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Petros Patrikios

(387 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
500-570/80. Greece. Petros Patrikios, a high-ranking official as well as a man of letters of the sixth century, was born in Thessalonica. After a schooling in rhetoric he spent some years as lawyer at Constantinople, then from 534 he served Emperor Justinian I (527-65) several times on foreign diplomatic missions. Returning in 537 from Italy, where he had been held in captivity for three years, he was appointed to the office of the magister militum, which at that time was connected with the honorary title patricius. During the next three decades Justinian regularly called on him…
Date: 2016-10-17

Theodosius of Syracuse

(352 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
9th century. Byzantine Sicily. Author of a letter recounting siege of Syracuse. Theodosius must have been a member of the Byzantine upper-class of Syracuse. He was a g rammaticus, which should be understood as a kind of notary, and a monk and clergyman. The letter is entitled Θεοδοσίου μοναχοῦ τοῦ καὶ γραμματικοῦ ἐπιστολὴ πρὸς Λέοντα ἀρχιδιάκονον περὶ τῆς ἁλώσεως Συρακούσης (The letter of the monk and grammaticus Theodosius to the archdeacon Leon about the sack of Syracuse); the addressee Leo is otherwise unknown.Syracuse was besieged in 878 by the Aghlabid Arabs from Tunis. …
Date: 2016-10-17

Malchus of Philadelphia

(375 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Malchos] 5th century. Byzantium. All we can definitely say of the life of Malchus is that he originated from Syria (perhaps the Philadelphia located near to modern Amman in Jordan) andlater lived in Constantinople. He is known as author of a History in seven books, bearing the title Βυζαντιακά (Byzantiaka) which began at the end of the reign of Emperor Leo I (457-74) in the year 473 and ran to the death of the Western Emperor Iulius Nepos in 480. The text should be regarded as a History of Emperors, continuing the work of Priscus of Panium.Today the Byzantiaka are lost except for twenty-eig…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ioannes Laurentius Lydus

(361 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[John of Lydia] 6th century. Byzantium. Administrator and author of works on divination and on history. Ioannes was born ca 490 at Philadelphia in Lydia (today Alasehir in Turkey). Apparently he came to Constantinople around 510, and there he began his official career as a high functionary of the Early Byzantine State during the reign of Emperors Anastasius (490-518) and Justinian I (527-65). He retired in 552 and, like many Roman nobleman, he became a writer and took particular pride in teaching Latin. We do not know when he died.Two of his works deal with history. The first, on th…
Date: 2016-10-17

Brachéa Chroniká

(5,950 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Βραχέα Χρονικά (Short chronicles)] 10th-18th centuries. Byzantium and Post-Byzantium. Short lists of chronographical notes can often be found in Greek manuscripts of other texts, inserted by the scribes or by the owners of the manuscripts on free pages, on the end papers or in the margins. Taken together their contents span the years 313-1771. The term Short Chronicle (Βραχέα Χρονικά or Σημείωμα Χρονικό) was first coined about 1910 by the Greek Byzantonologist Sp. Lampros, who became aware of them and began to collect the texts systematically. This work was continued by R.-J. Loenertz…
Date: 2016-10-17

Sphrantzes, Georgios

(520 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
1401 - post-1476/77. Byzantium. Greek imperial official and ambassador, and author of the so-called Chronicon minus in medieval Greek prose. George Sphrantzes was born in Constantinople on 30th August 1401. He originated from a distinguished and prosperous family from Lemnos. In 1424, after the death of his parents (1416/17), he entered the service of the emperor Manuel II, on whose behalf he undertook negotiations with the Ottoman Sultan Murad II. After Manuel's death his son and successor John VIII wanted to keep him in…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ekloge historion

