Two nights ago I came up with the working title Eutropian Theories, for a work about Eutropia, wife of the Emperor Maximian, mother of the Emperor Maxentius and the Empress Fausta, mother-in-law of the Emperor Constantine, and, especially in the latter years of her life, best friend of the Empress Helena.
The last act of record that Eutropia performed was as initiator of the first Christian basilica at Hebron, circa 328.
site of first circumcisions
It seems that Mamre, the place of settlement and burial of Abraham, within today's Hebron, is also the site of the Abraham's and Ishmael's circumcision.
[1 January is the Christian feast of Christ's circumcision.]
At the east side of the Herodian enclosure are the foundations of the Basilica of the Terebinth of Mamre from the time of Constantine (4th-century AD), attributed to Constantine's mother-in-law, Eutropia. According to one source, when Eutropia visited the site, she found it defiled by idols and heathen sacrifices. When she informed Constantine of the situation the emperor wrote a letter (preserved in Eusebius' "Life of Constantine") to Macarius, the bishop of Jerusalem, and other bishops in Palestine, expressing his desire that the pagan altar be demolished and replaced by a church. This church was so important that it was depicted on the famous 6th century AD Madaba map. It was probably destroyed during the Persian invasion in 614 A.D.
--some results of a web search of eutropia hebron
Re: A Living Archive
20 March is the dedication date of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, one of the seven churches of Rome, partially of the quondam Sessorian palace of Helena Augusta, a construction project supervised and somewhat designed by Eutropia very soon after Helena's death.
Re: Favorite Artist?
I took things so far there right after 9-11 that some came to essentially ask that I be damnatio memoriae-ed. I'm rather proud of accomplishing the trek into that territory because damnatio memoriae was a quintessential late-antiquity practice. Mind you, I raised legitimate late antique issues, particularly the dating of Helena Augusta's death and the correct chronological sequence of Eusebius' Vita Constantini Book III, which shook up some otherwise staid thinking.
the death of Helena
I don’t think I’ve yet to record the circumstances revolving around the “signs” indicating Helena’s death date/day, 28 July (I think, but will check).
It was a Sunday morning in 2002. Most notably the trapped miners in Pennsylvania were finally rescued, but also Quondam and Museumpeace were down because of some problem at 123ehost, and Anna finally returned my call after almost over 3 weeks -- I can easily check when I called Anna and left a message because it’s the day I posted Etant Donnes’s back door at the Duchamp bulletin board. I even told Anna it was probably the anniversary of Helena’s death (due to Quondam being down was my initial reasoning / surmising), but I became “convinced” when news of miners rescue became known.
Re: more on wtc
The article at
has some (stereotypical) mis-information, particularly regarding "early Christian" architecture. For example:
"The dome, the pride of Roman engineering and potent expression of imperial grandeur, was viewed by early Christians as detestably pagan and a symbol of tyranny. Early Christian preference for basilicas in central Italy of triangular roof trusses was rooted in a popular distaste for established Roman architectural motifs. Roman esthetics was rejected because early Christians considered it theologically heathen and socially oppressive. Early Christian church-goers preferred, as a gathering place for communal worship, the more neutral form of a Roman basilica, which was a hall of justice, with its flat ceiling, to the domical symbolism of Roman oppression. It was only after Constantine (280-337) founded Constantinople in 330 as his capital in the former Greek colony of Byzantium, putting Christianity under imperial control (caesaropapism) in 323, and the adaptation of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire under Theodosius (374-395), that domical churches became acceptable to Christians, first in the east and only gradually in the west. Later, Charlemagne (742-814) and his successors would undertake to promote the Holy Roman Empire, reviving the concrete Roman domical form in masonry as a prototype motif for Romanesque Christian churches, symbolic of a propitious union of religious piety and imperial power."
[This is why my study and research on Helena and Constantine times/architectures is so important.]
Domes were not an issue within early Christian architecture design. In fact, the Martyrium over the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, a construction that commensed after Helena found the True Cross there in 325, was very related to a dome structure. The Christian 'churches' prior to Constantine, eg, the church across from the Imperial (Diocletian's) Palace at Nicomedia was destroyed during the Persecution of 303, and then rebuild in 315, was probably closer in design to a Jewish Synagogue than anything else. The basilica, as attachment to a martyrium, flourished as a Christian place of worship design type under Helena in Rome 312-324, while her emperor son Constantine was then ruler of (only) the western half of the Empire--Constantine rarely spent any time in Rome himself; he preferred Trier before he founded Constantinople. The martyrium at the basilica of Sts. Pietro et Marcellinus (Rome, completed by July 25, 326) was a domed structure. This martyrium also doubled as the proposed mausoleum of Constantine, however Helena unexpected died at Constantine's Vicennalia (20th Imperial Jubilee at Rome 25 July) 28 July 326, and it was then Helena who was ultimately laid to rest within the martyrium of Sts. Pietro et Marcellinus. Ruins of this martyriun still exist, and today act as entrance to the catacombs over which the martyrium was intentionally built. Constantine never returned to Rome after Helena's funeral.
What really changed architecturally with the early Christian building boom during the reign of Constantine is that the new religious architecture became very internalized. Judging by descriptions of what was inside these places, they were gleaming with gold and silver everywhere, while the exteriors remained relative sparse. I often wonder if this interiority is due to the fact that a woman, ie Helena, planned it that way. Of course, all the new gold and silver was very likely from melted down gold and silver that came from the Pagan temples that were starting to be dismantled (more than destroyed, remember all the columns were also reused within the new Christian structures) during the same time. (Very metabolic.)
From the little I know of Constantine's original design of Constantinople, domes were in abundance.
[What is one to think of 'official' architectural history when you find out that a lot of what it is based on is more than anything badly diluted mis-interpretation? Anti-truth historical erasists indeed.]
Re: and more... coincidences
Great information. I don't think I ever heard of the merovingian mysteries before. Likewise, I never thought specifically of the relation between mormonism and architecture, prolific indeed. In large part, such thinking about architecture and how it connects to other societal systems is not at all mainstream anymore. Even my 'mixing' Roman architectural history (at quondam) with real historic people and overwhelming religious activities is seen by most contemporaries as very unusual, even bizarre--as if it were all somehow fable or something. You're providing me with a lot of further material/history to become more familiar with, and I appreciate that. What right away popped in my mind regarding the Merovingian relative to the Carolingians is part of the world they both stem from. What is now Trier, Germany began as a Roman camp/city under Augustus, and during the reign of the Diocletian tetrarchy (c. 300) Trier became one of four Imperial capitals throughout the Empire, and Constantius, Constantine's father, was the first junior emperor to reside there. It then became Constantine's main capital before he then moved everything to Constantinople. In any event, (unlikely) Trier became a cosmopolitan city, and remained the most cosmopolitan city of 'northern' Europe during the centuries after the fall of (the western) Roman empire. Since the time of Constantius, Trier had a strong connection with the east, eg, Diocletian's capital was Nicomedia, today's Izmit, Turkey. This connection with the east remained at least until the time of Charlemagne--the architecture of the Chappel(sp?) at Aachen (not too far from Trier) is of much eastern influence.
You mentioned a further interest in archaeology. Any particular period or region?
What I'm discerning from my study of the Helena/Constantine period, is that Christianity is much more a religion in conflict with Paganism than a religion in conflict with Judaism. The conflict between Christianity and Judaism seems to be a latter phenomenon, perhaps with Mediaeval roots--certainly there during the Reformation. It only makes sense that the Early Church Fathers were indeed influenced by Jewish 'intellectualism' because they had to find the deeper meaning of the New Testament via the Old Testament. Paganism was the real 'enemy' of early Christianity, and if you think about it, it is indeed Christianity that has pretty much eradicated virtually all paganism from our planet.
Re: crytome hacked
Yesterday, 25 February, was (again) the anniversary of St. Ambrose breaking the silence about St. Helena finding the True Cross.
Cryptic inversionary reenactments maybe?
Is [casting] doubt the greatest terrorist weapon?
[the calendar and the coincidences that occur within it make for an efficient mnemonic devise]
26 February St. Prophyry, Bishop of Gaza (AD 420)
including: destruction of Pagan Temples at Gaza
May 21 
To commemorate the feast of Constantine and Helena, I thought to combine the Holy Sepulcher texts of Eusebius and the Helena/Cross texts of Ambrose, thus engendering a more complete history of what happened in the Holy Land 325 AD.
Re: Contemporary Aboriginal Art
I don't talk about it much (here at least), but my onging un-expect research of St. Helena (the mother of Constantine, finder of the True Cross, Architect, etc.) is all about the the beginnings of Christian relics and thier travels.
Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the seventh of the Seven Churches of Rome, houses what are Christianity's most valuable relics: a large piece of the Cross, at least one nail, some thrones, and half of the titiles (sp?), the sign that also hung on the Cross, which has a long Middle Ages history of being still in Rome but unknown and buried in a wall of Santa Croce, and is at least archealogically sound as to its date of origin.
Beyond that, there is a rich history of relics and their journeys throughout India and South Asia. I believe a much revered Buddha Tooth is in Sri Lanka.
Re: Earthquake protection
funny how the first post is really the second post sent and was right away followed by the first post sent over two hours ago, and just now coinciding with my reading of chapter 16 of Sozomen's Historia Ecclesiastes (sp?) at newadvent.
Lucian and Helenopolis (or taking an historical bath)
On two separate occasions--
--I have suggested the possibility of a personal relationship between St. Helena and St. Lucian. This speculation was based primarily on readings within Pohlsander's Helena: Empress And Saint where Lucian is referred to as Helena's favorite saint combined with historical reports that Constantine went to pray at the Basilica of St. Lucian at Helenopolis shortly before he (Constantine) died. I now wish to retract these suggestions and explain what I now content to be a more probable scenario.
Lucian died a martyr's death at Nicomedia 7 January 312. He was subsequently buried at Drepanum. Drepanum, today's Yalova, is directly due west and across the Gulf of Izmit from Nicomedia, today's Izmit. Legend has it that Lucian's body was tossed into the sea at Nicomedia, and that dolphins brought it to the shores of Drepanum. Helena at this time was most likely at Trier, within Constantine's court there, however, legend has it that Helena 'built' the Basilica of Lucian.
It is largely accepted today that Helena was born at Drepanum, but it is unlikely that she was anywhere within the Eastern Empire between 306 and late 324, while Constantine was (one of the) ruler(s) in the West. [Compare the plight of Prisca and Valaria, Diocletian's wife and daughter respectively, at the same time, and it becomes easy to figure that Helena would not have survived within the Eastern Empire without the direct protection of her son.]
My contention all along has been that Helena was the person responsible for organizing all the enormous church building in Rome between late 312 and 324, while Constantine was sole ruler in the West. Upon Constantine's rise to sole rulership of the entire Empire late 324, there are two indications that Helena too was then thereafter also in the East -- (1) when she was proclaimed Augusta, and (2) as one of the Imperial family members at the Council of Nicaea spring/summer 325. It is also my contention that Helena then went on to organize church building in the Holy Land after the Council of Nicaea and before the closing celebrations of Constantine's Vicennialia (sp?) at Rome 25 July 326. It was after the Council of Nicaea that Helena went to Drepanum, learned or already knew of Lucian's burial there, and thus ordered the building of a Basilica upon the grave site--this follows the same exact pattern of how the first basilicas were built in Rome, a pattern, moreover, repeated soon again in the Holy Land.
Some time between 326 and 336 Constantine renamed Drepanum as Helenopolis, and Helenopolis is today named Yalova. I did a web search of Yalova two days ago, and learned that the natural thermal baths at Yalova are the best/most renowned of the region. This fact interests me because Helena herself is credited with having reconstructed a bath-house/thermae in Rome, right near the Sessorian Palace where she lived. I wonder whether Helena was fond of thermal bathing because of her having been born at Drepanum.
Eusebius, in Vita Consantini book IV, chapter 61, in reference to the last month or so of Constantine's life writes:
"At first he [Constantine] experienced some slight bodily indisposition, which was soon followed by positive disease. In consequence of this he visited the hot baths of his own city [Constantinople]; and thence proceeded to that which bore the name of his mother [Helenopolis]. Here he passed some time in the church of the martyrs, and offered up supplications and prayers to God."
Nowhere does Eusebius state or even imply that Constantine went to Helenopolis specifically to pray at the Basilica of Lucian. In fact, Eusebius more or less tells us that Constantine specifically went to Helenopolis for its (famous) natural thermal baths. That Constantine also spent some time praying in "church" at Helenopolis seems only natural given that he sensed/feared he was soon to die.
I fear that the whole notion of Lucian being Helena's favorite saint arose mainly because subsequent historians and writers of legends lost sight of Drepanum's- Helenopolis'- Yalova's exceptional thermal baths. [I say exceptional because they indeed spring from one of Earth's most notorious fault lines.]