other significant structure.

Here is the google maps view:

This is an enormous shame that this will be buried in a "museum" in the hotel's basement. There should be no building at all in the still lightly covered northern section of the old walled city. While the mayor of Antakya gets all excited about tourists he should maybe look to Ephesus to see what his real potential could be rather than building over the sites. This hotel should go somewhere else.






Monday, October 10, 2011

A Triple Arch/Gate

The search for information on Antioch is now reduced to serendipity as so much of what is left extant is known. Well may we say that "there is little new under the sun" for what we need to know still remains out of daylight.

In my peregrinations I stumbled upon an article in Revue archeologique, Volume 4, Part 1 of 1847 entitled "Arc de Triomphe de Theveste" by Antoine Jean Letronne.

"A la troisième espèce, tripyle, appartiennent les arcs qui se composent de trois portes : une grande pour les voitures, deux petites pour les piétons. Tels sont les arcs de Septime Sévère et de Constantin à Rome, l'arc d'Auguste à Fano, la porte d'Herculanum à Pompéi, la porte d'Autun, deux des portes de Lambésa. Je pense que c'est une de ce genre qui était désignée par le mot tripylon, dans un passage où Théophane parle d'une porte d'Antioche qu'il désigne par η πυλη τηζ πολεωζ επι το χαλουμενον τριπυλον , ce qui veut dire que cette porte d'Antioche était formée par un arc triple, comme celle d'Autun ; et l'on peut même conclure de l'expression το λεγομενον τριπυλον , que cette porte était à Antioche la seule de ce genre.

The passage from Theophanes' Chronographia page 36 (ed.Bonn).

What this effectively tells us is that one of the city gates was a triple gate with a large central arch for traffic and two side arches for pedestrians to pass through. As most of the city gates were at the riverside, it would seem that Theophanes is most likely talking about either the Beroea gate or the gates leading to Daphne, the internal Cherubim gate and the external Golden Gate.



Monday, September 5, 2011

Descriptions of the Imperial Palace in the original Greek

From Libanius in the Antiochikos

αὐτὰ δὲ τὰ βασίλεια κατείληφε μὲν τῆς νήσου τοσοῦτον, ὥστε εἰς τέταρτον μέρος τῆς ὅλης τελεῖν. τοῦ μέσου γάρ, ὃν ὀμφαλὸν προσείληφεν, ἐφάπτεται καὶ πρὸς τὴν ἔξω μοῖραν τοῦ ποταμοῦ προβέβηκεν, ὥστε καὶ τὸ τεῖχος ἀντ’ ἐπάλξεων κίονας δεξάμενον θέα βασιλεῖ πρέπουσα κατεσκεύασται τοῦ ποταμοῦ μὲν ὑπορρέοντος, τῶν προαστείων δὲ πανταχόθεν εὐωχούντων τὰς ὄψεις. (207) καὶ δι’ ἀκριβείας μὲν ὑπὲρ τούτου τοῦ μέρους βουλομένῳ διελθεῖν τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ ποιητέον ὑπόθεσιν, ἀλλ’ οὐχ ἑτέρας μέρος, δεῖ δὲ ὅμως τοσοῦτον εἰπεῖν, ὅτι τῶν ὄντων ἁπανταχοῦ τῶν μὲν ἐκ μεγέθους λαβόντων ὄνομα, τῶν δὲ ἐπὶ κάλλει βεβοημένων τῶν μὲν οὐδαμῇ λείπεται, τῶν δὲ καὶ πολὺ κεκράτηκεν, εἰς κάλλους μὲν λόγον οὐδαμοῦ νικώμενον, ἐν μεγέθους δὲ κρίσει πανταχοῦ νικῶν, εἰς τοσούτους θαλάμους καὶ στοὰς καὶ ἀνδρῶνας διῃρημένον, ὥστε καὶ τοὺς λίαν ἐθάδας ἐκ θυρῶν ἐπὶ θύρας ἰόντας εἰς πλάνην ἐμπίπτειν. τοῦτό μοι δοκεῖ κἂν μόνον ἐν πόλει φαύλως ἐχούσῃ κείμενον, οἵας πολλὰς ἐπὶ Θρᾴκης ὁρῶμεν, ἔνθα οὐ πολλαὶ καλύβαι ποιοῦσι τὰς πόλεις, εἰ τούτων μιᾷ τοῦτο ἐνέκειτο, πάντως ἂν παρεῖχεν ἐν ἐξετασμῷ πόλεων τῇ κεκτημένῃ μεγαλαυχεῖσθαι.

Foerster, R. (ed.), Libanii opera 1.2 (Leipzig 1903; repr. Hildesheim 1997), 11.206‑208.


A description of the palace by Theodoretus of Cyrrhus

Βορρᾶθεν μὲν Ὀρόντης ὁ ποταμὸς παραρρεῖ τὰ βασίλεια, ἐκ δὲ μεσημβρίας στοὰ μεγίστη διόροφος τῷ τῆς πόλεως ἐπῳκοδόμηται περιβόλῳ, πύργους ὑψηλοὺς ἑκατέρωθεν ἔχουσα. μεταξὺ δὲ τῶν τε βασιλείων καὶ τοῦ ποταμοῦ λεωφόρος ἐστὶν ὑποδεχομένη τοὺς ἐκ τῶν τῇδε πυλῶν ἐκ τοῦ ἄστεως ἐξιόντας καὶ εἰς τοὺς προαστείους ἀγροὺς παραπέμπουσα. διὰ ταύτης Ἀφραάτης παριὼν ὁ θεσπέσιος εἰς τὸ πολεμικὸν ἀπῄει γυμνάσιον...


Theodoretus of Cyrrhus, Ecclesiastical history, IV, 26, 1‑3, Parmentier, L. (ed.), Theodoret, Kirchengeschichte (Berlin 1998), pp. 264‑5.

Some Names of Quarters from the Liber Pontificalis

Through a roundabout hunt I ended up looking at an English translation of the Liber Pontificalis for information on Antioch. This source is: THE BOOK OF THE POPES, (LIBER PONTIFICALIS) I - TO THE PONTIFICATE OF GREGORY I, Translated with an introduction by LOUISE ROPES LOOMIS, Ph.D., published by COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1916.

What I stumbled upon in this volume was a gift of some assets in the city of Antioch to the Basilica of St Peter's in Rome. These consisted of:

  • the house of Datianus, yielding 240 solidi
  • the little house in Caene, yielding 20 and one third solidi
  • the barns in Afrodisia, yielding 20 solidi
  • the bath in Ceratheae, yielding 42 solidi
  • the mill in the same place, yielding 23 solidi
  • the cook shop in the same place, yielding 10 solidi
  • the garden of Maro yielding 10 solidi
  • the garden in the same place, yielding 11 solidi

The footnote in the translation described Caene, Afrodisia and Ceratheae as "all quarters of Antioch". This perked up our interest as the names of the quarters are scarcely mentioned elsewhere. The first two locations are new to us. Ceratheae would seem to be the same as that area known as the Kerateion, which is mentioned more than any other area in the sources. We have also written on it in the past.

Then we have the issue as to whether the "garden of Maro" is in a quarter called Maro, or belonged to someone of that name. More intriguing still is the "house of Datianus". Is this a person or a place (near to the Baths of Datianus)? Or was this in fact the Baths? The rent that it yields is a vast multiple of that of the "little house in Caene".

In other translations (eg Raymond Davis) the places names are given as Aphrodisia and Cerateae.

This intrigued us enough to track down the Latin version(s) in Le Liber pontificalis: texte, introduction et commentaire, Volume 1, Part 1 edited by Louis Duchesne, Cyrille Vogel (published by E. Thorin, 1884). This work collected together the various versions then extant. Thus in Latin:

  • domus Datiani, praest. sol. CCXL;
  • domunucula in Caene :i. praest. sol. XX et tremissium;
  • cellae in Afrodisia, praest. sol. XX;
  • balneum in Cerateas, praest. sol. XLII;
  • pistrinum ubi supra, praest. sol. XXIII;
  • propina ubi supra, praest. sol. X;
  • hortum Maronis, praest. sol. X;
  • hortum ubi supra, praest. sol. XI;

However the footnotes reveal that in some versions of the MSS:

  • Datiani was shown as Daciani
  • Caene was shown as Gaene, Genae and Cene
  • Afrodisia was also Afrodia and Afrondisia
  • Cerateas was also Ceratheas, Cerathenas, Caereteas, Cereteas, Ceretheas, Ceretias and Ceretes
  • Maronis was shown as Aronis

As for the barns in Afrodisia, it seems strange to have a barn in the city. Did the author mean stables? We note however that the translation of cellae covering many types of small rooms, in houses, inns, brothels and temples.



Friday, September 2, 2011

On Julian's Anger at (and towards) Antioch

Our sneaking admiration for the much maligned Julian has probably been evident, but this last great lover/hater of Antioch did not generate much except dislike from the Antiochenes during his lengthy sojourn in the city.

In a piece, AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS AND THE ANGER OF JULIAN that we recently stumbled upon , Barbara Sidwell, discusses this issue. We have excerpted the part specifically dedicated to Julian's stay in Antioch.

"Antioch was for Julian a place in which he was confident that his Hellenism would be readily accepted, for this cosmopolitan city epitomised for him a centre of culture and learning on the scale of Alexandria. This city still retained its pagan shrines, and was home to Libanius, whose lectures on the old traditions had certainly made an impact on the young Julian at Nicomedia. However, it was also here in Antioch that Julian’s reforms were put to the greatest test, and were
not received in the manner that the new Augustus had optimistically anticipated.
It was Julian’s sincere hope and strong belief that the Antiochenes would actively embrace paganism along with the reinstitution of sacrifices and worship of the old gods. However, according to Ammianus at 22.13.2, certain incidents made it clear to Julian that Christianity was a prevalent and growing force in Antioch. For example in 363 the temple of Apollo, situated in Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, was burnt down. The inference that Julian drew was that the Christians deliberately burnt down the temple in retribution for the expense Julian was paying towards pagan shrines,34 as opposed to supporting Christian places of worship. As a consequence for the Christians, the greater church (maiorem ecclesiam) at Antioch was ordered to be closed. Through the expression of hostile anger (ira), Julian ordered ‘stricter investigations than usual’ to be made.
Though the emperor may have sensed his response as being righteously angry (as he probably did on all occasions of his anger), it is possible that his anger was not justified, for Ammianus does reveal that it was conceivable, though based on rumore leuissimo, that some tapers were left alight accidentally by the elderly philosopher Asclepiades, which might consequently have sparked the woodwork and thus burnt down the entire building (22.13.3). Nevertheless, his perceptions of the Christians and their behaviour towards pagans meant that Julian had clearly judged them capable of such a deed. Consequently, and with a great deal of anger (ira), Julian himself wrote bitterly to the Antiochenes of the indifference of the Senate and stated that the god had left the shrine before the fire had occurred, for their neglect had made them unworthy of the god’s care (Mis. 361B-C; 363A-C). After Julian’s death Libanius (17.30; 2.218F) wrote, ‘This then was the meaning of the destruction by fire of Apollo’s temple; the god left earth, which was about to be defiled. Christian writers responded to this by stating that the fire was divine retribution for Julian’s desire to revive worship of the god Apollo.38 However, Ammianus writes nothing further on this matter, so the outcome is not apparent. It is sufficient to show that when a group that already held reservations towards him for his renewal of the ancient traditional forms of worship pushed Julian, then he could submit them to reprisals. In the manner of his description of this incident, Ammianus nowhere suggests the cruelty and terror that characterised Constantius’ conduct when he was investigating anti-Christian behaviour. This was not the last time that Julian would vent his rage against the ungrateful citizens of Antioch.

In 363, during a corn-crisis, Ammianus reports that Julian raged (saeuiens) against the Senate at Antioch when it was pointed out that he could not lower the price of commodities at that time (22.14.2). As a supporter of the upper classes in Antioch who controlled the food supply into the city, Ammianus at this point removes himself from actively supporting the policy of Julian, as it seemed negatively to affect the social class he most identified with. Indeed, the measures that Julian was trying to introduce were understood to be a direct attack on the elite. Not surprisingly, Ammianus portrays Julian’s policy as superfluous for he saw that it was a measure designed to increase his popularity (popularitatis amore, 22.14.1). Thus it seems that the historian saw the emperor’s anger as not justified; for he never once mentions Julian’s own economic accounts of the food supply, which Julian included in his Misopogon, though surely the historian would have read it. Ammianus also does not acknowledge the failure of the rains leading to a bad harvest,which would have contributed significantly to this crisis, and to which Julian’s Misopogon (359A) also refers. That these measures would have created financial hardship, if not for Ammianus, then at least for people he knew, especially within the curial class, must have influenced his decision in showing that this manoeuvre was purely to gain popularity for the emperor and to distract from his Persian campaign, which undoubtedly would have diverted much of the food resources in preparations for the military activity.


As a consequence of his anger towards his dissenters because of these and other reasons, Julian chose the rather extraordinary response of dressing down the Antiochenes through the writing of his Misopogon or Beard-Hater, composed during the celebration of the Kalends in late January or early February 363. In order to visually express his displeasure with the Antiochenes, this satire was put on display outside the imperial palace for the public to read. The Misopogon was a lengthy treatise that has been described as ‘an expression of the bitterest disappointment and rage’, and ‘a work which might have been witty, but the bitterness of its angry and sensitive author overwhelmed his efforts at humour’. It is the end of the Misopogon which is dominated by undisguised anger. After writing this document, Julian underestimated the reaction of the populace, for Ammianus writes (22.14.2):


quocirca in eos deinceps saeuiens ut obtrectatores et contumaces uolumen conposuit inuectiuum, quod Antiochense uel Misopogonem appellauit, probra ciuitatis infensa mente dinumerans addensque ueritati conplura. post quae multa in se facete dicta conperiens coactus dissimulare pro tempore ira sufflabatur interna.


Although, as we discussed in the introduction, anger control in the fourth century was no longer prominent in political texts, Ammianus does make much of Julian concealing his wrath, for although the populace caricatured Julian, comparing him to a dwarf and a goat (due to his characteristic beard), and openly objected to the number of sacrifices he made to the gods, the emperor ‘held his peace, kept his temper under control, and went on with his solemnities’ (A.M. 22.14.3). Individuals react differently when placed in the public eye and when emotions get the better of them. Some behave like Tiberius who, unable to cope with the constant pressure from the Senate in particular, took to self-imposed exile. Others, such as Nero, took public life to the extreme and deliberately presented themselves to the populace, relishing all the attention, oblivious to any outside criticism. For Julian, neither was a suitable option, and his anger led him to react as only a man of his scholarly nature could, which was through the writing of a piece of literature meant to explain his position, and point out how much of a disappointment the citizens were to him.


For Julian, as someone who was in such an esteemed position, to be made the object of ridicule was an enormous insult. However, Ammianus does justify some of the Antiochenes’ jibes, and held the belief that the Misopogon’s objections were more punitive than he thought warranted:


probra ciuitatis infensa mente dinumerans, addensque ueritati complura (22.14.2).

The historian does not criticise Julian for the dissertation, which suggests that he perhaps believed that the Antiochenes were being unduly harsh towards the emperor. Ammianus does, however, point out Julian’s unwarranted behaviour on other occasions in Antioch, which the historian disapproved of: for example when Julian excitedly ran out of the Senate to greet Maximus (22.7.3), and when Julian carried the sacred standards, rather than letting the priests, for whom it was their sacred duty (22.14.3). Interestingly, Sozomen, the fifth century Christian historian, was in support of the dissertation, and wrote of Julian (Hist. Eccl. 5.19), ‘he suppressed his feelings of indignation and repaid their ridicule by words alone; he composed and sent to them a most excellent and elegant work under the title of Beard Hater’. Zosimus, the pagan historian who lived a short time after Julian, called it a ‘most polished composition’ (3.11.5). The second century Roman rhetorician Fronto (Ep. ad Marc. Ant. 2.7) was also in support of such devices, for he believed that emperors ought to ‘repress by their edicts the faults of provincials, give praise to good actions, quell the seditious and terrify the fierce ones. All these are assuredly things to be achieved by words and letters’. Libanius, in his Epistles, never once mentions the Misopogon definitively, although he does, in his sixteenth oration, attempt to argue against the dissertation in stages. The language and rhetorical devices of the piece would also have not failed to impress Ammianus.


Twice Ammianus gives us comments on Julian’s anger which foreshadow his death; the manner of his language and hindsight are given over to this paradox. The first instance occurs at the time the emperor stormed out of Antioch on 5 March, 363 (23.2.4), furious (ira) at the citizens and their jibes against him, and promising never to return. He swore to the delegates who escorted him from the city that he would spend the winter at Tarsus. Ammianus tells us that he did, but as a corpse rather than in the way Julian intended. The second occurs, ominously, not long before Julian’s death, when a bitter sign was described by Ammianus (24.6.17). This incident occurred on his Persian expedition, when Julian made a successful engagement outside Ctesiphon. In light of this success, Julian wanted to make an ample sacrifice to Mars Ultor. But of the ten bulls that were brought there nine fell dead before arriving at the altar; and the tenth broke its bonds and took much effort to control. When it had finally been sacrificed, the omens it gave were unfavourable. At this sight Julian was seized by an attack of anger (exclamauit indignatus), and took Jupiter to witness that he would not sacrifice to Mars any more; this oath was not retracted because his death occurred very shortly thereafter. Being deeply superstitious Julian clearly reacted out of fear and angst. For example, Ammianus (25.4.17) characterises the emperor as superstitiosus magis quam sacrorum legitimus obseruator. The knowledge that a bitter end might occur for him would have begun to play on his mind (cf. A.M. 25.2.4.). In his language, Ammianus (22.5.2, 22.12.6) does not show support for Julian’s behaviour, partly because, being a ‘more conservative pagan’, he was censorious of the emperor’s exorbitant sacrifices. One may point out though that Marcus Aurelius, whom Julian sought to emulate, also made excessive sacrifices, which were also criticised by the populus (A.M. 25.4.17).


As we have seen then, anger was very much apparent in Julian as a result of the behaviour of the citizens of the city of Antioch, who had verbally attacked and insulted him for a variety of reasons, not least his physical appearance and his reinstitution of overly indulgent pagan rituals. If Ammianus had sought to write a panegyric on Julian, who combined the elements of miles and graecus to construct his own selfhood, much as Ammianus did through his closing statement, then surely it ended here. For in Antioch all of the emperor’s great ideas, such as his desire to restore pagan institutions, to decide in legal matters and to make reforms in the Senate, were mocked and chastised by the very people whom he believed would actively support him. The city of Antioch was, for Julian, a place in which he was confident that his perception of fourth century Hellenism would be readily accepted. For this cosmopolitan city epitomised for him a centre of culture and learning on the scale of Alexandria. Julian’s restoration of all things Greek, including culture, worship of the old gods and identification with the city of Antioch, all support this. In reality, Antioch did still retain many of its pagan shrines, and was home to the rhetorician Libanius,
whose lectures on the old traditions had certainly made an impact on the young Julian at Nicomedia.


