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 Epistolē pros tous Nikaias Epistolē didaskalikē pros pantas tous hypʼ autou poimanomenous Christianous peri hypomonēs kai makrothymias Epistolē didaskalikē pros tous hiereis kai loipous klērikous tēs katʼ auton hagias Ekklēsias

(921 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘Letter to the Christians of Nicea’; ‘Letter of teaching to all Christians under his pastoral care on patient endurance and long-suffering’; ‘Letter of teaching to the priests and to the other members of the clergy of his holy Church’ Theophanes of Nicea Date: Between 1364 and 1380 Original Language: Greek Description Theophanes wrote three letters: to the Christians of Nicea, to the Christians of Prusa, Nicea and surroundings, and to the clergy of his diocese. He probably wrote the first in the time between his appointment and his consecration (it was sent in the autumn of 1368; PG 150, co…

Manuel II Palaeologus

(1,464 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Manuēl Palaiologos Date of Birth: 27 June 1350 Place of Birth: Constantinople Date of Death: 21 July 1425 Place of Death: Constantinople Biography Manuel Palaeologus was the second son of Emperor John V Palaeologus (1341-91) and Helen Cantacuzena. In 1369, John V appointed him as administrator in Thessaloniki. In the winter of 1370/71, he travelled to Venice to rescue his father from his financial difficulties and to facilitate his return to Constantinople. After suppressing the revolt led by Andronicus IV Palaeologus and Sawji Celebi against John V and Sultan Murad…

 Peri tēs monēs hodou pros tēn sōtērian tōn anthrōpōn. Deuteron edothē touto, ezētēthē gar anti tou prōtou, syntomōteron kai saphesteron

(995 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
ʻOn the only way to salvation for humankind. This was given as a second version, because it was ordered in a shorter and clearer version than the firstʼ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: 1455/56 Original Language: Greek Description Mehmed thought that the original ʻOn the only way to salvation for humankindʼ was too long and bulky and requested a shorter version. Gennadius therefore wrote this shorter version, probably in 1455 or the beginning of 1456, summarizing the most important Christian beliefs (the full title in manuscripts of the Ottoman Turkish translation is: Tou soph ōtatou kai l…

 Symbouleutikos pros tous Thessalonikeis

(519 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
ʻDiscourse of counsel to the Thessalonians' Manuel II Palaeologus Date: Most probably autumn 1383 Original Language: Greek Description After the siege of Thessaloniki by the Ottoman army at the end of September/beginning of October 1383, the Ottomans demanded the inhabitants’ submission to the sultan and payment of tribute. Manuel called the inhabitants of the city together ( syllogos) and outlined the measures they should take in order to avoid such a humiliation. The surrounding towns, he said, had been conquered because they had not given one anoth…

 Gennadiou thrēnos

(443 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
ʻGennadius’s lamentationʼ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: June 21, 1460 Original Language: Greek Description In this work, Gennadius laments not only his personal fate but also that of his people. He does not know what he should complain about more, the physical enslavement of the Greeks or the corruption of their souls, the excesses of the barbarians or the errors in the souls of the faithful, the humiliation of the Church or the folly of its leaders. Many Christians fall away day by day, while those who adhe…

 Apologiai tessares, Logoi tessares kata Moameth

(1,933 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘Four apologies', 'Four orations against Muḥammad’ John VI Cantacuzenus Date: Before June 1373 Original Language: Greek Description These four extensive apologies and significantly shorter orations against Muḥammad (Förstel, Johannes Kantakuzenos, pp. 2-233 and 235-415 respectively) are undoubtedly by Cantacuzenus. The three oldest manuscripts containing them were copied during his lifetime, between 1373 and 1375, and are more or less autographs (Todt, Kantakouzenos, pp. 135-40). Since they are found together in all manuscripts, they can be regarded as a …

 'Sur la rareté des miracles au temps présent' (title in the modern edition)

(384 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘On the rarity of miracles in the present time’ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: Between about 1457 and 1470, possibly 1460 Original Language: Greek Description Little is known about the circumstances of this work. Its original title (if it had one) is lost, and there is uncertainty about the time of writing. Vryonis suggests between 1457 and 1470, while Blanchet dates it to about 1460. When he wrote it, Gennadius evidently had in mind Christians whose faith had been thrown into doubt. He begins by reflecting a view expressed by many, that, while in earlier times God sent mirac…

