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Chronicle of the Morea

(870 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 troops i…
Date: 2021-04-15

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: 2021-04-15

Agathias of Myrina

(454 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Agathias Scholastikos] 6th century. Byzantium (Asia Minor). Author of a
Date: 2021-04-15

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…
Date: 2021-04-15

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 rena…
Date: 2021-04-15

Melissourgos, Macarios

(450 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Melissenus] d. 1585. Greece. Archbishop of Monembasia and author of a counterfeited Chronicon maius in vernacular Greek prose, which was long ascribed to the 15th-century chronicler Georgios Sphrantzes.The view that Sphrantzes composed this chronicle originates with Melisourogos himself, and is rooted in the manuscripts, which give the work the title Χρονικὸν τοῦ Γεωργίου Φραντῆ τοῦ χρηματίσαντος πρωτοβεστιαρίτου καὶ μετέπειτα Μεγάλου Λογοθέτου, διὰ δὲ τοῦ θείου καὶ ἀγγελικοῦ σχήματος μετονομασθέν…
Date: 2021-04-15

Chronicle of 811

(255 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
Date: 2021-04-15

Kritoboulos, Michael

(359 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Kritopoulos] ca 1400 - after 1467. Byzantine, then Ottoman Empire. Kritoboulos whose Christian or monastic name Michael was taken from the sphere of legends, was born on the Island of Imbros (today Gökçeade) in the Aegean Sea. Any information we have about him is taken from his Greek-language history dedicated by a special letter to the sultan …
Date: 2021-04-15

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: 2021-04-15

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: 2021-04-15

Byzantine historiography

(5,113 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
Introduction: Historiography and ChronographyIn Byzantine historical writing we find two main text types which are also known in the literature of other cultures: on the one hand the narrative history which deals with a particular sequence of historical events, and on the other, the traditional annalistic chronicle, be it universal or more limited in scope. Both models can, of course, be traced back to precursors of the classical period or late antiquity; as we might expect, the Byzantine tradition…
Date: 2021-04-15

Brachéa Chroniká

(6,048 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Βραχέα Χρονικά (Short chronicles)] 10th-18th centuries. Byzantium and Post-Byzan…
Date: 2021-04-15

Procopius of Caesarea

(462 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
ca 500 – ca 565. Palestine. Procopius, who takes his cognomen from his native city of Caesaraea Maritima, was a historian par excellence, of enormous importance for the Byzantine traditions of historiography and chronography. Procopius was born about the end of the fifth century as member of the upper-class. Around 530, after completing studies in rhetoric and law, he assumed a position as lawyer (assessor) to General Belisarius, the magister militum
Date: 2021-04-15

Doukas

(493 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
ca 1400 - after 1462. Byzantium. A member of the influential Doukas family, and grandson of Michael Doukas, who was important in the Civil War of the 1340s. Neither his first name nor precise dates are known.Doukas composed a kind of universal chronicle with the title Ἀριθμοὶ ἐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ πρώτου ἀνθρώπου ἕως τῆς ἡμετέρας γενεᾶς (The total of all years beginning from the first man up to our generation), which is commonly and rightly seen by modern scholars as a history of the relations between Ottomans and Byzantines between the years 1341 and 1462. Thus we can find on the first two pages of the …
Date: 2021-04-15

Priscus of Panium

(539 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
fl. 448-71. Byzantium. Priscus was one of the most important Roman historians of the 5th century. According to the Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedia of the 10th century, he originated from the city of Panium in Thrace (today European Turkey). Some historical sources call him rhetor or sophistes suggesting that he has received a rhetorical education as was customary in his time.The first definitively-dated event of his life is his diplomatic mission of the year 448. In the service of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II (408-50), Priscus travelled together with his patron and f…
Date: 2021-04-15

Ekthesis chronike

(168 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Ἔκθεσις χρονική (Chronological consideration)] early or mid-16th century. Byzantium. An anonymous chronicle of the years 1392-1517. We do not know where it was composed, but it is written in a quite low level of style particularly close to the vernacular language. A later version was continued up to 1543.The chronicle records the last decades of Byzantium, as well as the Ottoman conquests in the Balkans and the social interaction of Christians and Ottomans after the fall of Constantinople (1453). Sources include Doukas and Georgios Sphrantzes. The text was later incorporated almost in its entirety into the History of the Patriarchs (1454-1578) composed by Manuel Malaxos (died ca 1581/82). The most important manuscripts are: Vatican, BAV, c…
Date: 2021-04-15

Attaliates, Michael

(518 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
ca 1028 - after 1085. Byzantium. Michael Attaleiates is one of those figures in the Byzantine society of the 11th century who were beneficiaries of the dynastic change from the Macedonian Emperors to the family Commenus, he was able to gain not only high official rank, but also extensive lands for his own use. Attaleitates was born in Constantinople. As his family name reveals, his forefathers migrated to the Byzantine capital from Attaleia (now Antalya, Asia Minor). After his training in rhetoric and law he made his fortune rapidly. About 1059 we can find him in the …
Date: 2021-04-15

Ioannes VI Kantakouzenos

(573 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Lars Martin
[Byzantine Emperor John VI] ca 1292-1383 (reigned 1347-54). Byzantium. The reign of Ioannes VI marks the beginning of the gradual mortal agony which started in the Byzantine Empire about 1350 and would last about 100 years. The first half of the 14th century had been characterised by long civil wars, and the hatred between noble families and different social groups. Ioannes Kantakouzenos was born in Constantinople and his family was closely related to the ruling dynasty of the Palaeologues. During the war between the Emperors Andronicus II (1272-1328) and Andronicus III (1322/28-134…
Date: 2021-04-15

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 Africanus and of Eusebius of Caesarea, though no borrowing can be verified. Lon…
Date: 2021-04-15

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 ki…
Date: 2021-04-15
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