Kyriacus ) was
a Renaissance merchant who loved to travel (by ship throughout the
eastern Mediterranean and its contiguous seas.) He may have been
the leading 'mover and shaker' among the 'powers that be' during the 15th
century - just as the printing press was being
'invented'. Thanks to his travels, discoveries and subsequent
communications with the leaders of the era, he most likely instilled in
others a 'born again' respect for things ancient and, more importantly,
The Roman Catholic Church moved its headquarters back to Rome from Ravenna
subsequent to Ciriaco's visits - it also restarted the
preservation of ancient Christian archealogy and, thanks to the
printing press, written history that had first been initiated, formally and legally, 11 centuries earlier by Damasus, the pagan child who eventually became the last
Bishop of Rome (366-384) before the term 'Pope' was applied to that supreme
leadership position within "The Church". [ In other
words, Cyriacus was a 'Community Activist' in the communities of
ancient archealogy, both religious and secular, before anyone
was aware there were such communities. ]
During his trips throughout the Mediterranean area, including Syria, Egypt, and Morea/Mani, Peloponnese,
Greece, he sketched, collected, copied and wrote descriptions of as
much as he could with the time he had. If not the first, he may have
been one of
the earliest archaeologists in the world before that term was invented
to describe their work.
Family Newsletter article - December 1973
by John A. Ciriacks, PhD, Family Historian, Genealogist & World
CYRIAC of ANCONA
MADISON, Wis. Two articles discussing this very interesting,
well-traveled man were found in the library of the University of
Wisconsin. Bernard Ashmole, a fellow of the British Academy, read a
lecture, "Cyriac of Ancona", November 6, 1957 in
London. Mr. Ashmole defended Cyriac against
critics questioning the authenticity of some of his drawings of ancient
monuments in Egypt, Greece, and Italy.
Cyriac, who lived from 1391-1455, started traveling
at age 9 with his maternal uncle, a merchant. At age 30 he studied
Latin, apparently in Rome where he made drawings of many of Rome's
monuments. Four years later Cyriac was in
Constantinople studying Greek. All this training got him into the
Court of Sigismund at Siena. And when Sigismund came to Rome for
his coronation as Emperor, Cyriac was his guide among
Rome's antiquities. Two years later in 1435, Cyriac was back exploring in Greece and Egypt.
These travels and drawings were recorded in six volumes of
Commentaries. But in 1514 a fire destroyed the library in which the
six volumes were apparently kept in the town of Pesaro.
Fortunately, some of Cyriac's friends, and other humanists of the next
generation, had copied some of his work. Unfortunately, according
to Ashmole some of the copying may not have been too accurate.
Thus, some critics have knocked old Cyriac's
scholarly aptitude. The purpose of Ashmole's paper was to show that
Cyriac succeeded in making such a true record of
objects that he occasionally puts later investigators to shame.
(Refer to Proceedings of the British Academy XLV, p. 25-41, 1959).
(HUMANISM IN ITALY)
It is interesting to note that Cyriac signed his drawing of the Parthenon, Kyriacus Anconitanus. In the literature, he is
Cyriacus of Ancona and
Ciriaco de' Pizzicolli. The other article about
Cyriacus and Albrecht Durer is in the "thick" German
of the 1820s.
The copying of
is said by De Rossi (Inscriptiones Christ. Urbis Romae, VII saec
antiquiores, II, 377) to have been "the chief credit and undying glory
of Ciriaco", according to the detail of that
biography about him. That bio also indicates Pizzicolli to be his
family name as opposed to a reference to an area of Italy, presumably
Due to events subsequent to this death, his collection became scattered
coincident with the destruction of many of the items he had
documented. Most were destroyed due to various and sundry wars
occurring almost constantly in the area. It's intimated that thanks
SOLELY to his efforts, a lot of what's known about early
Mediterranean monuments and inscriptions is based upon what's left of his
work and to references to his work by others who managed to copy (a common practice
before the advent of the printing press) some of Ciriaco's
manuscripts before they, too, were destroyed.
In the specific case of The Parthenon, as noted on pages 43 & 44
of Woodford's book, had it not
been for Ciriaco's drawings made on his visit to
Athens, the only picture of the parthenon we would have had was as it's
1670 configuration as the 'Our Lady of Athens' Christian church.
That's because in 1687, the "whole centre of the Parthenon was blown out,
though the ends were relatively undamaged", as a result of one of the
aforementioned wars. (The book also points to what may have been
discrepancies in some of the detail work in Ciriaco's
drawings - maybe because he was pressed for time while making them or did
some portions from memory.)
