Imperial military triumph

Imperial Adventus and Paul the Silentiary’s Ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia and Its Ambo

  • Summary/Abstract

    The article supports the thesis that the Ekphraseis of Paul the Silentiary (Ekphraseis of Hagia Sophia and Ekphraseis of its Ambo), which are usually studied as official rhetoric descriptions (ekphraseis) or as imperial orations (basilikos logos), are composed as adventus, maybe in honor of an imperial military triumph at a ceremony for the reception of the ruler to the city. Although the main parts of the orations are composed by rhetoric descriptions of “St. Sophia” and its pulpit, expressions standard for the adventus are used, according to the directions of the rhetoric manuals and their reflection in works of art. The obligatory eulogies of the deeds and the virtues of the emperor, however, are substituted by a description of the building as an embodiment of the imperial virtue. Paul the Silentiary praises the emperor Justinian as a victor of the conspiracies and the demonic powers and as a founder and a defender of a Christian empire.

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