Paulus SILENTIARIUS18. SILENTIARIUS (Σιλεντιάριος). Vossius (De Historicis Graecis, 4.20) and some other writers incorrectly call him Paulus Cyrus Florus. Agathias, from whom what little we know of his personal history is derived, calls him (Hist. 5.9, p. 153, ed. Paris, p. 106, ed. Venice, p. 296, ed. Bonn), Παύλος Κύροι τοῦ Φλώρου or τοῦ Κύρου τοῦ Φλώρον, which may be interpreted "Paul, the son of Cyrus Florus," or more probably, "Paul, the son of Cyrus, the son of Florus." It is supposed by Ducange that Cyrus, the father of Paul, was the ἀπὸ ὑπάτων, consul codicillaris, who wrote several of the Epigrammata in the Anthologia Graeca (vol,ii. p. 454, ed. Brunck, vol. iii. p. 159, ed. Jacobs). But if Jacobs is right in identifying the Cyrus of the Anthologia with the Cyrus of Panopolis, in Egypt, whose poetical talents are celebrated by Evagrius and Suidas [CYRUS, Christians, No. 1], and who lived in the time of the emperors Theodosius II. and Leo I., he can hardly have been the father of Paulus, who belongs to the time of Justinian I. Ducange seems disposed to identify Florus, the grandfather of Paulus, with Florus, ἀπὸ ὑπάτων, "consul codicillaris," mentioned in several of the Novellae, and in the Codex of Justinian; but Fabricius thinks this Florus is of too late a date to be the grandfather of Paul. That the ancestors of Paul were illustrious, and that he inherited great wealth, are facts mentioned by Agathias (ibid.), who also tells that he was chief of the silentiarii, or secretaries of the emperor Justinian (δς δὴ ταπρῶτα τελῶν ἐν τοῖς ἀμφὶ τὸν βασιλέα σιγῆς ἐπιστάταις).
WorksPaul wrote various poems, of which the following are extant :--
Ἔκφρασις τοῦ ναοῦ τῆς ἁγίας Σοφίας, Descriptio Magnae Ecclesiae s. Sanctae Sophiae. This poem, consisting of 1029 verses, of which the first 134 are iambic, the rest hexameter, gives a clear and graphic description of the superb structure which forms its subject, and at the second dedication of which (A. D. 562), after the restoration of the dome, which had fallen in, it was recited by its author. Agathias has attested (l.c.) the accuracy and completeness of the description. He says," If any one who happens to reside in some place distant from the city wishes to obtain a distinct notion of every part, as though he were there and looking at it, let him read what Paul the son of Cyrus, the son of Florus, has composed in hexameter verse." Ducange adds his testimony also to the accuracy and clearness of the description, as well as to the elegance of the versification.
EditionsThe poem was first published by Ducange, from a transcript belonging to Salmasius, from a MS. in the Palatine Library. Ducange corrected the text of the MS., supplied the smaller lacunae, and added a valuable preface and Latin version, and a Descriptio Ecclesiae S. Sophiae, by way of commentary. With this illustrative apparatus, the work was published in the Paris edition of the Corpus Historiae Byzantinae subjoined to the Historia of Cinnamus, fol. Paris, 1670 ; and was reprinted in the Venetian edition of the Corpus Historiae Byzantinae, with the works of Anna Comnena and Cinnamus, fol. 1729. It was again published, with the text revised by Bekker, in the Bonn edition of the Byzantine historianna, 8vo. 1837. In this last edition, beside the Descriptio of Ducange, there is given a De Aede Sophiana Commentarius of Bandurius, written by him as a commentary on the fourth book of an anonymous work, De Antiquitatibus CPolitanis, with plans and elevations of the building. The work of Paulus was also published by Graefe, 8vo. Leipzig, 1822.
Ἔκφρασις τοῦ ἄμδωνος, Descriptio Ambonis, consisting of 304 verses, of which the first twenty-nine are iambic, the rest hexameter. This poem is in fact a second part of the former, and, as the title informs us, was read after the first. It was not given by Ducange, or in the Venetian reprint. It was published by Graefe, and in the Bonn edition of the Byzantine writers, subjoined to the former work, with some various readings, but without any preface, version, or notes.