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Paul the Silentiary, also known as Paulus Silentiarius ( , d. Constantinoplemarker, 575-580 AD), was an epigrammatist and an officer in the imperial household of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, responsible for the silence (hence his name Silentiarius) in the imperial palace.

Paul is best known for his hymn of praise of the Hagia Sophiamarker, in which he describes the church's architectural and decorative characteristics after the reconstruction of the dome in 562. Paul treats the church as a meadow of marble, due to the many colours of marble employed in its construction. This elaborate verse eulogy is an important source for imagining the magnificence of the basilica before it was plundered many times in the course of history. The poem was probably commissioned by Justinian himself, and Paul had to read verses to the emperor through the inauguration of the basilica. It consists of 1029 verses in Greek, starting with 134 lines of iambic trimeter, with the remainder in the classical meter of epic, dactylic hexameter.

About 80 of Paul's epigrams, a few erotic, are preserved in the Greek Anthology. These epigrams draw on the literary conventions of classical antiquity and are not identifiably Christian in content. They are interesting primarily because of their social and historical information.

He was a close friend of Agathias Scholastikos, another author of epigrams, who provides some scarce data about his life.


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