Unfortunately, Antioch also became the city where, as Ammianus shows us, the emperor who had so far held himself together remarkably well against all the odds, suddenly came undone under pressure from the Senate and populace. For Julian was aggrieved when the citizens as well as the Senate did not accept his reforms wholeheartedly (cf. Lib. Or. 15.55; 16.13-14), and even mocked him at the New Year celebrations, something that his ego could not tolerate. As a consequence of this treatment by the Antiochenes, at the outset of his Persian expedition,67 the young emperor left Antioch in a fury. According to Ammianus, the people of Antioch responded by begging for his glorious return and praying that his anger would by then be abated. Instead, Julian manifested his anger through a verbal outburst, claiming that he had no intention of visiting the Antiochenes again (23.2.4). The consequence for the people of Antioch was that Julian replaced himself with a cruel governor, one Alexander of Heliopolis, who, he allegedly believed, would keep the greedy and rebellious people of the city in check. As stated above, his words upon his departure seemed eerily to seal his own fate, and Julian died on his Persian expedition before he had a chance to renounce them".







Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Inscriptions in US Museums

The organisation of information on-line continues apace. The latest to appear is a database of ancient inscriptions in the US. It is located at this site.

We delved in and located those related to Antioch & Daphne. Here they are:

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=CA.Berk.UC.HMA.G.8-4300

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=CA.Malibu.JPGM.G.96.AI.146

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=DC.DO.G.38.87

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=DC.DO.G.38.77

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=DC.DO.G.38.91

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=FL.WiPark.RC.G.Tmp97.3.1

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.P2209-I23_S91

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.P3278-I29

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.P3399-I44

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.P3782-I69_S241

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.P3783-I70

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.P3784-I71

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.P4754-I131_S241

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb143-I275_S519

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb21-I259_S500

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb290-I279_S534

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb30-I260_S503

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb42-I264_S508

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb50-I266

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb75-I268_S514

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pb94-I271

http://usepigraphy.brown.edu/view.php?textID=NJ.Princ.PU.AM.G.Pc370-I308

We reserve a special wrist slap for those institutions (the Getty?? and Dumbarton Oaks?? - shame on you!) that, in this day and age of digital photography, can't be bothered taking a photo of their inscription to accompany the entry on the object.




Friday, August 5, 2011

More on the Omphalos

We have written before on the Omphalos, a sort of central point of the city, effectively the navel of Antioch. This is a concept which also existed in sculptural structures in Rome, Athens and Constantinople as well.

In recent reading we stumbled upon a footnote in Italian in the book:

Notizie dei rostri del Foro Romano, e dei monumenti contigui by Francis Morgan Nichols, 1885

In this he comments:

"Non mi par certo che lo Omphalos di alcuna città greca fosse un monumento particolare, come si suppone l'Umbilico di Roma. Si dice che in Costantinopoli il monte centrale si chiamasse con quel nome . (Veggasi Ducange, Gloss. med. et inf. Graec. s. v. ομφαλοζ, μεσομφαλιον.) Lo omphalos di Antiochia si descrive dallo storico bizantino Malalas, come un luogo nel mezzo dei portici che traversavano la città, dove stava, sopra una gran colonna di granito, un monumento eretto in onore dell'imperatore Tiberio, nel quale luogo vi era un'immaggine di un occhio incisa in pietra.

Ανεστησε τω αυτω Τιβηριφ χαισαρι η βουλη χαι δ δομοζ των Αντιοχεων στηλην χαλχδν υπερανω χιογοζ θηβαιου ζο τη πλατεια χατα το ρισον των ομβολων των υπ αυτον χτισθιντωπ θστιζ τοποζ χεχληται ο δμφαλαζ τηζ εχων χαι τυπον εγγεγλμμινον εν λιθω οφθαλμου ητιζ στηλη ιοταται εωζ τηζ νυν. Malalas, Clirou. lib. x. (ed. Dind. 233).

Il Mueller, il quale per οφθαλμου ha voluto leggere ομφαλον, opinò che si trattasse d'un monumento simile a quello delphico. (K. O. Mueller, Antiq. Antioch.57). Ma anche con questa lezione, le parole paiono accennare piuttosto ad un'immagine di quel simbolo intagliata, forse nella base del monumento di cui parla l'autore".




Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Baths - a more definitive list

We have dwelt numerous times on the baths, one of the most prominent features of this very bath-loving city.

While a definitive list will never be formed until everything is excavated (thus likely never), the best we have in the short term is a list compiled an article entitled "Bains et histoire urbaine: l’exemple d’Antioche de Syrie dans l’Antiquité" by Catherine SALIOU, the Professeur d’Histoire romaine, Univ. Paris 8 – FRANCE.

We reproduce here (and translate) her reckoning from the historical sources:


Baths of:

Références

Chronological or topographical detail

Julius Caesar

Malalas, p. 216, l. 21-23 sqq. Dindorf = p. 163, l. 54 sqq. Thurn.

On the Acropolis

Agrippianon = Ampeli(n)on

Malalas, p. 222, l. 17-20 = p. 169, l. 78-81 Thurn.

At the foot of the mountain in the Vicus Aprippa

Tiberius

Malalas, p. 234, l. 11-12 Dindorf = p. 178, l. 45-46 Thurn.

Near to the Spring of Olympias, in the section of the city created by Tiberius' extension of the city walls (cf. Libanios Or. XI, 250, who mentions the spring of Olympias : in the northern part of the city) ; to be distinguished from « Tibérinon loutron » mentioned in the Life of Syméon Stylite the Younger, which is not at Antioch but rather at the foot of “Mont Admirable”.

Gaius Casar (Caligula)

Malalas, p. 243, 15-8

Dindorf = p. 184, l. 27-31 Thurn.

At the foot of the mountain

Ouarion (Varium)

Malalas, p. 244, l. 7 sqq. Dindorf = p. 184, l. 37 sqq. Thurn.

At the foot of the mountain, near to the river and the city walls, a construction by the Senator Varius, sent by Caligula to supervise the reconstruction of the city after an earthquake

Medea

Malalas, p. 263, l. 11 sqq Dindorf = p. 199, l. 52 sqq. Thurn.

Lying beside the mountain, near to the amphitheatre and the Temple of Aphrodite ; a construction of Domitian.

Trajan

Malalas, p. 276, l. 1 Dindorf = p. 208, l. 39 Thurn ; cf. Libanios, Or. 32, 2 (387) ; Évagre le Scholastique, HE II, 12.

In the Old City. Partly destroyed in the earthquake of AD458.

