Theophanes - Encyclopedia

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THEOPHANES, surnamed "the Confessor" (c. A.D. 758-817), Greek ascetic, chronicler and saint, belonged to a noble and wealthy family, and held several offices under Constantine V. Copronymus (741-775). He subsequently retired from the world and founded a monastery (roil MeyaXov 'A'ypoi) near Sigriane. 1 He was a strong supporter of the worship of images, and in 815 was summoned to Constantinople by Leo the Armenianj who formally ordered him to renounce his principles. Theophanes refused, and, after two years' imprisonment, was banished to the island of Samothrace, where he died. He subsequently received the honours of canonization. At the request of his dying friend, George the Syncellus, Theophanes undertook to continue his Chronicle, which he carried on from the accession of Diocletian to the downfall of Michael I. Rhangabes (284-813). The work, although wanting in critical insight and chronological accuracy, is of great value as supplying the accounts of lost authorities. The language occupies a place midway between the stiff ecclesiastical and the vulgar Greek. In chronology, in addition to reckoning by the years of the world and the Christian era, Theophanes introduces in tabular form the regnal years of the Roman emperors, of the Persian kings and Arab caliphs, and of the five oecumenical patriarchs, a system which leads to considerable confusion. The Chronicle was much used by succeeding chroniclers, and in 873-875 a compilation in barbarous Latin (in vol. ii. of De Boor's edition) was made by the papal librarian Anastasius from Nicephorus, George the Syncellus, and Theophanes for the use of a deacon named Johannes. The translation (or rather paraphrase) of Theophanes really begins with the reign of Justin II. (565), the excerpts from the earlier portion being scanty. At that time there were very few good Greek scholars in the West, and Anastasius shows himself no exception.

There is also extant a further continuation, in six books, of the Chronicle down to the year 961 by a number of mostly anonymous writers (called Oi µ.€Tit O€ i v, Scriptores post Theophanem), who undertook the work by the instructions of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.

Editions of the Chronicle: - Editio princeps, J. Goar (1655); J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, cviii.; J. Classen in Bonn Corpus Scriptorum Hist. Byzantinae (1839-41); and C. de Boor (1883-85), with an exhaustive treatise on the MS. and an elaborate index; see also the monograph by J. Pargoire, "Saint Theophane le Chronographe et ses rapports avec saint Theodore studite," in Bvi'avrcva Xpovucit, ix. (St Petersburg, 1902).

Editions of the Continuation in J. P. Migne, Patr. Gr., cix., and by I. Bekker, Bonn Corpus Scriptorum Hist. Byz. (1838); on both works and Theophanes generally, see C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897); Ein Dithyrambus auf Theophanes Confessor (a panegyric on Theophanes by a certain protoasecretis, or chief secretary, under Constantine Porphyrogenitus) and Eine neue Vita des Theophanes Confessor (anonymous), both edited by the same writer in Sitzungsberichte der philos.-philol. and 1 Near the village of Kurshunla, on the Sea of Marmora, between the site of the ancient Cyzicus and the mouth of the Rhyndacus, ruins of the monastery may still be seen; on the whole question see J. Pargoire's monograph, section 6 (see Bibliography).

der hist. Cl. der k. bayer. Akad. der Wissenschaften (18 9 6, pp. 5 8 3625; and 18 97, pp. 37 1 -399); Gibbon's Decline and Fall (ed. Bury), v. p. 500.

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