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THE CHRONICLE OF SIMEON, MAGISTER AND LOGOTHETE
THE author of the collection of Lives of Saints, Simeon Metaphrastes, undertook this compilation under the auspices of Constantine VII., and it may be included (as Gibbon observed) among the encyclopaedic collections which were formed at the instance of that Emperor. It was not, however, completed in his reign, for in one of the Lives, the Vita Samsonis, we find references to Romanus II. and John Tzimiskes, so that the compiler survived to the years 972-976. He held at one time the office of Logothete of the Course, for he is styled the Logothete by Psellos and by Yahya of Antioch. Psellos says that he was born in Constantinople of a distinguished family and was very rich.
This Simeon is almost certainly the same as Simeon, the magister, who was author of a world-chronicle, coming down to the middle of the tenth century. Their identity was held by Muralt and Rambaud, has been confirmed by the investigations of Vasil'evski (0 zhizni i trud. Sim. Met.), and accepted as highly probable by Krumbacher and Ehrhard (G.B.L. 200, 358).1 A number of Greek manuscripts contain chronicles ascribed to "Simeon magister and logothete," representing various recensions of the same original, and a Slavonic version is preserved which describes the author as "Simeon metaphrastes and logothete." Our material shows that the original chronicle ended in A.D. 944 or 948 (though in several of the MSS. the work is continued to later dates). The author was devoted to Romanus I. and his family, and an epitaph from his hand on Stephen (son of Romanus), who died in A.D. 963, is preserved (published by Vasil'evski, Dva nadgr. Stikh.). For the Greek chronicles which bear the name of Simeon, and
1 The chronological objections of Hirsch (310), founded on a passage of the Vita Theoctistae where the writer states that he took part in the Cretan expedition c. A.D. 902, are removed by the fact that this life was written not by Simeon but by Nicetas Magister.
2 Vasil'evski (Khronik Log. 133) argued that the chronicle ended in 944 and that the account of the years 944948 was an addition of Leo Grammaticus. The Slavonic translation expressly notes the termination of Simeon's work in 944.
their mutual relations to one another, information will be found in Krumbacher, G.B.L. 359-360, and in the discussions of de Boor (Weiteres, etc.) and Shestakov (0 rukopisiakh). Cp. also Zlatarski, Izviestiiata, 8 sq. The view of Vasil'evski (Khron Log.) that the Old Slavonic translation supplies the best tradition of Simeon's work is now largely held by Slavonic scholars. Shestakov (Par. ruk.) has given reasons for thinking that the anonymous chronicle in Cod. Par. 854 (of which the first part is printed, see below) is, of all Greek texts, closest to the original. This conclusion is questioned by de Boor (Weiteres, etc.), who doubts whether Simeon was really the author of the chronicle, conjectures that he wrote only the Kooμоotta which is prefixed to it, and thinks that the original chronicle is most faithfully represented by the Chronography of Theodosius of Melitene.
Simeon's chronicle has come down to us under other titlesunder the names of Leo Grammaticus, Theodosius of Melitene, and partly in the expansion of George the Monk. These compilers copied it with few and trifling alterations.
(1) Leo Grammaticus. The text of this chronicle, which is preserved in Cod. Par. 1711, was written in A.D. 1013 by Leo, who in the notice at the end of the work, which comes down to A.D. 948, speaks of himself as a scribe rather than as an author. The latter part of the text has been printed (from the accession of Leo V.), and it was evidently transcribed from the Chronicle of Simeon. In his edition of Leo, Bekker printed (though without committing himself to the authorship) a portion of the chronicle of Cod. Par. 854, coming down to the point at which Leo's text begins. This had been originally printed by Cramer (Anecdota Parisina, ii. 243 sqq.), who assumed that the chronicles of the two MSS. were identical, and this view was accepted by Hirsch. It has been shown by Shestakov that the texts are different (Par. Ruk.); he made it clear that Leo and the Continuation of George are nearer to each other than either to Par. 854.
(2) The Chronography of Theodosius of Melitene, edited by Tafel, is likewise no more than a transcript of Simeon, and like Leo's text, it ends at A.D. 948. Vasil'evski called attention to a note in Bekker's Anecdota Graeca, iii. 465, where, in a passage cited from the commentary of Johannes Sikeliotes on the IIepì ideov of Hermogenes, ó Meλirívηs Oeodóσtos is mentioned. Vasil'evski inferred that Theodosius flourished c. A.D. 1120, but it is probable that Johannes Doxopatres, called Sikeliotes, lived in the first half of the eleventh century (Krumbacher, G.B.L. 462), and if so, Theodosius may have lived in the eleventh century. resembles that of Leo Gramm. and the closely than it resembles Cod. Par. 854. Grammaticus see Patzig (Leo Gramm.) and
The text of this version
Log. 267). It is much closer to the Contin. of George than to Leo Gramm.; the differences are chiefly stylistic. It is to be observed that many of the omissions which occur in Leo and in the Contin. are accidental, due to homoeoteleuton.
(3) The Chronicle of Cod. Par. 854. The latter part is unpublished. See Shestakov, op. cit.
(4) It has been stated in the preceding Appendix that many of the MSS. of George the Monk contain a considerable amplification of George's text. His account of the reigns from the accession of Leo V. to the accession of Michael III. has been expanded by large additions from a chronicle of a different tone and character ; · and a continuation has been added coming down to A.D. 948 (in some MSS. to later dates). In some MSS., at the point where George's work ends in A.D. 843, we find the note ews ☎de Tà χρονικὰ Γεωργίου· ἀπὸ τῶν ὧδε μόνον τοῦ λογοθέτου (ed. Muralt, 721); and at the year 948 Muralt's text has (851) Sóέa тŶ DeŶ πάντων ἕνεκα· ἀμήν. Τετέλεσται καὶ τὰ τοῦ λογοθέτου. The close resemblance of the text of the continuation to the texts which have come down under the name of Simeon the Logothete renders it virtually certain that Simeon is meant by Toû λoyo@érov in these notes. This applies not only to the continuation but to the expansions of George's Chronicle from A.D. 813 to 843. For if these expansions are separated, they furnish a text which coincides with those of Theodosius and Leo. The word μóvov in the note cited above probably refers to this interweaving of the works of George and Simeon.
The portion of the expanded chronicle which concerns us, A.D. 813 to 948, was printed from one MS. by Combefis (1685) and reprinted by Bekker. Muralt's edition of the whole chronicle is based on a Moscow MS., but contains collations of some other MSS. See above, Appendix II.
The Old Slavonic translation of Simeon (preserved in a MS. in the Imperial Public Library of Petersburg), recently edited by Sreznevski, implies an original which was closer to Leo than to Theodosius (Sreznevski, p. xii.). A comparison with these chronicles shows both omissions and additions (ib. xi sq.).
One of the chief sources of Simeon, up to the year A.D. 813, was Theophanes; another was George the Monk. period A.D. 813-867, which alone concerns us here, Simeon is one of our most important authorities. Unlike George, whose attention is almost entirely directed to ecclesiastical affairs, he is interested in profane history and furnishes a good deal of information concerning the court intrigues; ecclesiastical affairs are quite in the background. (Cp. the analysis of Hirsch, 16-68.)
1 It would be useless here to enumerate or discuss the MSS. See de Boor's
articles cited, and the Preface to his ed. of George.
It is obvious from the character both of his shorter notices and his longer narrations that the chronicler had a written source, dating from a time not far removed from the events. Any one accustomed to the investigation of sources can discern at once that Simeon's work could not have been compiled from anecdote, oral traditions, or Vitae Sanctorum. He has clearly used an older chronicle written by some one who had a first-hand knowledge of the reign of Michael III. and was in touch with contemporaries of Theophilus. Can we discover anything about this lost chronicle?
One of the features of Simeon's work is his admiration for Romanus I.; another is the unfavourable light in which he presents Basil I. Hirsch has observed that the treatment of Theophilus, Michael III., and Bardas shows a certain impartiality, in the sense that the author recounts their good deeds as well as those which he esteems bad; he does not blacken Theophilus and Michael III. by lurid accounts of the persecutions of the former 1 and the debaucheries of the latter.
The chronicle, then, which was the basis of this part of Simeon's work was distinctly animated by hostility to Basil, and was not unfavourable to the Amorians, though it did not conceal their faults. We cannot say how favourable it was, because we are unable to determine what Simeon may have omitted or what touches of his own he may have added. The author of the lost Amorian chronicle, as it might be called, was probably attached to the Court in the reign of Michael III, and wrote his work during the reign of Basil or Leo VI. There is one passage which perhaps gives us an indication. Among the murderers of Michael III. are mentioned Βάρδας ὁ πατὴρ Βασιλείου τοῦ ῥαίκτορος· καὶ Συμβάτιος ὁ ἀδελφὸς Βασιλείου καὶ ̓Ασυλαίων ἐξάδελφος Βασιλείου (Cont. Georg. 837=Mur. 750, agreeing exactly with vers. Slav. 110).2 Now the post of Rector, which we know to have existed in A.D. 899, was probably instituted either by Basil I. or Leo VI.3 The chronicler assumes Basil the Rector to be well known, for he identifies the three conspirators Bardas, Symbatios, and Asylaion by their relationship to him, and, as he does not himself play any part in history, it is natural to suppose that he was Rector when the chronicler was writing. His Rectorship we may reasonably assume to have fallen before that of Joannes, who held the office under Alexander and Romanus I. This could be established to a certainty if we could be quite sure that Baridelov in the text means throughout Basil the Rector, and not Basil the Emperor
1 Hirsch notes (32) that the author probably made use of the Vita Theodori Grapti.
2 In this passage the Cont. Georg. text is markedly superior to Theod. Mel.
(καὶ Συμβάτιος οἱ ἀδελφοὶ βασ. 175) as well as to L. Gr. (251, where Tоû p.Baoiλelov is omitted ex homoeotel.).
3 See Bury, Imp. Administrative System, 115 sq.
(as it has been interpreted). For if Asylaion, nephew of Basil, was old enough to assist in the murder in 867, it is impossible to place the uncle's rectorship later than that of Joannes. That Symbatios and Asylaion were kinsmen of the Rector and not of the Emperor is, in my opinion, virtually certain, from the facts that (1) Marianos, the Emperor's brother, who is mentioned in the same sentence, is not described as such here, and (2) that in relating the murder of Bardas (Cont. Georg. 830), in which Symbatios and Asylaion also took part, the chronicler describes Asylaion as nephew of Symbatios, whereas it would have been obviously natural to describe him as nephew of Basil (the future Emperor), had he been his nephew.1
In the account of the reign of Basil I. there are distinct traces of the same hand which penned the chronicle of Michael III. I am not sure where this work terminated or at what point Simeon resorted to another source; but it may be conjectured that what I have termed the Amorian chronicle came down to the death of Basil, for the brevity of Simeon's account of Basil's reign contrasts with the comparative copiousness of the treatment of Leo VI., though both alike are unfavourable to the Basilian dynasty.
It must be noted that the chronicle preserved in Cod. Par. 1712, of which the later part has been printed by Combefis and Bekker under the title of "Symeon magister," is a totally different compilation and has nothing to do with Simeon. It is now generally designated as Pseudo-Simeon. See Bibliography, and Krumbacher, G.B.L. 359. It is important to observe that the chronological data by which this chronicle is distinguished are worthless (see Hirsch, 342 sqq.). The chronicler's chief sources were, according to Hirsch (318 sqq.), George, Simeon, Genesios, Cont. Th., Scriptor Incertus de Leone Armenio, the Vita Ignatii by Nicetas; but he also furnishes a number of other notices (chiefly anecdotes), which are not found in our other sources.
1 The texts are here again divergent : vers. Slav. 107, " 'Marianus, his [Basil's] brother; and Symbatios and Bardas, his brother; and Joannes Chaldos, etc." '; Theod. Mel. 170 Μαρ. ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ Συμβ. καὶ Βάρδας ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, Ασυλέων ¿ ¿¿ádeλpos avтoû; Cont. Georg. 830 Μαυριανὸς καὶ Συμβάτιος καὶ ̓Ασυλαίων ὁ ¿§. avтoû ( cp. Muralt, 740 ad loc.).
The Slav. version omits Asylaion; Cont. Georg. omits Bardas. In Theod. Mel. ἀδελφοί is an error for ἀδελφός. As to Bardas, there need be no inconsistency with the passage enumerating the conspirators against Michael. Bardas may have been the name of the father of Symbatios and also of one of his brothers.