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Eustathius of Thessalonica

eustathius of thessalonica, eustathius thessalonica
Eustathius of Thessalonica or Eustathios of Thessalonike; Greek: Εὐστάθιος Θεσσαλονίκης; c 1115 – 1195/6 was a Greek scholar and Archbishop of Thessalonica He is most noted for his contemporary account of the sack of Thessalonica by the Normans in 1185, for his orations and for his commentaries on Homer, which incorporate many remarks by much earlier researchers

He was officially canonized on June 10, 1988, and his feast day is on September 201


  • 1 Life
  • 2 Works
  • 3 Citations
  • 4 References
  • 5 Sources
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links


A pupil of Nicholas Kataphloron, Eustathius was appointed to the offices of superintendent of petitions ἐπὶ τῶν δεήσεων, epi ton deeseon, professor of rhetoric μαΐστωρ ῥητόρων, and was ordained a deacon in Constantinople

He was ordained bishop of Myra Around the year 1178, he was appointed to the archbishopric of Thessalonica, where he remained until his death around 1195/1196

Accounts of his life and work are given in the funeral orations by Euthymius and Michael Choniates of which manuscripts survive in the Bodleian Library in the University of Oxford Niketas Choniates viii238, x334 praised him as the most learned man of his age, a judgment which is difficult to dispute He wrote commentaries on ancient Greek poets, theological treatises, addresses, letters, and an important account of the sack of Thessalonica by William II of Sicily in 1185

Of his works, his commentaries on Homer are the most widely referred to: they display an extensive knowledge of Greek literature from the earliest to the latest times Other works exhibit impressive character, and oratorical power, which earned him the esteem of the Komnenoi emperors Politically, Eustathios was a supporter of emperor Manuel I An original thinker, Eustathios sometimes praised such secular values as military prowess He decried slavery, and believed in the concept of historical progress of civilization from a primitive to a more advanced state


His most important works are the following:

  • On the Capture of Thessalonica, an eye-witness account of the siege of 1185 and subsequent sufferings of the people of Thessalonica In early sections of this memoir Eustathios describes also political events at Constantinople from the death of emperor Manuel I through the short reign of Alexios II to the usurpation of Andronikos I, with sharp comments on the activities of all involved The Greek text was edited by Kyriakidis, with an Italian translation by V Rotolo; there is an English translation with a commentary and associated essays by J Melville-Jones Byzantina Australiensia Volume 8, and a German translation by H Hunger
  • A number of orations, some of which have been edited by P Wirth Eustathii Thessalonicensis Opera Minora In 2013 a translation of six of the earliest of these speeches was published with a commentary by Andrew F Stone Byzantina Australiensia Volume 19
  • Commentaries on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey Παρεκβολαὶ εἰς τὴν Ὁμήρου Ἰλιάδα καὶ Ὀδύσσειαν These address questions of grammar, etymology, mythology, history and geography They are not so much original commentaries as extracts from earlier commentators - there are many correspondences with Homeric scholia Drawing on numerous extensive works of Alexandrian grammarians and critics and later commentators, they are a very important contribution to Homeric scholarship, not least because some of the works from which Eustathios made extracts are lost
Although it is likely that Eustathios quotes some authors second-hand, he seems personally acquainted with the works of the greatest ancient critics - Aristarchos of Samothrace, Zenodotos, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and others This is a great tribute to the state of the libraries of Constantinople and of classical scholarship there in the 12th century He was also an avid reader of the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus Some of the etymological and grammatical comments by Eustathios's Alexandrian predecessors are full of errors; and Eustathios's own comments are diffuse and frequently interrupted by digressions The first printed edition, by Majoranus, was published in Rome in 1542-1550 4 vols, fol, an inaccurate reprint being later published in Basel in 1559-1560 A Potitus' edition Florence, 1730, 3 vols, folio, contains only the commentary on the first five books of the Iliad with a Latin translation A tolerably correct reprint of the Roman edition was published at Leipzig, the first part containing the Odyssey commentary 2 vols, 4to, 1825-1826, and the second, containing the Iliad commentary 3 vols, 4to, edited by J G Stallbaum for the Patrologia Graeca, 1827-1829 These were superseded by the edition of M van der Valk, 1971 onwards Extracts from the commentaries are quoted in many editions of the Homeric poems
  • A commentary on Dionysius Periegetes dedicated to John Doukas, son of Andronikos Kamateros This is as diffuse as the commentary on Homer, but includes numerous valuable extracts from earlier writers It was first printed in R Stephens' edition of Dionysius Paris, 1547, 4to, and later in that of H Stephens Paris, 1577, 4to, and 1697, 8vo, in Hudson's Geograph Minor, vol iv, and lastly, in Bernhardy's edition of Dionysius Leipzig, 1828, 8vo
  • A commentary on Pindar No manuscript of this has come to light; but the introduction survives The introduction was first published by Tafel in his Eustathii Thessalonicensis Opuscula Frankfurt, 1832, 4to, from which it was reprinted separately by Schneidewin, Eustathii prooemium commentariorum Pindaricorum Göttingen, 1837, 8vo
  • Other published works Some were first published by Tafel in the 1832 Opuscula just mentioned, some appeared later, as by P Wirth for the Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae series
  • Unpublished works These include theological writings and commemorative speeches Several of the latter are important historical sources


  1. ^ Great Synaxaristes: Greek Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐστάθιος ὁ Κατάφλωρος Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Θεσσαλονίκης 20 Σεπτεμβρίου ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ


  • Angold, Michael 1995 Church and society in Byzantium under the Comneni, 1081–1261 Cambridge University Press pp 179–196 ISBN 0-521-26432-4 
  • Eustathius Eustathii archiepiscopi Thessalonicensis commentarii ad Homeri Iliadem pertinentes, vols 1-4 ed Marchinus van der Valk Leyden: Brill, 1:1971; 2:1976; 3:1979; 4:1987
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed 1991 Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium Oxford University Press p 754 ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6 
  • Magdalino, Paul 2002, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143–1180, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-52653-1 
  • Smith, William editor; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Eustathius 7", Boston, 1867
  • Schaff, Philip, Eustathius of Thessalonica, from History of the Christian Church, 1882
  • Stone, AF, "Aurality in the Panegyrics of Eustathios of Thessaloniki in Theatron", Rhetorical Culture in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, pp 417–28


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed 1870 "article name needed" Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 

Further readingedit

  • Eustathios of Thessaloniki, The Capture of Thessaloniki, tr J R Melville-Jones Canberra 1988

External linksedit

  • Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Graeca with analytical indexes

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