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Leontius of Neapolis and Seventh-Century Cyprus
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1. Leontius of Neapolis and Seventh-Century Cyprus

Of the hagiographical writings which survive from Late Antiquity, perhaps none has more potential to amuse and scandalize the reader, ancient or modern, than the Life and Conduct of Abba Symeon Called the Fool for the Sake of Christ, written by Leontius, the bishop of Neapolis on Cyprus (modern Limassol) near the middle of the seventh century.[1] Pretending to be insane, Symeon the monk walks about naked, eats enormous quantities of beans, and defecates in the streets. Although Leontius was not the first to relate a tale of a Christian saint who pretended to be crazy, the Life of Symeon is the first full-length vita of a holy fool.

Modern scholars considering the Christian saints of the Late Ancient world tend to think of holy people set apart from the rest of humanity by their outstanding virtue, mortifying their flesh in a constant fight against passion and desire. Paradigmatic cases include the legendary ascetic Antony, progressing ever farther into the Egyptian deserts to do battle with the demons, and the Syrian Symeon the Stylite, standing day and night upon a pillar, mediating between God above and humanity below. These figures, together with many other Late Antique saints, embody virtues highly valued in early Christian society. Showing the faithful how they too might achieve holiness, the narration of their extraordinary lives maps a journey away from quotidian cares toward communion with the divine. At the same time, the pursuit of the life of abstinence, of withdrawal from society—anachōrēsis—to live as a hermit in the desert, a solitary on the fringes of society, was not an option for most Late Ancient Christians. Thus, when most of the laity heard of saints, their life was not one to be pursued. Rather hagiography encapsulated the values of society as a whole, clarifying what was important, instructing implicitly how one was to live an ordinary life.

But suppose a saint was not an exemplar, was not a model to be emulated? Reading the lives of Late Ancient saints, we occasionally come across those who challenge our sometimes sanctimonious notions of early Christian piety. That such figures as holy fools were held in high regard by clergy and laity leaves us puzzled. These saints are clearly deviants—outside the structures of society, and more importantly, outside the conventions for fleeing that society.

Reading such works as the Life of Symeon the Fool one wonders whether some Late Ancient Christians sanctified deviance. But why? Moreover, an unmistakable feature of these tales of holy fools is the comedy. Is it possible that early Christians had a sense of humor? And to what use did they put this humor? These stories surely challenge our unexamined conception of Late Ancient Christians as a dour lot.

Ironically the legacy of Leontius’s holy fool has received more attention than the Life itself. For the most part, scholars have seen the significance of the Life of Symeon the Fool in retrospect; its value for understanding Orthodox piety is established by what came later. The Life of Symeon the Fool has received attention in studies of holy folly in the Greek Orthodox, and especially the Russian Orthodox traditions, as well as in Western traditions.[2] The holy fool tradition can be traced from Symeon to the patron of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow and in literary form to the protagonist of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.[3] In the West an interest in holy folly can be seen to thrive among the French Jesuits of the seventeenth century.[4]

Leontius, of course, did not intend to initiate such a trajectory; his work only became part of a “tradition” about three hundred years later when, sometime in the tenth century, the second author of a full-length fool’s vita decided to make extensive use of Leontius’s work in composing the Life of Andrew the Fool.[5] In fact, it was the Life of Andrew, not the Life of Symeon, which would be so important for Russian culture. Thus, those elements of the Life of Symeon the Fool which are found to have analogues in later sources have received attention while aspects of the work which do not have an afterlife in later Byzantine and Russian sources have been largely ignored. This study corrects this imbalance, seeing the Life of Symeon the Fool not as the beginning of a long, later tradition, but as the product of a Late Antique world, understanding the traditions on which it draws, and interpreting its relationship to texts which had come before.

At the same time, I have not undertaken an exhaustive study of the Life. I have chosen instead to highlight the more distinctive aspects of the Life of Symeon, emphasizing Symeon’s shamelessness, and therefore focusing on the second half of the Life, in which Symeon behaves as a fool, rather than on the first half of the Life, which presents a more conventional portrait of Symeon’s ascetic preparations. Moreover, I have chosen to emphasize the literary and intellectual aspects of the Life. In recent years, much scholarship has been produced on ascetic traditions and practice, while little attention has been paid to the literary models which shaped these traditions.

The approach of this study depends on the idea that the meaning of a particular literary text depends on its context, on its situation in time and space. For this reason I have chosen to flesh out a broad picture of the religious, intellectual, and social environment in which a single work was created. Since the focus of this investigation is Leontius of Neapolis’s Life of Symeon the Fool, a text which we know to have been composed at the end of Late Antiquity on the island of Cyprus, this chapter presents a portrait of Leontius’s Cyprus. The next chapter will take up a number of problems posed by the text, especially the question of which, if any, sources Leontius might have used in his composition of the Life of Symeon. I will suggest that Leontius’s text is loosely based on a brief description of a certain Symeon of Emesa in Evagrius Scholasticus’s Ecclesiastical History, but that the Life of Symeon should be treated as the work of Leontius. Chapters 3 and 4 consider literature with similar themes written before the Life in order to gain a sense of Leontius’s literary environment. The study would be incomplete unless it takes into account its non-Christian precursors. While Leontius’s text can be seen to have precursors in Christian hagiography, it also betrays a strong debt to traditions about Diogenes the Cynic philosopher; chapter 5 therefore traces the reception of traditions about Cynicism in Late Antique Christianity. Chapters 6 and 7 return to the Life of Symeon to establish Leontius’s allusion to Cynicism and his use of biblical types in order to assess their significance for a reading of the text. The appendix to this volume contains the first English translation of Leontius’s Life of Symeon the Fool.

