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2006 | 4 | 41-48

Article title

Usage of phrases showing marks of respect towards emperors in 'Zywoty' by Cyryl of Scytopolis


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The purpose of this article is to analyze the famous 'Lives of the Monks of Palestine', i.e. that of Cyril of Scythopolis (around 525-558) in the view of 'Rangpredikaten'. It was tested in it if Cyril in his work used 'Rangpredikaten' as standard expressions connected with a specific function performed by a particular person or whether this way he expressed his attitude towards the heroes of his work. The analysis included the group personifying the highest level of authority in the State, i.e. the emperors who, as a rule, were entitled to 'Rangpredikaten' and whose biographies and religious views are known better than those of office workers or bishops. In Cyril's Lives appear as many as 17 emperors like Constantius, Julian, Gratian, Valens, Valentinian, Theodosius I, Arcadius, Honorius, Theodosius II, Marcian, Leo I, Leo II, Zeno, Basiliscus, Anastasius, Justin and Justinian. The analysis showed Cyril's of Scythopolis naming particular rulers with a positive epithet was first of all dependent on the their religious views. If they were in accordance with Chalcedonian and anti-Origenistic attitude of the author, then they could count on a positive evaluation. All the emperors that adopted the chalcedonian faith, i.e. Marcian, Leo I, Justinian are at least once given a honorable expression whereas Zeno, Basiliscus and Anastasius could not count on positive assessments. The last one, because of his active anti-Chalcedonian policy received a very negative evaluation. The most positive figure presented in the 'Lives' is Justynian and this is because of the fact he was the emperor contemporary to the author and his pro-Chalcedonian and especially his anti-Origenistic attitude that was so important for Cyril in connection with the origenistic conflict among Palestinian monks in his times. The above analysis indicates that the Late Ancient authors of hagiographic works may through the use of 'Rangpredikaten' not only adapt to the conventional principles used in the official titles but also show his attitude particularly to the already deceased.







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  • R. Kosinski, Uniwersytet w Bialymstoku, Instytut Historii, pl. Uniwersytecki 1, 15-420 Bialystok, Poland


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Publication order reference


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