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21 Cyrus: A Forgotten Christian Poet

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with a Cyrus of Panopolis, who was well-known in his days as politician, as (re)builder of Constantinople, as bishop, and as poet. It presents a short biographical sketch of this remarkable man and then dwells a bit longer upon his poetry. In late antiquity, Panopolis was a city where both pagan and Christian literary culture flourished. After the catastrophic earthquake of the year 437, Cyrus has major parts of Constantinople rebuilt and fortified. Due to intrigues in the imperial palace, in 441, Cyrus was suddenly discharged from all his functions and stripped of all his possessions, probably on the basis of accusations that he had shown 'sympathy for paganism'. It was only after the death of Theodosius II and the intriguers, in 450, that Cyrus returned to Constantinople where he remained, without high functions but highly esteemed by the populace, till his death.

Keywords: Christian poet; Constantinople; Cyrus of Panopolis; paganism; Panopolis; Theodosius II



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