The Life of Symeon and Seventh-century Cyprus

Scholars have reasonably assumed that the Life of Symeon was written after Leontius’s other extant hagiographical work, the Life of John the Almsgiver, which can be dated with some certainty to 641/2.[6] Moreover, nothing in the Life of Symeon betrays knowledge of Mu‘awiya’s devastating attack on Cyprus in 649 or its effects. On the contrary, Leontius’s relatively sanguine portrayal of urban life assumes prosperity, not crisis. Therefore we can date the Life of Symeon to the period between 642 and 649.[7]

The fact of the Cypriot provenance of the text in itself justifies a consideration of the world in which it was produced. While the evidence for life on Cyprus in the first half of the seventh century is admittedly limited, the portrait which emerges is of an environment of relative prosperity, cultural diversity, and religious conflict. Despite Leontius’s explanation in the prologue of his Life of John the Almsgiver that he has written in a “prosaic, unadorned, and humble style so that even the unlearned and illiterate will be able to take profit from these words,” both the Life of John and the Life of Symeon betray Leontius’s rhetorical training.[8] Chapter 6 will show that in the Life of Symeon, Leontius makes sustained allusion to anecdotes about Diogenes of Sinope, a figure prominent in the school exercises common in Late Antiquity and Byzantium. This evidence points toward the availability of formal grammatical and rhetorical schooling on Cyprus and the likelihood that Leontius had received such a formation. As for the separate though related issue of audience, economic conditions were such that Cyprus could indeed have provided an educated readership. At the same time, we should not expect that Leontius wrote with only local readers in mind.

This study treats the Life of Symeon as an integral whole; this is an approach which I feel is not merely expedient, but appropriate. The next chapter addresses questions of earlier versions of the text and hypothesized sources for the narrative. As I shall discuss, Leontius reports that the text we possess is his second edition and that he had wanted to revise his first version of the text. While we can posit some reasons why Leontius might have felt compelled to revise the narrative, it is unlikely that we can distinguish newer material from earlier material with certainty. Furthermore, some scholars have attempted to see a major literary source standing behind the work, a collection of anecdotes about the holy man deriving from Syria in the 560s or so. While we cannot rule out this possibility, I will argue that this solution to various textual problems is not likely. Moreover, even if Leontius did rely on an extensive written source, we must agree that Leontius’s final product represents his choices regarding the presentation of the narrative as a unified text. In a parallel case, New Testament scholars regard the integrity of the Gospel of Matthew while at the same time acknowledging its author’s reliance on at least two extant written sources; these scholars have fruitfully studied the author’s intent, point of view, theological concerns, and literary merit. Thus whether Leontius relied on sources or not, his work merits attention in the form in which he crafted it.

From the outset, this inquiry jettisons the notion that one can gain access to a historical figure named Symeon, a “real” person in Emesa who pretended to be a fool. Such an endeavor confuses the modern purposes of biography and history with those of hagiography in the early Byzantine world. This is not to deny the existence of a man who appeared to be crazy but was regarded in retrospect as a saint; it is merely to stress that the study of the Life of Symeon cannot establish reliable information about him. In ways that will become clear, Leontius constructed his own portrait of such a man when he composed the Life of Symeon, motivated by literary, pedagogical, and ultimately theological concerns. Modern readers must remind themselves that Leontius’s purpose in creating the Life was not to relate “historical truth” as we might now think of it, but rather, in his own words, to “unveil . . . a nourishment which does not perish but which leads our souls to life everlasting” (p. 121).[9] In creating his narration, Leontius intended not to deceive, but to edify. Ultimately Leontius, like the Symeon about whom he writes, was trying to save souls.

The richly constructed, heavily allusive character of the Life of Symeon makes it impossible to reach a “real” figure behind this powerful text. As a literary work the Life is a fictio, in the sense of “something fashioned.” By remaining agnostic regarding a “historical person,” this study is able to open a window onto the religious imagination of the seventh century. But bracketing claims for historical reference in the account of this holy fool does not diminish the value of the work for the student of history. Recent assessments of the historical value of saints’ lives have pointed this out. In the introduction to their recent volume of translations of Syriac lives of women saints, Sebastian Brock and Susan Ashbrook Harvey have written that “variation in historicity does not detract from the worth of these texts as social documents for their period of composition, offering us insight and information on the world from which they come.”[10] When such works are considered as the literary output of given individuals, produced in a specific time and place, they reveal something of their authors’ hopes and concerns.

Although set in the Syrian city of Emesa during the sixth century, the “Emesa” in the Life of Symeon reveals much about seventh-century Cyprus. Leontius wrote the Life on Cyprus in the 640s, a period for which we have little other information, although a portrait of Cyprus in the preceding decades can be drawn with the help of surviving literary, archeological, and art-historical evidence. The seventh century was a period of tremendous change in the Byzantine empire, and the decades of the 630s and 640s saw much of Byzantium fall into Arab hands. Leontius’s Life of Symeon was composed on the eve of the Arab invasion of Cyprus, after the fall of Symeon’s Emesa (in 635/6) and John the Almsgiver’s Alexandria (641).[11] The composite image of Cyprus which emerges from the evidence may account for why Cyprus sustained such a level of literary production in an era proverbial for its upheaval, denigrated for its cultural decline, and bemoaned for its paucity of literary sources. The Life in turn reflects certain aspects of social and cultural life on Cyprus at the end of Late Antiquity, particularly the economy of the city and the preservation of Greco-Roman secular culture through traditional systems of education. The Life of Symeon suggests that in many ways, regardless of the state of the rest of Byzantium, seventh-century Cyprus continued to preserve the markers of a Late Antique society.

The seventh century was a decisive period in the slow transformation which, for scholars, marks the vague boundary between Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. The first half of the century was a time of military upheaval in Byzantium, under threat first from the Persians and then from the Arabs. By the midpoint of the century, Syria, Egypt, and Cyprus were forever severed from the empire. Imperial ideology held that loyalty to the Orthodox Church meant loyalty to the emperor. The Emperor Heraclius’s attempts to forge a unity between Chalcedonians, who held that Christ was of two natures, divine and human, and Monophysites, who held that Christ was of a single nature which was both divine and human, were also attempts to hold together an ethnically and linguistically diverse empire in the face of external threats.[12] The desire for religious conformity is also reflected in Heraclius’s decree of 634 demanding the baptism of Jews.[13] The Life of Symeon reflects several of these tensions.

