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Memoris and Biographies
Author: E. R. A. Sewter,Michael Psellus
ISBN: 0140441697
Subcategory: Historical
Pages 400 pages
Publisher Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (December 20, 1979)
Language English
Category: Memoris and Biographies
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 482
ePUB size: 1463 kb
FB2 size: 1636 kb
DJVU size: 1338 kb
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eBook Fourteen Byzantine Rulers: The Chronographia of Michael Psellus (Penguin Classics) download

by E. R. A. Sewter,Michael Psellus

Michael Psellos or Psellus (Greek: Μιχαὴλ Ψελλός, romanized: Michaēl Psellos) was a Byzantine Greek monk, savant, writer, philosopher, politician and historian.

Michael Psellos or Psellus (Greek: Μιχαὴλ Ψελλός, romanized: Michaēl Psellos) was a Byzantine Greek monk, savant, writer, philosopher, politician and historian. He was born in 1017 or 1018, and is believed to have died in 1078, although it has also been maintained that he remained alive until 1096. The main source of information about Psellos' life comes from his own works, which contain extensive autobiographical passages. Michael Psellos was probably born in Constantinople.

Michael Psellus, Byzantine philosopher, historian, and man of letters, was born in Constantinople in 1018. His translation of The Alexiad of Anna Komnene is still published in Penguin Classics. Библиографические данные. An infant prodigy, he attracted the notice of important patrons and eventually entered the government service, and, as one short-lived emperor succeeded another, became extremely influential. Falling into disfavor on Constantine IX's death, Psellus for a time became a monk, but finding he had no vocation returned to court to resume a leading role in government, becoming chief minister of the empire under Michael VII Ducas.

Fourteen Byzantine Rulers book. The writing – at least in Sewter’s translation – is magnificent. It reminds me of Evelyn Waugh

Fourteen Byzantine Rulers book. Start by marking Fourteen Byzantine Rulers: The Chronographia of Michael Psellus as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. It reminds me of Evelyn Waugh. I am really tempted to use up my whole 20000 characters with long quotes.

Fourteen Byzantine Rulers : The Chronographia of Michael Psellus. Release Date:December 1979. Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group.

book by Michael Psellus. Chronicles the Byzantine Empire, beginning in 1025. This title shows an understanding of the power politics that characterized the empire and led to its decline. Fourteen Byzantine Rulers : The Chronographia of Michael Psellus. by Michael Psellus and Konstantinos N. Sathas.

Condition: Used: Good. May include library labels. It is in good shape overall.

The emperor’s personal appearance. It was a marvel of beauty that Nature brought into being in the person of this man, so justly proportioned, so harmoniously fashioned, that there was no one in our time to compare with him. To this symmetry she added a robust vigour, as though she were laying firm foundations for a beautiful house.

Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966. 9s. 6d. Cyril Mango (a1). University of London, King's College.

His translation of The Alexiad of Anna Comnena is still published in Penguin Classics. Country of Publication.

Place of Publication. His translation of The Alexiad of Anna Comnena is still published in Penguin Classics. History & Military.

Fourteen Byzantine Rulers. The Chronographia of Michael Psellus Discover Book Picks from the CEO of Penguin Random House US. Close. Download Hi Res. The Chronographia of Michael Psellus. By Michael Psellus Introduction by E. R. A. Sewter Translated by E. Sewter. Michael Psellus, Byzantine philosopher, historian, and man of letters, was born in Constantinople in 1018. An infant prodigy, he attracted the notice of important patrons and eventually entered the government service, and, as one short-lived emperor succeeded another, became extremel. ore about Michael Psellus. Discover Book Picks from the CEO of Penguin Random House US.

