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Title: John Zonaras' Epitome of Histories (12th cent.) : a compendium of Jewish-Roman history and its readers
Author: Kampianaki, Theofili
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 6776
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is concerned with the twelfth-century chronicle of John Zonaras, the so-called Epitome of Histories (henceforth: Epitome). Its aim is to identify the unique qualities of the Epitome which make the work stand out, and thus determine its place within the tradition of Byzantine historical writing. The first chapter discusses the biographical and chronological information available to us about Zonaras, and contains a survey of the other works composed by the author in addition to the Epitome. Chapters 2 to 5 focus on the chronicle itself. The second chapter explains the arrangement of Zonaras' text in volumes and in thematic units. It demonstrates that the author gradually developed his project into a universal historical account over a period of time. Chapter 3 looks at the author's method of work, exploring how he used and adapted his source material. The fourth chapter deals with the work's political and ideological framework. It shows that Zonaras' disapproval of Alexios I Komnenos was to a great extent a personal attack, but also an outright rejection of similar policies that were implemented by various emperors in the past. Zonaras' pronounced interest in Roman antiquities is discussed in the fifth chapter. His attention to the Roman origins of Byzantium is examined against the broader intellectual, literary and historical milieu of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Chapters 6 and 7 include discussions that go beyond the text. The sixth chapter proves that the chronicler was part of a network of intellectuals outside the monastery to which he had retired. Additionally, it shows that Zonaras addresses the Epitome to relatively learned readers. The last chapter, dedicated to the reception of the chronicle, investigates the various ways in which approximate contemporaries of Zonaras and later readers perceived and exploited the Epitome. At the end of the thesis, some broader conclusions are drawn about the profile of Zonaras and about the overall character of his historical account.
Supervisor: Lauxtermann, Marc Sponsor: Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available