Nikephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople (Cyril Mango) pdf, epub, doc

Nikephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople ePub and PDF Available
As this is a primary source, I'm reviewing the edition and not Nikephoros as an historian.

The patriarch Nikephoros (c. 758 – April 5, 828) lived in a turbulent time of war against the Arabs and the internal challenge of iconoclasm. He was a member of the civil service before ending up as patriarch, but once patriarch he embraced his duties. He was a highly political figure who was eventually removed from his throne after the reinstitution of iconoclasm in 815, and this means that we do know more about him than most of our Byzantine primary sources. He appears in the contemporary literature, and we have a significant hagiography of his life, translated in English in [[ASIN:0884022595 Byzantine Defenders of Images: Eight Saints' Lives in English Translation (Byzantine Saints' Lives in Translation)]]. Sometime towards the end of the eighth century he produced this short history. The title of 'Short History' is well-deserved here, because this is a slim volume and it includes text and commentary. Mango's translation faces the text on each page, which makes it quite easy to access. The translation is clear, and the Greek is not too hard to read, so it is safe to applaud Mango's translation here. The 'Short History' is quite brief, as mentioned above, and only runs from the death of Maurice to the later days of Constantine V, where the text rather abruptly ends. It is easy to see why he began where he did because it is certain that he decided to follow Theophylact Simocatta from where his history ended. However, if he is attempted classicizing history in the vein of Simocatta then it is hard to commend Nikephoros, because this reads more like a chronicle than a history.

The commentary is quite good and helpful, although it would have been nice had the dates been bracketed into the translation. Like all good Byzantines, Nikephoros counts by indiction cycles, and thus it is often not clear what year it is without doing some math or flipping to the commentary. The only other problem with this book is its availability. Dumbarton Oaks is usually quite good about keeping their publications in print, but it is very hard to find a copy of this book, and for this I have to fault them. On its own, there is nothing wrong with this edition other than the difficulties in trying to acquire a copy.

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