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Eustathius of Thessalonica
Евстафий Солунский.jpg
Icon of Eustathios of Thessalonika, (Vatopedi Monastery, 1312)
Bornc. 1115
Diedc. 1195/6
NationalityGreek
Other namesEustathios of Thessalonike, Greek: Εὐστάθιος Θεσσαλονίκης
OccupationScholar and Archbishop of Thessalonica
Notable work
Sack of Thessalonica

Eustathius of Thessalonica (or Eustathios of Thessalonike; Greek: Εὐστάθιος Θεσσαλονίκης; c. 1115 – 1195/6) was a Byzantine 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 20.[1]

Life

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.[citation needed]

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 (viii.238, x.334) 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.

Works

His most important works are the following:

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. Politi's 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.

Citations

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

References

Sources

Further reading