Cover of Bibliotheca

The Bibliotheca (Greek: Βιβλιοθήκη) or Myriobiblos (Μυριόβιβλος, "Ten Thousand Books") was a ninth-century work of Byzantine Patriarch of Constantinople Photius, dedicated to his brother and composed of 279 reviews of books which he had read.


Bibliotheca was not meant to be used as a reference work, but was widely used as such in the 9th century, and is one of the first Byzantine works that could be called an encyclopedia.[1] Reynolds and Wilson call it "a fascinating production, in which Photius shows himself the inventor of the book-review,"[2] and say its "280 sections... vary in length from a single sentence to several pages".[2] The works he notes are mainly Christian and pagan authors from the 5th century BC to his own time in the 9th century AD. Almost half the books mentioned no longer survive. These would have disappeared in the Sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, in the final Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, or in the following centuries of Ottoman rule, during which wealth and literacy contracted dramatically in the subordinate Greek community.

Possible Abbasid link

Some older scholarship had speculated that Bibliotheca might have been composed in Baghdad at the time of Photius' embassy to the Abbasid court, since many of the mentioned works are rarely cited during the period before Photius, i.e. the so-called Byzantine "Dark Ages" (c. 630–800),[3] and since it was known that the Abbasids were interested in translating Greek science and philosophy.[4] However, modern specialists of the period, such as Paul Lemerle, have pointed out that this cannot be the case, since Photius himself clearly states in his preface and postscript to the Bibliotheca that after he was chosen to take part in the embassy, he sent his brother a summary of the works he had read previously "since the time that I learned how to understand and evaluate literature," i.e. from his youth.[5] A further difficulty with supposing that Bibliotheca was composed during rather than before the embassy, besides Photius' own explicit statement, is that the majority of the works in Bibliotheca are of Christian patristic theology, and most of the secular works are histories, grammars, and works of literature, particularly rhetoric, rather than works of philosophy or science, and the Abbasids showed no interest in having Greek history or Greek high literature like rhetoric translated, nor were they interested in translating Greek Christian works. Their interest in Greek texts was confined almost exclusively to science, philosophy and medicine.[6] In fact, "there is almost no overlap (other than some Galen, Dioscorides, and Vindonius Anatolius) between the inventory of secular works in Photius's Bibliotheca and those works that were translated into Arabic"[7] in the Abbasid period.



This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (May 2024)
Author Title Religion Cons. CPG
1 Theodore of Mopsuestia On the Genuineness of the works of Dionysius the Areopagite Christian Lost
2 Hadrian the monk Introduction to the Scriptures Christian Extant 6527
3 Nonnosus History Christian Lost
4 Theodore of Mopsuestia For Basil Against Eunomius Christian Lost 3859
5 Sophronius For Basil Against Eunomius Christian Lost
6 Gregory of Nyssa For Basil Against Eunomius 1 Christian Extant 3135?
7 Gregory of Nyssa For Basil Against Eunomius 2 Christian Lost 3136?
8 Origen De Principiis Christian Extant 1482
9 Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica Christian Extant 3486
10 Eusebius Demonstratio Evangelica Christian Extant 3487
11 Eusebius Praeparatio Ecclesiastica Christian Lost
12 Eusebius Demonstratio Ecclesiastica Christian Lost
13 Eusebius Refutation and defence Christian Lost
14 Apollinarius Against the Heathen Christian Lost
14 Apollinarius On Piety Christian Lost
14 Apollinarius On Truth Christian Lost
15 Gelasius of Cyzicus Acts of the First Council – Nicaea Christian Extant
16 Various Acts of the Third Council – Ephesus Christian Lost
