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Gene'sius, Jose'phus

or JOSE'PHUS BYZANTI'NUS, a Byzantine writer who lived in the middle of the tenth century.


Byzantine History

Genesius is the author of a Greek history, which he wrote by order of the emperor Constantine (VII.) Porphyrogenitus. This history, which is divided into four books, and is entitled Βασιλειῶν Βιβλία Δ, begins with the year 813, and contains the reigns of Leo V., the Armenian, Michael II., the Stammerer, Theophilus, Michael III., and Basil I., the Macedonian, who died in 886. The work of Genesius is short, and altogether a poor compilation, or extract; but as it contains the events of a period of Byzantine history, of which we have but scanty information, it is nevertheless of importance. A MS. of this work was discovered at Leipzig in the sixteenth century, and attracted the attention of scholars. Godfrey Olearius translated it into Latin, but death prevented him from publishing his translation.


It has been said that there was an edition of Genesius of 1570, published at Venice, but this is a mistake. The first edition was published at Venice by the editors of the Venetian Collection of the Byzantines, in 1733, in fol., under the title " Josephi Genesii de Rebus Constantinopolitanis, &c., Libri IV.," with a Latin translation by Bergler. The editors perused the Leipzig MS. mentioned above, but they mutilated and misunderstood the text. The best edition is by Lachmann in the Bonn edition of the Byzantines, 1834, 8vo. Joannes Scylitza is the only earlier writer who mentions the name of Genesius. Fabricius shows that it is a mistake to suppose that Josephus Genesius and Josephus Byzantinus were two different persons.

Further Information

Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. vii. p. 529; Cave, Hist. Lit. vol. ii. p. 97; Hamberger, Nachrichten von den vornehmsten Schrifistellern, vol. iii. p. 686.


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