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Michael Psellus (1018-after 1078):

Complete Text | Introduction | Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6 | Book 7

[See Chronographia Main for a more recent bibliography]


A short list of introductory books and articles likely to be accessible to English readers is appended. It should be noted that the Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 4, The Eastern Empire, 717-1453, as it stands should be used with caution. The 1923 edition is now in process of drastic revision necessitated by the rapid advance of Byzantine studies during the last thirty years. Its detailed bibliographies (to 1923), however, still retain much of their value. * below denotes full bibliography.


*Byzantium, ed. N. H. Baynes and H. St. L. B. Moss (O.U.P., 1948); this is an excellent introduction to Byzantine history and civilization (with delightful illustrations).

N. H. BAYNES, The Hellenistic Civilization and East Rome (O.U.P., 1946) and The Thought World of East Rome (O.U.P., 1947)Ctwo stimulating introductory Lectures.

CH. DIEHL, Les grands problèmes de l'histoire Byzantine (Paris, 1943).

S. RUNCIMAN, Byzantine Civilization (London, 1933).

'Byzantine Empire' in Chambers' Encyclopedia (new edition, 1950) gives a bird's-eye view and skeleton bibliography.


*CH. DIEHL and G. MARÇAIS, Le monde oriental de 395 à 1081 (= Histoire générale, ed. G. GLOTZ, Histoire du Moyen Age, vol. 3, Paris, 1936).

*J. M. HUSSEY, Church and Learning in the Byzantine Empire, 867-1185 (O.U.P., 1937)

*The Byzantine Empire in the eleventh century: some differed interpretations, Transactions Of the Royal Historical Society, 4th series, vol. 32 (1950).

*G. OSTROGORSKY, Geschichte des byzantinischen Staates (Munich, 1940). This is probably the best short modern general history, and has an excellent bibliography and critical notes.

G. SCHLUMBERGER, L'epopée Byzantine à la fin du dixième siècle. Part 3, Les porphyrogénètes Zoe et Theodora 1025-1027 (Paris, 1905)

A. A. VASILIEV, Histoire de l'empire Byzantine, 2 vols. (Paris, 1932). There is also an English version (Madison, 1928-29) which is being revised and should appear shortly in a new edition.


*E. AMANN and A. DUMAS, L'église au povoir des laïques (888C1057) (= Histoire de l'église, ed. A. Fliche and V. Martin, vol. 7, Paris, 1943).

*M. JUGIE, Le schisme byzantin (Paris, 1941).


The best modern guide to medieval Constantinople is *R. JANIN, Constantinople Byzantin (= Archives de l'Orient Chrétien 4, Paris, 1950, with maps).


*C. ZERVOS, Un philosophe néoplatonicien du Xle siècle:Michel Psellos (Paris, 1920) This concentrates on the more philosophical aspects of Psellus's work and now needs some revision. For the place of Psellus in eleventh-century life in the light of recent research see J. M. HUSSEY in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society op. cit. There is also a short account of Psellus's activities in J. M. HUSSEY, Church and Learning op. cit.

A. RAMBAUD, 'Michel Psellos, philosophe et homme d'état byzantin au XIe siècle' in: Etudes sur l'histoire Byzantine (Paris, 1912).

CH. DIEHL, Figures Byzantines, vol. I (Paris, 1905 and other editions), gives a delightful account of Psellus' mother ('Une famille de bourgeoisie à Byzance au Xle siècle'). This same volume also has an essay on the Empress Zoe.

The quotations from Leo the Deacon, Cedrenus and Scylitzes in the Notes are to be found in CSHB (Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae: Leo Diaconus, Bonn 1828; Cedrenus and Scylitzes, Bonn, 1839). The works of Cedrenus are published in two volumes, but as all quotations here are taken from the second volume such references as Cedrenus, 765B, p. 563, must be understood to give the folio and page reference to that volume. The Bonn Corpus was published with a Latin translation and some notes. These historians may also be found reprinted in J.-P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca (with Latin translation).


Complete Text | Introduction | Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6 | Book 7


Michael Psellus: Chronographia, trans E.R.A Sewter, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953)

This copyright on this text was not renewed. Extensive inquiries were made in the records of copyright renewals, and then a correspondence with Yale University Press (on file) confirmed the situation.

Note that there is a later and revised edition of the translation, published by Penguin, and that should be referred to for scholarly purposes.


This etext slightly alters the organization and much of the typography of the printed edition.

Page numbers of the printed edition are indicated in the texts by numbers in brackets, e.g. [57].

Some short notes are placed in the text in brackets [*like this].

Longer notes are marked in the text with two asterisks **, and placed at the end of each chapter

Text scanned by Hanna Orr.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

Paul Halsall, January 1999