17 Various Acts of the Fourth Council – Chalcedon Christian Lost
18 Various Acts of the Fifth Council – Constantinople Christian Lost
19 Various Acts of the Sixth Council – Constantinople II Christian Lost
20 Various Acts of the Seventh Council – Nicaea II Christian Lost
21 John Philoponus On the Resurrection Christian Lost 7272
22 Theodosius the Monk Refutation of John Philoponus Christian Lost
23 Conon Refutation of John Philoponus Christian Lost 7283
23 Eugenius Refutation of John Philoponus Christian Lost
23 Themistius Refutation of John Philoponus Pagan Lost
24 anonymous Acts of a disputation between Tritheites and Hesitators Christian Lost
25 John Chrysostom Notes on Death Christian Lost 4343
25 John Chrysostom Homilies on the Ascension Christian Extant 4343
25 John Chrysostom Homilies on Pentecost Christian Extant
26 Synesius of Cyrene On Providence Christian Extant 630-1
26 Synesius of Cyrene On the Kingdom Christian Lost 5640
27 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History Christian Extant 3495
28 Socrates Ecclesiastical History Christian Extant 6028
29 Evagrius Scholasticus Ecclesiastical History Christian Extant 7500
30 Sozomen Ecclesiastical History Christian Extant 6030
31 Theodoret Ecclesiastical History Christian Extant 6222
32 Athanasius Letters Christian Extant
33 Justus of Tiberias Chronicle of the Kings of the Jews Jewish Lost
34 Julius Africanus Chronography Christian Lost 1690
35 Philip of Side Christian History Christian Lost 6026
36 Cosmas Indicopleustes Christian Topography Christian Extant 7468
37 anonymous On Government Christian Lost
38 Theodore of Mopsuestia Commentary on Genesis Christian Lost 3827
39 Eusebius Against Hierocles Christian Extant 3485
40 Philostorgius Ecclesiastical History Christian Lost 6032
41 John of Aegae Ecclesiastical History Christian Lost
42 Basil of Cilicia Ecclesiastical History Christian Lost
43 John Philoponus On the Hexaemeron Christian Extant 7265
44 Philostratus Life of Apollonius of Tyana Pagan Extant
45 Andronicianus Against the Eunomians Christian Lost
46 Theodoret Against Heresies 6215
Theodoret Eranistes Christian Lost
Theodoret Polymorphos Christian Lost
47 Josephus The Jewish War Jewish Extant
48 Hippolytus On the Universe Christian Lost 1898
49 Cyril of Alexandria Against Nestorius Christian Extant 5217
50 Nicias the Monk Against the Seven Chapters of Philoponus Christian Lost
51 Hesychius On the Brazen Serpent Christian Lost
52 anonymous Acts of the synod of Side, 383, against the Messalians Christian Lost
53 anonymous Acts of the synod of Carthage, 412 or 411, against the Pelagians Christian Lost
54 Various Copy of the Proceedings taken against the Doctrines of Nestorius Christian Lost
55 John Philoponus Against the Fourth Council Christian Lost 7271
56 Theodoret Against Heresies Christian Extant 6223
57 Appian Roman History Pagan Extant
58 Arrian Parthica Pagan Lost
59 Various Acts of the Synod of the Oak, 403 Christian Lost
60 Herodotus History Pagan Extant
61 Aeschines Against Timarchus Pagan Extant
61 Aeschines On the False Embassy Pagan Extant
61 Aeschines Against Ctesiphon Pagan Extant
62 Praxagoras of Athens History of Constantine the Great Pagan Lost
Praxagoras of Athens The Kings of Athens Pagan Lost
Praxagoras of Athens Alexander King of Macedon Pagan Lost
63 Procopius History Christian Extant
64 Theophanes of Byzantium History Christian Lost
65 Theophylact Simocatta Histories Christian Extant
66 Nicephorus Historical Epitome Christian Lost
67 Sergius the Confessor History Christian Lost
68 Cephalion Historical Epitome Pagan Lost
69 Hesychius History Christian Lost
Hesychius On Justin Christian Lost
70 Diodorus Siculus Historical Library Pagan Extant
71 Cassius Dio History Pagan Extant
72 Ctesias Persica Pagan Lost
72 Ctesias History of India Pagan Lost
73 Heliodorus Aethiopica Pagan Extant
74 Themistius Political Orations Pagan Lost
74 Lesbonax Speeches Pagan Lost
75 John Philoponus On the Trinity against John Scholasticus Christian Extant 7268
