The Info List - Theophylact Simocatta

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Theophylact Simocatta
Theophylact Simocatta
(Byzantine Greek: Θεοφύλακτος Σιμοκάτ(τ)ης Theophylaktos Simokat(t)es; Latin: Theophylactus Simocattus)[1] was an early seventh-century Byzantine historiographer, arguably ranking as the last historian of Late Antiquity, writing in the time of Heraclius
(c. 630) about the late Emperor Maurice (582–602).[2]


1 Life 2 Notes 3 References 4 External links


Byzantine Emperor Heraclius
receiving the submission of the Sassanid king Khosrau II
Khosrau II
– during Simocatta's times (plaque from a cross. Champlevé enamel over gilt copper, 1160–1170, Meuse Valley). Housed at the Louvre.

Simocatta is best known as the author of a history in eight books, of the reign of the emperor Maurice (582–602), for which period he is the best and oldest authority. However, his work is of lesser stature than that of Procopius
and his self-consciously classicizing style is pompous, but he is an important source of information concerning the seventh-century Slavs, the Avars and the Persians, and the emperor's tragic end.[3] He mentions the war of Heraclius
against the Persians (610–28), but not that against the Arabs (beginning 634), so it is likely that he was writing around 630. Among his sources he used the history of John of Epiphania. Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon

His want of judgement renders him diffuse in trifles and concise in the most interesting facts.[4]

This notwithstanding, Simocatta's general trustworthiness is admitted. The history contains an introduction in the form of a dialogue between History
and Philosophy. Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus
translated Greek verses by Theophylact into Latin prose and had his translation, dedicated to his uncle Lucas Watzenrode, published in Kraków
in 1509 by Johann Haller. It was the only book that Copernicus
ever brought out on his own account.[5] Simocatta was also the author of Physical Problems, a work on natural history,[6] and of a collection of 85 essays in epistolary form.[7] In regards to the Far East, Simocatta wrote a generally accurate depiction of the reunification of China by Emperor Wen (r. 581-604 AD) of the Sui Dynasty, with the conquest of the rival Chen Dynasty
Chen Dynasty
in southern China, correctly placing these events within the reign period of Byzantine ruler Maurice.[8] Simocatta also provided cursory information about the geography of China along with its customs and culture, deeming its people "idolatrous" but wise in governance.[8] He also related how the ruler was named Taisson, the meaning of which was "Son of God", possibly derived from Chinese Tianzi (Son of Heaven, a title of the emperor of China) or even the name of the contemporaneous ruler Emperor Taizong of Tang.[9] Notes[edit]

^ "Snub-nosed cat". Other forms of the name are Simocattos and Simocatos. ^ J.D.C. Frendo, " History
and Panegyric in the Age of Heraclius: The Literary Background to the Composition of the 'Histories' of Theophylact Simocatta", Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 1988. ^ Important editions published in 1609, ed. pr. by J. Pontanus, and C.G. de Boor in 1887. ^ E. Gibbon, The History
Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, The Folio Society (1997), s.v. "Simocatta". ^ Angus Armitage, The World of Copernicus, pp. 75–77. ^ Cf. ed. J. Ideler in Physici et medici Graeci minores, i. 1841. ^ The best edition was published in 1873 by R. Hercher in Epistolographi Graeci. The letters were translated into Latin
by Copernicus
in 1509, reprinted in 1873 by F. Hipler in Spicilegium Copernicanum. ^ a b Yule (1915), pp 29-31. ^ Yule (1915), p. 29, footnote #4.


Michael and Mary Whitby, translators, The History
of Theophylact Simocatta: An English Translation with Introduction, Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-19-822799-X, 9780198227991 Angus Armitage, The World of Copernicus, New York, Mentor Books, 1947. Yule, Henry (1915). Henri Cordier (ed.), Cathay and the Way Thither: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol I: Preliminary Essay on the Intercourse Between China and the Western Nations Previous to the Discovery of the Cape Route. London: Hakluyt Society. Accessed 21 September 2016.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Simocatta, Theophylact". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 124. 

External links[edit]

Whitby, Michael (2015). "THEOPHYLACT SIMOCATTA". Encyclopaedia Iranica.  Greek Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Graeca with analytical indexes Raw Greek OCR of Carl de Boor's Teubner edition Theophylacti Simocattae Historiae (1887) from the Lace collection at Mount Allison University.

v t e

Byzantine historians

5th century

Malchus Panodorus of Alexandria Priscus

6th century

Agathias Evagrius Scholasticus Hesychius of Miletus John of Ephesus John of Epiphania Jordanes John Malalas Liberatus of Carthage Marcellinus Comes Menander Protector Peter the Patrician Procopius Theodorus Lector Theophanes of Byzantium Zacharias Rhetor Zosimus

7th century

Trajan the Patrician Theophylact Simocatta John of Antioch

8th century

Hippolytus of Thebes

9th century

Theophanes the Confessor George Syncellus Nikephoros I of Constantinople George Hamartolos

10th century

Constantine VII Joseph Genesius John Kaminiates Leo the Deacon Symeon the Metaphrast Theophanes Continuatus

11th century

Michael Attaleiates George Kedrenos Michael Psellos John Skylitzes John Xiphilinus Yahya of Antioch

12th century

Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger Niketas Choniates Eustathius of Thessalonica Michael Glycas Anna Komnene John Kinnamos Constantine Manasses Joannes Zonaras

13th century

George Akropolites

14th century

Nicephorus Gregoras Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos George Pachymeres Michael Panaretos

15th century

John Anagnostes John Cananus Laonikos Chalkokondyles Michael Critobulus Doukas George Sphrantzes

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 22277871 LCCN: n85238591 ISNI: 0000 0001 1827 3291 GND: 118621807 SELIBR: 96548 SUDOC: 027984966 BNF: cb130917160 (data) NKC: jn20000701639 ICCU