Life of Theodore, bishop of Edessa

(377 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Unknown author Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: According to the Vita, the probably fictional author was born in Edessa Date of Death: Unknown Place of Death: Unknown Biography The title of the Vita informs us that its author was named Basil, was from Edessa, and was Melkite bishop of Emesa. (Note that in the Arabic version Basil is said to be the bishop of Manbij rather than of Homs.) If this is true, he would have lived in the 9th century. He himself states in ch. 2 that he is the son of Theodore’s elder sister, and thus his nephew. He says that when Theodore travele…

Gennadius II Scholarius

(1,233 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Gennadios II Scholarios, Geōrgios Kourtesēs Scholarios (monastic name Gennadius) Date of Birth: Between 1400 and 1405 Place of Birth: Constantinople Date of Death: Before October 1474 Place of Death: Monastery of St John Prodromos (the Baptist), Mount Menoikeus near Serres, Macedonia Biography Born in Constantinople between 1400 and 1405, Georgius Scholarius studied under Marcus Eugenicus (later metropolitan of Ephesus), John Chortasmenus, Joseph Bryennius, and Macarius Macres. He had a good knowledge of Latin and Western scholastic the…

 Gennadiou tou patriarchou epi tē halōsei tēs poleōs kai tē paraitēsei tēs archierosynēs

(537 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘Gennadius the Patriarch on the capture of the city and resignation from the archiepiscopate’ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: Late summer or autumn 1454 (before October) Original Language: Greek Description According to Blanchet, Scholarius wrote this work in his new official residence, the monastery of Theotokos Pammakaristos, in the late summer or autumn of 1454. It concerns the fall of Constantinople and his intention to resign as patriarch. He begins by apologizing for his long silence about the fall of the city and its c…

 Tō timiōtatō en monachois kyr Maximō kai pasi tois enaskoumenois tē hagia monē tou Sina hosiōtatois hieromonachois kai monachois

(418 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘Letter to the most honourable monk Maximus and to all the most holy monk-priests and monks training in virtue in the monastery of Sinai’ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: Between 1454 and 1456 Original Language: Greek Description In this letter, Gennadius replies to complaints voiced by the monks of St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, who object to pilgrims from the Latin and Armenian churches receiving communion at their liturgies, and to the sin of purchasing ecclesiastical offices, which they witness in the Constantinople and Jerusal…

 Historion biblia tessara

(1,866 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
ʻFour books of historyʼ John VI Cantacuzenus Date: Between 1363 and 1369 Original Language: Greek Description In his extensive four-volume history, John Cantacuzenus gives an account of the years 1321-1356/1363. Since he himself played a prominent part in the events of these years, the work is autobiographical and partly apologetic in character. Cantacuzenus first tries to prove that his close relationship with Emperor Andronicus III Palaeologus gave him a legitimate claim to act as regent for his child heir, J…

Islam and Muslims in Byzantine historiography of the 10th-15th centuries

(4,908 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Byzantine historians writing in Greek used a great number of designations for Muslims. Some were derived from the Old Testament, such as Agarēnoi and Ismaēlitai, descendants of Hagar and of her son Ishmael, who were driven out by Abraham after the birth of Isaac (Genesis 16; 17:20, 23, 25-26; 21:9-21). These designations were used for Muslims of various ethnic origins. Other terms, such as Arabes or Sarakēnoi, had already been used in Ancient Greek literature and had then been defined ethnically, but were now employed synonymously with Agarēnoi, as in the report in Theophanes continuatu…

 Bios kai politeia tou en hagiois patros hēmōn Theodōrou tu dialampsantos en askēsei kata tēn megistēn lauran tou hagiou Saba, epeita gegonotos archiepiskopou poleōs Edesēs, kai axiomnēmoneuta katorthōkotos erga

(1,517 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Life and conduct of our holy father Theodore, who shone in asceticism in the great Laura of the Holy Sabas, and then became archbishop of the city of Edessa and was the author of deeds worthy of remembrance Life of Theodore, bishop of Edessa Date: Before 1023 Original Language: Greek Description According to the Vita, Theodore came from a noble Melkite family in Edessa and was baptized by the bishop of the city when he was two years old. After the death of his parents, when he was 20, he entered the Laura of St Sabas where, thanks to his excellent conduct, the abbot John made him oikonomos. After the…

