Online Encyclopedia

ROMANOS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 577 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROMANOS, called 6 pehcisbs, Greek hymn-writer, "the Pindar of rhythmic poetry," was born at Emesa (Hems) in Syria. From the scanty notices of his life we learn that he resided in Constantinople during the reign of the emperor Anastasius.9 Having officiated as a deacon in the church of the Resurrection at Berytus, he removed to Constantinople, where he was attached to the churches of Blachernae and Cyrus. According to the legend, when he was asleep in the last-named church, the Virgin appeared to him and commanded him to eat a scroll. On awaking (it was Christmas Day), he immediately mounted the pulpit, and gave forth his famous hymn on the Nativity. Romanos is said to have composed more than soon similar hymns or contakia (Gr. tcovr&Ktov, " scroll ") celebrating the festivals of the ecclesiastical year, the lives of the saints and other sacred subjects—on the death of a monk (extremely impressive); the last judgment; the treachery of Judas; the martyrdom of St Stephen; Simeon B Digesta Justinian Augusti, recognovit Th. Mommsen (Berlin, 1870). i Or liber authenticorum. So called because it contained a more complete collection and correcter translation of the Greek Novels than the Epitomeof Julian. It was the one used in the law courts in the middle ages. 9 See Sohm, Institutfonen, § 27, and authorities there cited. 9 On the question whether Anastasius I. (491–518) or II. (713–716) is meant, see Krgmbacher, who is in favour of the earlier date. Editions: J. B. Pitra, Analecta Sacra, i. (1876), containing 29 poems, and Sanctus Roman us Veterum Melodorum Princeps (1888), with three additional hymns from the monastery of St John in Patmos. See also Pitra's Hymnographie de l'Aglise grecque (1867) ; C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteracur (1897); and HYMNS.
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