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Cedre'nus, Geo'rgius

Γεώργως Κεδρηνός, (a Greek monk, of whose life nothing is known, lived in the eleventh century, and is the author, or rather compiler, of an historical work (Σύνοψις ἱστορίων).


Synopsis of History
(Σύνοψις ἱστορίων

The Synopsis begins with the creation of the world and goes down to the year 1057. This extensive work is written in the form of annals, and must be perused with great caution, as its author was not only very deficient in historical knowledge, but shews a great want of judgment and a degree of credulity which may suit a writer of legends, but which becomes absurd and ridiculous in historians. The latter part of the Synopsis, which treats of events of which Cedrenus was a contemporary, is not quite so bad, but it still shews that the author was utterly unable to form a judgment respecting the times in which he lived. However, as the work is extensive and contains an abundance of facts, it may frequently be used in conjunction with other authors; but a careful writer will seldom make him his sole authority, except where he has copied good sources.

A great number of passages, may long episodes, of the Synopsis are also found in the Annals of Joannes Scylitzes Curopalates, the contemporary of Cedrenus, and the question has often been discussed, whether Curopalates copied Cedrenus or Cedrenus Curopalates. The work of Curopalates goes down to the year 1081, but the latter writer was a man of much more intellect and judgment than Cedrenus, and there is no doubt that Cedrenus was the plagiarist, although, of course, he can have used only the first part of the annals of Curopalates. The style of Cedrenus is very barbarous. Oudin (Comment. de Script. Eccles. vol. ii. p. 1130) thinks, but without sufficient evidence, that Cedrenus lived in the twelfth century.

The general Latin title of the Σύνοψις is, Compendium Historiarum ab Orbe Condita ad Isaacum Comnenum (1057).


The first edition, published by Xylander, Basel, 1506, fol., with a Latin translation and a preface, is very deficient, as Xylander perused an incomplete MS. A good edition was published by Goar and Fabrot, together with the Annals of Curopalates, Paris, 1647, 2 vols. fol., with a new translation, a glossary of barbarisms, and a preface of Fabrot. This edition is complete, or very nearly so, the editors having collated good MSS., and paid particular attention to the numerous passages taken from Curopalates; it belongs to the Paris collection of the Byzantine historians, and is reprinted in the Venice collection. The last edition is by Immanuel Bekker, Bonn, 1838-39, 2 vols. in 8vo.; it is the revised French edition, and contains likewise the Annals of Curopalates.

Further Information

The Prefaces of Xylander and Fabrot to their editions of Cedrenus; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. vii. p. 464, &c.; Leo Allatius, De Georgüs.


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