The Chronicle of Constantine Manasses

BookThe Chronicle of Constantine Manasses

The Chronicle of Constantine Manasses

Translated Texts for Byzantinists, 6


December 5th, 2018

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This book translates the mid-12th-century Synopsis Chronike by Constantine Manasses which was widely circulated. It extends to 1081, marking the end of Nikephoros Botaneiates' reign and the accession of Alexios I Komnenos. Commissioned by the Sevastokratorissa Irene, whose sponsorship likely determined its format in verse and subject matter, the chronicle begins with a dedicatory epigram and introduction lauding Irene for her largesse and love of learning. Manasses proceeds to relate a pastoral view of creation, biblical stories, a history of the peoples of the East, Alexander the Great's conquests and the subsequent Hellenistic empires. He then provides a non-Homeric view of the Trojan War and continues with Rome through the Principate and early empire until the reigns of Constantine I in the East and Theodosios II in the West. Manasses then focuses on the New Rome with a colorful treatment of its individual emperors. The chronicle attracted the attention of Emperor John Alexander for whom the Middle Bulgarian Synodal or Moscow manuscript was translated. This is the mid-14th-century copy taken into account here with deviations from the Greek contained in the footnotes. The so-called Middle Bulgarian Short Chronicle is interspersed in the appropriate places.


‘The translation is elegant, the footnotes clear in differentiating SC from the Bulgarian translation, and the index and references fulsome.'
Adrian Spooner, Classics for All

‘The English translation of the text, offered by Yuretich, forms the second part of the book (pp. 21-262), divided into short chapters that help the reader to follow the text step-by-step, supported by a great number of enlightening comments in the form of footnotes. The commentary includes detailed information about the text’s sources, the deviations between the Bulgarian translation and the original Greek work, and also explanatory notes concerning the meaning and contributing to the understanding of various difficult passages […]Yuretich has enriched our understanding of an important work and a significant writer of the Komnenian era, as well as elucidating the recognition and later impact that the Synopsis Chronike had in a different language from that in which it was written.’
Demetra Samara, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 

‘…successful and easily readable English translation...’ (Translated from German.)
Raphael Brendel, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft

‘Two volumes of texts useful for the Byzantine scholar and interesting for the ancient scientist are thus offered, which can still offer some fruitful inspiration for both subjects.’
Raphael Brendel, Sehepunkte

