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In the early ninth century, George Synkellos, a monk of Constantinople set out to compose (in Greek) a universal chronicle beginning with the creation of the universe. Synkellos' death prevented him from seeing this ambitious project through to completion, and it fell to a fellow monk, Theophanes Confessor, to complete the narrative from the reign of the emperor Dicoletian up until his own day. The purpose of the chronicle, as Synkellos states on several occasions, was to confirm the orthodox dating of the incarnation of Christ at the completion of the 5500th year from the creation of the universe. In the course of demonstrating this point, Synkellos cites extensively from numerous histories and chronicles from Egypt and the Ancient Near East, some of which are unattested elsewhere. Since the author comments at length on his authorities and predecessors, his work is also a rich resource of information about the origins and development of early Christian chronography. Despite its recognized importance, the chronicle has never been translated into a modern language. The English translation provided here, together with introduction and notes, promises to make this influential and wide-ranging history more accessible to Byzantinists, students of ancient historiography,and specialists in biblical chronology, early Judaism, Egypt, and the Ancient Near East.
Oxford University Press
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