42 Martyrs of Amorium

The 42 Martyrs of Amorium (Greek: οἰ ἅγιοι μβ′ μάρτυρες τοῦ Ἀμορίου) were a group of Byzantine senior officials taken prisoner by the Abbasid Caliphate in the Sack of Amorium in 838 and executed in 845, after refusing to convert to Islam. They are commemorated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on March 6.


In 838, the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu'tasim led a major campaign against the Byzantine Empire that ended in the sack of the city of Amorium, the capital of the Anatolic Theme and birthplace of the reigning Byzantine Amorian dynasty.[1]

Following the sack, 42 officers and notables of Amorium were taken as hostages to Samarra, then the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Repeated efforts by Emperor Theophilos and, after his death in 842, by Michael III and Empress-regent Theodora, to ransom them were rebuffed by the caliphs. After refusing to convert to Islam, they were executed at Samarra on 6 March 845.[2] Only a few of the 42 are known by name:

Hagiography and veneration

The hagiography of the 42 was written soon after their execution by the monk Euodios, who used their fate and the sack of Amorium as an indictment and proof of divine retribution against the re-adoption of Iconoclasm by Emperor Theophilos.[10] Euodios' narrative mostly contains theological discussions between the steadfast prisoners and various people—Byzantine defectors, Muslim officials, etc.—sent to convince them to convert during their seven-year imprisonment. Their execution was then carried out by Ethiopian slaves on the banks of the Euphrates.[10] Euodios' hagiography is the "last example of the genre of collective martyrdom", and was widely disseminated, with several variants of the legend of the 42 Martyrs appearing in later authors.[10]

The feast day of the 42 Martyrs is on 6 March, the day of their execution.[10] Pictorial representations of the 42 are rare in Byzantine art, unlike their analogues, the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste; when they are depicted, they are represented simply as a group of officials in court dress.[10]


  1. Foss 1991, pp. 79–80.
  2. PmbZ, Anonymi (42) (#10542).
  3. PmbZ, Theodoros Krateros (#7679).
  4. PmbZ, Aëtios (#108).
  5. PmbZ, Theophilos (#8211).
  6. PmbZ, Konstantinos (#3932).
  7. PmbZ, Bassoes (#982).
  8. PmbZ, Kallistos (#3606).
  9. PmbZ, Konstantinos (#3933).
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Kazhdan & Ševčenko 1991, pp. 800–801.


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 6/7/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.