There are some who believe that some, if not all, of his work was a
hoax. Volume 2 of 6 of Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire has the following footnote:
[Footnote 43: See Dodwell. Paucitat. Mart. l. xiii. The Spanish
Inscription in Gruter, p. 238, No. 9, is a manifest and acknowledged forgery
contrived by that noted imposter. Cyriacus of
Ancona, to flatter the pride and prejudices of the Spaniards. See
Ferreras, Histoire D'Espagne, tom. i. p. 192.] This 'SLANDER' is
contradicted by the comparison of the actual tombstone picture to that of
one of Ciriaco's hand drawings noted in the text
|Family History Discussion by Ben Ciriacks, MBA,
webmaster/genealogist/family historian & world traveler|
[ November/December 2010:
This entire section is going to be expanded with images and maps once Ben
Ciriacks finishes comprehending and organizing his own version of John
Chapman's really OUTSTANDING Mani - Greece - a guide and
history web site. John's work provides us with the first 'for
real' indication that Cyriaco may have also been doing research
on the 'family name' during his travels. ]
My guess is that Ciriaco was also one of our early
Family History researchers. (It takes one to know one - his
interests, travels and opportunistic activities make it seem that Shirley
MacLaine has been channeling him into me.)
His use of the Greek spelling Kyriacus in the Kyriacus Anconitanus signature on his drawing of the Parthenon referenced above indicates his affinity with the ancient Greek
origins of his and our family name. Combined with his interest in
inscriptions, it could also mean that his
basis for doing so was to discover more about the ancient family name
references inscribed in stone in remnants of the catacombs of Rome (some or
many of the ancient catacombs may not yet have been re-discovered while Ciriaco was in Rome) and possibly elsewhere throughout the
ancient Roman Empire. That also could mean that his "To wake
the dead." quote (below) had more
significance to those in the know because the primary focus of
pre-legalized Christians (before the FINAL Great Persecution of 303 ~ 313) was to preserve
the bodies of dead Christians for their glorious resurrection when Jesus
Christ would return and defeat the pagan rulers of the Roman Empire -
probably without having to resort to force, which would contradict
Christian beliefs in non-violence, merely from the number of resurrected
Christians being so numerous as to not allow an enemy movement of their arms
to strike blows against them.
And, of course, our own St. Cyriacus at the Baths (of Diocletian) was one of the
greatest leaders among ancient Christians at that time - about whom little was
known in fact due to everything being destroyed in conjunction with
the FINAL Great Persecution that
also resulted in his own martyrdom - a martyrdom that could have at least a
half-dozen disparate (by locale and method) versions reflected at various
pages in this web site and in writings throughout Christian history.
Many of Ciriaco's actions and the variations in the
way he, himself, spelled his name could explain his time spent in Rome,
Syria and Morea, Greece and hints at something possibly happening in
Egypt regarding our family. The family history portion of his
efforts may have been subsidiary to his other interests, or vice
versa. In any case, some valuable documentation regarding our early
family may exist among what remains of his work. (His "maternal uncle" may have been a Cyriac - meaning his mother may have given him the
ancient family name, along with stewardship of and dedication to the
Family History Project -- meaning that what's happening on this web site
is a continuation of what began hundreds of years ago --- meaning that
this is all getting more interesting by the day ---- meaning that ...,
well wait for Star Wars - the Cyriacus
Another OUTSTANDING web site indicates that Cyriacus:
"... obviously visited Mani on a
number of occasions. What is fascinating about Cyriacus is his interest in Antiquity and his habit of
sketching what he saw and writing down inscriptions. He must have
"Keria (newer version) -
not presumably out of interest in its church - but the Roman fragments in
the wall - and there are sketches in
his own inimitable style (he wasn't a dreadfully good draughtsman) of
the gravestones used in the west facade at Ag. Iannis Keria."
There is no mention of Cyriaco having visited the
small church in nearby Kounos containing the painting of Kyriakos and
another saint nor of any recognition of the existance of the hamlet
of Agia Kiriaki/Kyriaki overlooking the historically famous
site - tigani is
greek for fying pan.
[ July 29, 2008 update: It should be noted that
regardless of his ability, Cyriaco did take the time to copy
ancient artifacts, some of which were unknown to later generations for
having been destroyed and lost except for his sketches of them. It is
hard to find fault with any 'ONE OF A KIND' historical work, regardless of
the quality or adequacy of its execution. ]
("Mani, the southernmost and middle peninsula of the Peloponnese or
Morea, straddling the districts of Lakonia and Messenia in southern
Greece, is a treasure trove of ...") [ Nov 10, 2011: Kyriakakos family name in the
There is a St. Ciriaco church
, so his efforts may also have been connected with
completing the story regarding this saint - a legitimate portion, if not
all, of which is contained within the Acta Cyriaci
which itself may or may not be about our Cyriacus at the Baths
(of Diocletian) - we don't yet know
as of November 2010.
appears to have the best information regarding Ancona, the church and the
saint to whom it is dedicated. Our older Judas Cyriacus page at this website has other references to
Pope Address (5/30/99)
Quiriacus (May 4th)
to-tell-you-something-special !2 known Cyriaco images!
