previous next


27. SOLITARIUS. The title Solitarius is given by bibliographers to a Greek monk of the time of the emperor Alexius I. Comnenus, of whom nothing further seems to be known than what may be gleaned from the titles and introductions of his extant works.


He wrote :--

1. Διόπτρα, Dioptra

Dioptra, s. Amussis Fideil et Vitae Christianae, written in the kind of measure called "versus politici," 1 and in the form of a dialogue between the soul and the body. It is addressed to another monk, Callinicus ; and begins with these two lines :--
πῶς κάθῃ; πῶς ἀμεριμνεῖς; πῶς ἀμελωῖς, ψυχή μου ; χρόνος σου πεπλήρωται : ἔξελθε τοῦ σαρκίου.

The work, in its complete state, consisted of five books; but most of the MSS. are mutilated or otherwise defective, and want the first book. Some of them have been interpolated by a later hand. Michael Psellus, not the older writer of that name, who died about A. D. 1078, but one of later date, wrote a preface and notes to the Dioptra of Philip.


A Latin prose translation of the Dioptra by the Jesuit Jacobus Pontanus, with notes, by another Jesuit, Jacobus Gretserus, was published, 4to. Ingoldstadt, 1604; but it was made from a mutilated copy, and consisted of only four books, and these, as the translator admits in his Praefatio ad Lectorem, interpolated and transposed ad libitum. Philip wrote also :--

2. Τῷ κατὰ πνεῦμα υἱῷ καὶ ἱερεῖ Κωνσταντίνῳ περὶ πρεσβείας καὶ προστασίας ἀπόλογους, .


in the beginning of which he states with great exactness the time of his finishing the Dioptra, 12th May, A. M. 6603, era Constantinop. in the third indiction, in the tenth year of the lunar Cycle=A. D. 1095, not 1105, as has been incorrectly stated.

Other works

Cave has, without sufficient authority, ascribed to our Philip two other works, which are indeed given in a Vienna MS. (Codex 213, apud Lambec.) as Appendices to the Dioptra. One of these works (Appendix secunda), Ὅτι οὐκ ἔφαγε τὸ νομικὸν πάσχα Χριστὸς ἐν τῷ δείπνῳ, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀληθινόν, Demonstratio quod Christus in Sacra Coena non legale sed verum comederit Pascha, may have been written by Philip. Its arguments are derived from Scripture and St. Epiphanius. The other work, consisting of five chapters, De Fide et Caeremoniis Armeniorum, Jacobitarum, Chatzitzariorum et Romanorum seu Francorum, was published, with a Latin version, but without an author's name, in the Auctarium Novum of Combéfis, fol. Paris, 1648, vol. ii. col. 261, &c., but was, on the authority of MSS., assigned by Combéfis, in a note, to Demetrius of Cyzicus [DEMETRIUS, No. 17], to whom it appears rightly to belong (comp. Cave, Hist. Litt. Dissertatio I. p. 6; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. 11.414). The Chatzitzarii (Χατζιτζάριοι) were a sect who paid religious homage to the image of the Cross, but employed no other images in their worship.

Confusion with Demetrius

The work of Demetrius appears under the name of Philip in the fourteenth (posthumous) volume of the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland ; but the editors, in their Prolegomena to the volume, 100.15, observe that they knew not on what authority Galland had assigned it to Philip. Among the pieces given as Appendices to the Dioptra, are some verses in praise of the work and its author, by one Constantine, perhaps the person addressed in No. 2, and by Bestus or Vestus, a grammarian, Στίχοι κυροῦ Κωνσταντίνου καὶ Βέστου τοῦ γραμματικοῦ, Versus Domini Constantini et Vesti Grammatici.

Further Information

Lambecius, Commentar. de Biblioth. Caesarea. lib. s. vol. v. col. 76-97, and 141, codd. 213, 214, 215, and 232, ed Kollar; Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 1095, vol. ii. p. 163; Oudin, De Scriptorib. Eccles. vol. ii. col. 851.

1 * These "versus politici" are thus described by the Jesuit Goar : “In versibus politicis, numerus syllabarum ad cantum non ad exactae poetices prosodiam observatur. Octava syllaba, ubi caesura est. medium versus tenet, reliquae septem perficiunt. His recentiores ὁμοιοτελεῦτα, pariter cadentium exitum, quem rhythmum (rhyme) dicimus, addidere. Politicos vocatos arbitror quod vulgo Constantinopoli per compita canerentur.” Quoted in Lambec. Commentar. de Biblioth. Caesar. vol. s. lib. iv. col. 397, note 2, ed. Kollar. The measure is retained in English as a ballad measure, and may be illustrated by the old ditty of "The Unfortunate Miss Bayley," the first two lines of which closely resemble in their cadence those cited in the text :--

A captain bold of Halifax, who lived in country quarters,
Seduced a maid who hung herself one morning in her garters, amp;c.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1095 AD (2)
1078 AD (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: