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Paulus Silentiarius

PAULUS SILENTIARIUS, (" the silentiary," one of the ushers appointed to maintain sUence within the imperial palace), Greek poet, contemporary and friend of Agathias, during the reign of Justinian. In addition to some 80 epigrams, chiefly erotic and panegyric in character, preserved in the Greek Anthology, there is extant by him a description (iKcj>pacis) of the church of St Sophia, and of its pulpit (&iJifiu>v), in all some 1300 hexameters after the style of Nonnus, with short iambic dedications to Justinian. The poem was recited at the second dedication of the church (a.d. 562), in the episcopal haU of the patriarchate. The poems are of importance for the history of Byzantine art in the 6th century. Another poem, (also preserved in the Anthology) on the warm baths of Pythia in Bithynia, written in the Anacreontic rhythm, has sometimes been attributed to him.

Bibliography. - Ed. of the poems on St Sophia, by I. Bekkcr in the Bonn Corpus scriptorum hist. byz. (1837), including the descriptions of the church by Du Cange and Banduri, and in J. P. Migne, Patrologia graeca, lx.\xvi. ; metrical translations, with commentary, by C. W. Kortlim (1854), and J. J. Kreutzer ((^yS); poem on the Baths in G. E. Lessing, Ztir Geschichte und Literalur, i. 5 (1773); see also Merian-Genast, De Paulo Silentiario (Leipzig, 1889J.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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