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9. Of MILETUS, is called by almost all the ancients who mention him Ἰλλούστριος, which is commonly understood as an indication of rank (Illustris), derived from some office which he held, though by some construed as a cognomen " Illustrius." He was a native of Miletus, son of Hesychius, a δικήγορος, or pleader, and his wife Sophia (Σοφία), as she is called in Suidas and in the older editions of Photius, but, according to Bekker's Photius, Philosophia (Θιλοσοφία). He lived in the time of the emperors Anastasius I., Justin I., and Justinian I.; but nothing is known of his history, except that he had a son Joannes, whose loss prevented his continuing his account of Justinian's reign.


Hesychius is known as the author of the following works:

1. Περὶ τῶν ἐν παιδείᾳ λαμψάντων σοφῶν (

The word σοφῶν in the above title is rejected by some critics as spurious. The notice of Hesychius in the present copies of Suidas, which is probably corrupt,--at any rate it is obscure, --is understood by some to affirm that Hesychius wrote two works, one entitled Πίναξ τῶν ἐν παιδέᾳ ὀνομαστῶν, the other called Ὀνοματολόγος, an epitome of the Πίναξ. Meursius, who contends that the passage is corrupt, proposes a conjectural emendation, according to which the two titles belong to one and the same work, Ὀνοματολόγος Πίναξ, κ. τ. λ., which he supposes Suidas to have described as an epitome of Diogenes Laertius, De Vitis Philosophorum. The work is in its general character similar to that of Diogenes ; and though a good deal shorter, comprehends much of the same matter. But the differences are too great to allow one to be regarded as the epitome of the other. As the ecclesiastical writers are avowedly omitted by Hesychius, the opinion has been entertained that he was a pagan; but his belief in Christianity has been satisfactorily shown by several writers, especially by Thorschmidius in a dissertation on the subject, reprinted by Orellius in his Hesychii Opuscula.


The work of Hesychius was first published with a Latin version by Hadrianus Junius, 8vo. Antwerp, 1572, and has been reprinted several times. For a long time the standard edition was that of Meursius, in his Hesychii Opuscula, 8vo. Leyden, 1613, reprinted in the seventh vol. of the Opera Meursii, fol. Florence. 1741, &c. A late edition of the Opuscula Hesychii, that of Joan. Conrad. Orellius of Zurich, 8vo. Leipzig, 1820, contains much valuable illustrative matter, especially the dissertation of Thorschmidius above mentioned.

2. Πάτρια Κωνστινουπόλεως (

It is probable that this work is a fragment of that next mentioned. A considerable part of it is incorporated, word for word, in the Περὶ τῶν Πατρίων Κωνσταντινουπόλεως,, De Originibus Constantinopolitanis of Codinus [CODINUS].


This was first printed in A. D. 1596, by George Dousa; but the work (or fragment) of Hesychius with the author's name, was first published by Meursius in his Hesychii Opuscula, noticed above, and was reprinted in the Florentine edition of the works of Meursius, and in the Opuscula Hesychii of Orellius.

3. A Synoptic View of Universal History

A work described by Photius as Βιβλίον ἱστορικὸν ὡς ἐν συνόψει κοσμικῆς ἱστορίας, a synoptical view of universal history, and by Suidas as Χρονική τις Ἱστορία, and by Constantine Porphyrogenitus as Χρονικά. It is described by Photius as divided into six parts (τμήματα), or, as the writer himself called them, διαστήματα, by which term they were commonly quoted, e. g. ἐν τῷ ε᾽ (sive σ᾽) διαστήματι τής ἱστορίας . (See Charles Labbe's Veteres Glossae Verborum Juris quae passim in Basilicis reperiuntur, s. vv. Παλματίοις ἐκούοις (Palmatiis equis), Θόλις.) The whole history comprehended a period of 1920 years, and extended from the reign of Belus, the reputed founder of the Assyrian empire, to the death of the Byzantine emperor, Anastasius I., A. D. 518: according to Photius, it was thus distributed among the six parts:-- (1) Before the Trojan war. (2) From the taking of Troy to the foundation of Rome. (3) From the foundation of Rome to the abolition of kingly power and the establishment of the consulship in the 68th Olympiad. (4) From the establishment of the consulship in the 68th, to the sole power (μοναρχία) of Julius Caesar in the 182d Olympiad. (5) From the sole power of Julius Caesar till Byzantium (Constantinople) was raised to greatness, in the 277th Olympiad. (6) From the settlement of Constantine at Byzantium to the death of Anastasius in the 11th year of the indiction. The Πάτρια Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, published by Meursius, appears to be the earlier part of the sixth book.

4. A book on the reign of Justin I.

A book recording the transactions of the reign of Justin I. (A. D. 518-527), and the earlier years of Justinian I., who reigned A. D. 527-566. This work, which was discontinued through domestic affliction, is lost. It was apparently intended as a continuation of the foregoing, and as the work of a contemporary whose high office (for the title "Illustris" was given to the highest officers, the praefecti praetorio, praefecti urbi, &c.) must have implied political knowledge, and have procured access to the best sources of information, it was probably the most valuable part.


Photius characterizes the historical style of Hesychius as concise, his language well chosen and expressive, his sentences well constructed and arranged, and his figures as striking and appropriate. Hesychius of Miletus has sometimes been confounded with Hesychius of Alexandria, the author of the Lexicon.

Further Reading

Phot. Bibl. Codd. 69 ; Constant. Porphyrog. De Themat. lib. i. th. 2, lib. ii. th. 8; Suidas, s. v. Ἡούχιος μιλήσιος; Tzetzes, Chil. 3.877; the notes of Meursius in his Hesychii Opuscula ; Cave, Historic Litt. vol. i. p. 518; Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vol. vii. pp. 446, 544; Thorschmidius, De Hesychio Milesio Illustri Christiano Commentatio, ap. Orellium, Hesychii Opera.

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