Edition of the Historia ecclesiastica of Nicephorus Xanthopulus

(Partial funding: FWF Project P 20868: 2009–2011, P24289: 2012–2016)


Portrait of Emperor Constantine the Great in the codex unicus of the historia ecclesiastica codex Vindob. hist. gr. 8, f. 158r
(© ÖNB, Herbert-Hunger-Bildarchiv ÖAW, IMAFO, ABF)

The project aims at a new edition of the Historia ecclesiastica of Nicephorus Xanthopulus from the beginning of 14th century. In this Ecclesiastical History, and expressis verbis in the dedication to the emperor, the church policy of Andronicus II Palaiologos is reflected: the latter cancelled the Union of the Churches (1282), which had been established at the council of Lyon (1274), and was thus celebrated and glorified in contemporary panegyrics as a restorer and savior of orthodoxy.

In this spirit of a new beginning, Nincephorus recapitulated the history of the church in a work that he intended to carry on until his own time, according to the prologue: for in his view orthodoxy, which had its first defender in Constantine the Great, was brought to its culmination by Andronicus II. However, he was able to accomplish only a part of his project, from the birth of Jesus Christ until the year 610.

This new critical edition will replace the first edition of Fronton du Duc (1630) which was reprinted by Jean Paul Migne in his Patrologia Graeca.

From the 18 books of the Ecclesiastical history volumes VII–XII were chosen for the FWF project P20868, covering the time of Diocletian and his persecutions against the Christians until the reign of Theodosius I (284–395 AD). This part is divided into two volumes for the edition, the first of which is prepared by Sebastiano Panteghini. The follow-up project P24289-G18 focuses on the last six volumes, which cover the time until the fall of Emperor Phocas (610 AD).

An innovative aspect consists not only in the critical edition (for the Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae) which fulfills modern scholarly requirements, but also in an analysis of the punctuation practice as attested in the codex unicus (Vind. Hist. gr. 8.).

The edition project is carried out in cooperation with Albrecht Berger of the University of Munich, who is responsible for the edition of books I-VI.