previous next


8. ANAGNOSTES (Ἀναγνώστης) or LECTOR, the READER, an ecclesiastical historian, generally supposed to have written in the reign of the emperor Justin I., or his successor Justinian I. Nothing of his personal history is known, except that he held the subordinate ecclesiastical post of reader at Constantinople, and, as Suidas states, in the great church (Suidas, s. v.). Suidas states that he brought down his history to the time of Justinian I. : and though nothing in the extant fragments of his works leads us to a later time than the accession of Justin I., we may not unreasonably admit the correctness of Suidas' statement, so far as to place the composition of the history of Theodore in the reign of Justinian. Theodore is quoted by Joannes Damascenus and by Theophanes, and in the Acta of the second Nicene (seventh (General Council), all in the eighth century.


He was the author of two works on ecclesiastical history, which were sometimes both comprehended under the general title of Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ Ἱστορια, Historia Ecclesiastica, and referred to as constituting one work. They are, in fact, two consecutive works on one subject.

1. Ἐκλογὴ ἐκ τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν ἱστοριῶν,

A compendium of Church history from the time of Constantine the Great, in two books, compiled chiefly from Sozomen, with additions from Socrates and Theodoret. It is probable that Theodore intended that this compendium should comprehend the whole period included in the histories from which he made his extracts : but if so, the work was not completed; for it breaks off at the death of Constantius II. From its incomplete state it was probably the latter of Theodore's two works in the order of composition, and was apparently designed as an introduction to the other.

2. Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ ἱστορία,

An original work on ecclesiastical history, also in two books, comprehending the period from the reign of Theodosius the younger, where Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret end to the reign of Justin I., perhaps of Justinian I. From the circumstance of this work commencing from the point where the earlier ecclesiastical histories cease, it is inferred that the compendium just mentioned was intended to come down to the same point, and consequently that it was never completed. Its incompleteness occasioned a void of seventy years to be left between the close of one, and the commencement of the other of Theodore's works.

The compendium is extant in MS., in the library of St. Mark at Venice, though the MS. is mutilated at the beginning. A copy (whether transcribed from the Venetian MS. is not known) was in the possession of Allatius, who intended to publish it, but who never fulfilled his intention ; nor has it ever been published. Allatius sent a transcript of some portions to Valesius, who employed it in correcting the text of his edition of the original authors.

Theodore's own history is lost, except some extracts ἀπὸ φωνῆς Νικηφόρου Καλλίστου τοῦ Ξανθοπούλου, ex ore Nieephori Callisti Xanthopuli. As Nicephorus never in his own Ecclesiastical History quotes Theodore, except for statements contained in these extracts, it is fairly inferred by Valesius that the original was not in his hands; and that the extracts were made by some one before his time, and were all the remains of Theodore's work then extant, at least all that he had access to.


These extracts (Ἐκλογαί, Excerpta) were first published by Robert Stephens, with Eusebius and the other Greek ecclesiastical historians, fol. Paris, 1544; and again, with the Latin version of Christopherson, fol. Geneva, 1612 : but the best edition is that of Henri Valois, or Valesius; who published them with the ecclesiastical histories of Theodoret, Evagrius, and Philostorgius, fol. Paris, 1673, reprinted under the care of Reading, fol. Cambridge, 1720, and again at Turin, 1748.

Other Works

Further Information

Valesius published not only the Excerpta of Nicephorus, but some other fragments of Theodore. Combéfis, in his Originum Rerumque CPolitanarum Manipulus, and Bandurius in his Imperium Orientale, have given an anonymous work Παραστάσεις σύντομοι χρονικαί, Breves Demonstrationes s. Enarrationes Chronographicae, in which are some citations from a Θεόδωρος, Theodorus, or Θεόδωρος Ἀναγνώστης, Theodorus Lector, or Θεόδωρος Χρονογράφος ἀναρρωσθεὶς ἀναγνώσμασιν, Theodorus Chronographus Lectionibus clarus (comp. Combéfis, pp. 11, 12, 19, 33, ed. Paris, 1664; Bandurius, vol. i. p. iii. pp. 88, 89, 93, 102, ed. Paris, 1711).


If these references are to one and the same writer, and that writer the subject of this article, as critics generally seem to admit, he must have written on other subjects than ecclesiastical history, and have lived at a considerably later period than is generally supposed.

The extracts chiefly or wholly relate to the statues with which Constantinople was adorned; and one of them (p. 11, Combéfis, p. 88, Bandurius) contains a curious incident in the personal history of the writer which shows him to have lived in the reign of the emperor Philippicus (A. D. 711-713), nearly two centuries after the reign of Justin I., in which Theodorus is usually placed. Another extract notices statues of the daughter and niece of the empress Sophia, wife of Justin II., which also implies the writer to have lived long after the time of Justin I. Though there seems no decisive reason for identifying the writer on the statues with the ecclesiastical historian, yet the name and title render their identity not improbable : and it may be observed that Damascenus, the earliest writer who has mentioned Theodore, belongs to a period somewhat later than the reign of Philippicus [DAMASCENUS].

Further Information

Vales. Praefatio ad Theodoretum, &c. ; Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 518, vol. i. p. 503; Dupin, Nouvelle Biblioth. des Auteurs Eccles. vol. iv. (6me siècle) p. 92, 2d ed. Paris, 1698; Ceillier, Auteurs Sacrés, vol. xvi. p. 187, &c.; Fabric. Biblioth. Graec. vol. vii. pp. 368, 435, &c., vol. x. p. 398; Schoell, Hist. de la Litterature Grecque Profane, vol. vii. p. 26, 2d ed. Paris, 1825.

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.
713 AD (1)
711 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: