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The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity
Brian CrokeBrian Croke


Patriarch of Constantinople twice (858–67 and 877–86). Author of letters, sermons, commentaries, and theological treatises. He enjoyed the best possible education and had been the leading imperial secretary (Protoasekretis) and guard captain (Protospatharios). As patriarch he was a major figure in ecclesiastical and imperial life. For Late Antiquity, his most significant work (850s) is the Bibliotheca (or Myrobiblion) written in the 850s. This consists of 280 notices of varying length on individual authors he had read, especially historians. Some contain extensive extracts from an otherwise lost original (e.g. Olympiodorus). Most involve a summary account of an author taken from the biographical dictionary of Hesychius of Miletus, and comment on the scope and nature of the work and on the author’s literary style and value. His Lexicon is also a valuable repository of information and texts.

Brian Croke


PBE, Photios 1.

PmbZ 6253.

ed. (with FT) R. Henry, Bibliothèque, 8 vols. (1959–77; vol. 9 Index by J. Schamp, 1991).Find this resource:

ed. C. Theodoridis, Photii Patriarchae Lexicon, 3 vols.: A–φ‎ (1982–2012). Volume IV (χ‎–ω‎) is being edited by S. Matthaios.Find this resource:

W. T. Treadgold, The Nature of the Bibliotheca of Photius (1980).Find this resource:

J. Schamp, Photios historien des lettres: la Bibliothèque et ses notices biographiques (1987).Find this resource:

B. Croke, ‘Tradition and Originality in Photius’ Historical Reading’, in Burke, Byzantine Narrative, 59–70.Find this resource: