Front Page Titles (by Subject) Greek (and Other) Sources - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 8
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Greek (and Other) Sources - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 8 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 8.
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Greek (and Other) Sources
For the later part of his history Menander (for whom see above, vol. vi. Appendix 2, p. 354) had access to the direct knowledge of contemporaries who were concerned in the political events. For the earlier years he possibly used Theophanes of Byzantium, who related in ten Books the events from 566 to 581.1 Some extracts from Theophanes have been preserved by Photius (Müller, F.H.G. iv. 270; Dindorf, Hist. Græc. Min. vol. i.).
Johannes of Epiphania (see Evagrius, 5, 24) also wrote a history which overlapped with those of Theophanes and Menander. Beginning with 572 it came down to 598, and was chiefly concerned with Persian affairs, on which Johannes was well informed, being acquainted with Chosroes II. and other influential Persians, and knowing the geography of the countries in which the wars were waged. One long fragment of Bk. 1 has come down (Müller, F.H.G. iv. 272 sqq.; Dindorf, Hist. Græc. Min. vol. i.), but it is probable that we have much material derived from him in Theophylactus Simocatta, Bks. 4 and 5; and his work was also used by Evagrius (B. 6).
John of Ephesus (or of Asia, as he is also styled) was born about 505 at Amida, and brought up by Maron the Stylite in the Monophysitic faith. He came to Constantinople in 535, and in the following year was appointed bishop of the Monophysites (Bishop “of Ephesus,” or “of Asia”). He enjoyed the favour of the Emperor and Empress; and Justinian assigned him the mission of converting to Christianity the pagans who were still numerous in Asia, Phrygia, Lydia, and Caria; and afterwards ( 546) he was appointed to suppress idolatry in Constantinople itself.2 It is remarkable that the orthodox Emperor should have committed this work to a Monophysite; the circumstance illustrates the policy of the Emperor and the influence of Theodora. John founded a Syrian monastery near Sycae and the Golden Horn; but he was deposed from his dignity of Abbot by the Patriarch John of Sirmium in the reign of Justin II., and imprisoned ( 571). He survived the year 585. His Ecclesiastical History, written in Syriac, began with the age of Julius Cæsar and came down to the reign of Maurice. It was divided into three parts (each of six Books), of which the first is lost. Of the second, large fragments are preserved in the chronicle of Dionysius of Tellmahrē (who was Monophysite Patriarch of Antioch from 818 to 845 ),3 and have been translated into Latin by Van Douwen and Land (Johannis episc. Ephesi comment. de beatis orientalibus, 1889). Part 3 is extant and is one of our most valuable contemporary sources for the reigns of Justin II. and Tiberius. It has been translated into English by R. Payne Smith, 1860, and into German by J. Schönfelder, 1862. It begins with the year 571 — the year of the persecution of the Monophysites by Justin II. John tells us that this part of his history was mostly written during the persecution under great difficulties; the pages of his MS. had to be concealed in various hiding-places. This explains the confused order in part of his narrative. [W. Wright, Syriac Literature (1894; a reprint, with a few additions, of the article under the same title in the Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. xxii.), p. 102 sqq.]
Evagrius (c. 536-600 ; born at Epiphania), an advocate of Antioch, is the continuer of the continuers (Socrates, &c.) of Eusebius. His Ecclesiastical History, in six Books, begins with the council of Ephesus in 431 and comes down to 593. Apart from its importance as one of the main authorities for the ecclesiastical history of the long period of which it treats, this work has also some brief but valuable notices concerning secular history. Evagrius had the use of older works which are now lost, such as Eustathius (whose chronicle he used in Bks. 2 and 3; see above, vol. vi. p. 347) and Johannes of Epiphania (whose still unpublished work he was permitted to consult in composing Bk. 6).4 Evagrius also made use of John Malalas (the first edition; see above, vol. vi. Appendix 2) and Procopius. An attempt5 has been made to show that he used the work of Menander (directly or indirectly), but the demonstration is not convincing. The accuracy of Evagrius in using those sources which are extant enables us to feel confidence in him when his sources are lost. For the end of Justinian’s reign, for Justin, Tiberius, and Maurice, he has the full value of a contemporary authority. [Ed. H. Valesius, 1673; in Migne, Patr. Gr. vol. 86. A new, much-needed critical edition by MM. Parmentier and Bidez is in the press.]
Theophylactus Simocattes, born in Egypt, lived in the reigns of Maurice and Heraclius, and seems to have held the post of an Imperial secretary. He wrote, in euphemistic style, works on natural history, essays in epistolary form, and a history of the reign of Maurice. Theophylactus — the chief authority for the twenty years which his history deals with — may be said to close a series of historians, which beginning with Eunapius includes the names of Priscus, Procopius, Agathias, and Menander. After Theophylactus we have for more than three hundred years nothing but chronicles. Theophylactus had a narrow view of history and no discernment for the relative importance of facts (cp. Gibbon, c. xlvi., note 49); the affectation of his florid, periphrastic style renders his work disagreeable to read; but he is trustworthy and honest, according to his lights. Although a Christian, he affects to speak of Christian things with a certain unfamiliarity — as a pagan, like Ammianus or Eunapius, would speak of them. He made use of the works of Menander and John of Epiphania. [Best edition by C. de Boor, 1887.]
Contemporary with Theophylactus was the unknown author of the Chronicon Paschale (or Alexandrinum, as it is also called): a chronicle which had great influence on subsequent chronography. Beginning with Adam it came down to the year 629; but, as all our MSS. are derived from one (extant) Vatican MS., which was mutilated at the beginning and at the end, our text ends with 627. As far as 602 the work is a compilation from sources which are for the most part known (cp. above, vol. ii. Appendix 10, p. 365-6); but from this point forward its character changes, the author writes from personal knowledge, and the chronicle assumes, for the reigns of Phocas and Heraclius, the dignity of an important contemporary source, even containing some original documents (see above, p. 115, n. 127; 117, n. 129; 119, n. 132). From the prominence of the Patriarch Sergius, it has been conjectured that the author belonged, like George of Pisidia (see below), to the Patriarch’s circle. The chronology is based on the era which assigned the creation of the world to March 21, 5507, and is the first case we have of the use of this so-called Roman or Byzantine era. [Best edition by Dindorf in the Bonn series. For an analysis of the chronology, see H. Gelzer, Sextus Julius Africanus, ii. 1, 138 sqq.]
The poems of George Pisides (a native of Pisidia) are another valuable contemporary source for the Persian wars of Heraclius, to whom he was a sort of poet laureate. It is indeed sometimes difficult to extract the historical fact from his poetical circumlocutions. The three works which concern a historian are written in smooth and correct Iambic trimeters, which, though they ignore the canon of the Cretic ending rediscovered by Porson, are subject to a new law, that the last word of the verse shall be barytone. They thus represent a transition to the later “political” verses, which are governed only by laws of accent. (1) On the (first) expedition of Heraclius against the Persians, in three cantos (Akroaseis). (2) On the attack of the Avars on Constantinople and its miraculous deliverance ( 626). (3) The Heracliad, in two cantos, on the final victory of Heraclius, composed on the news of the death of Chosroes ( 628). These works were utilised by Theophanes. George is the author of many other poems, epigrams, &c. [See Migne, Patr. Gr. xcii., after Querci’s older edition; L. Sternbach, in Wiener Studien, 13 (1891), 1 sqq. and 14 (1892), 51 sqq. The three historical poems are printed in the Bonn series by Bekker, 1836.]
For the account of the siege of Constantinople in 626 (probably by Theodore, private secretary of the Patriarch6 ) see above, p. 111, n. 116. It is entitled περὶ τω̂ν ἀθέων Ἀβάρων τε καὶ Περσω̂ν κατὰ τη̂ς θεοϕυλάκτου πόλεως μανιώδους κινήσεως καὶ τῃ̑ ϕιλανθρωπίᾳ τον̂ θεον̂ διὰ τη̂ς θεοτόκου μετ’ αὶσχύνης ἀποχωρήσεως. The events of each day of the siege, from Tuesday, July 29, to Thursday, August 7, are related with considerable detail, wrapped up in rhetorical verbiage and contrasting with the straightforward narrative of the Chronicon Paschale, with which it is in general agreement. The account, however, of the catastrophe of the Slavs and their boats in the Golden Horn differs from that of the Chronicon Paschale.7
In connection with this siege, it should be added that the famous ἀκάθιστος ὕμνος — which might be rendered “Standing Hymn”; the singers were to stand while they sang it — is supposed by tradition to have been composed by the Patriarch Sergius in commemoration of the miraculous deliverance of the city. It would be remarkable if Sergius, who fell into disrepute through his Monothelete doctrines, really composed a hymn which won, and has enjoyed to the present day, unparalleled popularity among the orthodox. A recent Greek writer (J. Butyras) has pointed out that expressions in the hymn coincide remarkably with the decisions of the Synod of 680 against Monotheletism, and concludes that the hymn celebrates the Saracen siege of Constantinople under Constantine IV. — a siege with which some traditions connect it. (Compare K. Krumbacher, Gesch. der byz. Litt., p. 672.) The hymn was, without due grounds, ascribed to George of Pisidia by Querci. The text will be found in Migne, Patrol. Gr. 92, p. 1335 sqq.; in the Anthol. Graeca of Christ and Paranikas, p. 140 sqq., and elsewhere.
The Life and martyrdom of Anastasius, an apostate to Christianity from the Magian religion, who suffered on Jan. 22, 628, was drawn up at Jerusalem towards the end of the same year, and deserves some attention in connection with the Persian wars of Heraclius. It is published in its original form, distinct from later accretions, by H. Usener, Acta Martyris Anastasii Persae, 1894.
The History of Heraclius by Sebaeos, an Armenian bishop of the seventh century, written in the Armenian tongue, was first brought to light through the discovery of a MS. in the library of Etzmiadzin some years before Brosset visited that library in 1848. The text was edited in 1851, and Patkanian’s Russian translation appeared in 1862. Two passages in the work show that Sebaeos was a contemporary of Heraclius and Constans (c. 30 ad fin., p. 122; and c. 34 ad init., p. 148, tr. Patk.); and this agrees with some brief notices of later writers, who state that Sebaeos was present at the Council of Dovin in 645 (of which he gives a full account in c. 33). It is also stated that he was Bishop of Bagratun. The work is not strictly confined to the reign of Heraclius. It begins in the reign of the Persian king Perozes in the fifth century, and briefly touches the reigns of Kobad and of Chosroes I., of whom Sebaeos relates the legend that he was converted to Christianity. The events connected with the revolt of Bahram and the accession of Chosroes II. are told at more length (c. 2-3), and especial prominence is given to the part played by the Armenian prince Musheg, who supported Chosroes. The next seventeen chapters are concerned chiefly with the history of Chosroes and his intrigues in Armenia during the reign of Maurice. It is not till the twenty-first chapter that we meet Heraclius, and not till the twenty-fourth that his history really begins.
In c. 32 we again take leave of him, and the rest of the work (c. 32-38), about a third of the whole, deals with the following twelve years (641-652). The great importance of Sebaeos (apart from his value for domestic and ecclesiastical affairs in Armenia) lies in his account of the Persian campaigns of Heraclius. [Besides the Russian translation, Patkanian published an account of the contents of the work of Sebaeos in the Journal Asiatique, vii. p. 101 sqq., 1866.]
For the ecclesiastical history of the seventh and eighth centuries we are better furnished than for the political, as we have writings on the great controversies of the times by persons who took part in the struggles. Unluckily the synods which finally closed the Monotheletic and the Iconoclastic questions in favour of the “orthodox” views enjoined the destruction of the controversial works of the defeated parties, so that of Monotheletic and Iconoclastic literature we have only the fragments which are quoted in the Acts of Councils or in the writings of the Dyothelete and Iconodule controversialists.
For the Monotheletic dispute we have (besides the Acts of the Council of Rome in 649, and of the Sixth General Council of 680) the works of the great defender of the orthodox view, the Abbot Maximus ( 580-662). He had been a secretary of the Emperor Heraclius, and afterwards became abbot of a monastery at Chrysopolis (Scutari), where we find him 630. His opposition to Monotheletism presently drove him to the west, and in Africa he met the Monothelete Patriarch Pyrrhus and converted him from his heretical error ( 645). But the conversion was not permanent; Pyrrhus returned to his heresy. Maximus then proceeded to Rome, and in 653 was carried to Constantinople along with Pope Martin, and banished to Bizya in Thrace. A disputation which he held then with the Bishop of Caesarea led to a second and more distant exile to Lazica, where he died. A considerable number of polemical writings on the question for which he suffered are extant, including an account of his disputation with Pyrrhus. [His works are collected in Migne, Patr. Gr. xc. xci. (after the edition of Combefis, 1675).] Maximus had a dialectical training and a tendency to mysticism. “Pseudo-Dionysius was introduced into the Greek Church by Maximus; he harmonised the Areopagite with the traditional ecclesiastical doctrine, and thereby influenced Greek theology more powerfully than John of Damascus” (Ehrhard, ap. Krumbacher, Gesch. der byz. Litt. p. 63).
Another younger opponent of Monotheletism was Anastasius of the monastery of Mount Sinai. He travelled about in Syria and Egypt, fighting with heresies (second half of seventh century). Three essays of his are extant (περὶ τον̂ κατ’ εἰκόνα) on Monotheletism; the third gives a history of the controversy. [Works in Migne, Patr. Gr. vol. lxxxix.]
John of Damascus was the most important opponent of Iconoclasm in the reigns of Leo III. and Constantine V. The son of a Syrian who was known by the Arabic name of Mansur, and held a financial post under the Saracen government at Damascus, he was born towards the end of the seventh century. He was educated by a Sicilian monk named Cosmas. He withdrew to the monastery of St. Sabas before 7368 and died before 753. What we know of his life is derived from a Biography of the tenth century by John of Jerusalem, who derived his facts from an earlier Arabic biography. (The life is printed in Migne, Patr. Gr. xciv. p. 429 sqq.) The great theological work of John is the Πηγὴ γνώσεως, “Fountain of Knowledge,” a systematical theology founded on the concepts of Aristotelian metaphysics (here John owed much to Leontius of Byzantium). But the works which concern us are the essays against the Iconoclasts, three in number, composed between 726 and 736. The first Diatribe was written and published between the edict of Leo and the deposition of the Patriarch Germanus three years later. The second seems to have been written immediately after the news of this deposition reached Palestine; for John, referring to this, makes no reference to the installation of Anastasius which took place a fortnight later (see c. 12; Migne, Patr. Gr. xciv. p. 1297). The object of this dissertation was to elucidate the propositions of the first, which had excited much discussion and criticism. The third contains much that is in the first and second, and develops a doctrine as to the use of images.9 The great edition (1712) of Lequien, with valuable prolegomena, is reprinted in Migne’s Patr. Gr. xciv.-xcvi. [Monographs: J. Langen, Johannes von D., 1879; J. H. Lupton, St. John of D., 1884.]
The defence of image-worship addressed “to all Christians and to the Emperor Constantine Kaballinos and to all heretics,” included in John’s works (Migne, vol. xcv. p. 309 sqq.), is not genuine. It contains much abuse of Leo and Constantine. The story of Barlaam and Joasaph — a romance founded on the story of Buddha — assumed its Greek form in the 7th century, in Palestine, and the author of the Greek romance was a monk named John, who perhaps belonged to the monastery of St. Sabbas. This John was taken to be John of Damascus, and hence the story of Barlaam and Joasaph was ascribed to the famous writer of the 8th century and included in his collected works. The most important Christian source of the composition was the Apology of Aristides, which is practically written out in the sermon of Nachor, so that Mr. J. Armitage Robinson was able to restore the original Greek text with help of a Syriac translation (The Apology of Aristides, in Texts and Studies, i. 1, 1891).
When the Paschal Chronicle deserts us in 627, we have no contemporary historians or chroniclers for the general course of the Imperial history until we reach the end of the eighth century. There is a gap of more than a century and a half in our series of Byzantine history. The two writers on whom we depend for the reigns of the Heracliad dynasty and of the early Iconoclast sovereigns lived at the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth century: the Patriarch Nicephorus and the monk Theophanes. They both used a common source, of which we have no record.
Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople 806-815, has his place in history as well as in literature. At the time of the second council of Nicaea, 787, he was an Imperial secretary. In 806 he succeeded Tarasius in the Patriarchate (see above, p. 243) and stood forth as the opponent of the monastic party. Deposed by Leo V. he was, under this and the following Emperor, the most prominent champion of image-worship. He died in exile 829. He was greater as a theological than as an historical writer. His important works on the iconoclastic question were written during exile: (1) the Apologeticus minor, a short treatise defending image-worship; (2) in 817, the Apologeticus major, which is specially important as containing a number of quotations from an iconoclastic work by the Emperor Constantine V. These treatises are printed by Mai, Nova Patrum Bibl., i. 1 sqq., ii. 1 sqq., iii. 1 sqq. [For other works see Pitra, Spicilegium Solesmense, i. p. 302 sqq., iv. p. 233 sqq. Cp. Ehrhard, apud Krumbacher, Gesch. der byz. Litt. p. 72.] The historical works are two: (1) the Χρονογραϕικὸν σύντομον — “Concise list of dates,” — a collection of tables of kings, emperors, patriarchs, &c., from Adam to the year of the author’s death; (2) the Ἱστορία σύντομος — “concise History,” — beginning with the death of Maurice and ending with 769.10 It is a very poor composition; the author selects what is likely to interest an illiterate public and disregards the relative importance of events. The value of the work is entirely due to the paucity of other materials for the period which it covers. Yet Nicephorus seems to have bestowed some pains on the composition of the work. A MS. in the British Museum contains a text which seems to represent the author’s first compilation of his material before he threw it into the form in which it was “published.” See A. Burckhardt, Byz. Zeitsch. v. p. 465 sqq., 1896. [Excellent edition of the historical works by C. de Boor, 1880. This edition includes the life of Nicephorus by the deacon Ignatius written soon after his death.]
George, the syncellus or private secretary of the Patriarch Tarasius, had written a chronicle from the creation of the world, which he intended to bring down to his own time. But when death approached ( 810-11) he had only reached the accession of Diocletian, and he begged his friend Theophanes to complete the work. Theophanes belonged to a good and wealthy family.11 He was of ascetic disposition and founded a monastery (ἡ μονὴ τον̂ μεγάλου Ἀγρον̂) called “Great Farm” near Sigriane not far from Cyzicus.12 Theophanes undertook the charge of his dying friend and wrote his Chronography between 811 and 815. When Leo V. came to the throne, he took a strong position against the Emperor’s inconoclastic policy and was imprisoned in the island of Samothrace, where he died (817). The Chronography (from 284 to 813) is arranged strictly in the form of annals. The events are arranged under the successive Years of the World, which are equated with the Years of the Incarnation; and the regnal years of the Roman Emperors and of the Persian Kings (in later part, the Saracen caliphs), and the years of the bishops of the five great Sees, are also added in tabular form. Moreover many single events are dated by Indictions, although the indictions do not appear in the table at the head of each year. The awkwardness of dating events on three systems is clear.
Theophanes adopted the Alexandrian era of Anianus (March 25, 5493; see above, vol. iii. Appendix 14), and thus his Annus Mundi runs from March 25 to March 24. As the Indiction runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, the only part of the year which is common to the a.m. and the Indiction is March 25 to Aug. 31. It is obvious that, without very careful precautions, the practice of referring to an Indiction under an a.m. which only partly corresponds to it is certain to lead to confusion. And, as it turns out, Theophanes loses a year in the reign of Phocas, whose overthrow he placed in the right Indiction (14th = 610-11), but in the wrong a.m. (6102 = 609-10). The mistake has set his dates (a.m.) throughout the seventh century a year wrong; we have always to add a year to the a.m. to get the right date (cp. the discrepancies with the Indiction under a.m. 6150 and 617113 ). The true chronology is recovered at the year 6193, and the indiction is found once more in correspondence under a.m. 6207. A new discrepancy arises some years later, for which see below, p. 429. In the earlier part of the work Theophanes used (besides Socrates, &c.) a compilation of excerpts from Theodorus Lector (see above, vol. vi. Appendix 2, p. 347). For the sixth century he draws upon John Malalas, Procopius, Agathias, John of Epiphania, and Theophylactus; for the seventh George Pisides. It is possible that all these authors were known to him only indirectly through an intermediate source. He had, in any case, before him an unknown source for the seventh and most of the eighth century (if not more than one), and this was also a source of Nicephorus (see above, p. 400). For the reign of Constantine VI. and Irene, Nicephorus and Michael I., Theophanes has the value of a partial and prejudiced contemporary. [Previous editions have been superseded by De Boor’s magnificent edition (1883), vol. i. text; vol. ii. the Latin version of Anastasius, three lives of Theophanes, dissertations by the editor on the material for the text, and splendid Indices. Another Life of Theophanes has been edited by K. Krumbacher, 1897.]
The writings of Theodore of Studion provide us with considerable material for ecclesiastical history as well as for the state of Monasticism at the end of the eighth and beginning of the ninth century. For his prominence in questions of church discipline, which assumed political importance (in connection with the marriage of Constantine VI. and the policy of Nicephorus I.), see above, p. 241 n. and 243 n.; and he was a stout opponent of Leo V. in the matter of image-worship. He was born 759 (his father was a tax-collector); under the influence of his uncle Plato, he and his whole family entered the monastery of Saccudion, where in 797 he succeeded his uncle as abbot. In the following year, he and his monks took up their abode in the monastery of Studion; and from this time forward Studion was one of the most important cloisters in the Empire. Three times was Theodore banished: (1) 795-7, owing to his opposition to the marriage of Constantine; (2) 809-11, for his refusal to communicate with Joseph who had performed the marriage ceremony; (3) 814-20, for his opposition to Leo V. Under Michael II. he was not formally banished, but did not care to abide at Constantinople. He died 826.
The following works of Theodore have historical interest: (1) The three λόγοι ἀντιρρητικοί, and other works in defence of image-worship; (2) the Life of abbot Plato, which gives us a picture of monastic life; (3) the Life of his mother Theoctista, with a most interesting account of his early education, and glimpses of family life; (4) a large collection of letters, of the first importance for the ecclesiastical history of the period; they show the abbot at work, not only in his pastoral duties, but in his ecclesiastical struggles for a quarter of a century. [Collected works in Migne, Patr. Gr. xcix.; but 277 letters, not included, are edited by J. Cozza-Luzi, Nova patrum Bibliotheca, viii. 1, 1 sqq., 1871.]14
There are many Lives of Martyrs who suffered at the hands of the iconoclastic Emperors. The most important is that of St. Stephen of Mount Auxentius (distinguished from the protomartyr as “the younger”) who suffered in 767; the biography was written in 808 by Stephen, deacon of St. Sophia, and furnishes some important material for the history of the iconoclastic policy of Constantine V. For the persecution of Theophilus, we have a life of Theodore Graptus15 and his brother Theophanes (ed. Combefis, Orig. rerumque Constantinop. manipulus, p. 191 sqq.), containing a letter of Theodore himself to John of Cyzicus, of which Schlosser has made good use (Gesch. der bilderst. Kaiser, p. 524 sqq.). Other Lives of importance for the history of the iconoclastic movement are those of Germanus the Patriarch (ed. Papadopulos-Kerameus in the Mavrogordateios Bibliothêkê, Appendix, p. 3 sqq.), Theophanes, Confessor (see above); Nicetas, abbot of Medikion in Bithynia (died 824; Acta SS. April 1, Appendix, xxxiv.-xli.); Theodore of Studion (see above); Nicephorus, Patriarch (see above, p. 400); Tarasius, by the deacon Ignatius (ed. Heikel, 1889; Latin version in Acta SS. Febr. 25, 576 sqq.); the Patriarch Methodius (Migne, Patr. Gr., vol. c. p. 1244 sqq.). For the ecclesiastical history of the reign of Michael III., the life of Ignatius by Nicetas David Paphlagon is of great importance (Migne, Gr. Patr., cv. 487 sqq.). These and other less important16 biographies, in most instances composed by younger contemporaries, have great value in three ways: (1) they give us facts passed over by the chroniclers; (2) many of them were used by the chroniclers, and therefore are to be preferred as furnishing information at first hand; (3) they give us material for a social picture of the period (especially valuable in this respect is the Life of Plato by Theodore Studites; see above, p. 402).
The Life of the Empress Theodora, combined with relations of the deathbed repentance of Theophilus and of his good deeds, is highly important. It was the main source of the chronicler George Monachus for the events concerned. Ed. W. Regel, in Analecta Byzantino-Russica, p. 1 sqq.17
For Leo the Armenian we have a mysterious fragment of what was clearly a valuable chronicle written by a contemporary, whose name is unknown. The piece which has survived (printed in the vol. of the Bonn series which contains Leo Grammaticus, under the title Scriptor Incertus de Leone Armenio) is of great value for the Bulgarian siege of Constantinople in 815.
Apart from this fragment, and the contemporary biographies of saints, the meagre chronicle of George the Monk (sometimes styled George Hamartolus, “the sinner”) is the oldest authority for the thirty years after the point when the chronicle of Theophanes ended ( 813-842). George wrote in the reign of Michael III., and completed his chronicle, which began with the creation, towards the close of that Emperor’s reign. It is divided into four Books; the fourth, beginning with Constantine the Great and ending with the death of Theophilus, is based mainly on the chronicle of Theophanes. For the last thirty years, the author depends on his own knowledge as a contemporary and on oral information; but also makes use of the Vita Theodorae (see above) and the Vita Nicephori by Ignatius (see above, p. 401). Throughout the ecclesiastical interest predominates.
The chronicle of George became so popular and was re-edited so often with additions and interpolations, that it has become one of the most puzzling problems in literary research to penetrate through the accretions to the original form. Until recently the shape and extent of the chronicle and its author’s identity were obscured by the circumstance that a continuation, reaching down to 948 (in some MSS. this continuation is continued to still later epochs), was annexed to the original work of George. The original continuation to 94818 was composed by “the Logothete,” who has been supposed to be identical with Symeon “Magister and Logothete” (for whose chronicle see below). [The only edition of the whole chronicle (with its continuation) is that of Muralt (1859), which is very unsatisfactory. Combefis edited the latter part from 813 to 948, and this has been reprinted in the Bonn series (along with Theophanes Continuatus), 1838. The material for a new critical edition has been collected by Professor C. de Boor. Much has been written on the problems connected with these chronicles; but I need only refer to F. Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien, 1876, which cleared the way to further investigation; and to the most recent study of De Boor on the subject, Die Chronik des Logotheten, in Byz. Zeitsch., vi. 233 sqq.]
The chronicle of Symeon Magister, who is probably the same person as the hagiographer Symeon Metaphrastes, has not yet been published; but for practical purposes it is accessible to the historian in the form of two redactions which go under the name of Leo Grammaticus and Theodosius of Melitene.19 Beginning with the creation it came down to 948. Leo Grammaticus (according to a note in Cod. Par. 1711) “completed” the Chronography (i.e., the original Chronicle of Symeon) in the year 1013; but otherwise he is only a name like Theodosius of Melitene. [Leo is included in the Bonn series, 1842; Theodosius was published by Tafel, 1859.] This chronicle is different in tone from that of George Monachus; the work of a logothete, not of a monk, it exhibits interest in the court as well as in the church.
Another chronicle, which may be conveniently called the Pseudo-Symeon, comes down to the year 963. The last part of the work, 813-963, was published by Combefis (1685) and reprinted by Bekker (Bonn, 1838) under the name of Symeon Magister. The mistake was due to a misleading title on the cover of the Paris MS. which contains the chronicle. (On the sources of the unknown author, see F. Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien.)
In respect to these extremely confusing chronicles with their numerous redactions, Krumbacher makes a good remark: “In Byzantium works of this kind were never regarded as completed monuments of literary importance, but as practical handbooks which every possessor and copyist excerpted, augmented, and revised just as he chose” (p. 362).
Joseph Genesius (son of Constantine who held the office of logothete under Michael III.) wrote (between 945 and 959) at the suggestion of the Emperor Constantine VII. an Imperial History in four Books, embracing the reigns of Leo V., Michael II., Theophilus, and Michael III.: thus a continuation of Theophanes, who left off at the accession of Leo V. In Bk. iv. Genesius, clearly departing from the original plan, added a brief account of the reign of Basil I., so that his work reaches from 813 to 886. Besides oral information and tradition, from which, as he says himself, he derived material, he used the work of George Monachus, and the Life of Ignatius by Nicetas (see above, p. 403). His history is marked by (1) superstition, (2) bigotry (especially against the iconoclasts), (3) partiality to his patron’s grandfather Basil. [Ed. Lachmann in Bonn series, 1834. For the sources, &c., see Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien; cp. also Wäschke in Philologus, 37, p. 255 sqq., 1878.]
A Sicilian Chronicle, relating briefly the Saracen conquest of the island, from 827 to 965 is preserved in Greek and in an Arabic translation. It must have been composed soon after 965. There are three editions: P. Batiffol, 1890 (in Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres); Cozza-Luzi and Lagumina, with the Arabic text, 1890, in Documenti p. s. alla storia di Sicilia, 4ta serie, ii.; A. Wirth, Chronographische Späne, 1894.
It is unfortunate that the historical monograph which the grammarian Theognostos, a contemporary of Leo V. and Michael II., dedicated to the revolt of Euphemius and the first successes of the Saracens in Sicily ( 827), is lost. The work is used by the compilers of Theophanes Continuatus (see p. 82, ed. Bonn).
We have a disappointing account of the siege and capture of Syracuse by the Saracens in 880, from the pen of Theodosius, a monk, who endured the siege and was carried prisoner to Palermo, whence he wrote a letter describing his experiences to a friend. (Published in the Paris ed. of Leo Diaconus, p. 177 sqq.)
Besides stimulating Joseph Genesius to write his work, the Emperor Constantine VII. organised another continuation of Theophanes, written by several compilers who are known as the Scriptores post Theophanem, the Emperor himself being one of the collaborateurs. It seems probable that the original intention was not to go beyond the death of Basil or perhaps of Leo VI., but the work was extended after the death of Constantine, and comes down to 961. It falls into six Books: Bk. 1, Leo V.; Bk. 2, Michael II.; Bk. 3, Theophilus; Bk. 4, Michael III.; Bk. 5, Basil I. (this Book was the composition of the Emperor Constantine). So far the work conforms to a uniform plan; but Bk. 6, instead of containing only Leo VI., contains also Alexander, Constantine VII., Romanus I., Romanus II. It has been conjectured that the author of part of this supplement was Theodore Daphnopates, a literary man of the tenth century, known (among other things) by some official letters which he composed for Romanus I. The Continuation of Theophanes shows, up to the death of Basil, its semi-official origin by the marked tendency to glorify the Basilian dynasty by obscuring its Amorian predecessors. The main source of Bks. 1 to 5 is Genesius. Bk. 6 falls into two parts which are markedly distinct: A, Leo VI., Alexander, Constantine, Romanus I., Constantine, caps. 1-7; B, Constantine, 8-end, Romanus II. A is based upon the work of the Logothete (probably Symeon Magister) which has come down to us as a continuation of George Monachus (see above). Now the Logothete was an admirer of Romanus I. and not devoted to the family of Constantine VII.; and the sympathies of the Logothete are preserved by the compiler of A, notwithstanding their inconsistency with the tendencies of Bks. 1-5. The Logothete’s work appeared in the reign of Nicephorus Phocas, and must have been utilised almost immediately after its appearance by the compiler of A. It is probable that B was composed early in the same reign by a different author; it seems not to depend on another work, but to have been written from a contemporary’s knowledge. [Scriptores post Theophanem, ed. Combefis, 1685; Theophanes Continuatus, ed. Bekker, 1838 (Bonn). Analysis of sources, &c., in Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien.]
The circumstances of the capture of Thessalonica by the Cretan pirates in 904 are vividly portrayed for us in the well-written narrative of JohnCameniates, a narrow-minded priest, ignorant of the world, but one who had lived through the exciting and terrifying scenes which he records and had the faculty of observation and the power of expressing his impressions. The work is printed in the Paris (1685) and in the Bonn (1838) series along with the Scriptores post Theophanem.
For the ecclesiastical history of the reign of Leo VI. we have a work of great importance in the anonymous Vita Euthymii published by C. de Boor (1888); cp. above, p. 263, note 43. The work was composed soon after the ex-Patriarch’s death ( 917). Professor E. Kurtz of Riga has since published two Greek texts on the life of Theophano, wife of Leo VI., which he published in the Mémoires of the St. Petersburg Academy, 1898, Classe Hist.-Phil. (Zwei griechische Texte über die Hl. Theophano). One of these documents is by a contemporary (Βίος καὶ πολιτεία τη̂ς . . . Θεοϕανώ). The other is a discourse on the pious lady’s life and merits by Nicephorus Gregoras.
With the history of Leo Diaconus (Leo Asiaticus) we enter upon a new period of historiography. After an interval of more than three hundred years, he seems to re-open the series which closed with Theophylactus Simocatta. His history in ten Books embracing the reigns of Romanus II., Nicephorus Phocas, and John Tzimisces (959-975) is — although written after 992 — a contemporary work in a good sense; depending on personal knowledge and information derived from living peoples, not on previous writers. As Leo was born in 950 he is not a contemporary in quite the same sense for the earlier as for the later part of his work. He afterwards took part in the Bulgarian War of Basil II. [Included in the Paris and the Bonn series.]
[For the poem of Theodosius on the reconquest of Crete by Nicephorus, see below, vol. ix. p. 308, n. 135.]
The work of Leo Diaconus was continued by the most prominent and influential literary figure of the eleventh century, Constantine Psellus (born 1018, probably at Nicomedia). He adopted the legal profession; was a judge in Philadelphia under Michael IV.; an Imperial secretary under Michael V. He enjoyed the favour of Constantine IX., who founded a university at Constantinople and appointed Psellus Professor of Philosophy. But his services were required in political life; he became chief secretary (proto-asecretis) of the Emperor and one of his most influential ministers. Presently he left the world to become a monk and assumed the name of Michael, by which he is generally known. But monastic life hardly suited him, and after some years he returned to the world. He played a prominent part under Isaac Comnenus and Constantine Ducas; and was “prime minister” during the regency of Eudocia and the reign of Michael Parapinaces (a pupil who did him small credit). He died probably in 1078. As professor, Psellus had revived an interest in Plato, whose philosophy he set above Aristotle — a novelty which was regarded as a heresy. In this, he was stoutly opposed by his friend John Xiphilin, who was a pronounced Aristotelian. As young men, Psellus had taught Xiphilin philosophy, and Xiphilin had taught Psellus law. It was through the influence or example of Xiphilin (who withdrew to the monastery of Bithynian Olympus) that Psellus had assumed the tonsure. Xiphilin, who had written on law in his youth, wrote homilies in his later years, and became Patriarch of Constantinople in 1064; his old friend Psellus pronounced his funeral oration in 1075.
For success in the courts of the sovereigns whom Psellus served, candour and self-respect would have been fatal qualities. Psellus had neither; his writings (as well as his career) show that he adapted himself to the rules of the game, and was servile and unscrupulous. His Chronography reflects the tone of the time-serving courtier. Beginning at 976, it treats very briefly the long reign of Basil, and becomes fuller as it goes on. It deals chiefly with domestic wars and court intrigues; passing over briefly, and often omitting altogether, the wars with foreign peoples. The last part of the work was written for the eye of Michael Parapinaces, and consequently in what concerns him and his father Constantine X. is very far from being impartial.
The funeral orations which Psellus composed on Xiphilin, on the Patriarch Michael Cerularius (see above, p. 281), and on Lichudes, a prominent statesman of the time, have much historical importance, as well as many of his letters. [The Chronography and these Epitaphioi are published in vol. iv., the letters (along with other works) in vol. v., of the Bibliotheca Graeca medii aevi of C. Sathas.] These works are but a small portion of the encyclopaedic literary output of Psellus, which covered the whole field of knowledge. It has been well said that Psellus is the Photius of the eleventh century. He was an accomplished stylist and exerted a great influence on the writers of the generation which succeeded him. [For his life and writings see (besides Leo Allatius, De Psellis et eorum scriptis, 1634; cp. Fabricius, 10, p. 41 sqq.) Sathas, Introductions in op. cit. vols. iv. and v.; A. Rambaud, Revue Historique, 3, p. 241 sqq.; K. Neumann, Die Weltstellung des byz. Reiches vor den Kreuzzugen, 1894; B. Rhodius, Beitr. zur Lebensgeschichte und zu den Briefen des Psellos, 1892.]
Important for the history, especially the military history, of the eleventh century is a treatise entitled Strategicon by Cecaumenos. Of the author himself we know little; he was witness of the revolution which overthrew Michael V., and he wrote this treatise for his son’s benefit after the death of Romanus Diogenes. The title suggests that it should exclusively concern military affairs, but the greater part of the work consists of precepts of a general kind. Much is told of the author’s grandfather Cecaumenos, who took part in the Bulgarian wars of Basil II. Joined on to the Strategicon is a distinct treatise of different authorship (by a member of the same family; his name was probably Niculitzas): a book of advice to the Emperor “of the day” — perhaps to Alexius Comnenus on the eve of his accession. It contains some interesting historical references. [First published by B. Vasilievski in 1881 (in the Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnago prosviestcheniya; May, June, July), with notes; text re-edited by Vasilievski and Jernstedt (Cecaumeni Strategicon et incerti scriptoris de officiis regiis libellus), 1896.]
The latter part of the period covered in the history of Psellus has had another contemporary, but less partial, historian in Michael Attaleiates, a rich advocate, who founded a monastery and a hostelry for the poor (ptochotropheion).20 His abilities were recognised by Constantine Ducas and Nicephorus Botaneiates, from whom he received honorary titles (Patrician, Magister, Proedros), and held posts of no political importance. He accompanied Romanus Diogenes on his campaigns as a “military judge.” The history embraces the period 1034-1079, and was completed c. 1080; it is dedicated to Nicephorus III. [First published in the Bonn series, 1873.]
Just as Attaleiates overlaps Psellus and funishes important material for correcting and completing his narrative, so the work of the prince Nicephorus Bryennius, son-in-law of Alexius Comnenus, overlaps and supplements the work of Attaleiates. Nicephorus had good opportunities for obtaining authentic information on the history of the times. His father had aspired to the throne and overthrown Michael VII. (see above, p. 284), but had been immediately overthrown by Alexius Comnenus and blinded. But, when Alexius came himself to the throne, Bryennius found favour at court; and his brilliant son was chosen by the Emperor as the husband of Anna and created Caesar. He played a prominent part on several occasions during the reign of Alexius, conducting, for instance, the defence of the capital against Godfrey of Bouillon in 1097. After his father-in-law’s death he refused (cp. above, p. 289) to take part in a conspiracy21 which his wife organised against her brother John, under whose rule he continued to serve the state until his death in 1037. In his last years, at the suggestion of his mother-in-law Irene, he undertook the composition of a history of Alexius Comnenus, but death hindered him from completing it, and the work covers only nine years, 1070-9. He describes it himself as “historical material”; it is, as Seger observes, “less a history of the time than a family chronicle, which, owing to the political position of the families, assumes the value of ‘a historical source.’ ” It has the common defects of the memoirs of an exalted personage, whose interests have been connected intimately with the events he describes and with the people he portrays. Bryennius makes considerable use of the Chronography of Psellus, and also draws on Attaleiates and Scylitzes. [Included in the Bonn series, 1836. Monograph: J. Seger, Nikephoros Bryennios, 1888.]22
The incomplete work of Bryennius was supplemented and continued by his wife, the literary princess Anna Comnena, whose Alexiad, beginning with the year 1069, was successfully carried down to 1118, the year of her father’s death. Anna ((born 1083) retired after the unsuccessful conspiracy against her brother (see above, p. 289) to the monastery of Kecharitomene, which had been founded by her mother Irene, who now accompanied her into retreat. The work which has gained her immortal fame was completed in 1148. Anna received the best literary education that the age could afford; she was familiar with the great Greek classics from Homer to Polybius, and she had studied philosophy. She was impregnated with the spirit of the renaissance which had been initiated by Psellus; she affects, though she does not achieve, Attic purism in her artificial and pedantic style. She had fallen far more completely under the spell of the literary ideals of Psellus than her husband, though he too had felt the influence. The book is a glorification of her father; and naturally her account of the crusades is highly unfavourable to the crusaders. But she was conscientious in seeking for information, oral and documentary.23 [Ed. Bonn, vol. i., ed. Schopen, 1839; vol. ii., ed. Reifferscheid, 1878; complete ed. by Reifferscheid (Teubner), 1884. E. Oster, Anna Comnena (Programmes, 1, 1868; 2, 1870; 3, 1871); C. Neumann, Griech. Geschichtschreiber u. Geschichtsquellen im 12 Jahrh., 1888.]
The thread of Imperial history is taken up by John Cinnamus where Anna let it drop. He too, though in a less exalted position, had an opportunity of observing nearly the course of political events. Born in 1143 be became the private secretary of the Emperor Manuel, whom he attended on his military campaigns. His history embraces the reign of John and that of Manuel (all but the last four years24 ), 1118-1180; but the reign of John is treated briefly, and the work is intended to be mainly a history of Manuel. It has been recently proved by Neumann that the text which we possess (in a unique MS.) does not represent the original work, but only a large extract or portion of it.25 As a historian Cinnamus has some of the same faults as Anna Comnena. He is a panegyrist of Manuel, as she of Alexius; his narrow attitude of hostility and suspicion to Western Europe is the same as hers, and he treats the Second Crusade with that Byzantine one-sidedness which we notice in her treatment of the First; he affects the same purism of style. But he is free from her vice of long-windedness; there is (as Krumbacher has put it) a certain soldier-like brevity both in his way of apprehending and in his way of relating. As a military historian he is excellent; and he rises with enthusiasm to the ideas of his master. [In the Bonn series, 1836. Study of the work in C. Neumann, Gr. Geschichtschreiber und Geschichtsquellen im 12 Jahrhundert, 1888.]
Nicetas Acominatos (of Chonæ). Nicetas filled most important ministerial posts under the Angeli, finally attaining to that of Great Logothete. He was witness of the Latin conquest of Constantinople, and afterwards joined the court of Theodore Lascaris at Nicæa. He was the younger brother of Michael Acominatos, archbishop of Athens, who was also a man of letters. The historical work of Nicetas (in twenty-one Books) begins where Anna Comnena ended, and thus covers the same ground as Cinnamus, but carries the story on to 1206. But he was not acquainted with the work of Cinnamus; and for John and Manuel he is quite independent of other extant sources. He differs remarkably from Anna and Cinnamus in his tone towards the Crusaders, to whom he is surprisingly fair. Nicetas also wrote a well-known little book on the statues destroyed at Constantinople by the Latins in 1204. See further below, vol. x. cap. lx. ad fin. [Ed. Bonn, 1835, including the essay De Signis. Panegyrics addressed to Alexius Comnenus II., Isaac Angelus, Theodore Lascaris, and published in Sathas, Bibl. Gr. med. aevi. vol. i. Monograph by Th. Uspensky (1874). Cp. C. Neumann, op. cit.]
Another continuator of Theophanes arose in the eleventh century in the person of John Scylitzes (a curopalates and drungarios of the guard), a contemporary of Psellus. Beginning with 811 (two years before Theophanes ends) he brought his chronicle down to 1079. His chief sources are the Scriptores post Theophanem, Leo Diaconus, and Attaleiates; but he used other sources which are unknown to us, and for his own time oral information. His preface contains an extremely interesting criticism on the historiographers who had dealt with his period. Since Theophanes, he says, there has been no satisfactory epitome of history. The works of “the Siceliot teacher” (a mysterious person whose identity has not been established)26 and “our contemporary Psellus” are not serious, and are merely bare records of the succession of the Emperors — who came after whom — and leave out all the important events. This notice is very important; the criticism cannot apply to the Chronography of Psellus which we possess, and therefore suggests that Psellus wrote a brief epitome of history which began at 813, and is now lost. Other historians have treated only short periods or episodes, like Genesius, Theodore Daphnopates, Leo Diaconus, and others; and all these have written with a purpose or tendency — one to praise an Emperor, another to blame a Patriarch. The whole text of Scylitzes has not yet been published, but is accessible for historical purposes in the Latin translation of B. Gabius (Venice, 1570), combined with the chronicle of Cedrenus, which (see below) contains practically a second ed. of Scylitzes up to 1057. The Greek text of the latter part of the work, 1057-1079, is printed in the Paris Byzantine series, and reprinted in the Bonn collection, along with Cedrenus. A complete critical edition is being prepared by J. Seger. [On sources, &c. consult Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien.]
The Historical Synopsis of George Cedrenus (c. 1100 ), from the creation to 1057, is a compilation, in its earlier part, up to 811, from Theophanes, George Monachus, Symeon Magister, and above all, the Psuedo-Symeon (see above). From 811 to the end Cedrenus merely wrote out Scylitzes word for word. [Bonn edition in two vols., 1838-9. Cp. Hirsch, op. cit.]
John Zonaras, who flourished in the first half of the twelfth century, held important posts in the Imperial service (Great Drungarios of the Guard, and chief of the secretarial staff), and then retired to St. Glyceria (one of the Princes’ Islands), where as a monk he reluctantly yielded to the pressure of his friends to compose a profane history. The work begins with the creation and ends in the year 1118. In form it differs completely from such works as the Chronicles of Theophanes or Scylitzes. Zonaras never copies his sources word for word; he always puts their statements in his own way. But this mode of operation is purely formal and not critical; it is merely a question of style; he does not sift his material or bring intelligence to bear on his narrative. Yet he took more pains to collect material than many of his craftsmen; he did not content himself with one or two universal histories such as George Monachus; and he complains of his difficulty in getting books. His work has great importance from the fact that it has preserved the first twenty-one Books of Dion Cassius, otherwise lost. For the second half of the fifth and the first half of the sixth century Zonaras has some important notices derived from a lost source; though for the most part he follows Theophanes. For the last three centuries of his work Zonaras used George Monachus and the Logothete’s Continuation, the Continuation of Theophanes, Scylitzes, Psellus, &c. [The Bonn ed. contained only Bks. 1-12 (1841-4) till 1896, when the third and concluding volume was added by T. Buttner-Wobst. There is also a complete edition by L. Dindorf in six volumes (1868-75). On the sources of Zonaras from 450-811 the chief work is P. Sauerbrei, De fontibus Zon. quaestiones selectae (in Comment. phil. Jen. i. 1 sqq.), 1881; on the period 813-965, Hirsch, op. cit. For earlier Roman history there is a considerable literature on Zonaras. Cp. Krumbacher, op. cit. p. 375.]
Among the compilations which supplied Zonaras with material is a (nonextant) Chronicle, which is defined as a common source of Zonaras and a work known as the Synopsis Sathas, because M. C. Sathas first edited it from a Venetian MS. (1894; Bibl. Gr. med. aevi, vol. vii.). This “Chronological Synopsis” reaches from the creation to 1261. It is closely related to the (not yet published) chronicle of Theodore of Cyzicus which covers the same ground. On the common source, and the sources of that common source, see E. Patzig, Ueber einige Quellen des Zonaras, in Byz. Zeitsch. 5, p. 24 sqq. The author of the Synopsis lived in the latter part of the thirteenth century. The range of the chronicle will be understood when it is said that more than two thirds of it are devoted to the last two hundred years.
The chronicle which served as common source to both Zonaras and the Synopsis was also used by a contemporary of Zonaras, Constantine Manasses, who treated the history of the world from its creation to the death of Nicephorus III. (1081) in “political” verses. (Other sources: Dionysius of Halicarnassus, John Lydus, John of Antioch, Pseudo-Symeon.) This versified chronicle was very popular, it was translated into Slavonic, and was one of the chief sources of a chronicle written in colloquial Greek (see K. Prächter, Byz. Zeitsch. 4, p. 272 sqq., 1895). Published in the Bonn series along with the worthless chronicle of Joel (thirteenth century; sources: George the Monk, the Logothete’s Continuation, Scylitzes). See Hirsch, op. cit.
Another chronographer contemporary with Zonaras was Michael Glykas. Of his life little is known except that he was a “secretary,” and that for some reason he was imprisoned and “blinded,” though not with fatal consequences to his eyesight. His chronicle (from the creation), of which Part iv. reaches from Constantine the Great to the death of Alexius I. (1118), differs considerably in general conception from other chronicles, and is marked, as Krumbacher has well pointed out, by three original features: digressions on (1) natural history and (2) theology, whereby the thread of the chronicle is often lost, and (3) the didactic form of the work, which is addressed to his son. The sources of the latter part are Zonaras, Scylitzes, Psellus, Manasses, Vita Ignatii. (Cp. Hirsch. op. cit.) On his life, chronicle, and other works, see Krumbacher’s monograph, Michael Glykas, 1895. [Edition, Bonn, 1836.]
[1 ]So Krumbacher, Gesch. der byz. Litt., ed. 2, p. 244; but I feel uncertain as to this conjecture. Theophanes and Menander must have been writing their books very much about the same time. It seems likely that Menander derived his account of the negotiations of the peace with Persia in 562 from a written relation by the ambassador Peter the Patrician (so too Krumbacher, p. 239).
[2 ]John calls himself “idol breaker,” and “teacher of the heathen.” We learn of his mission from his own work, Eccles. Hist. B. ii. 44 and iii. 36, 37. He had the administration of all the revenues of the Monophysites in Constantinople and everywhere else (B.V. 1).
[3 ]And in two MSS. in the British Museum.
[4 ]But Evagrius did not make such large use of Johannes as Theophylactus did; it was not his main material. For Bk. 5 he did not use Johannes at all. Cp. Adamek, Beitr. zur Geschichte des byz. Kaisers Mauricius, ii. p. 10-19.
[5 ]By L. Jeep (in 14 Supp.-Bd. der Jahrbb. f. Classische Philologie, p. 162 sqq.). Adamek argues sensibly against this view, op. cit. p. 4 sqq.
[6 ]The same Theodore is the author of a relation of the discovery of a coffer containing the Virgin’s miraculous robe in her Church at Blachernae, during the Avar siege of 619. The text is printed by Loparev (who wrongly refers it to the Russian siege of 860; he is corrected by Vasilievski, Viz. Vrem. iii. p. 83 sqq.) in Viz. Vrem. ii. p. 592 sqq.
[7 ]The metaphor of Scylla and Charybdis, in c. 9, recalls lines of the Bellum Avaricum of George of Pisidia (ll. 204 sqq.), as Mai noticed; but it may be a pure coincidence.
[8 ]John perhaps held his father’s post for a while. For the legend of his right hand see above, p. 322, note 22.
[9 ]Its genuineness has been questioned on insufficient grounds by the Oxford scholar H. Hody.
[10 ]Generally referred to as Breviarium Nicephori.
[11 ]The Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos states that Theophanes was his μητρόθειος, an uncle of his mother. De Adm. Imp. iii. p. 106, ed. Bonn.
[12 ]Ruins of the cloisters till exist. See T. E. Evangelides, ἡ μονὴ τη̂ς Σιγριανη̂ς, 1895.
[13 ]Read ἰνδικτιω̂νος ή (for ά) in De Boor’s ed. p. 356.
[14 ]Theodore was also celebrated as a composer of hymns; many of his hymns are extant. His brother Joseph must not be confounded with the Sicilian Joseph the hymnographer.
[15 ]Theodore and Theophanes were called Graptoi, “marked,” because the Emperor Theophilus branded twelve iambic trimeters on their foreheads.
[16 ]See Ehrhard, ap. Krumbacher, op. cit. p. 193 sqq.
[17 ]The Diêgêsis printed by Combefis, Auct. Nov. gr.-lat. patrum bibl., vol. ii. 715 sqq., is a late redaction which completely disfigures the original form and contains little of the Vita Theodoræ.
[18 ]The chief source of the compilation is the Continuation of Theophanes.
[19 ]There is another redaction known as the Pseudo-Polydeukes (because it was passed off as a work of Julius Polydeukes by a Greek copyist named Darmarios), but it breaks off in the reign of Valens, and therefore does not concern us here. See further Krumbacher, op. cit. p. 363, as to another unedited Chronicle of the same kin.
[20 ]The diataxis, or testamentary disposition, respecting these foundations, with inventories of the furniture, library, &c. is extant (ed. Sathas, Bibl. Gr. med. aevi, vol. i.). It is a very interesting document. Cp. W. Nissen, Die Diataxis des Michael Attal. von 1077 (1894).
[21 ]He was thinking doubtless of his own case when he wrote (p. 20, ed. Bonn) of the refusal of Isaac’s brother, John, to take the crown which Isaac pressed upon him. This is well remarked by Seger, Nikeph. Bryennios, p. 22.
[22 ]The Introduction to the work is, at all events partly, spurious.
[23 ]In chronology she is loose and inaccurate.
[24 ]The MS. is mutilated at the end; the original work doubtless ended with the death of Manuel; it was written not long after his death.
[25 ]Griechische Geschichtschreiber, &c. p. 79 sqq.
[26 ]He has, of course, been brought into connection with a certain John the Siceliot, who is named as the author of a chronicle in a Vienna and in a Vatican MS. The chronicle ascribed to him in the latter (Vat. Pal. 394) is merely a redaction of George Monachus. For the chronicle in Vindob. histor. Gr. 99, see Krumbacher, op. cit. p. 386-7.