Online Encyclopedia

SIMOCATTA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 124 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIMOCATTA,1 THEOPHYLACT, Byzantine historian, a native of Egypt, flourished at Constantinople during the reign of Heraclius (610-640), under whom he held the office of imperial secretary. He is best known as the author of a history, in eight books, of the reign of the emperor Maurice (582-602), for which period he is the' best and oldest authority. The work describes the wars with the ' Persians, the Avars and Slays, and the emperor's tragic end. " His want of judgment renders him diffuse in trifles and concise in the most interesting facts " (Gibbon), but his general trustworthiness is admitted. The history contains an introduction in the form of a dialogue between History and Philosophy. Photius (cod. 65) while admitting a certain amount of gracefulness in the language, blames the author's excessive use of figurative and allegorical expressions and moral sentiments. While the vocabulary contains many strange and affected words, the grammar and syntax are on the whole correct (ed. pr. by J. Pontanus, 1609; best edition by C. de Boor, 1887, with a valuable Index Graecitatis). Simocatta was also the author of Physical Problems('AAopial ¢uoLKaL) in dialogue form, dealing with the nature of animals and especially of man (ed. J. Ideler in Physici et medici Graeci minores, i. 1841,) ; and of a collection of 85 letters (moral, rustic, erotic), the supposed writers of which are either fictitious or well-known personages (Antisthenes to Pericles, Socrates to Plato, Socrates to Alcibiades). The best edition is by R. Hercher in Epistolographi Graeci (1873). The letters were translated into Latin (1509) by Copernicus (re-printed 1873 by F. Hipler in Spicilegium Copernicanum). See C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Literatur (1897).
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