Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Theophilus

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From volume XXIII of the work.
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THEOPHILUS. Nicholas Alemanni, in his notes to the first edition of the Anecdota of Procopius (see Procopius), published in 1623, repeatedly quotes a Life of Justinian, which he attributes to "Theophilus Abbas, prseceptor Justiniani," but without telling us where he found this Life or who Theophilus was. Subsequent writers have continued to quote Theophilus from Alemanni's notes for the facts ascribed to him in those notes, and, among others, for the name Upravda, said to have been the original name of Justinian, and other proper names of members of the family of that emperor. Mr Bryce has, since the article Justinian was published, discovered in the Barberini library at Rome what appears to be the MS. of the so-called Life of Justinian used by Alemanni. It is in Latin, and purports to be an extract made by Ivan Tomco Marnavich, a Croatian ecclesiastic (1573–1639), from a Life of Justinian by a certain Bogomil (Græce Theophilus), who is alleged to have been the instructor of Justinian, and abbot of St Alexander at Prisrend (in Macedonia), and afterwards bishop of Sardica (now Sofia, in Bulgaria), the original of which Life, in Slavonic, is stated in the Barberini MS. to exist in the Slavonic monastery of Basilian monks on Mount Athos. No such Slavonic MS. (so far as is known) has ever been discovered in Athos or elsewhere; no Slavonic MS. of the age of Justinian could possibly exist; and the contents of the Latin extract preserved at Rome are of so legendary a character as to throw the greatest doubt on the facts cited from Theophilus by Alemanni, including the name Upravda above referred to, and the Slavonic origin of Justinian. It seems doubtful whether this Theophilus Abbas, whom the Roman MS. identifies with a certain Domnio, bishop of Sardica in 517 (see Marcellinus Comes, Chronicon, ad ann. 517), ever existed at all. Mr Bryce has printed this Roman MS., with his observations thereon, in the Archivio Storico of the R. Società Romana di Storia Patria, 1887.