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Leo I

(2,842 words)

Author(s): Neil, Bronwen
Little is known of Leo’s life before he entered the pontificate on Sep 29, 440 CE. The  Liber Pontificalis relates that Leo was born in Tuscia, the son of a Quintianus who is otherwise unknown. It seems that Leo served as archdeacon under Sixtus III (432–440 CE), in which role he would have received valuable training for the office of bishop. This was a common career path in the papal service. From Sixtus III, he inherited an ongoing major building program within the city and divisions within the urban population…
Date: 2019-08-09

Apocrisarius

(1,478 words)

Author(s): | Neil, Bronwen
The apocrisiarius (lit. “answerer”) was the point of contact among the four patriarchates of Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, and the headquarters of the imperial church in Constantinople. Extant from the 5th century CE, the office was institutionalized in law under Justinian Ia (527–565 CE). The apocrisiarius could be a cleric functioning as the diplomatic representative or legate of a bishop of the patriarch to the Byzantine imperial court, or his permanent representative resident in …
Date: 2019-08-09

Cubicularius

(838 words)

Author(s): | Neil, Bronwen
The office of cubicularius, or chamberlain, was named after the bedchamber or living quarters in which he originally served. The office was founded in the Roman Republic and had become a regular fixture by the imperial period, when a large team of cubicularii served Roman emperors in their living quarters, each group of ten being headed by a decurion (Collins, 2008, 391–392). This intimacy provided plenty of opportunity for treachery, and Domitian is reported to have been assassinated by a decurion of the chamberlains ( decurio cubiculariorum, Suet. Dom. 17.2; see Collins, 2008, 38…
Date: 2019-08-09

Pelagius I

(1,720 words)

Author(s): Neil, Bronwen
Pelagius I (556–561 CE) was long thought to have held the see of Rome from 555 to 560 CE, but the correct dates were established by P.M. Gassó and C.M. Batlle (1956), editors of the sole modern edition of Pelagius’ letters. The confusion over his dates is a sign of the tumult of the times. In the first half of the 6th century CE, socioeconomic conditions had worsened in Italy, as the Gothic war left many dioceses unable to provide for their clergy or others in their district. Nevertheless, 96 le…
Date: 2019-08-09

 Chronographia tripertita

(1,112 words)

Author(s): Neil, Bronwen
- Anastasius Bibliothecarius Date: 871-74 Original Language: Greek Description The Chronographia tripertita is made up of excerpts from three ninth-century iconophile sources: 1. Nicephorus of Constantinople’s Chronographikon Syntomon, a series of date tables for various significant figures in the history of the world, from Adam and the Jewish patriarchs, to the Byzantine emperors up to Michael III, and empresses of Byzantium up to Eudocia, as well as lists of the books of the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha. The sec…

Anastasius Bibliothecarius

(555 words)

Author(s): Neil, Bronwen
Biography Anastasius was brought up in Rome with Latin as his mother tongue, and acquired some knowledge of Greek at an early age. Created cardinal by Pope Leo IV in 847 or 848, Anastasius joined the imperial party opposed to Pope Leo and was exiled and excommunicated. Upon Leo's death in July 855, Anastasius marched on Rome with an army in an attempt to install himself on the papal throne. After only three days he was deposed by supporters of Benedict III. He was later readmitted to lay communion by Benedict.   Soon after the inauguration of Pope Hadrian II on 14 December 867, Anastas…