Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 377 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN CINNAMUS [KINNAMOS], Byzantine historian, flourished in the second half of the 12th century. He was imperial secretary (probably in this case a post connected with the military ad-ministration) to Manuel I. Comnenus (1143-1180), whom he accompanied on his campaigns in Europe and Asia Minor. He appears to have outlived Andronicus I., who died in 1185. Cinnamus was the author of a history of the period 11t8-1176, which thus continues the Alexiad of Anna Comnena, and em-braces the reigns of John II. and Manuel I., down to the unsuccessful campaign of the latter against the Turks, which ended with the disastrous battle of Myriokephalon and the rout of the Byzantine army. Cinnamus was probably an eye-witness of the events of the last ten years which he describes. The work breaks off abruptly; originally it no doubt went down to the death of Manuel, and there are indications that, even in its present form, it is an abridgment. The text is in a very corrupt state. The author's hero is Manuel; he is strongly impressed with the superiority of the East to the West, and is a determined opponent of the pretensions of the papacy. But he cannot be reproached with undue bias; he writes with the straightforwardness of a soldier, and is not ashamed on occasion to confess his ignorance. The matter is well arranged, the style (modelled on that of Xenophon) simple, and on the whole free from the usual florid bombast of the Byzantine writers. Editio princeps, C. Tollius (1652) ; in Bonn, Corpus Scriptorum Hist. Byz., by A. Meineke (1836), with Du Cange's valuable notes; Migne, Patrologia Graeca, cxxxiii. ; see also C. Neumann, Griechische Geschichtsschreiber im 12. Jahrhundert (1888) ; H. von Kap-Herr, Die abendlandische Politik Kaiser Manuels (1881); C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897).

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