1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Theophanes

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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 (τΟύ Μεγάλον Άγρού) near Sigriane.[1] He was a. strong supporter of the worship of images, and in 815 was summoned to Constantinople by Leo the Armenian, 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 (q.v.), 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 still 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 ecumenical 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 Οί μετά θεοφάνην, Scriptores post Theophanem), who undertook the work by the instructions of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.

Editions of the Chronicle:-Editio prineeps, 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 Théophane le Chronographe et ses rapports avec saint Théodore studite, " in Βνξαντνά Χρονιεά, ix. (St Petersbur, 1902).

Editions of the Continuation in 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 proloasecretis, 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. und

der hist. CI. der k. bayer. Akad. der Wissenschaften (1896, pp. 583-625; and 1897, pp. 371-399); Gibbon's Decline and Fall (cd. Bury), v. p. 500.

  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).