The Urban Context

Unlike much of the classic hagiography of the preceding centuries which celebrates withdrawal to the desert, the Life of Symeon is above all an urban saint’s life, exploring the potential for sanctity within the city. Debate continues over the fortunes of cities in the course of the seventh century. However, it is generally agreed that, on the whole, the cities and towns of the Byzantine empire experienced a decline beginning in the second half of the sixth century and continuing through the seventh. Many factors contributed, including natural disasters, famines, plagues, and war. Despite regional variation, the overall trend was toward the eclipse of the Late Roman polis. During the late sixth century structures of taxation and government gradually evolved, with administrative power taken increasingly away from local authorities and concentrated in a centralized imperial government. Moreover, beginning with the Persian wars during the reign of Heraclius, towns lost their role as economic centers and tended to function more as military fortifications.[14] Literary evidence from the period suggests that the Byzantines themselves perceived that their society was in crisis.[15]

Did this general decline interrupt Late Roman modes of life on Cyprus? Apparently not. During the 640s, Leontius, the bishop of Neapolis on Cyprus, composed two saints’ lives which stand among the greatest literary achievements of Early Byzantium. That these works were produced in a period known for its military, political, theological, and economic upheaval should give the historian pause. Seventh-century Cyprus cannot be dismissed as a backwater.[16] Its situation on vital shipping routes provided a constant influx of goods and visitors from Syria and Egypt. Given the economic difficulties experienced throughout the Eastern Mediterranean in this period, Cyprus appears to have been relatively prosperous. The lavish objects of the Cyprus treasures discovered near Lambousa, which include nine silver plates depicting scenes from the life of David, bear stamps dating from the late sixth century and first half of the seventh and attest to the tremendous wealth of at least one Cypriot family during Leontius’s life.[17] Cyprus enjoyed imperial favors due to its great copper reserves, which presumably helped finance the Emperor Heraclius’s military efforts against Persia.[18] The victorious emperor seems to have understood his debt to Cyprus. In exchange, in the late 620s, Cyprus received a massive (thirty-five-mile) aqueduct carrying water from the Kyrenia range across the Mesaorian plain to Constantia (Salamis, near modern Famagusta). This building project was overseen, at least in part, by Archbishop Arcadius, who later commissioned Leontius’s Life of John the Almsgiver.[19]

While the Life of Symeon reflects larger political and social changes, it is particularly rich with evidence of daily life. Although set in Syria in the late sixth century, the small-town life which Leontius recreates in the Life of Symeon would have been quite familiar to his Cypriot audience.[20] The town includes an agora with food stalls, a bath complex, a glass workshop, and a tavern, and it is peopled with rich and poor, with merchants, artisans, a sorceress, a schoolmaster, and with monks. The portrait in the text is one of economic well-being, not decline. Moreover, there is no trace of wistfulness in the text for such prosperity. While there are references to earthquake and plague—natural realities of life in this era—there are no references to famine or economic collapse. That Leontius presented such an ordinary portrait of urban life to his audience contradicts the notion of general economic decline in early-seventh-century Byzantium illustrated by many economic and social historians and contributes to the general sense that in this period Cyprus remained relatively more prosperous.

The Life of Symeon is not the only witness to this unexpected prosperity. A brief and curious text from the period, the Vision of Kaioumos, tells of a wealthy shipowner, merchant, and landowner of Constantia, a certain Philentolos son of Olympus. Philentolos supported the poor and orphans and built a hospital (νοσοκομεῖον). He was, however, prone to fornication. After he died, debate arose among the bishops of the various sees on Cyprus as to whether Philentolos had been saved. Since no agreement could be reached, Arcadius consulted the monks in monasteries, the stylites, and the hermits. Eventually God revealed in a vision to the hermit Kaioumos that Philentolos was neither in heaven nor hell, but was standing between the two, with the souls of unbaptized children, saved from the fires of Gehenna by his generosity.[21] Apparently this vision guaranteed that there was nothing preventing the use of Philentolos’s generous legacy. Besides indicating the substantial wealth of some Cypriots in the period, the Vision of Kaioumos shares a major theme with the hagiographical works of Leontius of Neapolis, namely concern for donations to the poor and needy and most especially the role of the Church in engineering this effort.

Religious Life

The history of religious life in Cyprus provides a context for understanding many of Leontius’s concerns in the Life of Symeon. After the reign of Archbishop Epiphanius of Salamis-Constantia (died 402) in the late fourth century, the Church of Cyprus was able to establish itself as autonomous, independent of the patriarch of Antioch. From then on, the archbishop of Constantia was the head of the island’s bishops.[22] In the early seventh century the island’s Christian population included Chalcedonians and Monophysites (Akephaloi and others). In addition to indigenous speakers of Greek, recent unrest in Syria had brought communities of Syriac-speaking refugees to the island. John of Ephesus reports that during the Persian invasion of 577, the Emperor Maurice relocated a group of Syrian Monophysites to Cyprus, granting them lands throughout the island.[23] Another group of Syrian refugees arrived in 610.[24] The Persian invasions also brought refugees from Alexandria.[25] Because of its proximity to the mainland and its separation from it, Cyprus absorbed refugees of military conflicts throughout the Levant, a role which it has played also in recent times. Despite the decline of urban populations elsewhere in the empire over the course of the late sixth and early seventh centuries, the influx of people to the island may have contributed to the sustenance of urban life on Cyprus in this period. This immigration also maintained the island’s religious diversity.

The island also appears to have had a sizable Jewish population.[26] Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria during the first half of the tenth century, basing his accounts on earlier sources, reports that Jews from Cyprus were among those who mounted an attack on the Christian population of Tyre during the Persian invasions of 610.[27] The tales attributed to Anastasius the Sinaite, himself a native Cypriot, composed late in the seventh century, include an account of a Jew named Daniel who was burned at the stake in Constantia in 637 for practicing magic and a Jew who sought baptism from the bishop of Amathus during the Arab invasion of 649.[28] Cyprus’s varied religious life is reflected in the population of Leontius’s “Emesa” which included Monophysites and Jews.

