John Skylitzes
John Skylitzes, latinized as Ioannes Scylitzes was a Greek
Byzantine Greeks
Byzantine Greeks or Byzantines is a conventional term used by modern historians to refer to the medieval Greek or Hellenised citizens of the Byzantine Empire, centered mainly in Constantinople, the southern Balkans, the Greek islands, Asia Minor , Cyprus and the large urban centres of the Near East...

 historian of the late 11th century. He was born in the beginning of 1040's and died after 1101.


Very little is known about his life. The title of his work records him as a kouropalatēs
Kouropalatēs, Latinized as curopalates or curopalata and Anglicized as curopalate, was a Byzantine court title, one of the highest from the time of Emperor Justinian I to that of the Komnenoi in the 12th century...

and a former droungarios of the Vigla, whereby he is usually identified with a certain John Thrakesios.

His major work is the Synopsis of Histories , which covers the reigns of the Byzantine emperors from the death of Nikephoros I
Nikephoros I
Nikephoros I or Nicephorus I, Logothetes or Genikos was Byzantine emperor from 802 to 811, when he was killed in the Battle of Pliska....

 in 811 to the deposition of Michael VI
Michael VI
Michael VI Bringas , called Stratiotikos or Stratioticus or Gerontas , was Byzantine emperor from 1056 to 1057.-Career:...

 in 1057; it continues the chronicle
Generally a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the...

 of Theophanes the Confessor
Theophanes the Confessor
Saint Theophanes Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy, who became a monk and chronicler. He is venerated on March 12 in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church .-Biography:Theophanes was born in Constantinople of wealthy and noble iconodule parents: Isaac,...

. There is a continuation of this work, known as Scylitzes Continuatus covering 1057 – 1079; some historians hypothesize that it was also written by Skylitzes.

The Madrid Skylitzes

The most famous manuscript of the Synopsis was produced in Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 in the 12th century, and is now at the Biblioteca Nacional de España
Biblioteca Nacional de España
The Biblioteca Nacional de España is a major public library, the largest in Spain.It is located in Madrid, on the Paseo de Recoletos.-History:...

in Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, so is known as the Madrid Skylitzes
Madrid Skylitzes
The Madrid Skylitzes is a richly illustrated illuminated manuscript of the Synopsis of Histories , by John Skylitzes, which covers the reigns of the Byzantine emperors from the death of Nicephorus I in 811 to the deposition of Michael IV in 1057...

. It features 574 miniatures, while some 100 have been lost, and is the only surviving Byzantine illuminated chronicle in Greek, providing an invaluable primary source for the visualization of contemporary Byzantium.

External links

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