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Zonaras

(424 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Ioannes (Ἰωάννης ὁ Ζωναρᾶς; Iōánnēs ho Zōnarâs). Byzantine historian and ecclesiastical jurist, head of the chancellery (Protasekretis) and high judge ( droungários tēs bíglēs) under the emperor Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118). After Alexius' death Z. became a monk, he died after 1159 (?). One of Z.' main works is his chronicle (Ἐπιτομὴ ἱστοριῶν/ Epitomḕ historiôn), the division of which into 18 bks. is not due to the author. It extends from the creation of the world until the year 1118. Its sources are largely known. For Graeco-Roman…

Selymbria

(218 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Byzantium | Xenophon | Colonization | Peloponnesian War | Persian Wars | Delian League | Athenian League (Second) (Σηλυμβρία/ Sēlymbría). City in Thrace on the Sea of Marmara, 60 km to the west of Byzantium/Constantinople, modern Silivri. The original Thracian settlement, whose name can be interpreted as 'city of Selys', was colonised by Greeks from Megara [2] even before Byzantium, i.e. c. 700-660 BC. S. was conquered by the Persians after the Ionian Revolt in 493 BC, was later a member of the Delian L…

Kedrenos Georgios

(100 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Author of a world chronicle ranging up to 1057, whose life remains altogether unknown. The chronicle is primarily based on the works of Theophanes, Ps.-Symeon Magistros and Georgius [5] Monachos, but also contains important information from otherwise unknown sources, e.g. regarding the history of the city of Constantinople. From 811 on, it renders the chronicle of Iohannes Skylitzes so accurately, that it could be used as a substitute until the new edition of Skylitzes' work was published. Georgius [5] Monachos; Skylitzes; Symeon Magistros; Theophanes Berger, Alb…

Fire, Greek

(102 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] A weapon of the Byzantine navy similar to a flame-thrower, first mentioned in the defence against the Arab attack on Constantinople in AD 674-678. Its mode of operation was successfully kept secret for several centuries. Presumably petroleum (extracted from natural sources) was heated in a pressure container, ejected with air pressure through a metal pipe and ignited. The flames continued to burn on the water and were hard to extinguish.  Callinicus [3] Berger, Albrecht (Berlin) Bibliography J. F. Haldon, M. Byrne, A Possible Solution to the Problem of Gree…

Lacapeni

(132 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] (Λακαπηνοί; Lakapēnoí). Byzantine imperial family of Armenian origin. Romanus I Lacapenus took the regency in AD 919 for Constantinus [9] VII. Porphyrogenetus, who was still a minor; he married the emperor to his daughter, had himself successively crowned co-emperor and emperor-in-chief in 920, forcing the emperor into the background by crowning his own sons Christophorus († 931), Stephanus and Constantinus co-emperors. In 944, Romanus I was deposed by his surviving sons, but they were themselves deposed in 945 by Constantine VII. Theophylactus, a younger son …

Psellos

(834 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] (Ψελλός/ Psellós). Byzantine writer, jurist and politician, b. Konstantinos P., c. AD 1018 at Constantinople. It is unclear whether P. (from ψελλίζειν/ psellízein, 'to lisp') was a personal byname or a family name. P. was an official at the imperial court from 1041, becoming imperial private secretary in 1043, quickly acquiring a great reputation as a teacher and receiving the title of 'consul of the philosophers' (ὕπατος τῶν φιλοσόφων/ hýpatos tôn philosóphōn) in 1045. Coming under suspicion of being an 'astrologer and heathen', he fell into disfavo…

Colonea

(101 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Byzantium Fortress, town and bishop's seat in the province of Pontus in the north-east of  Asia Minor, developed and extended during the reign of  Iustinian I and defended against the Arabs in AD 778 and 940; part of Turkey since 1071 (today Şebinkarahisar). The area around C. had economic importance because of the alum mining carried out there ( Alum) and was the centre of the  Paulician sect from the 7th to the 9th cents. Berger, Albrecht (Berlin) Bibliography A. Bryer, D. Winfield, The Byzantine Monuments and Topograp…

Constantinople

(2,525 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
Berger, Albrecht (Berlin) [German version] A. Introduction (CT) Constantinople's (C.) development as a city reached its zenith in the time of Justinian I (AD 527-565), though building activity continued until about 600. The deep political crisis which began in the Byzantine Empire after that had incisive results for C.: because of the Persian occupation of Egypt, grain deliveries ended in 618 and the aqueducts were destroyed in 626 during the siege by the Avars . The number of inhabitants, which was at …

Skylitzes, Iohannes

(351 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] (Σκυλίτζης/ Skylítzēs). Byzantine historian (second half of the 11th century AD), high court official in Constantinople, probably identical to a Iohannes Thracesius mentioned there in 1092 [6]. His so-called Synopsis Historiarum (Σύνοψις ἱστοριῶν/ Sýnopsis historiôn) appeared after 1070. It extends from 811 until 1057 and is conceived as a continuation of the Chronicle of Theophanes, whom in the foreword he singles out for praise in comparison with other historians (e.g. Psellos). Among his sources are e.g. 'Theop…

Strategikon

(260 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] (στρατηγικόν; stratēgikón). A military manual, also called Taktikón, with accounts of military tactics, training and leadership, and weapon and siege technology. From the Early Byzantine Period we have the Stratēgiká of Urbicius (c. AD 500), the Naumachíai of Syrianus Magister (6th cent., on naval warfare), an anonymous treatise, and, most importantly, the so-called Strategikon of Mauricius. Attribution of the latter text to the emperor Mauricius (582-602) is uncertain, although it must date from before the 630s, as the wars against t…