76 Josephus Antiquities of the Jews Jewish Extant
77 Eunapius Chronicle Pagan Extant
78 Malchus Byzantine History Pagan Lost
79 Candidus History Christian Extant
80 Olympiodorus Histories Pagan Lost
81 Theodore of Mopsuestia On Persian Magic Christian Lost 6213
82 Dexippus History Pagan Lost
82 Dexippus Historical Epitome Pagan Lost
Dexippus Scythia Pagan Lost
83 Dionysius of Halicarnassus Histories Pagan Extant
84 Dionysius of Halicarnassus Synopsis Pagan Lost
85 Heraclian Against the Manichaeans Christian Lost 6801
86 John Chrysostom Letters Christian Extant 4402-3. 4405
87 Achilles Tatius Leucippe and Clitophon Pagan Extant
88 Gelasius of Cyzicus Proceedings of the Synod of Nicaea Christian Extant 6034
89 Gelasius of Caesarea Continuation of the History of Eusebius Pamphili Christian Lost 3521
90 Libanius Various works Pagan Extant
91 Arrian History of the Reign of Alexander Pagan Extant
92 Arrian Continuation Pagan Lost
93 Arrian Bithynica Pagan Lost
94 Iamblichus Dramaticon Pagan Lost
95 John Scythopolita Against Schismatics Christian Lost
John Scythopolita Against Eutyches and Dioscorus Christian Lost
96 George of Alexandria Life of St. Chrysostom Christian Extant 7979
97 Phlegon of Tralles Collection of Chronicles and List of Olympian Victors Pagan Lost
98 Zosimus New History Pagan Extant
99 Herodian History Pagan Extant
100 The Emperor Hadrian Declamations Pagan Extant
101 Victorinus Panegyrics on the Emperor Zeno Christian Lost
102 Gelasius of Caesarea Against the Anomoeans Christian Lost 3520
103 Philo Judaeus Allegories of the Sacred Laws Jewish Lost
103 Philo Judaeus On the Civil Life Jewish Lost
104 Philo Judaeus On the Essenes and Therapeutae Jewish Extant
105 Philo Judaeus Against Flaccus Jewish Extant
105 Philo Judaeus Against Gaius Jewish Extant
106 Theognostus of Alexandria Outlines Christian Lost 1626
107 Basil of Cilicia Against John Scythopolita Christian Lost
108 Theodore of Alexandria Against Themistius Christian Lost 7295
109 Clement of Alexandria Outlines Christian Lost 1380
110 Clement of Alexandria The Tutor Christian Extant 1376
111 Clement of Alexandria The Miscellanies Christian Extant 1377
112-3 Clement of Rome Apostolic Constitutions and Recognitions Christian Extant 1730
114 Leucius Charinus Circuits of the Apostles Christian Lost
115 anonymous Against the Quartodecimans Christian Lost
115 Metrodorus On the date of Easter Christian Lost
116 anonymous A Third Volume on the Holy Easter Feast Christian Lost
117 anonymous In Defense of Origen Christian Lost
118 Pamphilus of Caesarea Defense of Origen Christian Extant 1715
119 Pierius Homilies Christian Lost
120 Irenaeus Against Heresies Christian Extant 1306
121 Hippolytus Against Heresies Christian Extant 1897
122 Epiphanius Panarion Christian Extant 3745
123 Epiphanius Ancoratus Christian Extant 3744
124 Epiphanius On Weights and Measures Christian Extant
125 Justin Martyr Apology Christian Extant 1073, 1076, 1084
126 Clement of Rome Letters to the Corinthians Christian Extant
126 Polycarp Letter to the Philippians Christian Extant
127 Eusebius Life of Constantine Christian Extant 3496
128 Lucian Dialogues Pagan Extant
129 Lucius of Patrae Metamorphoses Pagan Lost
130 Damascius Incredible Stories Pagan Lost
131 Amyntianus On Alexander Pagan Lost
132-5 Palladius Declamations Pagan Lost
136 Cyril of Alexandria Thesauri Christian Extant 5215
137 Eunomius of Cyzicus Apology Christian Lost 3455
138 Eunomius of Cyzicus Against Basil Christian Lost 3456
138 Eunomius of Cyzicus Letters Christian Lost 3456
139 Athanasius Commentary on Ecclesiastes Christian Lost 2141
139 Athanasius Commentary on the Song of Songs Christian Lost 2141
140 Athanasius Against Arius and his doctrines 2093
141 Basil The Six Days' Work 2835
142 Basil Moral Discourses 2877
143 Basil Letters 2900
144 Basil Ascetica 2876 or 2875
145 Helladius Lexicon
146 anonymous Lexicon of the 'pure style'
147 anonymous Lexicon of the 'serious style'
148 anonymous Lexicon of the 'political style'
