Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


Art and Design

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Elizabeth Valdez del Alamo

Committee Member

Alison L. Beringer

Committee Member

Carol Schuler


This work examines the epigram of the Early Byzantine church of St. Polyeuktos, and the lineage of its patron, Anicia Juliana, in order to gain insight into the structure’s layout, decoration, and departure from architectural norms.

By utilizing the epigram as a guide, it examines the design and decoration of the church. Topics covered include aspects of the structure such as its design connections to the Temple of Jerusalem, the vine and peacock iconography of its great entablature, the presence or absence of a domed roof, and a baptismal mosaic of Constantine. It also touches upon related commissions that lay outside the confines of St. Polyeuktos, such as the Vienna Dios corides medical treatise, and churches, such as St. Euphemia, also constructed by the patron.

Anicia Juliana designed St. Polyeuktos to match the measurements of the Jerusalem Temple. Its distinct decorative program included imagery and an inscribed poem that made this theme clear. This study finds that the unique perspective of this female patron has not been fully explored. By reviewing the history of her female progenitors, it establishes the theory that the Anicia Juliana possessed personal knowledge that prompted her to custom design St. Polyeuktos in hope of it someday housing the Temple treasure.

Although the interior location of the first half of the inscribed epigram has been firmly established within the nave of the St. Polyeuktos, the location of its second half remains a mystery. Sculptural fragments from its great entablature, bearing lines from the epigram, were accidentally unearthed in the quarter of Sarashane, Istanbul. A copy of the epigram, found in a tenth-century manuscript from the Palatine Anthology, AP 1.10, played a crucial role in identifying the church. This study examines the glosses, tie marks and signes-de-renvoi that surround the poem’s text, in an effort to establish the layout of the second half of the epigram for the exterior compound of the church.

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