The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

1200

TZETZES.

Irene Augusta, the wife of Manuel Comnenus, who died a. d. 1158. The father of Joannes Tzetzes was Michael Tzetzes. His mother's name was Eudocia {CM. v. 611). He was himself named after his paternal grandfather, a native of Byzan­tium, a man of some wealth, who, though not a learned man, showed great respect for scholars (ib. 615). His maternal grandmother was of a Basque or Iberian family. The earlier part of his life he spent with his brother Isaac at home, where they received various wholesome precepts from their father, urging them to prefer learning to riches, power, or precedence. (Chil. iii. 157, iv. 566, &c.) At the age of fifteen he was placed under the in­struction of tutors, who not only carried him through the usual routine of study, but taught him Hebrew and Syriac (comp. Chil. vi. 282). His writings bear evident traces of the extent of his acquirements in literature, science, and philosophy, and not less of the inordinate self-conceit with which they had filled him. He boasts of having the best memory of any living man. (Chil. i. 275, 545.) He stvles himself a second Cato or Pala-

s »/

medes (iii. 160); and says that he knows whole books off by heart (x. 681, comp. vi. 407, 475, viii. 182, ix.^752, x%340, 364, xii. 13, 118, Kal ftffa, a\\a €Tepa efleAot tis fJLavQaveiv^ et' airb ffr'fjOovs offiauev hsyeiv 7retpa0-0cw). Another sub­ject on which he glorifies himself is the rapidity with which he could write, comparing it to the speed of lightning (xii. 119, viii. 269, 526, Kal v6ti rb o^vrarov tt)s t^et^ov Siavoias). He talks of Tfer&Kas epew/asr, as models of investigation, eV attfirep r] aArjfleta e« xaoi/s avarpe^t (xii. 75, 126). It is not much to be wondered at that others had not so exalted an opinion of him as he had of himself (xii. 97). The neglect of his fellow-countrymen even excites in him the fear that Con­stantinople would be given up to the barbarians, and become itself barbarous (xii. 993, &c.). He complains with bitterness that the princes and great men of his age did not appreciate his merits, but left him to get a livelihood by transcribing and selling his writings, of which they nevertheless expected copies to be sent them gratis (v. 941, comp. ix. 369). He speaks of Irene Augusta as the only person of high station from whom he had received any thing (xi. 48), and even in this in­stance he complains that the sums promised him for his Homeric Allegories were kept back by those who should have paid him (ix. 282, &c.). Further biographical particulars have not come down to us.

A large part of the voluminous writings of Tzetzes is still extant. The following have been published. 1. 'IA.iaKa. This consists properly of three poems, collected in one under the titles T& irpb 'Ojurjpoy, ra 'Ou'fjpov, teal ra p,s& "Ourjpov. The first contains the whole Iliac cyclus, from the birth of Paris to the tenth year of the siege, when the Iliad begins. The second consists of an abridg­ment of the Ilia4. The third, like the work of Quintus Smyrnaeus,. is devoted to the occurrences which took place between the death of Hector and the return of the Greeks. The whole amounts to 1676 lines, and is written in hexameter metre. It is a very dull composition, all the merits that are to be found in which should be ascribed to the earlier poets from whom Tzetzes derived his mate­rials. Our knowledge of this composition is of comparatively recent date. A fragment of one hun-

TZETZES.

dred and forty-eight lines, from the Ante homer lea,

was published by F. Morel, under the title Iliacum

carmen Poetae Graeci cujus nomen ignoratur. A

fragment of twenty lines from the Posthomerica

was published by Dodwell in his Dissertationes de

veteribus Graecis et Romanis Cyclis^ p. 802. In

1770 G. B. von Schirach published from a manu-

script formerly at Augsburg, now at Munich, the

whole of the Antehomerica, with the exception of

about one hundred and seventy lines, a portion of

the Homerica, and the fragment of the Postho-

merica which had been published by Dodwell.

The missing portion of the Antehomerica, together

with the whole of the Posthomerica, was found in

a manuscript at Vienna by T. C. Tychsen, who

sent a copy of it to F. Jacobs. A copy of a manu-

script of the Homerica was obtained from England,

and. a complete edition of the three poems was

published by Jacobs in 1793, with a commentary.

A more correct edition is that of Immanuel Bekker

(Berlin, 1816). 2. Another extensive work of

Tzetzes is that known by the name of Chiliades^

consisting in its present form of 12,661 lines. The

name CMliades was given to it by the first editor,

Nic. Gerbelius, who divided it, without reference

to the contents, into thirteen divisions of 1000

lines, the last being incomplete. Tzetzes himself

called it /8i£Aos IffropcK'fj, and divided it into three

Trij/aK€s, as he termed them ; the first of which

contains one hundred and forty-one narrations, and

ends at Chil. iv. 1. 466. Hereupon follows an

epistle to one Joannes Lachanes, in which the

contents of the first table are repeated and accom-

panied with moral observations. The second

7nVa£ extends from Chil. iv. 1. 781 to Chil. v. 192,

and contains twenty- three narratives. The third

contains four hundred aud ninety-six stories. It

consists of six hundred and sixty chapters or divi-

sions, separated into three masses. Its subject-

matter is of the most miscellaneous kind, but em-

braces chiefly mythological and historical narra-

tives, arranged under separate titles, and without

any further connection. The following are a few

of them, as they occur : Croesus, Midas, Gyges,

Codrus, Alcmaeon, the sons of Boreas, Euphorbus,

Narcissus, Nireus, Hyacinthus, Orpheus, Amphion,

the Sirens, Marsyas, Terpander, Arion, the golden

lamb of Atreus, the bull of Minos, the dog of

Cephalus, Megacles, Cimon, Aristopatira, the

victories of Simonidea, Stesichorus, Tyrtaeus, Han-

nibal, Bucephalus, the clothes of the Sybarite An-

tisthenes, Xerxes, Cleopatra, the Pharos at Alex-

andria, Trajanus and his bridge over the Danube,

Archimedes, Hercules, &c.

It is an uncritical gossiping book, written in bad Greek in that abominable make-believe of a metre, called political verse (fjuaj-evuevoi ffrixoi^ Chil. ix. 283), of which the following is a sample : —

olSas

T6

OVTWS 6TOI/KOS

6/C

Se yap nvijuovetTTCpov tow t^et^ou frebs a\\oir avSpa twv irpiv re Kal t&v vvv e£e</>rj»>ej/ e*> jSi'qu.

(Chil. i. 275.)

It is followed by an appendix, in iambics, and some prose epistles. It contains, however, a great deal of curious and valuable information, though, as Heyne has shown, the bulk of it was obtained by Tzetzes at second hand. Fabricius (Bibl. Grace. xi. p. 243, &c.) has a list of above 400 writer* quoted by Tzetzes in this work. The author ap-

Pages
About | First

1198

1199

1200
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.