Hadrian

Malalas, p. 277, l. 20-278, l. 19 Dindorf = p. 209, l. 77 Thurn ; cf. P. Euphr. 1, l. 1-2 ; Évagre le Scholastique, HE II, 12.

In the Old City. Seat of the trail court of the governor in AD245. Partly destroyed in the earthquake of AD 458


Centènarion

Malalas, p. 282, l. 8-10 Dindorf = p. 213, l. 74 Thurn.

Restored by Marcus Aurelius (originally built before the earthquake of AD 115).

Commodion

Malalas, p. 283, l. 5 Dindorf = p. 215, l. 9 Thurn, cf. p. 220, l. 47, et p. 261, l. 52 Thurn.

Constructed under Commodus; facing the Sanctuary of Athéna, contiguous to the Xystos (on the « Forum of Valens ») ; transformed into the official residence of the Comes Orientes between the reign of Valens and the period of Malalas

Severianon, thermae Severianae

Malalas, p. 294, l. 17-19 Dindorf = p. 224, l. 30-31 ; Hier., Chron. sub anno 200 (Helm, p. 212) ; Évagre le Scholastique, HE II, 12.

Lying along the mountain in the Old City. Constructed by Septimus-Sévèrus. Partial destruction in the earthquake of AD 458.


Livianon

Malalas, p. 294, l. 19-p. 295, l. 5 Dindorf = p. 224, l. 36 Thurn.

In the lower part of the city. Built in the reign of Septimus Sévèrus.

Diocletianon

Malalas, p. 306, l. 22-p. 307, l. 1-2 Dindorf = p. 236, l. 87-88 Thurn.

Rèign of Dioclétian ; in the lower part of the city, near to the ”old hippodrome”

Sunklètikon

Malalas, p. 308, l. 3-5 Dindorf = p. 237, l. 15-16 Thurn.

Reign of Diocletian

3 Unnamed baths

Malalas, p. 308, l. 3-5 Dindorf = p. 237, l. 15-16 Thurn.

Reign of Diocletian

Philipus

Malalas, p. 318, l. 4-6 Dindorf = p. 234, l. 35-36 Thurn.

Abandoned, kncoked down in the reign of Constantine, at a time when it was not being used. Site of the Golden Octagon

Balneum in Cerateas

Liber pontificalis 34 ; 58, 23-27 Mommsen

Kerateion

Datianus

Libanios, ep. 114, 5 ; 435, ; 441, 7 ; 1184, 9.

In the city and outside of the city (at the city gates); construction before November AD 355

Valens

Ammien Marcellin, XXXI, 1 ; Évagre le Scholastique, HE I, 20 ; Malalas, p. 339, l. 17-18 Dindorf = p. 261, l. 68-69 Thurn.

Near the Hippodrome

The Imperial Palace

Théodoret de Cyr, Histoire Philothée 8 (Vie d’Aphraate), 9-10 ; Évagre le Scholastique, Histoire Ecclésiastique II, 12

On the Island, Intact after the earthquake of 458

Proculus

Libanios, ep. 852, 2.

Construction between AD 382 & 384.

Ellebichos


Libanios, ep. 898, 4.

Built in 387

Urbicius (et d’Eupatios ?)

Malalas, Sl. cf. Thurn, p. 316, l. *62-63.

Mentioned in the reports of an uprising between AD 484 and AD 491.


Olbia

Malalas, p. 397, l. 10-11 Dindorf = p. 325, l. 11 Thurn (voir aussi Excerpta de insidiis, p. 268, fr. 40 ; Jean de Nikiou, 89. 23-30).

Mentioned reports of the uprising of AD 507 ; near to the Basilica of Rufinos (on the agora).

Tainâdonhûs (Adonis ?)

Chronique de Jean de Nikiou (éd. Zotenberg) 90. 24-25, p. 135 trad. Charles.

Mentioned in reports of the fire of AD 525.

Of the Syrian Nation

Chronique de Jean de Nikiou (éd. Zotenberg) 90. 24-25, p. 135 trad. Charles

Mentioned in reports of the fire of AD 525.

(Demosion)

IGLS III, 786.

« Bath F » ; restored in AD 537-538.


Winter (« Bain d’hiver » ; « bains saisonniers »

La Vie ancienne de S. Syméon Stylite le Jeune, c. 224, l. 25 ; Évagre le Scholastique, HE VI, 8.

Near to a Basilica (?) called « Diphôtos », in a place within sight of the city ; mentioned in a report of an incident between AD 578 and AD 592 ; destruction after the earthquake of AD 588.

Reference: http://balneorient.hypotheses.org/1332




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tetrapylon of the Elephants - Further Thoughts

This famous structure on the Island sector of the city has long intrigued us and we have previously commented upon it. We took its name as being probably because it had a quadriga of elephants drawing a chariot (as sometimes appears on Roman and Seleucid coins) atop the structure.

However, we stumbled upon a reference to the Victory of the Elephants in 273 BC and this started us wondering if the structure maybe had its origins in this event very early on in Seleucid history and thus was some sort of triumphal monument (not an uncommon purpose in an Arch or its more complex manifestation, the Tetrapylon).

The sequence of events that led to this victory (and maybe its commemoration was that in 280 BC, after personally assassinating Seleucus I and murdering his two young rival claimants to the throne, Ptolemy Ceraunos managed to seize the kingdom of Lysimachos (who had died the previous year, leaving no heirs strong enough to hold their father's throne). However this unscrupulous adventurer had little time to enjoy his successes. The following year he met a large army of migrating Celts. As a result of this battle, Ptolemy Ceraunos' head was forcibly removed and used to decorate a pike. These Celts were to become known to the Greeks as the Galatians. These Eastern Celtic people seemed to have fought much like their better known Gallic counterparts who later invaded Italy and sacked Rome. Except for their chieftains, these warriors were poorly armed and trained. However their terrifying, impetuous ferocity made them irresistible in battle, as Ptolemy discovered to his detriment.

The Galatians quickly scattered to plunder Macedonia, Thrace and Greece. The Greeks avoided any pitched battles with these barbarians from the north, and although the Galatian looting met with some initial success, eventually the Greek harassment drove the invaders out of Greece and Macedonia.

Retreating to Thrace, the Celts were invited to intervene in a Bithynian civil war that was raging. Around 20,000 Galatians crossed the Bosporus where they quickly settled the Bithynian question of succession. Naturally, having completed their task, the Galatians were not about to leave. They enthusiastically set about pillaging Asia Minor.

