Saturday, June 26, 2021


An Act of Vandalism

Giusto Traina, 428 AD: An Ordinary Year at the End of the Roman Empire, tr. Allan Cameron (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009; rpt. 2011), pp. 22-23 with note on p. 146:
Meanwhile, the industrious Christians set about systematically destroying the pagan images of "false gods" or daímones. One of these zealots, called Demeas, commemorated her [sic, read his] act with an inscription in verse on a stone base that probably held up a cross:
Having destroyed the misguided image of Artemis the false goddess,
Demeas wished to dedicate this symbol of Truth,
Thus to honor God, who is the enemy of all idols,
And the Cross, which is Christ's immortal and triumphant symbol.25
Such events occurred with the blessings of bishops and the consent of the civil authorities. A little later, in 435, an edict was issued that condoned the destruction of pagan temples and images, and most significantly, it was signed by the two Roman emperors of the East and West (Code of Theodosius, 16, 10, 25).

25. M. Guarducci, Epigrafia Greca IV, Rome: Poligrafico dello Stato, 1978, pp. 401ff. [sic, read 400f.]
Margherita Guarducci, Epigrafia Greca, IV: Epigrafi Sacre Pagane e Cristiane (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, 1978), pp. 400-401:
Transcription of the Greek, without breaks:
[δαίμ]ονος Ἀρτέμιδος καθελὼν ἀπατήλιον εἶδος
   Δημέας ἀτρεκίης ἄνθετο σῆμα τόδε,
εἰδώλων ἐλατῆρα Θεὸν σταυρόν τε γερέρων,
   νικοφόρον Χριστοῦ σύνβολον ἀθάνατον.
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