Author Information

Linda Yuretich is an independent scholar who received a B.A. from New York University in classics and an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a concentration in Slavic linguistics. She was also a fellow at the Ivan Dujchev Research Centre for Slavo-Byzantine Studies.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Manasses’ Synopsis Chronike22
The Middle Bulgarian Translation29
Thе Historical Additions to the Мiddle Bulgarian Translation (The So-called Bulgarian Short Chronicle)32
Constantine Manasses’ Dedicatory Epigram, Manasses’ Introduction, the Creation, Biblical and Near Eastern Stories40
A Historical Summary of Lord Constantine Manasses41
Biblical and Near Eastern Stories42
The Beginning, The First Day42
The Second Day42
The Third Day43
The Fourth Day45
The Names of the Great Stars45
The Fifth Day46
The Sixth Day47
About the Tree of Knowledge48
About Seth54
About Noah and the Flood54
About the Building of the Tower and the Confusion of Tongues57
The Empire of the Egyptians57
About the Migration of Abraham59
The Empire of the Assyrian Emperor Belus59
The Reign of Sesostris, Emperor of the Egyptians60
The Reign of Sardanapalus, Emperor of the Assyrians61
The Reign of Nebuchadnezzar63
The Reign of Belshazzar, Son of Nebuchadnezzar64
The Reign of Darius, Emperor of the Medes65
The Reign of Cyrus67
The Lydian Empire68
About Gyges69
The Reign of Cambyses, Son of Cyrus70
The Reign of Darius70
The Reign of Xerxes71
The Reign of Artaxerxes72
The Reign of Alexander the Macedonian72
The Reign of Ptolemy the First72
The Reign of Ptolemy Philoponos73
The Reign of Empress Cleopatra73
About the Hebrews74
About Moses75
Joshua, of Nun77
About the Judges78
The Trojan War79
Here It Is Told How the Western Greeks and Also the Eastern Greeks Created a Great Civil War at One Time79
About the Capture of the City of Troy90
The Roman Period92
The Reign of the Western Greeks Who Were in Rome92
The Reign of Romulus, the First Roman Emperor96
The Reign of Tarquinius, Who Was the Fifth Roman Emperor after Romulus97
The Reign of Tullius97
The Reigns of Brutus and Collatinus and Many Others until Gaius100
The Reign of Gaius, Caesar and Emperor101
The Reign of Augustus Caesar103
The Reign of Tiberius Caesar106
The Reign of Gaius (Caligula)108
The Reign of Claudius Caesar109
The Reign of Nero109
The Reigns of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius110
The Reign of Vespasian111
The Reign of Titus, Son of Vespasian112
The Reign of Domitian112
The Reign of Emperor Nerva114
The Reign of Trajan114
The Reign of Hadrian115
The Reign of Emperor Antoninus116
The Reign of Marcus Antoninus (Aurelius)116
The Reign of Commodus118
Emperor Pertinax118
The Reign of Julianus118
The Reign of Severus119
The Reign of Antoninus Caracalla119
The Reign of Diocletian and Maximian120
The Byzantine Dynasties122
Constantinian Dynasty122
The Reign of Constantius122
The Reign of Constantine the Great, First Emperor of the Christians122
The Reign of Constantius, Son of Constantine the Great124
The Reign of Julian, Transgressor of the Law125
Inter Dynasty126
The Reign of Jovian126
The Reign of Valentinian126
Theodosian Dynasty127
The Reign of Theodosios the Great127
The Reign of Honorius and Arkadios128
The Reign of Theodosios the Younger129
The Reign of Marcian138
Leonine Dynasty140
The Reign of Leo the Great140
The Reign of Leo the Younger143
The Reign of Zeno the Impious143
The Reign of Basiliskos144
Again the Reign of Zeno144
The Reign of Emperor Anastasios145
Justinian Dynasty149
The Reign of Justin I149
The Reign of Justin the Younger156
The Reign of Emperor Tiberios160
The Reign of Emperor Maurice162
The Reign of Phokas, Usurper and Emperor165
Heraclian Dynasty167
The Reign of Herakleios167
The Reign of Constantine, Son of Herakleios172
The Reign of Heraklonas, His Brother172
The Reign of Constans, Son of Constantine173
Mezizios Who Called Himself Emperor174
The Reign of Constantine the Bearded174
The Reign of Justinian, Son of the Bearded175
The Reign of Leontios176
The Reign of Apsimar Tiberios177
Justinian Rules Again179
The Reign of Emperor Philippikos181
The Reign of Emperor Artemios184
The Reign of Emperor Theodosios185
Isaurian or Syrian Dynasty186
The Reign of Leo the Iconoclast186
The Reign of Constantine Who Was Named after Dung192
The Reign of Leo, Son of Constantine194
The Reign of Constantine, Leo’s Son, and His Mother195
The Reign of Nikephoros Genikos199
The Reign of Michael Rangabe203
The Reign of Leo the Armenian Iconoclast204
Amorian or Phrygian Dynasty206
The Emperor of the Greeks, Michael206
The Reign of Emperor Theophilos208
The Reign of Michael, Son of Theophilos214
Macedonian Dynasty225
The Reign of Basil the Macedonian225
The Reign of Leo the Wise, Son of Basil229
The Reign of Alexander, Brother of Leo and Constantine, Son of Leo230
The Reign of Romanos Lekapenos237
The Reign of Constantine Porphyrogennetos, Son of Leo239
The Reign of Romanos, Son of Constantine Porphyrogennetos240
The Reign of Nikephoros Phokas244
The Reign of John Tzimiskes248
The Reign of Basil and Constantine, Sons of Emperor Romanos250
The Sole Rule of Emperor Constantine, Brother of Basil255
The Reign of Romanos Argyros257
The Reign of Michael Paphlagonos258
The Reign of Michael Kalaphates260
The Reign of Constantine Monomachos262
The Sole Rule of Empress Theodora266
Ducas Dynasty266
The Reign of Old Man Michael266
The Reign of Isaac Komnenos269
The Reign of Constantine Doukas270
The Reign of Romanos Diogenes272
The Reign of Michael, Son of Doukas277
The Reign of Nikephoros Botaneiates278
Dignities, Ranks, Offices291