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date: 28 November 2020


  • L. M. Whitby


Paulus, the most learned and technically accomplished Greek poet of *Justinian's reign. Of wealthy family and distinguished education, he served as silentiary (usher), ultimately chief silentiary, under Justinian and Justin II. His major work is an *epic celebrating the rededication of the Church of St Sophia in 562/3, restored after damage in the 557 earthquake; this combines panegyric of emperor and patriarch with architectural description in an intellectual tour de force that demonstrates the ability of traditional Homeric epic (see homer) to accommodate contemporary Christian themes. A subsidiary section describes the pulpit (ambo). The Palatine *Anthology includes about 80 of his epigrams (half on erotic topics, a quarter about works of art), originally from the Cycle of his friend, the poet *Agathias.

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