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George Pachymeres

Georgius Pachymeres (1242-c. 1310), Byzantine historian and miscellaneous writer, was born at Nicaea, in Bithynia, where his father had taken refuge after the capture of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204.

On their expulsion by Michael Palaeologus, Pachymeres settled in Constantinople, studied law, entered the church, and subsequently became chief advocate of the church and chief justice of the imperial court. His literary activity was considerable, his most important work being a Byzantine history in 13 books, in continuation of that of Georgius Acropolita from 1261 (or rather 1255) to 1308, containing the history of the reigns of Michael and Andronicus Palaeologi.

He was also the author of rhetorical exercises on hackneyed sophistical themes; of a Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, Astronomy), valuable for the history of music and astronomy in the middle ages; a general sketch of Aristotelian philosophy; a paraphrase of the speeches and letters of Dionysius Areopagita; poems, including an autobiography; and a description of the Augusteum, the column erected by Justinian in the church of St Sophia to commemorate his victories over the Persians.

The History has been edited by I Bekker (1835) in the Corpus scriptorum hist. byzantinae, also in JP Migne, Patrologia graeca. cxliii., cxliv.; for editions of the minor works see Karl Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.