Unlike Greece, the inhabitants of Asia Minor did not resist the Celtic invaders. To avoid destruction, they paid the Galatians protection money. The Galatians thus settled down in the centre of Asia Minor to continue their profitable blackmail.

About six years later, in 273 BC, the king of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochios I, decided to deal with the Galatian interlopers. According to the (somewhat sparse) sources, the Galatians had about 20,000 cavalry alone, heavily outnumbering Antiochios. Since the Celts had crossed into Asia with only 20,000 men in total a few years ago, this number is obviously greatly inflated. Still, even if Antiochios wasn't outnumbered, most of his army consisted of light troops. The Galatians, and everyone else, were also highly convinced of the Celts' invincible fighting prowess. So the morale in Antiochios' army was probably rather poor at the outset of the battle.

The Galatians began the battle by opening their ranks of warband to let their scythed chariots pass through the infantry. However, Antiochios had taken the advice of a tactician Theodotos of Rhodes, and managed to conceal his elephants from the Celts. The chariots were bearing down on the Seleucid ranks, when the elephants suddenly appeared. Eight elephants faced the chariots in the centre; an additional four faced the Galatian cavalry on each flank.

The terrified Galatian horses, unused to the sight of these behemoths, bolted and dragged the deadly scythed chariots back through the warbands in great bloody swathes. The elephants followed up their success and trampled into the Celtic ranks, completing the rout. Antiochios I had defeated the feared Galatians.

Thus there is good reason we believe to think that the tetrapylon may have had its origin in this victory.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Acta Urbis Antiochiae

This document is long lost but referred to in some of the ancient texts, particularly John Malalas.

In an article of the Maccabean Synagogue in the Italian journal Bessarione of 1st of April 1897 the author makes the following comments on the subject of the Acta and Malalas:

"......ebbe per le mani e fece uso degli Acta urbis Antiochiae, simili agli Acta diurna populi romani, dove trovavansi registrate, in uno agli editti, agli atti concernenti gli edifici, alle opere pubbliche, agli incendi e tremuoti, le memorie ancora più importanti della città e quant'altro allo stato della medesima appartenesse. Tali Acta sono espressamente citati dal Malala là dove parla della denominazione di Θεουπολιζ; data sotto Giustiniano ad Antiochia per acclamazione popolare. Nò il Muller credette ostare a che tali atti assorgessero al tempi dei Seleucidi. Da queste premesse, è tacile inferire che l'autorità del Malala rispetto alle coso antiochene conviene apprezzarla dal valore delle fonti a cui egli attinse: e tosto vedremo come il martirologio siriaco sopra citato renda alla veracità e precisione del Cronografo antiocheno nuova e splendida testimonianza".

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Earthquake of AD 115

Th oft-cited evidence for the Imperial Palace bordering the Hippodrome is the tale of Trajan's escape form the tumbling palace during the earthquake of AD 115. The whole passage makes an interesting read for its broader damage. The Curse of Antioch is its earthquakes.. something the modern planners (if there are any) in Antakya should not fail to recall.

Cassius Dio (via LacusCurtius), Epitome of Book LXVIII, 24 ff., describes:

24 While the emperor was tarrying in Antioch a terrible earthquake occurred; many cities suffered injury, but Antioch was the most unfortunate of all. Since Trajan was passing the winter there and many soldiers and many civilians had flocked thither from all sides in connexion with law-suits, embassies, business or sightseeing, there was no nation of people that went unscathed; and thus in Antioch the whole world under Roman sway suffered disaster. There had been many thunderstorms and portentous winds, but no one would ever have expected so many evils to result from them. First there came, on a sudden, a great bellowing roar, and this was followed by a tremendous quaking. The whole earth was upheaved, and buildings leaped into the air; some were carried aloft only to collapse and be broken in pieces, while others were tossed this way and that as if by the surge of the sea, and overturned, and the wreckage spread out over a great extent even of the open country. The crash of grinding and breaking timbers together with tiles and stones was most frightful; and an inconceivable amount of dust arose, so that it was impossible for one to see anything or to speak or hear a word. As for the people, many even who were outside the houses were hurt, being snatched up and tossed violently about and then dashed to the earth as if falling from a cliff; some were maimed and others were killed. Even trees in some cases leaped into the air, roots and all. The number of those who were trapped in the houses and perished was past finding out; for multitudes were killed by the very force of the falling débris, and great numbers were suffocated in the ruins. Those who lay with a part of their body buried under the stones or timbers suffered terribly, being able neither to live any longer nor to find an immediate death.

25 Nevertheless, many even of these were saved, as was to be expected in such a countless multitude; yet not all such escaped unscathed. Many lost legs or arms, some had their heads broken, and still others vomited blood; Pedo the consul was one of these, and he died at once. In a word, there was no kind of violent experience that those people did not undergo at that time. And as Heaven continued the earthquake for several days and nights, the people were in dire straits and helpless, some of them crushed and perishing under the weight of the buildings pressing upon them, and others dying of hunger, whenever it so chanced that they were left alive either in a clear space, the timbers being so inclined as to leave such a space, or in a vaulted colonnade. When at last the evil had subsided, someone who ventured to mount the ruins caught sight of a woman still alive. She was not alone, but had also an infant; and she had survived by feeding both himself and her child with her milk. They dug her out and resuscitated her together with her babe, and after that they searched the other heaps, but were not able to find in them anyone still living save a child sucking at the breast of its mother, who was dead. As they drew forth the corpses they could no longer feel any pleasure even at their own escape.

So great were the calamities that had overwhelmed Antioch at this time. Trajan made his way out through a window of the room in which he was staying. Some being, of greater than human stature, had come to him and led him forth, so that he escaped with only a few slight injuries; and as the shocks extended over several days, he lived out of doors in the hippodrome. Even Mt. Casius itself was so shaken that its peaks seemed to lean over and break off and to be falling upon the very city. Other hills also settled, and much water not previously in existence came to light, while many streams disappeared.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On the Street Lighting



I was perusing the book "Gallus: or, Roman scenes of the time of Augustus. With notes and excursuses illustrative of the manners and customs of the Romans" by Wilhelm Adolf Becker, published by J. W. Parker, 1849. It does not concern us much except that in speaking of lighting (or absence thereof) in ancient Rome he notes:

"There does not seem to have been any street-lighting at Rome, till very late, as no mention is made of it before the fourth century. As far as Rome is concerned, I find no proof of it at all. For the passage quoted from Ammanius Marcellus. xiv. refers not to Rome, but to Antiochia;
"adhibitis paucis clam ferro succinctis vesperi per tabernas palabatur et compita, quaeritando Greco sermone,cujus erat impendio gnarus, quid de Caesare quisque sentiret. Et haec confidenter agebat in urbe, ubi pernoctantium luminum claritudo dierum solet imitari fulgorem".