The death of Basil II in A.D. 1025, after fifty glorious years as sole emperor, ushered in decades of turbulence, corruption, and incompetence. For the following half-century of extraordinary decline, our main source is Michael Psellus, one of the greatest courtiers and men of letters of the age.   His vivid and forceful chronicle, full of psychological insight and deep understanding of power politics, is a historical and literary document of the first importance. Recent scholars have shattered forever the view that the Byzantine Age was just a shabby and disreputable appendage to the Roman Empire; Psellus, a man of striking refinement and humanity, both portrays and exemplifies at its best the Byzantine way of life.
It is very difficult not to like the freshness of approach adopted by the author in his dealings with the good, the bad and the indifferent rules he writes about, and mostly from close observations or first hand knowledge.
In a few instances it has been suggested that he has fashioned his view of some of the rulers to suit his political purposes.
He writes of his own contacts with the various emperors, challengers to the throne, good and bad generals, and the theological dramas of the day between the western inheritor of the former part of the Roman Empire, the Roman Pope and the military position in which Byzantium found itself after the two serious military losses it sustained in 1071`: the defeat of Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes at the battle of Manzikert in the far east, and the capture by the Normans of the city of Bari in the west, actually in southern Italy. Thus war on two fronts threatened the empire.
Psellus was born in Constantinople in 1018 and was taught by a celebrated teacher. Psellus was distinguished from his fellow students by his mastery of both science and humanistic studies. He is said to have been a polymath and his work shows him to have been a brilliant, if slightly self important, writer.
His observations of the intrigue's at court after 1071 captures the intrigue's of the Byzantine court struggles between rival groups for influence, political and military, over the empires responses to the setbacks of 1071.
His description of the manner in which the great schism between the Pope in Rome and the Patriarch in Constantinople (both were equal, according to longstanding Byzantine authority) when both sides excommunicated the other!
His capacity to be only slightly judgmental on some subjects allows hi to be quite humorous on others.
Overall this is an exciting work by an author who wrote of his own time in a fresh and fairly unrestrained style.
Excellent book. Psellus presents an intriguing and riveting history of the emperors of this time period, as well as delving into the politics around their rule and struggles such as rebellions and political machinations. His chronicle is mostly concerned with the lives, politics, and traits of the emperors themselves, and less with the total scope of the empire itself under their reign, which gives it an interesting and unique perspective.
The author (Psellus) writes of a time and people he knew. He was an intimate of the Byzantine Court, so he is able to describe events and people who played a part in that era. There is some personal opinions and prejudices expressed, but generally he has written a factual and honest account of life in the Byzantine Court from 1025 to 1071. I found very interesting the ways emperors spent much of the state's funds on themselves and personal projects while allowing the civil service, the army, and the common people to suffer neglect.
Great read to fill your historical ignorance of the Byzantine period between Basil II and Alexios . Interesting to read contemporary writings of Psellus and witness the biases and his first hand accounts - with the most powerful people in the world. His narrative strongly focuses on the character of the rulers rather than there policies . A rare form in this period. -1 star as some parts get boring when the writer starts to self gloat or goes on tangents not necessary to the arc.
Beautiful but sad. really brings home why the Roman Empire in the East fell. The capital was isolated and indolent in luxury while all the conquests of Basil II were being lost, yet Michael, a major player was in large part responsible. Gives you an insider view of a bureaucrat who thinks he's smarter than the people on the line.
Good book from a specific period in Byzantine imperial history. Makes an excellent complement to George Ostrogorsky's one-volume history of the Byzantine state.
Michael Psellus' Chronographia, written in the 11th Century, gives the modern reader a glimpse into the court and personal lives of fourteen Byzantine rulers. Psellus served as a court advisor and resident intellectual to several of these rulers and had direct contact with most of his subjects, which makes this book a valuable first-person account from an obscure period of Medieval history. However, Psellus' account is oftentimes less a historical narrative than a piece of deliberate disinformation, as the editor often points out in footnotes. The Byzantine Empire was beginning to decline in the period of the author's narrative and his account often seems designed to conceal or distort his own role in this phase. While the author appears as a fairly sympathetic and intellectual character early in his narrative, by the time he rose to the rank of senior advisor he was clearly corrupted and he admits in the final chapters that he was rewarded financially for his overly flattering portrayals of Emperor Michael VII. At one point, the author admits that "I have passed over in this work many facts worthy of mention" in order to satisfy his benefactors. Thus, read Psellus to gain insight into certain aspects of the Byzantine mindset, but be aware that this is a "tainted history" in which the author's primary loyalty is to his own self-promotion and avarice, not the truth.