Cyprus was important in the theological debates that shook Christianity in the seventh century. It was to Archbishop Arcadius that the Emperor Heraclius addressed an edict circa 625 or 626 proposing, as a sort of “experiment,” the doctrine of Monotheletism in an effort to unite the island’s Chalcedonians and Monophysites.[29] This edict was a precursor to Heraclius’s Ekthesis of 638 by which he tried to use the formula of a “single will” to bring about religious unity throughout the empire.[30]

During the first half of the seventh century many of the major figures of the Chalcedonian church visited Cyprus. John the Almsgiver, patriarch of Alexandria circa 610–17, was a native of Cyprus and returned to the city of Amathus, not far from Neapolis, before his death.[31] John Moschus, the author of the Spiritual Meadow, and his friend Sophronius, later patriarch of Jerusalem, were part of John the Almsgiver’s circle in Alexandria, and from Moschus’s own testimony are both known to have visited Cyprus between 614 and 619.[32] Together Moschus and Sophronius composed a Life of John the Almsgiver which was available to Leontius on Cyprus. After 633 Sophronius became one of the major opponents of the Monothelete doctrine. Another great opponent of Monotheletism was Maximus the Confessor, perhaps the greatest theologian of the seventh century. It can be inferred from his correspondence with Marinus, a Cypriot monk, that Maximus visited Cyprus, probably between 626 and 630.[33]

A polemical early Syriac Life of Maximus describes a synod on Cyprus convened to discuss the Monothelete doctrine. The meeting was suggested by Maximus and Sophronius to the Archbishop Arcadius, who summoned a number of bishops. The synod was attended by Cyrus, patriarch of Alexandria, by representatives of Pope Honorius and of Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, as well as by Sophronius and others. The biographer claims that Maximus did not attend because he was afraid.[34] While the date of such a meeting cannot be established, and some aspects of the narration do not conform to what is known from other sources, it is quite possible that such a meeting did take place; and thus this Life of Maximus would be further evidence not only for the presence of major intellectual figures in Cyprus during the first half of the seventh century, but also for the centrality of Cyprus in the Monothelete controversy, as doctrinal reconciliation was viewed by Arcadius and others as crucial to the political unity of the eastern provinces and the security of the island.[35] This concern is also reflected in the Life of Symeon where Symeon converts all religious nonconformists. If Leontius was already bishop of Neapolis when the synod was held, he may well have attended.

Further evidence of religious and intellectual activity on Cyprus is found in the work of the Syrian Paul, once Monophysite bishop of Edessa, who had escaped to Cyprus during the Persian invasion in 619. Connected to the monastery at Qennešrin, renowned for its scholars, Paul devoted himself to the massive project of preparing a Syriac translation of the sermons of Gregory of Nazianzus, which he completed in 624 while on Cyprus.[36]

Leontius of Neapolis

Despite his important role in the Cypriot church, little is known about the life of Leontius of Neapolis. Given his literary activity in the 640s it is reasonable to assume he was born in the early decades of the century. He probably died sometime during the reign of Constans II (d. 668). In addition to the lives of John the Almsgiver and Symeon the Fool, and a no longer extant Life of Spyridon, he is probably the author of a treatise entitled Against the Jews which includes a defense of the veneration of images, perhaps the earliest defense of icons in the Byzantine world.[37]

The circumstances surrounding the composition of the Life of John the Almsgiver shed light on Leontius’s role in Cypriot affairs of his own time. Commissioned by the prominent archbishop of Constantia, Arcadius, a benefactor of Cyprus, the Life of John was specifically designed to celebrate Cypriot pride and to honor the aristocratic Cypriot family of which John had been a member. The work attests to the continuing importance of cultural ties between Egypt and Cyprus. While it is impossible to say with certainty that the commissioning of the work postdates the conquest of Alexandria by the Arabs in 641, this seems most likely since refugees came from Alexandria to Cyprus in the aftermath of this event. The work may have served as a rallying cry for the reversal of affairs.[38]

External evidence also provides clues. Leontius should probably be identified with the Leontius of Neapolis recorded to have been present at the Lateran council held in Rome in October 649. While a coincidence is possible, it seems unlikely that in 649 both Neapolis, Cyprus, and Naples, Italy, would have bishops with identical names. The dating fits nicely, so soon after the Arab invasion of Cyprus, and would make Leontius one of the numerous eastern clerics in attendance at the council who were refugees of the military upheaval in the Levant. Pope Martin hosted the council to condemn the Ekthesis and the teaching of Monotheletism; the drafting of the Acts themselves was carefully engineered by Maximus the Confessor, and they were quickly circulated, much to the displeasure of the Emperor Constans.[39] No other Cypriot see was represented at the council, but a letter from Sergius, archbishop of Constantia, to Pope Theodore, written in 643 affirming the orthodoxy of the island and expressing his opposition to Monotheletism, was read out in the course of the meetings. It is likely that Leontius would have followed his superior in opposing the doctrine and would have found the proceedings of the council acceptable. Whether Leontius later returned to Cyprus, we do not know. In 649, Mu‘awiya and his troops raided the island of Cyprus, in the words of one chronographer “sacking Constantia and the whole island,”[40] and with a second raid in 653 decisively removed Cyprus from Byzantine control. According to some Arab sources, the Cypriots negotiated a peace with the Arabs by which they were to pay tribute to their new overlords,[41] but archeological evidence suggests that life along the coasts of Cyprus was disrupted and that Cypriots turned to the construction of numerous fortifications both along the coast and further inland.[42] By 692, the archbishop of Constantia and a group of Cypriot refugees were living in exile in Cyzicus in the province of Hellespont near the sea of Marmara.[43] Leontius may have died in exile.

It is reasonable to assume that Leontius had firsthand knowledge of many of the theological disputes of his day and may have known personally such “international” figures as Sophronius. Distances on Cyprus are short, and travel by sea was easily accomplished. The journey from Neapolis (modern Limassol) to Constantia (Famagusta) took about twenty-four hours by sea.[44] Leontius’s inclusion of Jews (pp. 145, 154, 163, 168), Monophysites (pp. 146, 154), and even the debate over the status of Origen (pp. 152–53) in the Life of Symeon reflects the diverse religious world with which he was familiar. His interest in pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the veneration of the True Cross on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross reflect the enthusiasm felt throughout the empire for Heraclius’s military successes, symbolized most effectively in his “recovery” of the Cross while on campaign to liberate Jerusalem from the Persians in 622. Heraclius personally restored the Cross to Jerusalem in 630 while on the first pilgrimage ever made to the city by a reigning Christian emperor.[45] In Leontius’s narrative, composed while Jerusalem was in Arab hands, Symeon travels twice to the holy city to visit the sites connected to the life of Jesus. Whether Leontius’s information about the Holy Land came from his own experience or from travelers’ accounts, we do not know.

Leontius’s work not only reflects the Christian environment in which it was composed, it remains a witness to the survival of Greco-Roman literary and intellectual culture into the seventh century. The first half of the seventh century saw the composition of the last great hexameter epic, George of Pisidia’s Heracliad.[46] And Theophylact Simocatta’s Ethical Epistles display a great concern with the texts traditionally studied in the educational curriculum. Similarly, the descriptions of Symeon’s shameless behavior, his defecation in public, his consumption of lupines (legumes which cause gas), his ingestion of raw meat, and his dragging a dead dog into the city are references to the anecdotes about Diogenes of Sinope, the Cynic philosopher, preserved in large part in the rhetorical curriculum of Hellenistic and Late Antique schools, where they served to illustrate grammatical points and were utilized as building blocks for composing practice speeches. Allusion to these in Leontius’s text together with the rhetorical character of the introduction to the Life suggests not only that he had received a traditional education, but that he could assume such a level of education among at least a sector of his audience. Thus the Life of Symeon is evidence for the persistence of the Late Ancient educational curriculum and therefore a Christianized version of Greco-Roman secular culture on Cyprus into the mid-seventh century.

The text’s literary aspects as well as various theological concerns to be uncovered in the course of this study raise questions about Leontius’s intended audience. The use of tools derived from the educational tradition shows Leontius to have been a part of a broader Eastern Mediterranean intellectual culture. As we shall see, Leontius utilized literary skill deliberately and effectively. His art points not only toward a local Cypriot audience, but toward a more international readership as well. At the same time, the literary content of the text lies side-by-side with slapstick and bawdy. This diglossic character of Leontius’s work indicates that a text which aimed to manipulate the high cultural tradition also sought to please the common people.

On the eve of the Arab invasion of Cyprus, Late Roman culture was flourishing. Against this background of vibrant social, economic, and religious life, Leontius undertook to make his peculiar literary contribution, a saint’s life which challenged the conventional notions of sanctity and recast the problem of finding holiness in everyday life. To appreciate the significance of Leontius’s achievement, we turn next to the problem of his literary sources.


1. Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye described the work as “une des plus curieuses productions de l’hagiographie ancienne”; “Saints de Chypre,” AB 26 (1907): 246. A modern edition of the Greek text of the Life of Symeon was published by Lennart Rydén in 1963; he followed this edition with a commentary in 1970. A slightly revised version of Rydén’s text was published with a French translation and commentary by A. J. Festugière in 1974, although it was available only in 1977. Leontius of Neapolis, Das Leben des heiligen Narren Symeon von Leontios von Neapolis, ed. Lennart Rydén (Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksell, 1963); Lennart Rydén, Bemerkungen zum Leben des heiligen Narren Symeon von Leontios von Neapolis (Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksell, 1970); Vie de Syméon le Fou et Vie de Jean de Chypre, trans. and commentary by A. J. Festugière (Greek text edited by Lennart Rydén) (Paris: Geuthner, 1974), pp. 1–222. A partial German translation appears in Hans Lietzmann, Byzantinische Legenden (Jena: Diederichs, 1911). For translations into other modern languages, see bibliography. The first edition of the text edited by Joannes Pinius appears in the Acta Sanctorum for the month of July, vol. 1 (Antwerp, 1719), cols. 136–69 (3rd ed., cols. 120–51). Pinius’s text was reprinted by Migne, PG 93.1669–748. [BACK]

2. See for example Ernst Benz, “Heilige Narrheit,” Kyrios 3 (1938): 1–55; Peter Hauptmann, “Die ‘Narren um Christi Willen’ in der Ostkirche,” Kirche im Osten 2 (1959): 27–49, with extensive bibliography p. 27 n. 1; George P. Fedotov, The Russian Religious Mind II: The Middle Ages, the 13th to 15th Centuries, ed. with a foreword by John Meyendorff (Belmont, Mass.: Nordland, 1975), pp. 316–43 (the chapter is entitled “The Holy Fools”); Natalie Challis and Horace W. Dewey, “Byzantine Models for Russia’s Literature of Divine Folly (Jurodstvo),” Papers in Slavic Philology in Honor of James Ferrell, vol. 1, ed. Benjamin Stolz (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, 1977), pp. 36–48; Irina Goraïnoff, Les fols en Christ dans la tradition orthodoxe ([Paris]: Desclée de Brouwer, 1983), with a good bibliography; Rydén, “The Holy Fool,” in The Byzantine Saint, ed. Sergei Hackel (San Bernardino, Calif.: Borgo, 1983), pp. 106–13; Ewa Thompson, Understanding Russia: The Holy Fool in Russian Culture (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1987). On Western traditions see John Saward’s very readable Perfect Fools: Folly for Christ’s Sake in Catholic and Orthodox Spirituality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980). [BACK]

3. Thompson, Understanding Russia, pp. ix–x. [BACK]

4. Saward, Perfect Fools, pp. 104–84. [BACK]

5. The dating of the Life of Andrew the Fool is a typically vexed problem in the study of Byzantine hagiography. John Wortley (“The Political Significance of the Andreas-Salos Apocalypse,” Byzantion 43 [1973]: 248–63) dates the work to the late ninth or early tenth century. Cyril Mango (“The Life of Saint Andrew the Fool Reconsidered,” Rivista di studi bizantini e slavi 2 [1982]: 297–313) has argued for a late-seventh-century date of composition, which most other scholars have regarded as unlikely (but see most recently John F. Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990], pp. xxii, 116, 336 n. 33. Rydén (“The Date of the Life of Andreas Salos,DOP 32 [1978]: 127–56) dates the work to the 950s. His new edition, nearing publication, will no doubt attempt to settle the issue. On the literary relationship between the Life of Symeon and the Life of Andrew see José Grosdidier de Matons, “Les Thèmes d’édification dans la Vie d’André Salos,” Travaux et mémoires 4 (1970): 277–329. [BACK]

