Relics & Reliquaries

Menologion with Scenes of Martyrdom

The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Menologion with Scenes of Martyrdom, Folio 50V (Detail)

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A menologion (from the Greek word for month) is a catalogue of saints arranged in order of their feast days. This example follows the so-called Imperial version, which includes a detailed account of each saint's life, and, at the end of each saint's story, a prayer for the emperor. The menologion covers the month of January, and each entry is prefaced with a picture of the saint whose feast is celebrated on that day. It was produced in Constantinople, and was probably made at the request of either Michael Keroularios, patriarch of Constantinople (r. 1043–59), or the Byzantine emperor Michael IV (r. 1034–41). On folio 50v, the martyrdom of St. Zotikos is shown. Zotikos, according to medieval accounts, was a priest in the city of Constantinople, who dedicated himself to helping the poor; although he enjoyed the favor of Emperor Constantine I (r. 306–37), Constantine's son and successor Constantius II (r. 337–61) did not take such a kindly view and had Zotikos killed by being dragged behind mules. The martyrdom of St. Timothy is shown on folio 203v, along with either his funeral procession or the translation of his relics. Timothy, a follower of St. Paul, was buried at Ephesus, but in the fourth century his relics were brought to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople; that church, which has since been destroyed, may be the building shown in the background of this picture. The Walters' menologion has twenty-four miniatures, but a number of original leaves have been lost (some of the lost text was replaced in the late sixteenth century) and the book probably had at least another eight miniatures when it was complete; a single detached leaf from this manuscript, showing St. Sylvester, is now in Berlin (Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, MS gr. fol. 31).

Kathryn B. Gerry

Menologion with Scenes of Martyrdom, Folio 203V (Detail)

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