The 'Synopsis Chronike' and its place in the Byzantine chronicle tradition: its sources (Creation – 1081 CE)
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The subject of this thesis is the Synopsis Chronike (or Synopsis Sathas), a Byzantine chronicle of the thirteenth century that conveys the history of the world, starting from Adam and concluding with the recapture of Constantinople in 1261. The study focuses on the first part of the text (Adam – Nikephoros Botaneiates), and more specifically on the comprehensive presentation and analysis of the whole corpus of its sources, passage by passage, in order to reconstruct the background of the chronicle and to determine its place in the Byzantine chronicle tradition. Following the introductory first chapter, which sets out the aims of the thesis and establishes its methodology, chapter two offers an overview of the chronicle itself, and a first discussion of the main issues it presents: the key characteristics of its narrative structure, its manuscript tradition, and – mainly – the problem of its authorship, with special reference to the commonly supposed author, Theodore Skoutariotes, bishop of Kyzikos. Chapter three conveys a detailed presentation of the results of our research; following the discussion of the sources and influences of the proem, it attempts to place each passage of the Synopsis Chronike in the context of any related texts, which are then identified as 'main sources', 'other sources' and 'parallel passages', depending on their link to the Synopsis Chronike. Chapter four discusses individually each text that appears as a source of the Synopsis Chronike, and locates its place amongst the whole corpus of the sources. Furthermore, it examines the passages for which we were not able to identify a main source, and suggests possible sources that have not survived. Finally, the concluding chapter of the thesis summarises the earlier discussion, and attempts to combine the different pieces of information, and to provide an overall picture of the background of the Synopsis Chronike in order to establish – to the degree that it is possible – its position in the Byzantine chronicle tradition.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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