Fourteen Byzantine Rulers: The Chronographia of Michael Psellus

Fourteen Byzantine Rulers The Chronographia of Michael Psellus This chronicle of the Byzantine Empire beginning in shows a profound understanding of the power politics that characterized the empire and led to its decline

  • Title: Fourteen Byzantine Rulers: The Chronographia of Michael Psellus
  • Author: Michael Psellus E.R.A. Sewter
  • ISBN: 9780140441697
  • Page: 279
  • Format: Paperback
  • This chronicle of the Byzantine Empire, beginning in 1025, shows a profound understanding of the power politics that characterized the empire and led to its decline.

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      Published :2018-06-08T23:32:55+00:00

    1 thought on “Fourteen Byzantine Rulers: The Chronographia of Michael Psellus”

    1. A very readable translation of a memoir/history written roughly a thousand years ago, by a Byzantine scholar and government functionary who, through the vagaries of his near-century of life and service, witnessed, sometimes firsthand, the reigns and deaths of an ungodly number of succeeding Byzantine emperors. Emperor, relative of emperor, or high government official were all high-risk professions in that era, with penalties for failure besides death or exile including blinding, castration, or f [...]

    2. Suetonian/procopian memoir, touching on the late Macedonian dynasty, the whole of the Doukai, and the beginning of the Komnenoi. General thesis is that the empire degenerated or decayed from the belle epoque of Basil II. Statement of Purpose buried deeply: “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 compose a panegyric in honor of this ruler [Constantine IX]” (240).Focuses on what we might regard as trifles of dom [...]

    3. A fantastic example of just why the adjective 'byzantine' has all the connotations it does in English. If you only read one book written in the 11th century this year, read this one.Michael Psellus was the equivalent of one of those polymath technocrats who put the EU together - a man educated as far as possible as it was possible to be educated in his society, hovering at an exalted position in the corridors of power in administration after administration. It made me feel a little bit better ab [...]

    4. Psellus seems the most modern of Byzantine historians. The others had great passions: Procopius hated the Empress Theodora; Anna Comnena revered her royal family, especially her father; Nicetas Choniates was bitter about how far his great city had fallen. Although his book is not without its entertaining moments, Psellus' greatest passion seems to have been himself. Perhaps his book is the earliest of the memoir of power that seeks to revise history. Not that he knew all fourteen rulers he wrote [...]

    5. This is a fun read. Very simple prosaic delivery and unadorned presentation of various soap-operas and political intrigues from the 1000's and 1100's. The age of Byzantium!The Byzantine Empire certainly is fascinating. A heady mixture of pagan impulses and Christian idolatry. Soothsayers, chiromancers, and astrologers-- combined with saints, priests, cathedrals, penitents, nunneries, and hermits.This strange era yielded ferocious sea-battles, military campaigns, barbarians-at-the-gates, sieges, [...]

    6. Despite his frequent protestations that he does not wish to write an account of his own deeds but a true and proper history of his times, the monstrous ego of our narrator nevertheless compels him to do so at every opportunity. The advice of this best-loved councillor of emperors was therefore supposedly behind many a triumph whilst many a disaster could have been avoided had only his advice been heeded. Others, as the foot notes make clear, tell a different story. Having enjoyed Psellus' accoun [...]

    7. Very interesting book on the Byzantine Empire in XI century. It my opinion it should be read by anybody who has interest in history of that time. I have created a graphical representation of the "ruling tree" described in the book and published it in Wikimedia Commons. English: commonsmedia/wiki/FiRussian: commonsmedia/wiki/FiHope, it will help to follow the book and recall the relations between different rulers.

    8. Michael Psellus wrote this chronicle of 11th century Byzantium from an insider’s perspective. He was born during the reign of Basil I, the first emperor whose history he recounts, but he grew up in the royal court and held positions of distinction and authority for many of the rulers that followed. And they often followed one another in rather quick succession – fourteen emperors in just over 100 years. Although he strives for impartiality, his respect for the aristocracy knows few bounds. H [...]

    9. Interesting inverted pyramid style of writing as his aim was to record his experiences moreso than simply historytinged so obviously with the ever present Greek snobbery enhanced by his presence at court, it is biased as many historians will corroborate when other primary sources from the time are viewedVery haughty self obsessed individual from my reading, I'm not entirely sure but I believe he may have overestimated his worth to the Empire, especially in Book Seven when he states of the Empres [...]

    10. In FOURTEEN BYZANTINE RULERS, Michael Psellus (1018-96) recounts the decline of the Byzantine Empire from Basil II (ruled 976-1025) to Michael VII (ruled 1071-78). Basil II, an outstanding warrior and leader, expanded and consolidated the empire, while building up the state coffers. Many of his successors, however, were more interested in their own pleasures than in the health of the empire, and they expended vast sums of money on themselves, their consorts and countless friends. Psellus knew pe [...]

    11. I thought when I read the title, that this book was going to be a comprehensive history of Byzantium. Little did I know that Byzantine emperors seem to rule for an average of five years. This actually only covers a short period toward the end of the empire's supremacy. Psellus himself was personally acquainted with several of the emperors and many of the individuals involved in his narrative. For this reason, it's kind of difficult to pull out what's the truth and what is Psellus representing pe [...]

    12. A very interesting glimpse of the Byzantine empire's leaders during the stage between its resurgent height under Basil II and the beginning of its long, slow decline following its disastrous defeat at Manzikert. The story is made all the more interesting, if obviously terribly self-serving, by its author being one of the most odious court officials whose machinations was responsible in some ways for the disaster.

    13. Michael Psellus 1018-96, was a Byzantine historian, philosopher and court courtier, had intimate contact with 14 Byzantine Emperors during his life time ( Constantine V111, Romanus 1V etc). This book shows the rapid decline of the great Byzantine Empire, during only a couple of generations of rule by Byzantine Emperors who squandered their riches on the purposeless war machine and their own tyranny. Micheal Psellus gives an emotional and intellectual account of these Emporers ver his lifetime.

    14. Another great first person account of history, this time written by a man who spent much of the turbulent 11th century inside the Great Palace of Constantinople. Not a history of events, but rather a series of biographies of the rulers he saw come and go, along with diversions into his own life. Highly recommended for any student of Byzantine history.

    15. At first I started reading this because I was randomly interested in the homosexual incest going on in one of those families, but then I was like, really? A Roman named Michael? Those Byzantine folks were big old hosA: rereading whilst in the midst of my history of Rome kick, and yeah. Increasing number of stars.

    16. An imperfect history of his era by an intelligent and well-informed philosopher and courtier. While it ends in hagiography, the first three-quarters of the book are insightful and illuminating. Psellus is a strong narrator and while his focus is primarily on court life and descriptions of the various emperors, there's enough here to get a lively picture of the time.

    17. This was neat to learn about the decline of an empire due to some shitty ruling that was pretty easy to empathise with. The author is kind of symptomatic as well - JUST BECAUSE A RULER IS NICE TO YOU DOESN'T MEAN HE IS ANY GOODNoise record based on this forthcoming

    18. i liked this a lot at first but trusted psellus less and less as it went on. by the end, he was mostly trying to prove what a gifted scholar and historian he was and how much the emperors depended on him.

    19. More first hand accounts of life in Byzantium. Makes one wonder how the empire lasted for 1100 years with all the civil wars and intrigue.

    20. Maybe too homely after Anna Comnena? I was more fascinated by Byzantium's enemies, than internal affairs.

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