1. SIMOCATTA (ὁ Σιμοκάττης
, or Σιμοκάτος
, for all these forms of the name are found), was an Egyptian by descent, but a Locrian by birth; and flourished at Constantinople, where he held some public offices (ἀπὸ ἐπαρχων καὶ ἀντιγραφεύς
, Phot.) under Heraclius, about A. D. 610-629, though it is evident that he was writing before this period, probably in retirement.
History of the Reign of the Emperor Maurice
Theophylactus' chief work was a history of the reign of the emperor Maurice, in eight books, from the death of Tiberius II. and the accession of Maurice, in A. D. 582, down to the murder of Maurice and his children by Phocas in A. D. 602.
There are various indications in the work itself, that Theophylact was living and writing in retirement during the reign of Phocas, and it seems probable that he had been personally acquainted with Maurice. Thus, he contrasts the depressed state of literature under Phocas with the favour it enjoyed under Heraclius, in a Dialogue between Philosophy and History, which is prefixed to his work.
After the death of Phocas in A. D. 610, he read in public from an elevated position the passage of his history describing the death of Maurice, and the people were moved to tears by the recital.
This statement, which we have on the authority of Theophylact himself (8.12) proves that his work was partly written during the reign of Phocas; while on the other hand, he mentions in the same chapter the conclusion of the Persian war, by the death of Chosroes II. in A. D. 628, so that the work could not have been completed till that year or the next, in which Theophylact appears to have died.
The history of Theophylact, which is known by the Latin title of Historiae Mauricii Tiberii Imperatoris Libri VIII.,
seems to be the same work which is quoted by Eustathius (ad Dionys. Perieg. 730
) by the title of ἱστορία οἰκουμενή
, which seems to refer to the fact, that it was not confined to the affairs of Constantinople, but contained notices of events occurring in all parts of the known world.
Besides the work itself, we have an epitome of it by Photius (Bibl.
Cod. 65), who relates some particulars respecting the author, and characterises his style very minutely, as being not destitute of grace, but often frigid and puerile through the frequent occurrence of figures and allegorical turns of expression, and tiresome from the interruptions of moral reflections inserted out of season.
The other works of Theophylact are (2) Eighty-five Letters, consisting of the three classes of Morales,
twenty-nine in number, Rusticae,
twenty-eight, and Amatoriae,
twenty-eight; and (3) Problems in Physics (Ἀποριαι Φυσικαί
, Quaestiones Physicae
), respecting the nature of animals, and especially of man.
There is no complete edition of Theophylact's works.
The edition of A. Schottus, with a Latin Version by Kimedoncius, Antverp. 1598, 1599, 8vo., comprising all his then known works, does not contain the History, but only the Epitome of it by Photius.
The account of embassies in this edition is no distinct work, but a collection of extracts from the History. The History was first published, from a MS. in the library of Maximilian of Bavaria, with a Latin version, by Jac. Pontanus, Ingolst. 1604, 4to.
; revised, and with a Glossary of the low Greek words, by C. Annib. Fabrotti, Paris, 1648, fol.
; reprinted in the Venice collection of Byzantine historians, 1729, fol.
: it has also been edited by Imm. Bekker, in the Corpus Script. Hist. Byzant. Bonn, 1834, 8vo.
The Letters were published in the Epistolae Graecae of Aldus, 1499, 4to.
and of Cujacius, 1606, fol.
, and, in Latin only, by Haller, Cracov. 1509, 4to.
The Quaestiones Physicae were published, with the similar work of Cassius Iatrosophista, by Rivinus, Lips. 1653, 4to.
The Letters and Physical Questions were published together, Lugd. Bat. 1596, 12mo., with the works of Cassius Iatrosophista; again, with the Quaestiones of Cassius, and the Letters of Julian, Gallus, Basil, and Gregory of Nazianzus, by Bonaventura Vulcanius, Lugd. Bat. 1597, 12mo.
; and, lastly, with the Latin version of Kimedoncius, and critical notes, by Boissonade, Paris, 1835, 8vo.
There is a French translation of the Quaestiones Physicae, by F. Morel, Paris, 1603, 12mo.
Cave, Hist. Litt. s. a. 611,
p. 575; Hankius, de Byzant. Rer. Scriptor.
pt. i. pp. 186-194; Vossius, de Hist. Graec.
pp. 329, 330, ed. Westermann; Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. vii. pp. 582-586; Schröckh, Christliche Kirchengeschichte,
vol. xix. pp. 92-94; Hoffmann, Lex. Bibliogr. Script. Graec.