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Headword: *basilikh/
Adler number: beta,157
Translated headword: basilica
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
In the basilica behind the Milion[1] -- where also the exammon was up until the time of the emperor Heraclius[2] -- stood a gilt statue of a man on bended knee, Justin the tyrant.[3] There is where Terbelis addressed the people.[4] In this place there stood an extremely large elephant which had been constructed on the orders of Severus.[5] Here there was also a large company of guards. A silversmith also lived there, plying his trade with rigged scales.[6] And when his house had been damaged he threatened the one guarding the elephant with death if he did not keep him under control. But the beast's handler did not back down, and the user of rigged scales killed him and gave him to the elephant as fodder. But the beast was a wild one and killed him as well. And Severus heard this and offered sacrifice to the beast. But in that very place statues of both the beast and his handler were immediately erected. This is also the place where Heracles was worshipped, the recipient of many sacrifices.[7] [The statue] was transferred to the Hippodrome. In the time of Julian the consularis [the statue] came from Rome to Byzantium and was brought in on a wagon and a ship, as were ten statues (stelai).[8]
Greek Original:
*basilikh/: o(/ti e)n th=| basilikh=| o)pi/sw tou= mili/ou i(/stato a)ndrei/kelon a)/galma xruse/mbafon, e)/nqa h)=n kai\ to\ e)/cammon e(/ws *(hraklei/ou tou= basile/ws, gonukline\s *)iousti/nou tou= tura/nnou. e)kei= o( *te/rbelis e)dhmhgo/rhsen: e)n oi(=s e)le/fas i(/stato pammege/qhs, u(po\ *seuh/rou kateskeuasme/nos. e)/nqa h)=n kai\ sxolh\ fulatto/ntwn pollh/: e)/mene de\ e)kei=se a)rguroko/pos e)n plastoi=s zugoi=s th\n pra/sin poiou/menos. kai\ tou= oi)kh/matos au)tou= porqoume/nou h)pei/lei tw=| to\n e)le/fanta fula/ttonti qa/naton, ei) mh\ tou=ton krath/seien. o( de\ qhroko/mos ou)k e)nedi/dou: o(\n foneu/sas o( zugopla/sths de/dwke bora\n tw=| e)le/fanti. to\ de\ qhri/on a)ti/qasson o)\n kai\ au)to\n a)nei=le. kai\ o( *seuh=ros a)kou/sas tw=| qhri/w| qusi/an h)/negken. e)n au)tw=| de\ tw=| to/pw| pareuqu\ a)netupw/qhsan to/ te qhri/on kai\ o( qhroko/mos. e)/nqa kai\ *(hraklh=s e)latreu/qh polla\s qusi/as deca/menos, o(\s e)n tw=| i(ppodromi/w| metete/qh. e)pi\ de\ *)ioulianou= u(pati- kou= a)po\ *(rw/mhs h)=lqen ei)s to\ *buza/ntion kai\ ei)sh/xqh e)n a)ph/nh| kai\ nhi\ kai\ sth=lai de/ka.
Notes:
Adler cites Preger, Scriptores originum Constantinopolitanarum 39-41, cf. 171.
cf. sigma 1084.
[1] cf. mu 1065.
[2] See epsilon 1535 and the notes there.
[3] Texts similar to the likely source for this passage indicate that it was a statue of Justinian (Anon. Treu p. 13, 23; Parastaseis 37, ps.-Codinus 2.41; cf. Grabar 1936, p. 100). The identification of the statue with Justinian explains the appellation "tyrant," which here probably has the meaning "usurper" (Cameron 1984, p. 211) and indicates that the statue is of Justinian II (reigned 685-695 and 705-711 CE; iota 447; web address 1). Regardless of the identity of the statue, this passage is important testimony for a kneeling imperial statue from the early Byzantine period.
[4] cf. beta 423 (and tau 333).
[5] Septimius Severus (reigned 193-211 CE; web address 2) was thought by later mythographers to have been one of Byzantium’s pagan founders and is often linked to non-Christian statuary by the Suda’s sources. See mu 1065, note 7 for the mythologizing of the founding of Constantinople.
[6] Parastaseis 37 provides an amusing name for this crooked silversmith, Carcinelus (“Mr. Pinchers”).
[7] The statue of Heracles is perhaps that of Heracles Trihesperus, which (according to Nicetas Choniates, De Signis 5, p. 858 Bonn and Parastaseis 64) was installed in the Hippodrome.
[8] "Julian the consularis" could refer to the consul in 322 CE (PLRE I s.v. Julianus 23).
References:
Berger, A. Untersuchungen zu den Patria Konstantinupoleos. Bonn: R. Habelt, 1988
Cameron, A. and J. Herrin. Constantinople in the early eighth century: the Parastaseis syntomoi chronikai. Leiden: Brill, 1984
Cutler, A. "The "De Signis" of Nicetas Choniates: a Reappraisal." AJA 72 (1968)
Grabar, A. L'Empereur dans l'art byzantin. Paris: 1936
Head, C. Justinian II of Byzantium. Madison, WI: 1972
Mango, C. A. The Brazen House: A Study of the Vestibule of the Imperial Palace of Constantinople. Copenhagen: 1959
Mango, C. A. "Antique Statuary and the Byzantine Beholder." DOP 17 (1963): 53-75
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: architecture; art history; athletics; biography; chronology; daily life; economics; food; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; religion; rhetoric; science and technology; trade and manufacture; zoology
Translated by: William Hutton on 19 October 2002@08:42:10.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 24 October 2002@19:10:41.
David Whitehead (added x-ref; cosmetics) on 16 December 2002@08:56:48.
Catharine Roth (substituted a Latin word for Greek) on 17 December 2002@15:22:03.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 16 September 2003@23:55:27.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 26 November 2003@04:13:12.
Bret Mulligan (modified translation; added notes 3, 5-8; augmented bibliography; added web addresses) on 2 December 2003@16:22:13.
Catharine Roth (typo and cross-reference) on 2 December 2003@19:42:04.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 3 December 2003@02:51:23.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 20 November 2005@10:45:55.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 23 May 2012@03:25:37.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 9 August 2013@00:12:22.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 1 January 2015@23:20:15.

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