Talking about the Great Church: ekphrasis and the Narration on Hagia Sophia Cover Image
  • Price 4.90 €

Talking about the Great Church: ekphrasis and the Narration on Hagia Sophia
Talking about the Great Church: ekphrasis and the Narration on Hagia Sophia

Author(s): Leslie Brubaker
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Slovanský ústav Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i. and Euroslavica

Summary/Abstract: In his Buildings, written around 550, Prokopios began his description of Hagia Sophia with the sentence: “So the church has become a spectacle of marvellous beauty, overwhelming to those who see it, but to those who know it by hearsay altogether incredible”. A generation or so later, Paul the Silentiary began his with: “Peace, rich in prosperity, nurse of cities, about whom our Lord has embraced more than victory of the lovely helmet, come now; exulting in city-preserving labours, let us sing in holy hymns of the house which surpasses all the most glorious battles, beneath which alone every divinely inspired, glorious, high-roofed building has cowered low”. And 300 years later, probably in the ninth century, the Narration on Hagia Sophia (Diegesis) opened its description section with the sentence: “132 years after Theodosios, 208 after Constantine the Great, [in] the fifth year of Justinian the Great’s reign, after the massacre in the hippodrome – 35,000 people were massacred there because the patrikios Hypatios, leader of the Blue faction, had been proclaimed emperor by the two factions – [in] the fifth year, then, of his reign, God inspired Justinian to build a church such as had never been built since the time of Adam”.

  • Issue Year: LXIX/2011
  • Issue No: 3 (Suppl.)
  • Page Range: 80-87
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: English