(199 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Ἐκλογὴ ἱστοριῶν (Selections from history)] 9th and 12th century. Byzantium. An anonymous universal chronicle in Greek, surviving in two versions. Version (a) must have been composed under the reign of the Emperor Basileios I (867-86). Presumably it originally ran from Creation to Emperor Anastasius I (491-518), but now it ends with the Old Testament king Uzziah of Judah. Version (b) is identical with (a), but it continues to the year 1118. The author claims to have used the chronicles of Sextus Iulius…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chronicle of Ioannina

(423 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Epirotica; Chronicle of Epirus] 15th century. Greece. A chronicle of the Epirus region in Northern Greece. About five fragments of this work survive, though it must once have been considerably more extensive. The first fragment incorporates the beginning of the chronicle of Ephraem of Ainus. The second, entitled Ἱστορία Πρελούμπου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων Δεσπότων τῶν Ἰωαννίνων, ἀπὸ τῆς ἁλώσεως αὐτῶν παρὰ τῶν Σερβῶν ἕως τῆς παραδόσεως εἰς Τούρκους (The history of Preljubović and of the other Despots of Ioanni…
Date: 2016-10-17

Ephraem of Ainus

(490 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
early 14th century. Byzantium. Author of a verse chronicle of Roman and Byzantine Emperors, written in iambic trimeters and in highest level of Greek language. Unfortunately we have little exact information about Ephraem, though he was probably born at Ainus (now Ezes in European Turkey). This assumption is based on the old library catalogue of the Vatican, which has listed the work since the 16th century as Ἐφραὶμ Αἰνίου χρονικὴ ἱστορία (Chronicle of Ephraem from Ainos); presumably this must have been taken from earlier catalogues or from the manuscript it…
Date: 2016-10-17

Candidus of Isauria

(279 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
second half of the 5th century. Byzantium. On record as a notary or clerk in the service of certain noble families of his native Isauria, Candidus was the author of a History (Λόγοι ἱστορίας, Logoi historias), which according to the information supplied by the patriarch Photios I (9th century), originally consisted of three volumes ( l ogoi). From the whole text only a short summary in the so-called Bibliotheke of Photios has come down to us. Photios reports some autobiographical comments from Candidus's work, recording that he was born at Tracheia in Cilicia (A…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chronicle of Monemvasia

(256 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Τὸ περὶ τῆς κτίσεως τῆς Μονεμβασίας χρονικόν (Chronicle about the foundation of Monemvasia)] 9th century. Greece. A local chronicle in Greek prose dealing with the historical events on the Byzantine Peloponnese from the foundation of Monemvasia in 559 till the year 806. It provides scarce information about villages, wars and foreign peoples, although the city of Patras receives special attention. As a historical source the text is particularly valuable for the settlement of Avars and Slavs in Southern Greec…
Date: 2016-10-17

Patria Constantinoupoleos

(605 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Pseudo-Kodinos] 10th century. Byzantium. A group of works on the history and topography of Constantinople. Two of these texts in particular are designated as Patria Constantinoupoleos. The first, with the title Πάτρια Κωνσταντινουπόλεως κατὰ Ἡσύχιον Ἰλλούστριον (The origin and the history of Constantinople according to the illustrious Hesychius) was taken from the lost world chronicle of the 6th-century pagan Hesychius of Miletus and describes the history of the city of Byzantium from its foundation up to the time when it was renamed as Constantinopl…
Date: 2016-10-17

Niketas Choniates

(805 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
ca 1155 - 1216/17. Byzantium. The chronicle of Niketas Choniates should be hailed as one of the most significant and perfect productions of the Byzantine, if not of the entire medieval historiographical tradition. It bears the title: Χρονικὴ διήγησις τοῦ κὺρ Χωνιάτου Νικήτα ἀρχομένη ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλείας Ἰωάννου τοῦ Κομνηνοῦ καὶ λήγουσα μέχρι τῆς ἁλώσεως τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως (Chronicle narration of Niketas Choniates beginning with the reign of Ioannes Komnenus up to the sack of Constantinople).Niketas was born about 1155, probably at Constantinople. His family originate…
Date: 2016-10-17

Joel historicus

(352 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
fl. early 14th century. Byzantium. All that is known of his person is that he was a monk. He was author of a scarce universal chronicle which modern historians seldom consult because it contains little information not available from other historical sources.In manuscript tradition the text is entitled Χρονογραφία ἐν συνόψει (Summarised chronicle). In form it is a long list of human generations from Creation to the kingdom of Israel and to Jesus Christ as well as of the Roman Emperors up to the year 1204, with no distinction made betwee…
Date: 2016-10-17

Akropolites, Georgios

(490 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
1217-82. Byzantium. Born at Constantinople, he was sent by his parents in 1233 to Nicaea to study rhetoric and philosophy. One of his teachers was Nikephoros Blemmydes who introduced him to the circle of Emperor Ioannes III Doukas Vatatzes (1222-54). About 1246 Akropolites was made teacher of the Emperor's son Theodoros and also began his career as Byzantine functionary which continued under the reign of Michael VIII Palaeologos. From ca 1240 as megas logariastes Georgios was responsible for the finances of the Nicaean army, and from 1255 to 1282 he held the office …
Date: 2016-10-17

Bryennios, Nikephoros

(337 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
1062-1137. Byzanitum. Nikephoros Bryennios was born close to Adrianople (Edirne, modern Turkey) and lived and died at Constantinople. He was a member of a noble and powerful family of the Byzantine capital whose personal merits in military affairs allowed him to approach rapidly the inner circle of the emperor Alexios I Komnenos, who married him to his daughter Anna Komnene. After Alexios' death in 1081, Anna incited her husband to play an active role in an insurrection against her br…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chronicon Bruxellense

(193 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
11th century. Byzantium. This anonymous Greek-language chronicle, apparently compiled after the year 1033 probably at Constantinople, has been known by the modern title Chronicon Bruxellense (from the location of the manuscript, in Brussels) since the 19th-century edition. It is in fact an annotated list of Roman and Byzantine emperors from Julius Caesar up to Romanos III Argyros (1028-33), with expansive historical notes assigned to the reign of every emperor, often containing unique information. For the classical Roman period o…
Date: 2016-10-17

Skoutariotes, Theodorus

(379 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Anonymus Sathas, Synopsis Sathas] 13th century. Byzantium. A high Byzantine cleric and confident of the Emperors Theodorus II Doucas Lascaris (1254-58) and Michael VIII Palaeologus (1259-82), and author of a universal chronicle in Greek prose. After Constantinople was recaptured in 1261, Skoutariotes was appointed counsellor ( dikaiophylax) and economist ( tou sakelliou) of the patriarchate. In the 1270s he became metropolitan of Cyzicus (now in the Turkish province Balıkesir). During the negations of church unification between Latins and Greek…
Date: 2016-10-17

Chronicle of the Morea

(869 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Χρονικὸν τοῦ Μορέως; Livre de la conqueste e de la prince de l'Amorée] 14th century. Crusader states. A chronicle the history of southern Greece under the period of French rule, existing in five versions, two in Greek verse and one each in French, Italian and Aragonese prose. The Chronicle of the Morea uniquely straddles Medieval Greek and French literature, composed as it was in the Greek world, but with content which rather belongs to the Romance cultural area. This is reflected in the complicated transmission of the text.Following the capture of Constantinople by crusader troo…
Date: 2016-10-17

Kinnamos, Ioannes

(697 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
before 1143 - after 1180. Byzantium. Author of a history covering the period from 1118 to 1176, and obviously composed after the death of his personal hero, the Emperor Manuel.The 12th century can be thought of as a golden age of Byzantine literature, and it therefore comes as no surprise that this period also produced high-quality historical writing. Two authors in particular contended for the leading position, Ioannes Kinnamus and Niketas Choniates, and the question of the relationship between their two texts remains unans…
Date: 2016-10-17
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