Michael Choniates (or Acominatus) (Greek: Μιχαήλ
Χωνιάτης or Ἀκομινάτος) (c. 1140 – 1220),
Byzantine writer and ecclesiastic, was born at
Chonae (the ancient
Colossae). At an early age he studied at
Constantinople and was the
pupil of Eustathius of Thessalonica. Around 1175 he was appointed
archbishop of Athens, a position which he retained until 1204. In
1204, he defended the
Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis of Athens from attack by Leo Sgouros,
holding out until the arrival of the Crusaders in 1205, to whom he
surrendered the city. After the establishment of Latin control, he
retired to the island of Ceos. Around 1217 he moved again to the
Vodonitsa near the Thermopylae, where he died.
Though he is known to classical scholars as the last possessor of
complete versions of Callimachus' Hecale and Aitia, he was a
versatile writer, and composed homilies, speeches and poems, which,
with his correspondence, throw considerable light upon the miserable
condition of Attica and Athens at the time. His memorial to Alexios
III Angelos on the abuses of Byzantine administration, the poetical
lament over the degeneracy of Athens and the monodies on his brother
Nicetas and Eustathius, archbishop of Thessalonica, deserve special
It is believed that his daughter Constantina tutored, in Greek and
science, John of Basingstoke, Archdeacon of Leicester known for his
fluency in and advocacy of the Greek language. Michael's pupil
George Bardanes, who had accompanied him during his exile on Ceos,
became a distinguished bishop in subsequent years.
^ Kenneth M. Setton, "A Note on Michael Choniates, Archbishop of
Athens (1182-1204)", Speculum, 21 (1946), pp. 234-236
^ N.G. Wilson, Scholars of Byzantium 1983:204-06.
^ A.S. Hollis, "A New Fragment on Niobe and the Text of Propertius
2.20.8". The Classical Quarterly, New Series, 47.2 (1997:578-582).
^ Archer, Thomas Andrew (1885). "Basing, John". In Stephen,
Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 3. London: Smith, Elder
^ Macrides, R. J. (1991). "Bardanes, George". In Kazhdan, Alexander.
The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press.
pp. 254–255. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
Edition of his works by
Spyridon Lambros (1879-1880)
Migne, Patrologia Graeca, cxl.
Adolf Ellissen, Michael Akominatos (1846), containing several pieces
with German translation
Ferdinand Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Athen im Mittelalter, i,
George Finlay, History of Greece, iv. pp. 133–134 (1877).
Thallon, C. A Medieval Humanist: Michael Akominatos (New Haven, 1923)
(reprint New York, 1973).
Stadtmüller, G. "Michael Choniates, Metropolit von Athen," Orientalia
Christiana, 33,2 (1934), 125-325.
Setton, K. M. "Athens in the Later Twelfth Century," Speculum, XIX
Anthony Kaldellis, "Michael Choniates: a classicist-bishop and his
cathedral (1182–1205 AD)," in Idem, The Christian Parthenon:
Classicism and Pilgrimage in Byzantine Athens (Cambridge, Cambridge
University Press, 2009), 145-162.
Nario Gallina, "La reazione antiromana nell'epistolario di Michele
Coniata Metropolita d'Atene" in Gherardo Ortalli, Giorgio Ravegnani,
Peter Schreiner, eds. Quarta Crociata (Venice, 2006.
ISBN 88-88143-74-2) vol. 1 pp. 423–446
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Acominatus,
Michael". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University
Press. pp. 150–151.
Athanasios Angelou, «Rhetoric and History: Τhe case of Nicetas
Choniates», στο History as Literature in Byzantium, ed. Ruth
Macrides, Farnham, Ashgate 2010, σ. 289-305.
Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Metropolitan bishop of Athens
(in exile after 1205)
Title next held by
ISNI: 0000 0000 7973 0110
BNF: cb132074628 (data)
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