A Companion to Byzantine Chronicles
Volumes in the series deal with cities, regions, monasteries, courts, persons, movements, schools, classical and biblical reception, and genres in and around the Byzantine world from the 4th to the 15th centuries BCE. Written by the foremost specialists in the respective fields, they aim to provide full-balanced accounts at an advanced level, as well as synthesis of debate and the state of scholarship in eight to twenty substantial chapters.
Michael Glycas wrote in different genres; his most significant work is the Universal Chronicle. It has no value as a historical source, since it is a gigantic compilation, and the great majority o its sources has survived. Yet, it excels among other chronicles by both its structure and its content. Whereas the second, historical part is extremely superficial and piecemeal, the first part is a huge and independent Hexaemeron containing answers to hundreds of questions about the configuration of the Universe. The number of sources used by Glycas is strikingly high, he easily combines theological treatises with ancient paradoxographic and scientific texts, Aristotle is quoted side by side with Physiologus. In both parts of his Chronicle, the author manages to extract from his sources what he needs most: entertaining stories, curious data and moral admonition. We know from Glycas’ theological letters that he was highly educated but his Chronicle was aimed at the “broad audience”.