6. In the Life of John 5, Leontius mentions the death of Heraclius (which occurred either in April or May 641). Therefore the text must have been composed after this date. Two scholia published by Festugière in his apparatus to the Life of John (Vie de Syméon le Fou et Vie de Jean de Chypre, pp. 2–3, 411 ad 71 and 88) establish that the work was commissioned by Arcadius, archbishop of Constantia, who died in the second half of 641 or early in 642. See Mango, “A Byzantine Hagiographer at Work: Leontios of Neapolis,” in Byzanz und der Westen: Studien zur Kunst des europäischen Mittelalters, ed. Irmgard Hutter (Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1984), p. 33. The Life of Symeon can be assumed to postdate the Life of John since in the introduction to the Life of John, Leontius refers to an earlier work, a Life of Spyridon (now lost) as if it was his only earlier saint’s life. Leontius of Neapolis, Leben des heiligen Iohannes des Barmherzigen (Freiburg: Mohr, 1893), ed. H. Gelzer, p. xiii. Cf. Rydén, Das Leben des heiligen Narren Symeon, p. 25; Mango, “A Byzantine Hagiographer,” p. 29. (The Life of Spyridon edited by P. van den Ven [La légende de S. Spyridon, évêque de Trimithonte (Louvain: Publications universitaires, 1953), pp. 104–28] is not to be identified with the work by Leontius.) [BACK]

7. Cf. Gelzer, “Ein griechischer Volksschriftsteller des 7. Jahrhunderts,” in Ausgewählte kleine Schriften (Leipzig: Teubner, 1907), p. 2. On the conquest of Cyprus, see A. I. Dikigoropoulos, “The Political Status of Cyprus A.D. 648–965,” in Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, 1940–1948 (Nicosia: Government Printing Office, 1958), pp. 94–114; Andreas N. Stratos, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, vol. 3 (642–668), trans. Harry T. Hionides (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1968–80), p. 39; Robert Browning, “Byzantium and Islam in Cyprus in the Early Middle Ages,” Epeteris tou Kentrou Epistemonikon Spoudon 9 (1977/79): 101–16; Walter Kaegi, “The Disputed Muslim Negotiations with Cyprus in 649,” Fourteenth Annual Byzantine Studies Conference (1988): Abstracts of Papers (Houston: Byzantine Studies Conference, 1988), pp. 5–6, and Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 253–54. The publication of two inscriptions from Soloi now confirm that the first Arab invasion of Cyprus took place in 649, not in 647 or 648. See Jean des Gagniers and Tran Tam Tinh, Soloi: Dix campagnes de fouilles (1964–1974), vol. 1 (Sainte Foy, Québec: Université Laval, 1985), pp. 115–25; cf. Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 35 (1985): no. 1471. On two successive invasions of Cyprus cf. al-Balâdhuri, abu’l Abbâs Ahmad ibn-Jâbir [Ahmad ibn Yahya], Kitâb futûh al-buldân, 152–158, trans. Philip K. Hitti, The Origins of the Islamic State (New York: Columbia University Press, 1916), pp. 235–43. [BACK]

8. Life of John, prologue, ed. Festugière, p. 344. On Leontius’s style, see Festugière, Vie de Symeon, pp. 9–13. Averil Cameron (“Cyprus at the Time of the Arab Conquests,” Epeteris tis Kypriakis Etaireias Istorikon Spoudon 1989 [Nicosia, 1992], p. 39) has written, “The claim to write for the general public is often an affectation . . . and on closer inspection Leontius’s actual style often turns out not to be simple at all.” [BACK]

9. Citations in the text are to the pagination in Rydén’s 1963 edition of the Life of Symeon, which is retained in the inner margins of Rydén’s 1974 revised edition printed in Festugière and Rydén (Vie de Syméon le Fou). This method of citing the text has become the rule among scholars. I have retained this pagination in square brackets in the translation of the Life of Symeon appended to this volume. Throughout this study translations of the Life of Symeon are from the 1974 text, now the standard edition. All translations from the Life of Symeon are my own, as are all translations from other ancient texts unless I have specified otherwise in the notes. [BACK]

10. Sebastian Brock and Susan Ashbrook Harvey, introduction, Holy Women of the Syrian Orient (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), p. 3. [BACK]

11. For details of these events, see Stratos, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, vol. 2 (634–641), pp. 62, 111; cf. Kaegi, Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests, p. 67. [BACK]

12. Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, pp. 48–49, 283. [BACK]

13. F. Dölger, Regesten der Kaiserurkunden der oströmischen Reiches von 565–1453 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1924–65), no. 206; Cf. Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, pp. 303–4, 346. The study of conflict between Jews and Christians in the period is now greatly aided by Gilbert Dagron and Vincent Déroche, “Juifs et Chrétiens dans l’orient du viie siècle,” Travaux et mémoires 11 (1991): 17–273, and Déroche, “La polémique anti-judaïque au vie et au viie siècle: un mémento inédit, les Képhalaia,” Travaux et mémoires 11 (1991): 275–311. [BACK]

14. Indispensable is the extended discussion in Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, pp. 92–124. For broad perspective on the problem of urban history in the period, see Averil Cameron, The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity, AD 395–600 (London: Routledge, 1993), pp. 152–75. [BACK]

15. On Byzantine awareness of decline see Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, pp. 39–40; Kaegi, Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests, pp. 109, 207–13. Some regions suffered more heavily than others; to date there has been no attempt to correlate the Cypriot evidence with the larger picture. [BACK]

16. On seventh-century Cyprus generally see Costas Kyrris, History of Cyprus: With an Introduction to the Geography of Cyprus (Nicosia: Nicocles, 1985), pp. 160–80; Kyrris, “Cypriot Ascetics and the Christian Orient,” Vyzantinos Domos 1 (1987): 95–108; and Averil Cameron, “Cyprus at the Time of the Arab Conquests.” [BACK]

17. Some pieces in the treasure may have been commissioned by the Emperor Heraclius in 626–30 as a gift for a wealthy Cypriot whose silver trove had earlier been confiscated to help finance the war of 621. On the Cyprus treasures, see O. M. Dalton, “A Byzantine Silver Treasure from the District of Kerynia, Cyprus, Now Preserved in the British Museum,” Archaeologia 57 (1900): 159–74; Dalton, “A Second Silver Treasure from Cyprus,” Archaeologia 60 (1906): 1–24; A. and J. Stylianou, The Treasures of Lambousa (Vasilia, Cyprus, 1969); cf. Kyrris, History of Cyprus, p. 173. For the alienation of church plate to finance military campaigns, cf. Nicephorus, Short History 11; Theophanes, Chronicle 303. [BACK]

