Juan Malalas

Juan Malalas. It was a Greek chronograph.

Summary

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  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Origin of his nickname
    • 2 Trajectory
  • 2 Sources

Biographical synthesis

He was born in Antioquia , Greece , where he spent most if not all of his life .

Origin of his nickname

His nickname Malalas, from the Syriac malâlâ, “the rhetorician,” points to a Syrian origin . Juan Malalas was a contemporary of the emperors Anastasius I, Justin I, Justinian I and Justin II.

Trajectory

He was a Syrian of Greek education and a lawyer by profession (malal = rhetōr). Under his name the Greek text of a General Chronicle (Chronography) has been transferred , which reaches, in its present form, until the year 563, which originally extended until 573.

His “Chronography” for which he was famous was the work, in its full length of 18 books , it is only by one author is a question open to discussion. Books 1 through 17 and the first portion of 18 appear to have been written before 540; while most of Book 18, in which Constantinople , not Antioch , is the center of the tale , was not finished until after Justinian’s death and was then consolidated with the other books. The dogmatic writing is not uniform, the original Monophysite treatment bearing the appearance of having been revised by an orthodox author.

Book 18 certainly comes from an orthodox writer . The last four books, chronicling events from Emperor Anastasius onward, are important as a source for ecclesiastical history , despite their childish conception and narrow horizon . Having high favor among the people , the Chronicle was repeatedly transcribed and copied, but it was eventually overtaken by later analysts (Theophanes, Georgius Monachus, Zonaras) and has thus been preserved in only one manuscript , which is an abbreviated edition (Codex Baroccianus del Siglo XII in the Bodleian Library, Oxford; cf. JB Burg in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, vi, 1897 , pp. 219-230.

He opened new horizons in historiography , and created the Byzantine type of chronicle . His work was not only for the educated public but for the mass of lay people and monks , seeking to compensate for their naive curiosity in matters of history and narrating such events only and in such a way that it could interest the people. The “Chronography” is not very critical and legends , anachronisms, repetitions and inconsistencies predominate in it , and its style and language are in accordance with the nature of the concept of history that it exhibits; it is the oldest important document of lower Greece .

He had very few reliable written sources. If he used Julius Africano it must have been through the now lost chronicles of Nestoriano, Pausanias, Domnino, Theophilus and Timothy, whom he frequently cited. He enjoyed great authority with subsequent generations of Byzantine chroniclers who quoted him freely and often worked entire books of his “Chronography” within their own compositions.

 

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