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John Malalas

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John Malalas
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John Malalas {{IPAc-en|ˈ|m|æ|l|É™|l|É™|s}} (}}, IōánnÄ“s Malálas; {{circa|lk=no|491}} – 578), was a Greek chronicler from Antioch.

Life

The name Malalas probably derived from the Aramaic word (ܡܰܠܳܠܰܐ malolo) for "rhetor", "orator"; it is first applied to him by John of Damascus. The alternative form Malelas is later, first appearing in Constantine VII.Thurn, Ioannis Malalae Chronographia, p. 1.Malalas was educated in Antioch, and probably was a jurist there, but moved to Constantinople at some point in Justinian I's reign (perhaps after the Persian sack of Antioch in 540Geoffrey Horrocks, Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers (Longman Linguistics Library, 1997: {{ISBN|0-582-30709-0}}), p. 180.); all we know of his travels from his own hand are visits to Thessalonica and Paneas.Thurn, Ioannis Malalae Chronographia, p. 1.

{{anchor|Works}}Writing

He wrote a Chronographia () in 18 books, the beginning and the end of which are lost. In its present state it begins with the mythical history of Egypt and ends with the expedition to Roman Africa under the tribune Marcianus, Justinian's nephew, in 563 (his editor Thurn believes it originally ended with Justinian's deathThurn, Ioannis Malalae Chronographia, p. 2.); it is focused largely on Antioch and (in the later books) Constantinople. Except for the history of Justinian and his immediate predecessors, it possesses little historical value; the author, "relying on Eusebius of Caesarea and other compilers, confidently strung together myths, biblical stories, and real history."Warren Treadgold, A History of Byzantine State and Society (Stanford University Press, 1997: {{ISBN|0-8047-2421-0}}), p. 267. The eighteenth book, dealing with Justinian's reign, is well acquainted with, and colored by, official propaganda. The writer is a supporter of Church and State, an upholder of monarchical principles. (However, the theory identifying him with the patriarch John Scholasticus is almost certainly incorrect.Thurn, Ioannis Malalae Chronographia, p. 2.)He used several sources (for example Eustathius of Epiphania and other unknown authors).The work is important as the first surviving example of a chronicle written not for the learned but for the instruction of the monks and the common people, and its language shows a compromise with the spoken language of the day, although "it is still very much a written style. In particular, he employs technical terminology and bureaucratic clichés incessantly, and, in a period of transition from Latin to Greek governmental terminology, still uses the Latin loanwords alongside their Greek replacements.... The overall impression created by Malálas' style is one of simplicity, reflecting a desire for the straightforward communication of information in the written language of everyday business as it had evolved under the influence of spoken Greek."Horrocks, Greek, pp. 179-81, q.v. for details of lexical and syntactic usage; see also pp. 181-82 for a passage of Malalas with interlinear translation and transcription showing how Horrocks believes it would have sounded in the spoken Greek of the day.It obtained great popularity, and was used by various writers until the ninth century; it was translated into Slavic probably in the tenth century, and parts of it were used for the Old Russian Primary Chronicle.Oleg Tvorogov, Хроника Иоанна Малалы {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20090517060641weblink |date=2009-05-17 }}. It is preserved in an abridged form in a single manuscript now at Oxford, as well as in various fragments. Medieval translation in Georgian also exists.{{Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium|title=Malalas, John|last= Baldwin|first=Barry|authorlink=|url=|volume=|page=1275|pages=}}

See also

References

Citations

{{Reflist|32em}}

Sources

  • {{EB1911 |wstitle = Malalas, John |volume = 17 |page = 461 }}

Modern editions

Text


Translation
  • Elizabeth Jeffreys, Michael Jeffreys, Roger Scott et al. 1986, The Chronicle of John Malalas: A Translation, Byzantina Australiensia 4 (Melbourne: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies) {{ISBN|0-9593626-2-2}}

Further reading

  • E. Jeffreys, B. Croke, and R. Scott (eds.), Studies in John Malalas (Sydney: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1990) (Byzantina Australiensia, 6), pp. 1–25.
  • David Woods, "Malalas, Constantius, and a Church-inscription from Antioch," Vigiliae Christianae, 59,1 (2005), pp. 54–62.
  • J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz, "Malalas on Antioch," in Idem, Decline and Change in Late Antiquity: Religion, Barbarians and their Historiography (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006) (Variorum Collected Studies).

External links

{{Byzantine historians}}{{Authority control}}

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