- 10/19/10: (See our local Judas
A maviboncuk.blogspot.com posting relates/duplicates information regarding
Cyriacus of Ancona.
- 8/24/10: An excellent example of the work Ciriaco
did on all our behalf is described at Rector's Palace of Dubrovnik ... in a June 22, 1996 posting.
Crypt of St. Cyriacus by rhipster
- 5/24/10: AusPinay at VirtualTourist blogged about her recent trip to
Ancona and the Church - she uploaded some informative pictures, too.
Another discussion of the To
Wake The Dead book by Marina Belozerskaya regards the implied claim
therein that he may have been one of our earliest archeologists.
San Ciriaco picture/description/history [OUTSTANDING
picture!] and another brief blog entry regarding Ancona.
- 8/26/09: Cyriacus-Renaissance-Man has:
"A self-made merchant and traveler, he became a diplomat and spy,
hobnobbing with kings, emperors, the pope, and sultan -- all thanks to
his passion for archaeology, of which he was a founding father."
That web site also has a picture of his drawing of the Parthenon. The
www.washingtonpost.com web site also reviews the same book; as does
another more recent one by Susan Meadows on January 1, 2010
and yet another by Magnus Reuterdahl around January 13th, 2010.
- 7/28/08: (deadlink © Robert W. Allison, 1995): THE ABBOTS OF PHILOTHEOU -
THE TENTH THROUGH SIXTEENTH CENTURIES
Excerpt: Cyriacus of Ancona, travel diary, 1444, 22-29
November. (Treviso, cod. Bibl. Capitol. 221 and Vatican, cod. Lat. 5250;
ed. H. Graeven, 1899. The date of the Philotheou visit was November 25,
- 7/25/08: Bryn Mawr Classical Review
by Diana Wright &
CYRIACO OF ANCONA 1391 -1452 (web site) &
(local guestbook entry)
- The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt
(translated by S.G.C. Middlemore, 1878)Part Three - The Revival of
Antiquity - The Ruins of Rome has:
"... Collections of antiquities of all sorts now became
common. Ciriaco of Ancona (d. 1457) travelled
not only through Italy, but through other countries of the old Orbis
terrarum, and brought back countless inscriptions and sketches.
When asked why he took all this trouble, he replied, 'To wake
- The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Renaissance 14~15th
Century has: Cyriacus of Ancona, who
sounded the key-note of the new movement in his famous saying "I go to
awake the dead."
- (08729: deadlink) Die Inschriften von Ephesos- Die
Inschriften sind das Fleisch am Skelett der Archäologie
"... Ausgrabungen im Jahre 1895 zutage gekommenen Inschriften und
Fragmente und auch die der im Britischen Museum verwahrten Texte aus den
englischen Grabungen unter J.T. Wood." ...
"ahezu 6000 Texte und Textfragmente sind seit den Tagen des Cyriacus von Ancona (Mitte 14. Jh.) bis heute zutage
- (08729: deadlink) EPIGRAPHICA - PERIODICO INTERNAZIONALE DI
EPIGRAFIA\Fondato nel 1939 da ARISTIDE CALDERINI
. . .
L. MONTEVECCHI, Lettera inedita di Ciriaco dAncona
. . .
- Horologion of Andronicos ... 15th century A.D., Cyriacus of Ancona mentions the monument as the temple
of Aeolos while an anonymous traveller refers to it as a church. In
the 18th century it was used as the tekke of the Dervishes."
Also known as the Tower Of The Winds -Water clock Of
Andronicus Kyrrhos / Roman Agora - The monument was preserved almost
intact as late as the 15th century A.D. when Cyriacus of
Ancona visited the site and copied the five inscriptions on the
- (08803: dead link) Library Desk reference 29 Quadrivium Latin A-J
Desk 29 "43 Crete, description. by ?,42 actually Cyriacus
of Ancona; 15-27, ?"
- Morea Greece & Cavo Grosso (large
cape) - sites visited by Cyriacus of Ancona.
- (08729: deadlink) SYNOPSIS - The Annual Index of Greek Studies
- Philopappos Monument - The monument ... facade. The
three inscriptions below the statues record the names of the persons
represented. The central figure is Philopappos, son of Epiphanes,
on the left is Antiochus, son of king Antiochus, and on the right was
king Seleucus Nicator, son of Antiochus.
The site has:
- The traveller Cyriacus of Ancona wrote in his memoir that
underneath the inscription stated "King Seleucus Nicator, son of Antiochus".
- Only two-thirds of the façade remains. The tomb chamber behind the
façade is completely destroyed except for the base. The Philopappos
Monument appeared to be intact until recently as in 1436, the traveller Cyriacus of Ancona visited the monument and wrote in his memoirs
that the monument was still intact. The destruction of the monument must
have occurred after this time.