149 Valerius Pollio Lexicon
150 Julian Lexicon --
150 Philostratus Lexicon --
150 Valerius Diodorus Lexicon
151 Timaeus Lexicon to Plato
152 Aelius Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lexicon of Attic Words
153 Pausanias Lexicon
154 Boethus [ca] List of Platonic Words
155 Boethus On the Words of Doubtful Meaning in Plato
156 Dorotheus Of New and Foreign Words in Plato
157 Moeris Attic Words
158 Phrynichus the Arabian Rhetorical Equipment
159 Isocrates Orations, Letters
160 Choricius Declamations
161 Sopater Various Extracts
162 Eusebius of Thessalonica Against the Aphthartodocetae
163 Vindanius Anatolius of Berytus A Collection of Agricultural Precepts
164 Galen On Medical Schools
165 Himerius Declamations
166 Antonius Diogenes The Wonders Beyond Thule Pagan Lost 2877
167 Joannes Stobaeus Anthology Pagan Extant 2900
168 Basil of Seleucia Sermons Christian Extant
170 anonymous Precursors of Christianity Christian Lost
171 Eustratios of Constantinople On the Status of Souls after Death Christian Extant
172-4 John Chrysostom Homilies on Genesis Christian Extant
175 Pamphile of Epidaurus Historical Commentaries Pagan Lost
176 Theopompus Philippica Pagan Lost
177 Theodore of Mopsuestia Against those who say that men sin by nature and not by intention Christian Lost
178 Pedanius Dioscorides De materia medica Pagan Extant
179 Agapius (Manichaean) Manichaean pamphlets Manichaean Lost
180 John the Lydian On Prodigies Christian Extant
180 John the Lydian On the months Christian Extant
180 John the Lydian On the Public Magistracies Christian Extant
181 Damascius Life of Isidore Pagan Lost
182 Eulogios of Alexandria Against Navatus
183 Eudocius Paraphrase of the Octateuch 6022
184 Eudocius Paraphrase of Zechariah, etc 6023-4
185 Dionysius of Aegae 'Dictyaques' (?)
186 Conon etc Narrations
187 Nicomachus of Gerasa Arithmetical Theology
188 Alexander of Mindos Collection of marvels
Protagoras Universal Geography
189 Sotion Strange Stories about water
Nicolas of Damascus Strange customs
Acestorides Urban Fables
190 Ptolemy Hephaestion New History Lost
191 Basil of Caesarea Ascetics 2875
192A Maximus the Confessor Questions to Thalassios 7688
192B Maximus the Confessor Letters (27) 7699
193 Maximus the Confessor Various 7692-3
194 Maximus the Confessor Various letters and theological centuries 7699, 7694, 7700, 7705
195 Maximus the Confessor Letter and dialogue between Pyrrhos and Maximus 7698
196 Ephrem of Nisibis Various 'parénèses' 3905, 3906, 3933, 3936, 3942
197 Cassian Three works
198 anonymous Summary of a spiritual prayer
199 John Moschos Spiritual prayer
200 Mark the Monk Various works 6090-4, 6097-6100
201 Diadochus of Photicia Various works
202 Hippolytus of Rome Commentary on Daniel and On Christ 1872-3
203 Theodoret of Cyr Commentary on Daniel 6027
204 Theodoret of Cyrrhus Questions on the Octateuch 6200
205 Theodoret of Cyrrhus Commentaries on the 12 prophets 6208
206 Procopius of Gaza Various scholia
207 Procopius of Gaza Commentary on Isaiah 7434
208 Eulogios of Alexandria Against the Navatians 6976
209 Dion of Prusa Discourses (80)
210 Caesarius of Nazianzen Questions and responses 7482
211 Dionysius of Aegae 'Dictyaques' (?)
212 Aenesidemus Pyrrhonian writings
213 Agatharchidus of Cnidos On the Red Sea
214 Hierocles On providence and destiny
215 John Philoponos Against the treatise on the statues of Jamblichus
216 Oribasius Epitome of the works of Galen
217 Oribasius Medical collection
218 Oribasius Epitome of the Medical collection
219 Oribasius Euphoristes
220 Theon of Alexandria The man
221 Aetius of Amida Work on medicine
222 Job the Monk On the incarnation 6984
223 Diodorus of Tarsus Against destiny 3821
224 Memnon of Heraclea History of Heraclea
