George the Monk - Encyclopedia




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GEORGE THE MONK [GEORGIOS MoNACxos], called Hamartolos (Greek for "sinner"), Byzantine chronicler, lived during the reign of Michael III. (842-867). He wrote a Chronicle of events, in four books, from the creation of the world to the death of the emperor Theophilus (842), whose widow Theodora restored the worship of images in the same year. It is the only original contemporary authority for the years 813-842, and therefore so far indispensable; the early parts of the work are merely a compilation. In the introduction the author disclaims all pretensions to literary style, and declares that his only object was to relate such things as were "useful and necessary" with a strict adherence to truth. Far too much attention, however, is devoted to religious matters; the iconoclasts are fiercely attacked, and the whole is interlarded with theological discussions and quotations from the fathers. The work was very popular, and translations of it served as models for Slavonic writers. The MSS. give a continuation down to 948, the author of which is indicated simply as "the logothete," by whom probably Symeon Metaphrastes (second half of the Loth century) is meant. In this religious questions are relegated to the background, more attention is devoted to political history, and the language is more popular. Still further continuations of little value go down to 1143. The large circulation of the work and its subsequent reissues, with alterations and interpolations, make it very difficult to arrive at the original text.

Editions: E. de Muralt (St Petersburg, 1859); J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, ex.; C. de Boor (in Teubner series, 1904 -)See F. Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien (1876); C. de Boor in Historische Untersuchungen (in honour of Arnold Schafer, Bonn, 1882); C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897).

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