18. From 615 to 618 and again in 626/7 copper coins were minted at Constantia. On coins 615–18: Michael Hendy, Studies in the Byzantine Monetary Economy, 300–1450 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 415–17; Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, pp. 176, 224. On copper folles 626/7: Philip Grierson, Byzantine Coins (London: Methuen, 1982), pp. 121, 359. Cyprus also minted a limited number of coins in 608–10; see Grierson, Byzantine Coins, pp. 46, 73. [BACK]

19. T. B. Mitford, “Some New Inscriptions from Early Christian Cyprus,” Byzantion 20 (1950): 105–75, esp. pp. 118–25. [BACK]

20. My point is not that the Life of Symeon contains an accurate portrait of Cyprus, only that the city which Leontius creates in the text can reasonably be expected to reflect the city in which he created it. My informal survey of Late Roman cities on Cyprus conducted in the spring of 1993 confirmed that Cypriot town planning conformed in a general way to patterns familiar from other regions. [BACK]

21. F. Halkin, “La Vision de Kaioumos et le sort éternel de Philentolos Olympiou,” AB 63 (1945): 56–64; cf. Kyrris, “The Admission of the Souls of Immoral but Humane People into the ‘Limbus Puerorum,’ according to the Cypriot Abbot Kaioumos (VIIth Century A.D.) Compared to the Quran’s al ‘Araf (Suras 7:44–46, 57:13ff.),” Revue des études sud-est europée nes 9 (1971): 461–77. [BACK]

22. On the church in Cyprus in this period see George Hill, A History of Cyprus, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1940), pp. 248–51, 273–82; Kyrris, History of Cyprus, pp. 164–68; Kyrris, “Cypriot Ascetics and the Christian Orient.” The development of autocephaly is discussed in detail in J. Hackett, A History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus (London: Methuen, 1901), pp. 13–33. [BACK]

23. John of Ephesus, Historia ecclesiastica (hereafter John of Ephesus, HE) 6.15. Cf. Mango, “Chypre: Carrefour du monde byzantin,” XVe Congrès international d’études byzantines: rapports et co-rapports 5.5 (Athens, 1976). Mango writes that it is “abundantly clear that there were many Syrians and other Orientals living on the island [i.e., Cyprus] as evidenced, inter alia, by the prevalence there of the Monophysite heresy” (pp. 3–4). See also Marina Sacopoulo, La Theotokos à la mandorle de Lythrankomi (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1975), pp. 80–87. [BACK]

24. On Paul the Syrian, see below. John Moschus (Spiritual Meadow 30) tells of a certain Isidore of Melitene, formerly a Severan Monophysite who had once desecrated the host in a catholic (Chalcedonian) church; later he became a monk on Cyprus, constantly weeping in repentance. [BACK]

25. This fact is reported in a text concerning a posthumous miracle of Epiphanius (BHG 601m) soon to be published by Claudia Rapp. The passage in manuscript Paris gr. 1596, pp. 550–51, is discussed briefly by F. Nau and L. Clugnet, “Vies et récits d’anachorètes (IVe–VIIe siècles),” Rèvue de L’Orient Chrétien 8 (1903): 92. Many thanks to Dr. Rapp for the reference and for permission to mention this text. John the Almsgiver’s return to Cyprus prior to 619 was prompted by these invasions (Life of John 52). [BACK]

26. The inscriptional evidence, while attesting to the presence of a sizable Jewish community in the preceding centuries, yields nothing datable with certainty to our period. Mitford dated the inscription from the Synagogue at Constantia to the sixth century (“New Inscriptions,” pp. 110–16), but Baruch Lifshitz preferred to date it to the third century. Lifshitz however argued that an inscription from Lapethos which Mitford had dated to the sixth century and described as Christian (pp. 141–43) was in fact a Jewish inscription of the fifth century. Lifshitz, Donateurs et fondateurs dans les synagogues juives (Paris: Gabalda, 1967), pp. 73–76. On Jewish inscriptions from Late Antique Cyprus, see also R. P. Jean-Baptiste Frey, Corpus inscriptionum judaicarum, vol. 2 (Vatican: Pontificio instituto di archeologia christiana, 1952), pp. 6, 7. The fourth-century bishop and heresiarch Epiphanius of Salamis-Constantia was a convert from Judaism (Life of Epiphanius 2). [BACK]

27. Eutychius, Annals 1.218ff., PG 111.1084–85. Cf. Gli Annali, trans. Bartolomeo Pirone (Cairo: Franciscan Centre, 1987), pp. 308–9; Michael Breydy, Das Annalenwerk des Eutychios von Alexandrien (Louvain: Peeters, 1985), pp. 101–3. See also Joshua Starr, “Byzantine Jewry on the Eve of the Arab Conquest (565–638),” Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 15 (1935): 285. [BACK]

28. “Le texte grec des récits utile à l’âme d’Anastase (le Sinaïte),” ed. F. Nau, Oriens Christianus 3 (1903): 70–71; Starr, The Jews of the Byzantine Empire (641–1204) (Athens: Verlag der “Byzantinisch-Neugriechischen Jahrbucher,” 1939), pp. 85–86. The attribution and historicity of these accounts is uncertain. [BACK]

29. G. D. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio (Paris: Weller, 1901–27), 11, col. 561ab; cf. col. 525b. See V. Grumel, “Recherches sur l’histoire du monothélisme,” Echos d’Orient 27 (1928): 6. [BACK]

30. See P. Verghese, “The Monothelite Controversy—A Historical Survey,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 13 (1968): 196–211. Shortly after 631 Sergius, the patriarch of Constantinople, and Cyrus, the Chalcedonian archbishop of Alexandria, proposed that Christ’s two natures should be understood to function as a single energy. After this solution proved unsuccessful, Heraclius issued the Ekthesis of 638 in which the doctrine of the single energy was abandoned in favor of a doctrine of a single will (monotheletism). These efforts too largely failed, and the issue became irrelevant as Egypt and Syria, the regions with the largest Monophysite populations, fell out of Byzantine hands. Cf. George Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, trans. Joan Hussey (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1969), pp. 107–9; Judith Herrin, The Formation of Christendom (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 206–11; Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, pp. 48–49. [BACK]

