Hesychius of Miletus

Hesychius of Miletus

Ask a question about 'Hesychius of Miletus'
Start a new discussion about 'Hesychius of Miletus'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Hesychius of Miletus, Greek
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 chronicler and biographer, surnamed Illustrius, son of an advocate, flourished at Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 in the 6th century AD during the reign of Justinian
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...


According to Photius (cod. 69) he was the author of three important works:
  1. A Compendium of Universal History
    Universal history
    Universal history is basic to the Western tradition of historiography, especially the Abrahamic wellspring of that tradition. Simply stated, universal history is the presentation of the history of humankind as a whole, as a coherent unit.-Ancient authors:...

     in six books, from Belus, the reputed founder of the Assyria
    Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

    n empire, to Anastasius I (d. 518). A considerable fragment has been preserved from the sixth book, a history of Byzantium from its earliest beginnings till the time of Constantine the Great.
  2. A Biographical Dictionary of Learned Men, arranged according to classes (poets, philosophers), the chief sources of which were the works of Aelius Dionysius
    Aelius Dionysius
    Aelius Dionysius was a Greek rhetorician from Halicarnassus, who lived in the time of the emperor Hadrian. He was a very skillful musician, and wrote several works on music and its history. It is commonly supposed that he was a descendant of the elder Dionysius of Halicarnassus, author of the...

     and of Herennius Philo. Much of it has been incorporated in the Suda
    The Suda or Souda is a massive 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, formerly attributed to an author called Suidas. It is an encyclopedic lexicon, written in Greek, with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost, and often...

    , as we learn from that book. It is disputed, however, whether the words in the Suda ("of which this book is an epitome") mean that Sudas compiler himself epitomized the work of Hesychius, or whether they are part of the title of an already epitomized Hesychius used in the compilation of the Suda. The second view is more generally held. The epitome referred to, in which alphabetical order was substituted for arrangement in classes and some articles on Christian writers added as a concession to the times, is assigned from internal indications to the years 829-837. Both it and the original work are lost, with the exception of the excerpts in Photius and the Suda. A smaller compilation, chiefly from Diogenes Laërtius
    Diogenes Laertius
    Diogenes Laertius was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is one of the principal surviving sources for the history of Greek philosophy.-Life:Nothing is definitively known about his life...

     and the Suda, with a similar title, is the work of an unknown author of the 11th or 12th century.
  3. A History of the Reign of Justin I
    Justin I
    Justin I was Byzantine Emperor from 518 to 527. He rose through the ranks of the army and ultimately became its Emperor, in spite of the fact he was illiterate and almost 70 years old at the time of accession...

     (518—527) and the early years of Justinian, completely lost.

In 1663 Gilles Ménage
Gilles Ménage
Gilles Ménage was a French scholar.He was born at Angers, the son of Guillaume Ménage, king's advocate at Angers, where Gilles was born....

 published an anonymous Vita Aristotelis that is commonly attributed to Hesychius.

Photius praises the style of Hesychius, and credits him with being a veracious historian.

Editions; J. C. Orelli
Johann Caspar von Orelli
Johann Caspar von Orelli , was a Swiss classical scholar.He was born at Zürich of a distinguished Italian family which had taken refuge in Switzerland at the time of the Protestant Reformation...

 (1820) and J. Flach (1882); fragments in C. W. Müller, Frag. hist. Graec. iv. 143 and in Theodor Preger's Scriptores originis Constantinopolitanae, i. (1901); Pseudo-Hesychius, by J Flach (1880).

External links