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Headword: *)/ecammon mili/ou
Adler number: epsilon,1535
Translated headword: exammon of the Milion
Vetting Status: high
See under the [entry] 'Basilica'.
Greek Original:
*)/ecammon mili/ou: zh/tei e)n tw=| *basilikh/.
Beta 157.
While the exact meaning of “exammon” is unclear, it probably refers to a symbol or implement of measurement, such as a balance or container. Emperors often erected commemorative monuments in the vicinity of the Milion (mu 1065), and the Milion’s proximity to the Basilica explains the Suda’s ambiguity about the exact location of Heraclius’s exammon.
The relevant part of beta 157 reads: e)/nqa h)=n kai\ to\ e)/cammon e(/ws *(hraklei/ou tou= basile/ws. This derives from the eighth-century *parasta/seis su/ntomoi xronikai/ (Parastaseis), a collection of 'brief historical notices' on Constantinople’s monuments.
The precise meaning of e)/cammon has confounded commentators. At beta 157 Adler notes only the variant reading e)/camon and directs the reader to Preger, who had tentatively suggested that it is either a Hellenization of the Latin examen ('measure' or 'balance') or perhaps a corruption of e)ca/gion (web address 1) (Preger 1901, p. 28). Most commentators agree with Preger that e)/cammon relates in some way to measures or measurement. Dagron 1984 simply repeats Preger’s hypotheses and adds that the word also appears in Parastaseis 12, as an object held by a statue of Valentinian. Cameron 1984 and Berger 1988, in their full commentaries on the Parastaseis, also support Preger. Speck 1974 idiosyncratically suggests an emendation to e)/cwmon, which he interprets as indicating a statue of Heraclius that either wore an unsleeved tunic, or was naked (Speck, pp. 98-99).
*)/ecamon appears twice in the Parastaseis: Parastaseis 37, the source for beta 157, and Parastaseis 12, a difficult passage on the monument of the so-called Modion or Horreum, where an e)/camon appears in the right hand of a statue of Valentinian. It also appears in two texts that are derived from the Parastaseis: the ninth-century (?) Anonymous of Treu (p. 13,27f. and 21,20; its spelling of e)/cammon is adopted by the Suda) and *pa/tria th=s *kwnstantinoupo/lews II (41 and 51), which is roughly contemporaneous with the Suda. Given the relationship between these texts, there is no doubt that e)/camon and e)/cammon refer to the same object. See Cameron, pp. 3-8 for an analysis of this relationship.
Parastaseis 37 simply mentions that the e)/camon of Heraclius was one of the monuments in or near the Basilica. Parastaseis 12, however, offers an insight into the possible meaning of e)/cammon. The passage concludes, 'so too a statue of the Emperor Valentinian holding an (e)/camon) in its right hand was removed to pay tribute...' (Cameron, p. 75). This passage concerns the establishment of an official measure for grain by Valentinian and his construction of a monument in the Amastrianon to commemorate the punishment of someone who had cheated while measuring the grain dole. While Parastaseis 12 does not describe an e)/camon, it is logical that it was a symbol commemorating the official measure introduced by Valentinian. Further support for linking e)/cammon with measurement appears in Patria II, 51: 'the so-called [monument of the] Modion was a measure (w(rolo/gion), that is to say the e)/camon of the Modion'. While the exact meaning of this passage is also obscure, in combination with Parastaseis 12, the relationship between e)/cammon and measurement seems secure.
What then of the e)/cammon of the Milion or Heraclius, whose notice does not include any mention of measurement or grain? The Emperor Heraclius (610-641) did attempt to control weights and measures, reorganized the distribution of bread in 618 (Chron. Pasch. 711), and removed an official, nicknamed "the Earthquake,” who had attempted to double the price of bread (ibid. 715-716). It is certainly possible that Heraclius, involved in activities similar to those that prompted Valentinian to erect his e)/cammon, erected a similar monument.
Berger, A. Untersuchungen zu den Patria Konstantinupoleos, (Bonn, 1988)
Cameron, A. and J. Herrin. Constantinople in the early eighth century: the Parastaseis syntomoi chronikai, (Leiden, 1984)
Dagron, G. Constantinople Imaginaire: études sur le recueil des Patria, (Paris, 1984)
Preger, T., Hesychius, et al. Scriptores originum Constantinopolitanarum, (New York, 1975)
Speck, P. Die Kaiserliche Universität von Konstantinopel : Präzisierungen z. Frage d. höheren Schulwesens in Byzanz im 9. u. 10. Jahrhundert, (Munich, 1974)
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: architecture; art history; daily life; food; geography; historiography
Translated by: Bret Mulligan on 25 November 2003@22:59:39.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented keywords; cosmetics on various levels) on 26 November 2003@04:09:33.
Catharine Roth (betacode details) on 26 November 2003@11:07:00.
Catharine Roth (tried again) on 26 November 2003@11:08:32.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 10 September 2012@04:56:10.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 22 April 2017@23:29:58.
Catharine Roth (typo; deleted a link) on 27 December 2017@22:41:20.


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