31. Leontius, Life of John 52. [BACK]

32. Leontius, Life of John 23; John Moschus, Spiritual Meadow 30. This accords with the information given in the biographical prologue found in some manuscripts of the Meadow (ed. Hermann Usener, Der Heilige Tychon [Leipzig: Teubner, 1907], pp. 91–93), which relates that Moschus and Sophronius traveled from Alexandria to Rome (some time after 614 and before Moschus’s death in 619) by way of the islands (p. 92 l. 29); cf. Henry Chadwick, “John Moschus and His Friend Sophronius the Sophist,” JThS 25 (1974): 58. [BACK]

33. Maximus the Confessor, Ep. 20; Polycarp Sherwood, An Annotated Date-List of the Works of Maximus the Confessor (Rome: Pontifical Institute, 1952), pp. 5–6, 34. [BACK]

34. Sebastian Brock, “An Early Syriac Life of Maximus the Confessor,” AB 91 (1973): 299–346. [BACK]

35. Herrin, Formation of Christendom, p. 251. [BACK]

36. He also translated works by Severus of Antioch and Jacob of Edessa. Ignatius Ortiz de Urbina, Patrologia Syriaca (Rome: Pontifical Institute, 1958), pp. 161–62; William Wright, A Short History of Syriac Literature (London: Black, 1894), p. 135. Manuscripts of these texts are described in Wright, Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1871), pp. 423–36. [BACK]

37. The document survives only through fragments quoted by John of Damascus in his treatise On the Divine Images and in the Acta of the Second Nicene Council in 787 CE. If thework is authentic, perhaps it dates from the period of Heraclius’s anti-Jewish legislation in 634. In John of Damascus: PG 94.1272A–76B, 1313A, 1381D–88D. An English translation is available in On the Divine Images: Three Apologies against Those Who Attack the Divine Images, trans. David Anderson (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 1980). In Nicaea II: PG 93.1597B–610A; cf. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum 13, cols. 44–54. Vincent Déroche (“L’Authenticité de l’ ‘Apologie contre les Juifs’ de Léontios de Néapolis,” Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 110 [1986]: 655–69) has argued strongly for the authenticity of the work. Paul Speck (“Zu dem Dialog mit einem Juden des Leontios von Neapolis,” Poikila Byzantina 4 [1984]: 242–49), however, believes it to be a work of the eighth century. [BACK]

38. In fact, the Byzantines retook Alexandria in 645, only to lose it for good in 646, although at the time this could hardly have appeared permanent. Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, p. 55; cf. Stratos, Byzantium in the Seventh Century 3:35–38. [BACK]

39. For the council see Rudolf Riedinger, ed., Concilium Laterananse a. 649 celebratum (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1984). Leontius of Neapolis is #87 in the Synodal lists. See also Riedinger, “Die Lateransynode von 649 und Maximos der Bekenner,” in Maximus Confessor: Actes du Symposium pour Maxime le confesseur (Fribourg, 2–5 Sept. 1980), ed. F. Heinzer and C. Schönborn (Fribourg: Ëditions universitaires, 1982), pp. 111–21; cf. Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, p. 57. On Eastern religious in Rome in this era see Jean-Marie Sansterre, Les moines grecs et orientaux à Rome aux époques byzantine et carolingienne (milieu du vie s.–fin du ixe s.), 2 vols. (Brussels: Palais des académies, 1980). Sansterre does not mention Leontius of Neapolis in this context. J. R. Martindale (The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. 3: A.D. 527–641, bk. 2 [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992], pp. 773–82) reveals that Leontius was a fairly common name (forty-one instances) attested over a wide geographical range, including twice in Italy and once in Sicily in the late sixth century. [BACK]

40. Theophanes, Chronicle 344. [BACK]

41. Kyrris, History of Cyprus, pp. 176–77; Kaegi, Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests, pp. 253–54, esp. n. 47 on the debate among scholars on the question of the authenticity of the Muslim accounts of the peace treaty. Theophanes (Chronicle 344) refers to a treaty between Mu‘awiya and the residents of Castellus in the raids of 649. [BACK]

42. Kyrris, History of Cyprus, p. 176. [BACK]

43. Cf. the Acts of the Council in Trullo 39; NPNF 2.14, pp. 383–84. [BACK]

44. See Claude Delaval Cobham, Excerpta Cypria: Materials for a History of Cyprus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908), for a number of accounts of sailing from one place to another in Cyprus; e.g., Le Huen, circa 1486 (p. 52): “Friday, September 7, we left Salines [Salamis/Famagusta]. . . . Saturday, the feast of the Nativity of our Lady, it was calm, and we stayed at Lymesson [Limassol].” Cf. Fürer, 1621 (p. 77): “On the last day of March we left Larnica at night, for the intolerable heat made travelling by day impossible, and the following morning we entered Famagusta.” The journey to Rhodes took 4 days (Benjamin of Tudela, in the 1160s; p. 5), and Fra. Noe (earliest edition 1500) describes leaving Egypt and arriving “in no long time at the island of Cyprus, at the city of Famagosta, a seaport” (p. 53). I thank Annemarie Carr for bringing these accounts to my attention. [BACK]

45. Nicephorus, Short History 18. A. Frolow, “La Vraie Croix et les expéditions d’Héraclius en Perse,” REB 11 (1953): 88–105; cf. J. Moorhead, “Iconoclasm, the Cross, and the Imperial Image,” Byzantion 55 (1985): 174–75. On the date (630, not 631) see Kaegi, Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests, p. 74, and also p. 210; cf. Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, p. 46; Mango, Short History by Nicephorus (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1990), p. 185. While the ritual of the Exaltation of the Cross in Jerusalem may be dated to the sixth century, the rite was popularized elsewhere in the early seventh century, being initiated in Constantinople in 614. [BACK]

46. George of Pisidia, Heraclias, in Poemi, I: Panegirici epici, ed. A. Pertusi (Ettal: Buch-Kunst Verlag, 1960); D. F. Frendo, “Classical and Christian Influences in the Heracliad of George of Pisidia,” Classical Bulletin 64.2 (1986): 53–62. [BACK]

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