Nonnosus

(148 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Author of a lost Greek report on the travels of a legation to the ruler of Kinda in central Arabia and then to Ethiopia and southern Arabia in the year AD 530/1, the existence of which is known only from the  ‘Library of Photius (cod. 3). Similar journeys had been undertaken by 502 by N.'s grandfather Euphrasius, and several in 524 and later by his father Abram. According to Photius, the report emphasised the courage of N. in hazardous situations and contained information on the r…

Sclavinia

(283 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] (Σκλαβηνία/ Sklabēnía, Latin Sclavinia). A term, common since the 6th cent. AD in Greek and Latin, derived from the demonym Σκλαβηνοί/ Sklabēnoí or Sclavi (Slavs) and used to describe communities formed of Slav tribes inside and outside formerly Roman territories in the Balkan peninsula, Carinthia, Pannonia and Transsylvania. They were for the most part organised in warlike tribal associations without fixed territorial borders and also included members of non-Slavonic peoples; some were autonomous, othe…

Moschopoulos, Manuel

(160 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Byzantine philologist, lived c. AD 1265-1316, a pupil of Maximus Planudes. He was the author of the Erōtḗmata grammatiká (Ἐρωτήματα γραμματικά), a Greek grammar in the form of a dialogue, which was still respected by the early Humanists, and scholia on numerous ancient texts, including the first two books of the Iliad, Hesiod's Érga kai hēmérai, Pindar's ‘Olympian Odes, on the Byzantine Triad of Euripides ( Hekábē, Oréstēs, Phoiníssai) and of Sophocles ( Aías, Ēléktra, Oidípous Týrannos), also on works by Aristophanes [3], by Theocritus, the Batrachomyomachía , etc.…

Syrian dynasty

(796 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Dynasty (AD 717 to 802) during the Byzantine Empire (Byzantium), traditionally referred to as the 'Isaurian dynasty' (Isaurian emperors). The name is derived from the origin of its founder, Leo [6] III, who was from Germanicaea (modern-day Maraş) in northern Syria. The term 'Isaurian dynasty' goes back to the Chronicle of Theophanes (391,6 de Boor), according to which the emperor Leo III came from Isauria; its use was encouraged in polemics by later Byzantine historians opposing the iconoclastic religious policy of the SD. Durin…

Kaminiates, Iohannes

(128 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Author of an account of the conquest of Thessalonica by the Arabs in AD 904. Allegedly, K. was a cleric and an eyewitness of the events. The narrative of the conquest is preceded by a description of the city. The authenticity has been questioned in recent times; in reality, a text originating shortly after 904 was probably revised and enriched with contemporary details under the influence of the conquest of Thessalonica by the Ottomans in 1430. Berger, Albrecht (Berlin) Bibliography G. Böhlig (ed.), Ioannes Caminiates, De expugnatione Thessalonicae, 1973 Id., Die Einn…

Military lands

(225 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Inheritable lands owned by Byzantine soldiers, intended to enable them to defray their cost of living and maintain their accoutrements and a horse during times of peace. The institution of ML probably goes back to the 7th cent. AD, when the Byzantine state, as a result of economic necessity resulting from the wars against the Arabs, was forced to remunerate soldiers by land grants instead of cash [3. 619-621]. The term ML (στρατιωτικὰ κτήματα/ stratiōtikà ktḗmata) first appears in the 10th century in a novella of Constantine [9] VII (944-959), through wh…

Nomos stratiotikos

(129 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] (νόμος στρατιωτικός; nómos stratiōtikós). Byzantine collection of regulations on ‘military law’  compiled in the 6th and 8th cents. AD from the Corpus iuris civilis and other sources. The NS has survived in various versions, sometimes in military manuals, sometimes as an appendix to several Middle Byzantine statute books, frequently together with the nómos nautikós (‘maritime law’). According to the NS, crimes such as refusing to obey orders, desertion and looting were to be punished by death in wartime; offences in times of peace w…

Romania

(128 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] Colloquial Latin term for the Roman Empire, documented from the 4th cent. AD, in Greek (Ῥωμανία/ Rhōmanía) from the 6th cent. AD. In the western Middle Ages, the term refers merely to the area of the former Exarchate of Ravenna, present-day Romagna. In the east, the term continued to be reused in vernacular texts to refer to the Byzantine Empire (Byzantium) and was transferred from there, in the 11th cent., to the Sultanate of the Seljuq Turks of 'Rūm' in Asia Minor and in the 13th cent. to the so-called Latin Empire of the Crusaders in Constantinople and Greece. Berger, Albrec…

Syncellus

(321 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] [1] see Michael [2] See Michael [2]. Berger, Albrecht (Berlin) [German version] [2] Georgius S. (Γεώργιος Σύνκελλος; Geṓrgios Sýnkellos). Author of a Byzantine world-chronicle, written c. AD 810, extending from the creation of the world until the beginning of the reign of Diocletianus in AD 284. Little is known about his life; he lived for quite a long time as a monk in a monastery in Palestine and later became σύγκελλος/ sýnkellos ('cell companion', i.e. assistant and private secretary) of the patriarch Tarasius of Constantinople. The chronicle Ἐκλογὴ χρονογραφίας/ E…

Theme

(472 words)

Author(s): Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] (θέμα /théma, pl. thémata; literally: 'area of deployment' [6]). Byzantine administrative districts that replaced the Roman provincial divisions beginning in the 7th cent. AD: After the loss of Egypt and the Middle East (mid 7th cent. AD), the Roman troops were withdrawn to Asia Minor only to be re-deployed there in the four themes of Anatolia, Armenia, Thracia and Opsikion, each under the command of a strategos (Byzantium II. D. incl. map). By the mid 8th cent., the authority of the provincial administration had been complet…
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