The Chronography of George Synkellos

The Chronography of George Synkellos : A Byzantine Chronicle of Universal History from the Creation

Translated by , By (author) , Translated by


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In the early ninth century, George Synkellos, a monk of Constantinople set out to compose (in Greek) a universal chronicle beginning with the creation of the universe. Synkellos' death prevented him from seeing this ambitious project through to completion, and it fell to a fellow monk, Theophanes Confessor, to complete the narrative from the reign of the emperor Dicoletian up until his own day. The purpose of the chronicle, as Synkellos states on several occasions, was to confirm the orthodox dating of the incarnation of Christ at the completion of the 5500th year from the creation of the universe. In the course of demonstrating this point, Synkellos cites extensively from numerous histories and chronicles from Egypt and the Ancient Near East, some of which are unattested elsewhere. Since the author comments at length on his authorities and predecessors, his work is also a rich resource of information about the origins and development of early Christian chronography. Despite its recognized importance, the chronicle has never been translated into a modern language. The English translation provided here, together with introduction and notes, promises to make this influential and wide-ranging history more accessible to Byzantinists, students of ancient historiography,and specialists in biblical chronology, early Judaism, Egypt, and the Ancient Near East.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 728 pages
  • 164 x 236 x 46mm | 1,238.32g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • indexes
  • 0199241902
  • 9780199241903
  • 1,410,588

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Review quote

This splendidly produced volume makes available a fascinating genre of historiography, important for our understanding of the Byzantines' understanding of themselves and their place in history. Andrew Louth, Sobornost This translation together with the introduction advances our understanding of Byzantine culture in the eighth and ninth centuries, besides shedding light on the development of Christian world chronicles. The Journal of Theological Studies a valuable source and contribution Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 66, Number 4

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About George Synkellos

Paul Tuffin is Senior Lecturer in Classics, Adelaide University

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