George Pachymeres

Georgios Pachymeres

Georgius Pachymeres (Greek: Γεώργιος Παχυμέρης) (1242 – c. 1310), a Byzantine Greek historian, philosopher and miscellaneous writer, was born at Nicaea, in Bithynia, where his father had taken refuge after the capture of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204. Upon the recovery of The City from the Latin Empire by Michael VIII Palaeologus, Pachymeres settled in Constantinople, studied law, entered the church, and subsequently became chief advocate of the church and chief justice of the imperial court.

His literary activity was considerable, his most important work being a Byzantine history in thirteen books, in continuation of that of George Acropolites from 1261 (or rather 1255) to 1308, containing the history of the reigns of Michael and Andronicus II Palaeologus. Pachymeres was also the author of rhetorical exercises on philosophical themes; of a Quadrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy), valuable for the history of music and astronomy in the Middle Ages; a general sketch of Aristotelian philosophy; a paraphrase of the speeches and letters of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite; poems, including an autobiography; and a description of the square of the Augustaeum, and the column erected by Justinian in the church of Hagia Sophia to commemorate his victories over the Persians.

The History was first published in print by I. Bekker (1835) in the Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae; also by J. P. Migne, in Patrologia Graeca (vol. cxliii, cxliv); for editions of the minor works see Karl Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897). A more recent edition with French translation of the 'History' by Faiiler and Laurent was published in 1984. An English translation of Books I and II (up to the recovery of Constantinople in 1261), with commentary, exists in the form of a Ph.D. thesis (author Nathan Cassidy) held in the Reid Library of the University of Western Australia.



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