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Michael Choniates

Michael Choniates (or Acominatus) (c. 1140-1220), Byzantine writer and ecclesiastic, was born at Chonae (the ancient Colossae).

At an early age he studied at Constantinople, and about 1175 was appointed archbishop of Athens. After the capture of Constantinople by the Franks during the Fourth Crusade and the establishment of the Latin Empire (1204), he retired to the island of Ceos, where he died.

He was a versatile writer, and composed homilies, speeches and poems, which, with his correspondence, throw considerable light upon the miserable condition of Attica and Athens at the time. His memorial to Alexis III Angelus on the abuses of Byzantine administration, the poetical lament over the degeneracy of Athens and the monodes on his brother Nicetas and Eustathius, archbishop of Thessalonica, deserve special mention.

Edition of his works by S. Lambros (1879-1880); Migne, Patrologia Graeca, cxl.; see also A. Ellissen, Michael Akominatos (1846), containing several pieces with German translation; F. Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Athen im Mittelalter, i. (1889); G. Finlay, History of Greece, iv. pp. 133-134 (1877).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.