The lighting of the streets in Antiochia in the fourth century, had already been placed beyond a doubt by the passages of Libanius".

Becker is referring to Libanius' comments in the Antiochikos:
"267. Here he is not "lord of men," neither does he draw men to himself against their will, or lull them to rest by force, but we alone of all people have shaken off his tyranny over our eyelids, and to the torch of the sun there succeeded other torches which surpass the festival of the lamps in Egypt, and among us night differs from day only in the kind of the light. Night is the same as day for the handicrafts, and some work vigorously while others laugh gently and give themselves up to song. The night is shared indeed by Hephaestus and Aphrodite, for some work at the forge and others dance; but in other cities Endymion is more honored".

The main takeaway from this is that Antioch was quite superior in this aspect of its civic amenities than was the capital of the Roman Empire.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Daphne - Poccardi's Map

We have been urged to add Daphne to our coverage and have finally relented. Daphne was so famous in its heyday that the main city was known as Antioch-by-Daphne as well as its more usual title of Antioch-on-the-Orontes. This is somewhat ironic as Antioch had somewhere between 200,000 to 500,000 residents and Daphne probably never had more than a few thousand.


The expedition of the 1930s spent a considerable amount of time at Daphne particularly in the latter years when the effort devolved into a mosaic scavenger hunt and Daphne was seen as more prospective than the city.


Here we reproduce the map in "Étude de la permanence de tracés urbains et ruraux antiques à antioche-sur-l'Oronte" by Jacques Leblanc and Grégoire Poccardi, published in the journal "Syria" T. 76 (1999), pp. 91-126 of the Institut Francais du Proche-Orient. Click map to enlarge...


Friday, January 7, 2011

Better-Than-Antioch?

Could there be anything "better than Antioch"? Is that not a loaded question?
After his subjection of the city in 540 AD the Sassanid King, Chosroes took the population of the city (supposedly in its entirety) off to his kingdom where he built for them a new city near Ctesiphon under the name of Veh-az-Andiv-Khusrau ("Khusrau's Better-than-Antioch"). Some reports include the juicy detail that he even took the flute-players,mimes and charioteers. He certainly knew the way to his captives' hearts!

In George Rawlinson's The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy (London, 1876, p. 395)he writes: “The Persian prince [Khosru I] after the fall of Antioch passed the winter in building and beautifying a Persian Antioch in the neighbourhood of Ctesiphon, assigning it as a residence to his Syrian captives, for whose use he constructed public baths and a spacious hippodrome, where the entertainments familiar to them from their youth were reproduced by Syrian artists. The new city was exempt from the jurisdiction of Persian satraps, and was made directly dependent upon the king, who supplied it with corn gratuitously, and allowed it to become an inviolable asylum for all such Greek slaves as should take shelter in it, and be acknowledged as their kinsmen by any of the inhabitants. A model of Greek civilization was thus brought into close contact with the Persian court."

Rawlinson adds in a footnote: "Here the Oriental accounts are in entire accord with the Greek. Mirkhond and Tabari relate at length the construction of this new Antioch in the vicinity of Al Modain, adding that the name given to it was Rumia (Rome), and that it was an exact copy of the town upon the Orontes".

In the history of the Sassanids, translated from the Persian of Mirkhond by Silvestre de Sacy, it is said of Nauschirvan, one of the Persian monarchs who resided at El-Madan, a city built on the ruins of the two famous ones of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, after describing his conquests in Jezireh or Mesopotamia,—" II fit pareillement la conquete de Kennasserin et d'Alep, villes de Syrie. Lorsqu'il fut arrive pres d'Antioche, la plus belle ville de la Syrie, elle lui plut tellement, qu'il la fait dessiner sur un papier, et ordonna qu'on en construisit une absolument pareille, sans la moindre difference, a peu de distance de Madain. Cette ville fut nommee Roumia; et quand elle fut achevee, Nauschirvan ordonna a tous les habitans d'Antioche de se transporter dans sa nouvelle ville. Les rues, et les places de ces deux villes, se ressemblerent si parfaitement, que chacun des habitans d'Antioche, une fois entre dans la ville de Roumia, se rendait, sans y penser, a sa maison. On dit qu'il n'y avait autre difference entre ces deux villes, si ce n'est qu'un blanchisseur de toiles, qui avait un arbre dans la maison qu' il occupait dans l'ancienne ville, n'en trouva pas dans la nouvelle. Ce trait est un de plus singuliers que l'on connoisse."—De Sacy, Memoires sur les Antiquites de la Perse. 4tO. Paris, 1793. p. 366.

This is an intriguing (and confusing) story because as this comment would seem to indicate the new city was reportedly an exact replica of Antioch. De Sacy here talks of Nauschirvan as the relocator of the population and builder of the "new Antioch".

How the replicated city plan could be possible is still not clear unless all he did was repeat the street plan. He certainly did not have a Mt Silpius at his disposal on the banks of the Tigris. What would excavation of this site (now in Iraq) reveal about the street layout of Ancient Antioch?
Warwick Ball in his book Rome in the East states that the population of the new city was around 30,000. Chosroes may have thought this "Better than Antioch" but really it must have been a pale shadow.

Baths of the Crusader Period

Readers must think we "protesteth too much" when we say we aren't interested in the Christian/Arabic era of the city's history and then publish a blizzard of posts relating to these themes.

The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, we have mined out most of the Imperial period information and secondly some of the latter period information may have relevance back to the Imperial period.

We could not help thinking this when recently revisiting the volume, East and West in the Medieval Eastern Mediterrean: Antioch from the Byzantine reconquest until the end of the Crusader principality, edited by Krijna Nelly Ciggaar, David Michael Metcalf. The wide ranging list of essays here had previously been touched upon in reference to the Al-makarim travelography of the city.

While rereading the chapter on Adaptation to Oriental life by rulers in and around Antioch by Krijna Nelly Ciggaar we found mention of bathing practices. She notes "This takes us to the baths in Antioch of which several are mentioned in various Crusader sources: the balnea Tancredi (1131, 1140), the balnea dicta Omar (1140) and the two baths of the Hospitallers. One is reported in 1140, another was bought in 1186 by Brother Renard de Margat from the Mazoir family. Other baths are likely to have existed without being mentioned in the sources, such as the baths in private palaces and mansions".

One of the reasons why Antioch was always so well supplied with bathing establishments was its ample water supply. This makes us suspect, in light of the "make do and mend" nature of the city post-528 AD, that the baths of latter periods were probably just rebuilds of the baths that had existed from the Roman times reusing the connections to the still-functioning aqueduct system. The 1930s excavations mainly threw up the expansive baths of the Island and northern part of the city, both of which had been abandoned/depopulated in the 300s and following centuries. Thus the baths being discussed most probably were located in the densely populated section of the city south of the Parmenios which remains largely unexplored.



More on the Circus

It is not often that Google Books throws up an important text of relatively recent vintage in full text mode. Thus we were very pleasantly surprised to find that John Humphrey's magisterial work, Roman circuses: arenas for chariot racing, University of California Press, 1986, for some reason or other now comes up in full text mode. We had used this as one of our sources for our previous comments on the circus.

His section (page 444-461)on Antioch's circus is extensive and well worth visiting for its rather unique maps and photos from the 1930s excavations as well as intense information on the construction materials and fate of the structure.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Byzantine Governors 976-1084

One of the least documented periods of Antioch's oft-undocumented history is the period of the Byzantine "restoration". After the city fell to the Arabs in the 7th century it was to spend 300 years under Arab domination. The Byzantines eventually managed to turn the tide and recapture the city in 969 AD as the Arabs struggled with the insurgent Turks fighting for dominance of the Islamic world. This gave the Byzantines their chance and they regained control.

Antioch was very much a fringe city during that period with virtually all the territory southwards, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and North Africa and to the East (Syria and Mesopotamia) remaining out of Byzantine control. Still Antioch merited being ranked the second or third city of the Empire (tussling with Thessalonica).

As such being governor (and holding the title of Duke or Catepan) was an honour and a position of power. This devolved quite frequently to the very well connected including close relatives and associates of the Emperor. Most of the terms were limited with only one to three years being spent in the role to hamper the ability of the position holder from building a power base in the fractious political tumult of the Empire.

In an interesting paper, La Chronologie des Gouverneurs d'Antioche sous la seconde domination Byzantine (969-1084) in the Melanges (Universite de Saint-Joseph), Beirut, Second Volume XXXVIII (1962), V. Laurent wote a major piece on the governorship during this period. We thought it useful to repeat here the Chronology of the governors that Laurent compiled from the extant sources. This includes only the years for which there is evidence of the individual governing and their title, thus there are discontinuities. We use his French version of the Greek surnames.

976 Michael Bourtzes (Duke)

976 (end) Kouleib (on behalf of Bardas Scleros - Duke)

977, 978 Oubeidallah (on behalf of Bardas Scleros then later Basil II - Duke)

985 (end) Leon Melissene (Duke)

986-987 Bardas Phocas (Duke)

987-989 Leon Phocas

990-996 Michael Bourtzes (Duke)

996-998 Damien Dalassene (Duke)

999-1006 Nicephore Ouranos (Duke/Catepan)

1011 Michael the Kitonite (Duke)

1022 onwards Theophylacte Dalassene (Duke)

1025 onwards Constantine Bourtzes (Duke)

1025 Constantine Dalassene (Catepan)

1026-1029 Michael Spondyles (Catepan)

1029-1030 Constantin Karantenos (Catepan)

1030-1032 Nicetas of Mistheia (Catepan)

1034 Nicetas (brother of Michael IV) - (Catepan)

1034-1037 Constantine the Eunuch (Duke)

1037 & 1043 (between) Leon (Catepan)

1043 (around) Stephen (Duke)

1054 Romain Scleros (Duke)

1056 Kataklon Kekaumenos (Duke)

1056-1058 Michael Ouranos (Duke)

1059 Adrian (Duke)

1063 Nicephoros Nicephoritzes (1st) (Duke)

1063 Bekhd (1st) (Duke)

1067 Nicephoros Nicephoritzes (2nd) (Duke)

1067-1068 Nicephoros Botaniates (Duke)

1068 Peter Libellisios (Duke)

1069 Bekhd (2nd) (Duke)

1069-1071/2 Khatchatour (Duke or Catepan)

1072-1074 Joseph Tarchanoites (Duke)

1074-1078 Isaac Comnena (Duke)

1078 Vasak (Duke)

1078-1084 Philarete Brachamios (Duke)







Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An actual street address! (albeit Medieval)

One of the oddities of the rise of Open Access on the internet is that one can get access to some of the best of French writings on Antioch in recent times on sites like www.persee.fr with papers written by Poccardi, Saliou and Cabouret and yet the scholars of much farther back have largely remained in a vale of obscurity induced by primitive copyright laws. If consulted these long past authors would probably be thrilled to have their views aired more widely.

One such who has become difficult to access on the internet but who was a colossus in his day was Claude Cahen. Pitifully little of his work from the 1940s to the 1970s is accessible on the internet. However, as Persee advances inexorably, some pieces are being revealed to the waiting world. One such with the less than riveting title of "Un document concernant les Melkites et les Latins d'Antioche au temps des Croisades" that appeared in: Revue des études byzantines, tome 29, 1971. pp. 285-292 and has now surfaced on Persee.

This piece contained one of those gems we seem to stumble upon in the most obscure works. In this case the document was an Arabic text detailing a transaction in which the Latin Church sold an abandoned church structure in Crusader Antioch to the Melkite church. The document had been translated to a monastery in Sicily after the fall of Antioch to the Islamic forces and remained there for 600 years.

The derelict church under discussion was Notre Dame de Gethsemeni. While we do not traffic much in the post-Imperial Antioch this piece is worthy of mention because it gives us a localisation of a structure that is more precise than anything else we have seen excepting the Antiochikos of Libanius (which was not exactly a paragon of precision either). In this case, after much preamble, the writers of the contract to pass over the Church site get around to describing where the site was located:

"Ce lieu est limité des quatre côtés comme suit: à l'est par la rue qui l'avoisine; à l'ouest, la place et la ruine sous... le couvent ; au sud les maisons et le jardin de Yânî al-Kâmîdârî et le jardin de Yârî fils de Mardalâ ; au nord enfin la rue aussi et la terre de Sire (?)... aujourd'hui aux mains de son héritier le nomîkoûs Românoûs ; c'est de ce dernier côté qu'ouvre la porte pour entrer et sortir sur la rue bordiere en ce lieu".

While not exactly "X marks the spot" this is the closest thing that exists to a street direction that we have ever encountered for pre-1300 AD Antioch.