Psellus' narrative begins with the 49 year-reign of the Emperor Basil II, whose hard work brought the Byzantine Empire to the pinnacle of its strength, with secure borders and a full treasury. Although Psellus was only a child when Basil's reign came to an end, he bases this part of the narrative on contemporary secondary sources and it seems fairly objective. The six rulers that followed Basil in the next 17 years, when Psellus was a youth, are covered fairly rapidly although the author did have some contact with these individuals. It is with Emperor Constantine IX (1042-1055) that Psellus' narrative begins in earnest and this chapter is fully 25% of the book. Psellus entered the life of the court under this emperor and he admits that he benefited from his reign, but he also admits his overt bias when he says that, "I knew that in many things I should clash with the Emperor Constantine and I should be ashamed of myself if I did not seize every opportunity of commending him." Although the previous rulers had been a string of ineffective mediocrities, even Psellus' account admits that Constantine IX "chose a life of pleasure and luxury" and that he "wasted the imperial treasury" on satisfying the whims of his nit-wit mistress. In short order, the sound military and financial structure built by Basil II was depleted by Constantine II, although Psellus seems to shrug his shoulders at this. Indeed, the author was clearly a sycophantic courtier, who frequently describes the "beauty" of this emperor and compares his head to "the sun in its glory." Psellus admits that "it was not my desire to write a history, nor to acquire a reputation for veracity in that sphere; what I wanted to do was to compose a panegyric in honor of this ruler." Thus, Psellus' shabby gift to the modern reader is a propaganda piece, not objective truth. This is not to say that Psellus conceals his benefactors faults - at one point he admit that Constantine IX protected a nobleman who had embezzled a huge sum from the military budget - but despite this unethical behavior he still describes him as "this very great emperor."

Readers will probably find Psellus a vain and smug intellectual, who claims superior knowledge in all spheres, including warfare and medicine. At one point, Psellus wrote that, "I know that perfumes give off a vapor which drives away evil spirits..." and he seems to confuse reading about warfare with expertise in warfare.

One theme that does appear throughout Psellus' narrative is that a very poor state of civil-military relations contributed to the decline of the Byzantine Empire, by causing rebellions and a low state of military preparedness. Weak emperors viewed their mobile field armies as a potential source of rebellion and consequently deprived them of resources, despite near-constant threats on the borders. Promising military leaders were denied promotion or even cashiered, lest them become rivals to mediocre emperors. Instead, weak emperors preferred to rely upon fixed fortifications, particularly the redoubtable walls of Constantinople, rather than mobile forces. However, this neglect of the mobile armies weakened the ability of the empire to ward off external threats and began the reliance on foreign mercenaries. It is also apparent that Psellus was part of an anti-military cabal and that some of his advice contributed to the declining fortunes of the empire.

Psellus' description of the reign of Romanus IV (1068-1071) and the disastrous Manzikert campaign against the Turks appears deliberately unfair to the one emperor who tried to revive the empire's military fortunes. After Manzikert, Psellus was apparently part of the conspiracy that removed Romanus and at that point his narrative becomes rather sickening in its blatant bias. Psellus became particularly attached to the young emperor Michael VII, another nitwit who is described as "a prodigy," "a divinity" and a "God-like emperor." Psellus admits, "favors were heaped upon me, gifts were sent to me... augmenting the wealth that I already possessed." In fact, Psellus even admits that Michael submitted his own version of his biography for Psellus to include in his work. Thus, while the Turks were massacring Byzantine civilians in Anatolia and depopulating the eastern empire, this author was getting rich writing a whitewashed history of a conniving thug. Although the editor writes that what happened to Psellus after 1078 is not known, one might hope after reading this shameless piece of disinformation that the author's head ended up on a Turkish spearpoint.
Great read!