The Chronicle of Constantine Manasses

BookThe Chronicle of Constantine Manasses

The Chronicle of Constantine Manasses

Translated Texts for Byzantinists, 6


December 5th, 2018



Other Formats



This book translates the mid-12th-century Synopsis Chronike by Constantine Manasses which was widely circulated. It extends to 1081, marking the end of Nikephoros Botaneiates' reign and the accession of Alexios I Komnenos. Commissioned by the Sevastokratorissa Irene, whose sponsorship likely determined its format in verse and subject matter, the chronicle begins with a dedicatory epigram and introduction lauding Irene for her largesse and love of learning. Manasses proceeds to relate a pastoral view of creation, biblical stories, a history of the peoples of the East, Alexander the Great's conquests and the subsequent Hellenistic empires. He then provides a non-Homeric view of the Trojan War and continues with Rome through the Principate and early empire until the reigns of Constantine I in the East and Theodosios II in the West. Manasses then focuses on the New Rome with a colorful treatment of its individual emperors. The chronicle attracted the attention of Emperor John Alexander for whom the Middle Bulgarian Synodal or Moscow manuscript was translated. This is the mid-14th-century copy taken into account here with deviations from the Greek contained in the footnotes. The so-called Middle Bulgarian Short Chronicle is interspersed in the appropriate places.


‘The translation is elegant, the footnotes clear in differentiating SC from the Bulgarian translation, and the index and references fulsome.'
Adrian Spooner, Classics for All

‘The English translation of the text, offered by Yuretich, forms the second part of the book (pp. 21-262), divided into short chapters that help the reader to follow the text step-by-step, supported by a great number of enlightening comments in the form of footnotes. The commentary includes detailed information about the text’s sources, the deviations between the Bulgarian translation and the original Greek work, and also explanatory notes concerning the meaning and contributing to the understanding of various difficult passages […]Yuretich has enriched our understanding of an important work and a significant writer of the Komnenian era, as well as elucidating the recognition and later impact that the Synopsis Chronike had in a different language from that in which it was written.’
Demetra Samara, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 

‘…successful and easily readable English translation...’ (Translated from German.)
Raphael Brendel, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft

‘Two volumes of texts useful for the Byzantine scholar and interesting for the ancient scientist are thus offered, which can still offer some fruitful inspiration for both subjects.’
Raphael Brendel, Sehepunkte

Author Information

Linda Yuretich is an independent scholar who received a B.A. from New York University in classics and an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a concentration in Slavic linguistics. She was also a fellow at the Ivan Dujchev Research Centre for Slavo-Byzantine Studies.