225 Eulogios of Alexandria Against Severus and Theodosius 6976
226 Eulogios of Alexandria Against Theodosius and Severus 6976
227 Eulogois of Alexandria Against the Theodosians and Gaianites 6976
228 Ephrem of Antioch Letters and sermons 6908
229 Ephrem of Antioch Four works 6908
230 Eulogios of Alexandria Various treatises 6976
231 Sophronius of Jerusalem Synodical letter to Sergius of Constantinople 7635
232 Stephen Gobar Miscellany 7300
233 Germain of Constantinople On the true and legitimate retribution 8022
234 Methodius of Olympus On the resurrection 1812
235 Methodius of Olympus On creatures 1817
236 Methodius of Olympus On arbitrary freedom 1811
237 Methodius of Olympus Banquet of 10 virgins 1810
238 Flavius Josephus Antiquities of the Jews
239 Proclus Manual of Literature
240 John Philoponus On the Hexameron 7265
241 Philostratus of Tyre Life of Apollonius of Tyana
242 Damascius of Damascus Life of the Philosopher Isidore
243 Himerius, Declamations
244 Diodorus Siculus Historical Library
245 Plutarch of Chaeronea Parallel Lives
246 Aelius Aristides Panathenaicus
247 Aelius Aristides For rhetoric against Plato
248 Aelius Aristides General apology
249 anonymous Life of Pythagoras
250 Agatharchidus of Cnidos On the Red Sea
251 Hierocles On providence
252 anonymous Life of St. Gregory the Great
253 anonymous Martyrology of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus
254 anonymous Martyrology of the apostle Timothy
255 anonymous Martyrology of St. Demetrius
256 anonymous Life of the holy fathers Metrophanus and Alexander
>257 anonymous Life of Paul of Constantinople
258 anonymous Life of Athanasius of Constantinople
259 Antiphon Orations
260 Isocrates Orations
261 Andocidus Orations
262 Lysias Orations
263 Isaeus Orations
264 Aeschines Orations
265 Demosthenes Orations
266 Hyperidus Orations
267 Dinarchus Orations
268 Lycurgus Life
269 Hesychius of Jerusalem Eulogy of St. Andrew 6571
270 John Chrysostom Sermon on St. Paul
271 Asterius of Amaseus Homilies 3260-1
272 Leontius of Arabissos On the creation and on Lazarus
273 Theodoret of Cyrrhus On St. John Chrysostom 6225
274 John Chrysostom Various sermons
275 Hesychius of Jerusalem, etc, Homily on James the brother of the Lord 6574
276 Nilus of Ancyra Fragments of homilies 6078
277 John Chrysostom Extracts of various homilies
278 Theophrastus of Eresos Extracts of various treatises
279 Helladius Chrestomathy
280 Eulogios of Alexandria Against the Navatians 6976

See also


  1. ^ Jenkins, Romilly J. H. (1963). "The Hellenistic Origins of Byzantine Literature". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. 17. JSTOR: 47. doi:10.2307/1291189. ISSN 0070-7546. JSTOR 1291189.
  2. ^ a b Reynolds, L. D. and N.G. Wilson (1991). Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (3rd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 321. ISBN 0-19-872145-5.
  3. ^ Paul Lemerle, Byzantine Humanism: The First Phase: Notes and Remarks on Education and Culture in Byzantium from its Origins to the 10th century. Canberra: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1986, 81–84.
  4. ^ Jokisch, Islamic Imperial Law (2007), pp. 364–386)
  5. ^ As Lemerle says "it is clear that this was written, and therefore that the collection has been composed, before the completion of the embassy (Lemerle, Byzantine Humanism: The First Phase, 40).
  6. ^ As Paul Lemerle puts it, "while the renaissance in Hellenism in Byzantium extended progressively and more or less rapidly to all spheres of ancient literature including poetry, theatre, rhetoric, history, etc., Islam took an interest only in the sciences on the one hand, and philosophy on the other, Byzantine Humanism: The First Phase, 26–27
  7. ^ Dmitri Gutas, Greek thought, Arab Culture, 1998, 186.