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Glycas, Michael

Μιχαὴλ Γλυκᾶς), a Byzantine historian, was a native either of Constantinople or Sicily, whence he is often called " Siculus." There are great doubts with regard to the time when he lived. Oudin, Hamberger, and others, are of opinion that he was a contemporary of the last emperors of Constantinople, as may be concluded from letters of his being extant in MS. which are addressed to the last Constantine, who perished in the storm of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453: but it is doubtful whether those letters are really written by him. Walch, Fabricius, Vossius, and Cave, on the contrary, believe that Glycas lived in the twelfth century. However this may be, it is certain that he lived after 1118, because his Annals go down to that year.


Glycas was probably an ecclesiastic: he possessed an extensive amount of knowledge, and he was acquainted with several languages. His style is generally clear and concise, and he is justly placed among the better Byzantine historians.


The Annals (Βίβλος χρονικὴ) mentioned above are his principal work. They are divided into four parts. The first part treats of the creation of the world: it is a physico-theological treatise; the second part is historical, and contains the period from the Creation to Christ; the third goes from Christ to Constantine the Great; and the fourth from Constantine the Great to the death of the emperor Alexis I. Comnenus, in 1118.


It was first published in a Latin translation, by Leunclavius, together with a continuation of the Annals down to the capture of Constantinople, by the editor, Basel, 1572, 8vo. The first part of the work was first published in Greek, with a Latin translation, by Meursius, under the title of "Theodori Metochitae Historiae Romanae a Julio Caesare ad Constantinum Magnum," Lugdun. 1618, 8vo.; and it is also given in the 7th vol. of Meursius' works: Meursius erroneously attributed it to Theodorus Metochita.

The whole of the Greek text was first published by Labbe, who took great care in collecting MSS., and added valuable notes, as well as the translation of Leunclavius, which he revised in many places. This edition forms part of the Paris collection of the Byzantines, and appeared at Paris 1660, fol.; it was reprinted at Venice 1729, fol. The best edition is by I. Bekker, in the Bonn collection of the Byzantines, 1836, 8vo.

Other Works

Besides this historical work, Glycas wrote a great number of letters, mostly on theological subjects.


Some of them have been published, under the title of "Epistolae sive Dissertationes decem et Graece et Latine, interprete J. Lamio, cum Notis," in the first vol. of J. Lamius, Deliciae Eruditorum.

Further Information

Dissertatio de Aetate et Scriptis M. Glycae, in Oudin, Commentarius de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis, vol. iii. p. 2522 Vita Glycae, in Lamius, Deliciae Eruditorum ; Hamberger, Zuverlässige Nachrichten von gelehrten Männern, vol. iv. p. 729, &c.; Cave, Hist. Lit. vol. ii. p. 206, &c.; Fabric. Bibl. Grec. vol. xi. p. 199.


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