 Kanōn paraklētikos eis tēn hyperagian hēmōn Despoinan Theotokon hyper tōn nun peristaseōn

(350 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘Canon to our most holy Lady, the Mother of God, for aid in the present circumstances’ Manuel II Palaeologus Date: 1411-12 Original Language: Greek Description In this hymn, Manuel prays to the Mother of God to free the people of God from misfortune, and to accord her city victory over the enemy. He asks her to cause the hostile khan ( chaganos), who is attacking the city so brutally, to disappear just as his father did (the khan is evidently the Ottoman Musa, his father Bayazid I). If the Mother of God frees her own people from the enemy, she will not be doing anything …

 Peri tēs monēs hodou pros tēn sōtērian tōn anthrōpōn

(673 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
ʻOn the only way to salvation for humankind' Gennadius II Scholarius Date: 1455/56 Original Language: Greek Description Gennadius wrote this treatise at the request of Sultan Mehmed II. The sultan visited him at his new patriarchal residence in the Pammakaristos monastery in 1455, and asked detailed questions about the Christian faith. At the end of the conversation, Mehmed charged him to write down what he had said and to send it to him. Gennadius begins diplomatically by commenting that nobody can please God without the right faith, although the path that leads to …

Theophanes of Nicea

(678 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Theophanēs (monastic name; his baptismal name is unknown) Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown; probably after May 1380 Place of Death: Unknown; probably Constantinople Biography We know nothing about the life of Theophanes before his appointment as Metropolitan Bishop of Nicea. This would have been before 31 October 1364, when he signed an annulment of an anathema against Philotheus Kokkinos ( Acta Patriarchatus Constantinopolitani i, p. 453; Darrouzès, Regestes I.5, no. 2463). Nicea had been under Ottoman rule since 1331, so Theophan…

 Tou eusebestatou kai philochristou basileōs Manuēl tou Palaiologu pros ton peripothēton autou adelphon, paneutychestaton despotēn, Porphyrogennēton Theodōron ton Palaiologon dialogos, hon epoiēsato meta tinos Persou tēn axian Muterizē en Ankyra tēs Galatias

(1,990 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Dialogos meta tinos PersouʻDialogue of the most pious and Christ-loving Emperor Manuel Palaeologus, addressed to his beloved brother, the most successful Lord Theodore Palaeologus, the purple-born, which he held with a certain Persian, the worthy Mouterizes, in Ankyra of Galatiaʼ, 'Dialogue with a Persian' Manuel II Palaeologus Date: 1392/93 Original Language: Greek Description Manuel II’s 26 dialogues with a Persian (300 pages in the Trapp edition; 3 volumes of 371, 333 and 253 pages in the Förstel edition) are without doubt authentic. While they…

John VI Cantacuzenus

(1,155 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
Ioannēs (Ioasaph) Kantakouzēnos, Ioannēs Angelos Komnenos Palaiologos Kantakuzēnos Date of Birth: About 1295 Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: 15 June 1383 Place of Death: Mistra, Peloponnese Biography John Cantacuzenus was born in about 1295 into one of the noblest and wealthiest aristocratic families of the Byzantine Empire. During the civil war of 1321-28, he supported Andronicus III Palaeologus against his grandfather Andronicus II Palaeologus (1282-1328), and it was probably after Andronicus III’s coronation on 2 February 1325 that he was made megas domestikos, comman…

 Erōtēseis kai apokriseis peri tēs theotētos tou Kyriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou

(541 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
ʻQuestions and answers concerning the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christʼ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: 1470 Original Language: Greek Description In this work, Gennadius reports a conversation he had with two senior Turkish officials ( hoi ta megista dynamenoi), before whom he was requested to appear at the end of May 1470. At the meeting, which took place on a country estate in the vicinity of Serres, the two Turks address a series of questions to him about Christian beliefs in Jesus Christ. They start by asking why Christians worship Jesus Christ, son of Mary, as God. Gennadi…
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