The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

560 GREEK LITERATURE.

and the fifteenth centuries. They may be divided into two classes : 1. The historians properly so called, whose collected works constitute a complete history of the Byzantine empire from the time of Constantine the Great to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks; and, 2. The gen­eral chroniclers, who have attempted to give a chronography of the world from the earliest times.

VIII. The historians are as follows:

1. joannes zonaras, of Constantinople, first an officer of the imperial court, and afterward a monk of Moudl Athos, lived in the twelfth century, under the Emperors Alexis I. Comnenus and Calo-Joannes. We have already mentioned him under the lexicographers of this period. He wrote a Chronicon (Xpow/coV), or "Annals of the World," in eighteen books. In the first part of his work he belongs to the class of general chroniclers or compilers ; but from the time of Constantine he treats more particularly of the history of the Eastern empire, which he brings down to the death of Alexis I. Comnenus, in 1118. In the latter part of his work, Zonaras wrote as an eye-witness of the events he describes, but with a brevity which is surprising, considering the many interesting and important oc­currences of his time. His deficiencies, however, in this respect, are am­ply supplied by Anna Comnena, the daughter of the Emperor Alexis. 2. nicetas acominatus (N*/c^Tas 'A/co^ij/cfo-os), also called choniates, because he was a native of Chonae, formerly Colossae, in Phrygia, one of the most important Byzantine historians, was born about the middle of the twelfth century, and filled several high offices at the court of Isaac Angelus (A.D. 1185-1195). He died at Nicaea in 1216. His " History" of the Byzan­tine emperors, in twenty-one books, begins with 1118 and ends with 1206. 3. nicephorus gregoras (NiKi}<j>dpos 6 Fpyyopas), of Heraclea Pontica, en­joyed the favor of Andronicus Palaeologus the elder; but, owing to the controversy between the Palamites and Acindynites, he was confined in a convent by the Patriarch in 1351. He was afterward released, and died in 1359. He wrote a Byzantine, or, as he styles it, a " Roman" history, in thirty-eight books, of which the first twenty-four only have been printed, containing the history of the Byzantine empire from 1204 to 1331. The fourteen remaining in MS. bring the history down to 1359. 4. laoni-cus, or nicolaus, chalcondyles (Aa6viKos, or Nj/«fo.aos, XaA/cor/SvA^y), of x\thens, a Byzantine historian of the fifteenth century, wrote a "History of the Turks, and of the Downfall of the Greek Empire," in ten books, to tl>e year 1462. An anonymous writer has continued the history of the Turks down to 1565.

IX. The four writers mentioned in the preceding paragraph form by themselves an entire history of the Byzantine empire, from the time of Constantine to the Turkish conquest. The following writers have treat­ed of detached periods of the same history, or have written the lives of particular emperors.1 5. procopius (npoKfaios), of Caesarea, in Palestine, the most celebrated of the Byzantine writers, was born at the beginning of the sixth century of our era, and wrote the " History of his own Time," in eight books, to the year 545. He also wrote a " Secret History" (Anec-

1 Penny Cyclopaedia, I. c.

Pages
About | Preface | Contents | Index

559

560

561
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.