n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Writing About Byzantium: The History of Niketas Choniates, T. Urbainczyk - review

Volume 61 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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The history of Nicetas Choniates records events in Byzantium from the death of Alexius I Comnenus in 1118 to the aftermath of the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Born around 1156, Nicetas held a series of increasingly important offices until he became the highest-ranking minister in the Byzantine bureaucracy. After 1204 he eventually took refuge with the Byzantine government in exile at Nicaea, where he revised and continued the history he had already produced in an earlier version. Though usually and rightly considered one of the half-dozen greatest Byzantine histories, it received relatively little scholarly attention until the Dutch scholar Jan-Louis van Dieten published several major studies on it, including the first modern edition in 1975. The American scholar Harry Magoulias published an English translation in 1984, and a comprehensive monograph by Alicia Simpson appeared in 2013. Now, just five years later, we have a second monograph by Theresa Urbainczyk, author of two useful monographs on the early Byzantine histories of Socrates of Constantinople and Theodoret of Cyrrhus.

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