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Ba'lsamo, Theodo'rus

a celebrated Greek canonist, born at Constantinople, where, under Manuel Comnenus, he filled the offices of Magnae Ecclesiae (S. Sophiae) Diaconus, Nomophylax, and Chartophylax. Under Isaac Angelus he was elevated to the dignity of patriarch of Antioch, about 1185; but, on account of the invasion of the Latins, he was never able to ascend the patriarchal throne, and all the business of the patriarchate was conducted at Constantinople. He died about 1204.


Of the works of this author there is no complete edition: they are scattered among various collections.

Commentaries upon the
and the
of Photius

Under the auspices of the emperor Manuel Comnenus and of Michael Anchialus, the patriarch of Constantinople, he composed commentaries or scholia upon the Syntagma and the Nomocanon of Photius. These scholia seem, from external evidence, (though there is some difference of opinion among critics as to the exact date of their composition,) to have been begun as early as 1166, and not to have been completed before 1192. They are of much use in illustrating the bearing of the imperial law of Rome upon the canon law of the Greek Church. The historical accuracy of Balsamo has been questioned. In the preface of lois commentary upon Photius, he refers the last revision of the Basilica to Constantinus Porphyrogenitus; whereas Attaliata, Blastares, Harmenopulus, and other authorities, concur in ascribing that honour to Leo the Wise.

The Syntagma of Photius (which is a collection of canons at large), and the Nomocanon (which is a systematic abstract), are parts of a single plan; but, with the scholia of Balsamo, they have been usually edited separately.


The scholia on the Nomocanon are best given in Justelli et Voelli Bibliotheca Juris Canonici. (Paris, 1661, vol. ii. p. 789, &c.)

The Syntagma, without the Nomocanon, is printed with the scholia of Balsamo and Zonaras subjoined to the text in the Synodicon of Bishop Beveridge. In this edition much use is made of an ancient Bodleian MS., which supplies the lacunae of the former printed edition of Paris, 1620. A farther collation of Beveridge's text with three MSS. is given in Wolfii Anecdota Graeca Sacra et profana, vol. iv. p. 113.

The scholia of Balsamo, unlike those of Zonaras, treat not so much of the sense of words as of practical questions, and the mode of reconciling apparent contradictions. The text of Justinian's collections is carefully compared by Balsamo with the Basilica, and the portions of the former which are not incorporated in the latter are regarded by him as having no validity in ecclesiastical matters.

Μελετῶν καὶ ἀποκρίσεων, and his answers to the questions of Marcus, patriarch of Alexandria

Other genuine works of Balsamo are extant.


His book Μελετῶν καὶ ἀποκρίσεων, and his answers to the questions of Marcus, patriarch of Alexandria, are given by Leunclavius. (Jus. Gr. Rom. vol. i.) The former work is also to be found in Cotelerius, Eccl. Gr. Monum.

Works erroneously attributed to Balsamo

Several works have been erroneously attributed to Balsamo.

Ecclesiastical Constitutions

Of these the most important is a Greek collection of Ecclesiastical Constitutions, in three books, compiled chiefly from the Digest, Code, and Novells of Justinian.


It is inserted, with the Latin translation of Leunclavius, in Justelli et Voelli Bibl. Jur. Can. vol. ii. F. A. Biener, however, in his history of the Authenticae (Diss. i. p. 16), proved that this collection was older than Balsamo; and in his history of the Novells (p. 179), he referred it to the time of the emperor Heraclius. (A. D. 610-641.) Heimbach (Anecdota, vol. i. pp. xliv.--xlvii) maintains, in opposition to Biener, that the collection was made soon after the time of Justin II. (565-8), and that four Novells of Heraclius, appended to the work, are the addition of a later compiler.

Arrangement of Justinian's Novells

There is extant an arrangement of Justinian's Novells according to their contents, which was composed, as Biener has shewn, by Athanasius Scholasticus, though a small portion of it had been previously printed under the name of Balsamo. (Hugo, Röm. R. R. 14.)

The Glossa ordinaria of the Basilica, which was formed in the 12th century from more ancient scholia, is, without sufficient reason, attributed to Balsamo by Assemani. (Bibl. Jur. Orient, ii. p. 386.)

Πρόχειρον, or legal manual

Tigerström, in his Aeussere Geschichte des Röm. Rechts (Berlin, 1841, p. 331), speaks of a Πρόχειρον, or legal manual, of Antiochus Balsamo, as extant in MS.; but he does not say where, nor does he cite any authority for the fact. As Tigerström is often inaccurate, we suspect that Antiochus is put by mistake for Theodorus, and that the Procheiron auctum is referred to, of which an account is given by C. E. Zachariä, Historiae Juris Graeco-Romani Delineation, § 48.


The commencement of this Procheiron was published, by way of specimen, by Zachariä in the Prolegomena to his edition of the Procheiron of the emperor Basilius. (Heidelb. 1837.) The Procheiron Auctum is supposed by Biener (in Savigny's Journal, vol. viii. p. 276) to have been rather later than Balsamo, from whose works it borrows, as also from the works of Joannes Citrius, who outlived Balsamo.

Further Information

Beveridge, Preface to the Synodicon, §§ 14-21; Bach, Hist. Jur. Rom. ed. Stockmann, p. 684; Heimbach, de Basil. Orig. pp. 130, 132; Biener, Gesch. der Nov. pp. 210-218; Witte, in Rhein. Mas. für Jarisp. iii. p. 37, n.; Walter, Kirchenrecht, Bonn, 1842,, § 77.


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