Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Plots 173.13-29


Constantine VII Flavius Porphyrogenitus (“born in the purple”) ruled the Byzantine emperor as a member of the Macedonian dynasty in 913-959 C.E. Beyond the challenges he faced in managing Imperial authority and international relations throughout his reign, Constantine VII devoted considerable energy to his scholarly pursuits. Among his many writings is the collection Excerpts from Historians, in which he quotes or epitomizes earlier writers on topics chiefly of relevance to statecraft and leadership. In this passage from the book on plots against the government (de insidiis), the emperor paraphrases the earlier accounts of John Malalas and the Easter Chronicle on the Samaritan uprising of 556 C.E.


Ὅτι ἐπὶ τοῦ αὐτοῦ βασιλέως Ἰουστινιανοῦ ἐστασίασαν οἱ Σαμαρεῖται καὶ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐνΚαισαρείᾳ τῆς Παλαιστίνηςποιήσαντες τὸ ἓν ὡς ἐν τάξει πρασινοβενέτων, καὶ ἐπῆλθον τοῖς χριστιανοῖς τῆς αὐτῆς πόλεως καὶ κατέκοψαν πολλοὺς καὶ ἐπῆλθον καὶ ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῶν ὀρθοδόξων. ὁ δὲ Στέφανος ὁ ἀνθύπατος τῆς αὐτῆς πόλεως ὁ ἐπίκλην Σύρος θέλων βοηθῆσαι τοῦ μὴ εἰσέρχεσθαι ἐν τοῖς εὐκτηρίοις, ἐπῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ Σαμαρεῖται, καὶ ἔφυγεν εἰς τὸ πραιτώριον αὐτοῦ, καὶ κατεδίωξαν αὐτὸν καὶ ἔσφαξαν ἔσω τοῦ πραιτωρίου καὶ ἐπραίδευσαν τὰ πράγματα αὐτοῦ. ἡ δὲ γυνὴ τοῦ αὐτοῦ Στεφάνου ἀνῆλθεν εἰς τὸν βασιλέα Ἰουστινιανὸν καὶ ἐδεήθη αὐτοῦ, ὁ δὲ ὀργισθεὶς ἐκέλευσεν Ἀμαντίῳ τῷ στρατηλάτῃ ὄντι τότε ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ τῷ κατὰ Ζίμαρχον ἀπελθεῖν καὶ ἐκζητῆσαι τὸν φόνον τοῦ Στεφάνου. ὁ δὲ Ἀμάντιος ἐλθὼν ἐνΚαισαρείᾳἤρξατο ζητεῖν τοὺς πεποιηκότας τὸν φόνον, καὶ εὑρὼν τοὺς μὲν ἐφούρκισε, τοὺς δὲ ἀπεκεφάλισεν, ἑτέρους δὲ ἐχειροκόπησε, τοὺς δὲ ἐδήμευσε· καὶ ἐγένετο φόβος μέγας ἐνΚαισαρείᾳ τῆς Παλαιστίνης.

Textual Note

Ed. de Boor 1905


It happened during the reign of the emperor Justinian that the Samaritans and Jews inCaesarea of Palestinestaged a revolt. Combining into a Green-Blue faction, they attacked the Christians in this city and cut down many of them and attacked the churchs of the orthodox. Stephanos the governor of the city, called the Syrian, wanted to help bar entrance to the places of prayer—the Samartians attacked him and he fled to his Praetorium, and they pursued and killed him inside the Praetorium and plundered his possessions. Stephanos’ wife went up to the emperor Justinian and beseeched him. He grew angry, and ordered Amantios, who was then the magister militum in the East against Zimarchos, to depart and to search out the murderer of Stephanos. Amantios came toCaesareaand began searching for those who had committed the murders. When he found them, he hanged some, beheaded others, cut off the right hands of others, and confiscated the property of others. And there was great fear inCaesarea of Palestine.

Translation Note

Trans. J. L. Rife


  • 1 Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Excerpta historica iussu imp. Constantini Porphyrogeniti confecta III: Excerpta de insidiisExcerpta historica iussu imp. Constantini Porphyrogeniti confecta III: Excerpta de insidiis, ed. Carl de Boor, repr. Hildesheim: Weidmann, 2003 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1905), p: 173.13-29, bk: 3.48. Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record


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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Plots 173.13-29,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, last modified June 14, 2021,


Joseph L. Rife, “Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Plots 173.13-29.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife and Phillip I. Lieberman., edited by Joseph L. Rife et al.. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2021. Entry published June 14, 2021.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Plots 173.13-29

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife and Phillip I. Lieberman, editors, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Plots 173.13-29
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Plots 173.13-29

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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