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8. HOLOBOLUS (Ὁλόβωλος), a Byzantine writer of the latter part of the thirteenth century.

When the ambitious Michael Palaeologus [MICHAEL VIII.] deprived his youthful colleague Joannes Lascaris [JOANNES IV.] of his eyes and his share in the empire, and sent him into banishment about A. D. 1261 or 1262, Holobolus, then a lad pursuing his studies, was cruelly mutilated by order of Michael, his nose and lips being cut off, because he had expressed grief at the treatment of the young emperor. The mutilated lad was confined to the monastery of the Precursor (τοῦ προδρόμου), where having excellent abilities and good opportunity, he pursued his studies with such success, that the patriarch Germanus III. of Constantinople [GERMANUS, No. 8], shortly after his accession to the patriarchate, A. D. 1267, procured him to be appointed master of the school for the instruction of young ecclesiastics, and prevailed upon the emperor to remit his punishment, and allow him to quit the monastery. The patriarch also conferred upon him the ecclesiastical office of rhetor, reader and expounder of the Scriptures, and showed him much kindness. When the emperor formed the design of a reconciliation of the Greek and Latin churches, Holobolus was one of the ecclesiastics of whose counsels he availed himself. Holobolus, however, did not enter very heartily into the business; and, having been hurt by a slight offered him by the emperor, he changed sides, and when called upon to give his opinion in a synod at Constantinople, declared against the plan of reconciliation altogether. This drew from the emperor, who was present, an outburst of reproach; to which the angry ecclesiastic gave so blunt and undaunted a reply, that he was near being torn to pieces by the courtiers who surrounded the emperor. He took sanctuary in the great church, but being taken from thence, was banished to the monastery of Hyacinthus at Nice, A. D. 1273. Before long he was brought back to Constantinople, cruelly beaten, and paraded with various circumstances of ignominy through the streets. In A. D. 1283, after the accession of Andronicus II. Palaeologus, son of Michael, who pursued with respect to the union of the churches an opposite policy to that of his father, Holobolus appeared in the synod of Constantinople, in which Joannes Veccus [VECCUS] was deposed from the patriarchate of Constantinople, and he took part in the subsequent disputations with that chief of the Latinizing party. Little else is known of Holobolus (Georg. Pachym. de Mich. Palueol. 3.11, 4.14, 5.12, 20; De Andron. Palaeol. 1.8, 34, 35.)


Holobolus wrote Versus Politici in Michaelem Palaeologum, cited in the Glossarium in Scriptores Med. et Infim. Graecitatis of Ducange, s. v. Ῥήτωρ. These are probably the same verses which are extant in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, under the title of Versus Politici XXV. de Vanitate omnium Rerum.

2. The Ἑπμηνεῖαι,

This may be probably ascribed to our Holobolus.


Published by Valcknaer, in the Diatribe in Euripidis perditorum Dramatum Reliquias (c. xii.), subjoined to his editio of the Hippolytus of Euripides (4to. Leyden, 1768)may be probably ascribed to our Holobolus.

Apologia ad Erotemata Francisci Ordinis Praedicatorum Monachi

The Apologia ad Erotemata Francisci Ordinis Praedicatorum Monachi appears to be by a later writer described as "Manuel Rhetor," whom Cave places A. D. 1500, and who lived for many years after that time.


Published, though in a mutilated form, in the Varia Sacra of Le Moyne (vol. i. pp. 268-293).

Further Information

Fabric. Biblioth. Graec. vol. xi. p. 669; Cave, Hist. Litt. Appendix, ad ann. 1500, vol. ii. Appendix, p. 224.

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