George the Pisidian
George The Pisidian
(Georgius Pisides or Pisida) flourished about the middle of the 7th century. (This account is taken substantially from Smith, Dictionary of Biography, s.v.) George is described, in the manuscripts of his writings, as deacon and χαρτοφύλαξ, "record-keeper," or Σκευοφύλαξ,"keeper of the sacred vessels" of the Great Church (that of St. Sophia) at Constantinople. He appears to have accompanied the emperor Heraclius in his first expedition against the Persians, and to have enjoyed the favor both of that emperor and of Sergius, but nothing further is known of him. Among his writings are Εἰς τὴν κατὰ Περσῶν Ε᾿κστρατείαν ῾Ηρακλείον τοῦ βασιλέως ἀκροάσεις τρεῖς, De Expeditione Heraclii Imperatoris contra Persas Libri tres. This work is mentioned by Suidas, and is probably the earliest of the extant works of this writer. The three books are written in trimeter iambics, and contain 1098 verses. They describe the first expedition of Heraclius, whose valor and piety are immoderately praised, against the Persians, A.D. 622, when he attacked the frontier of Persia in the neighborhood of the Taurus. Πόλεμος Α᾿βαρικός or Α᾿βαρικά, Bellum Avaricum or Avarica, a poem of one book of 541 trimeter iambic verses, describing the attack of the Avars on Constantinople, and their repulse and retreat (A.D. 626); Εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν τοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν ἀνάστασιν, In Sanctanm Jesu Christi, Dei Nostri, Resurrectionem, consisting of 129 trimeter iambic verses, in which George exhorts Flavius Constantine, the son of Heraclius, to emulate the example of his father; probably written about A.D. 627. Ε᾿ξαἠμερον ἤτοι Κοσμουργία, Opus Sex Dierumr seu Mundi Opificium,a poem of 1910 iambic verses in the edition of Quercius, who restored some lines omitted by previous editors. It has been supposed that this work has come down to us in a mutilated condition, for Snidas speaks of it as consisting of 3000 verses. But it is possible that the text of Suidas is corrupt, and that we should read εἰς ἔπη δισχίλια instead of τρισχίλια. The poem has no appearance of incompleteness. The Hexaemeron contains a prayer as if by the patriarch Sergius for Heraclius and his children. The poem was probably writ- ten about A.D. 629 Είς τὸν μάταιον βίον, De Vanitate Vite, 262 iambic verses; Κατὰ Σευήρου, Contra Severum, or Κατὰ δυσσεβοῦς Σευἠρου Α᾿ντιοχείας, Contra impium Severatin Antiochice. This poem consists of 731 iambic verses. A passage of Nicephorus Callisti (Hist. Eccl. 18:48) has been understood as declaring that George wrote a poems against Johannes Philoponus, and it has been supposed that Philoponus is aimed at in this poem under the name of Severus- while others have supposed that Nicephorus refers to the Hexaemeron, and that Philoponus is attacked in that poem under the name of Proclus. But the words of Nicephorus do not require us to understand that George wrote against Philoponus at all. This poem against Severus contains the passage to which Nicephorus refers, and in which the Monophysite opinions which Philoponus held are attacked. Ε᾿γκώμιον εἰς τὸν ἄγιον Α᾿ναστάσιον μάρτυρα, Encomium in Sanctum Assastasinm Martyres, in prose; Είς τὸν ἐν βλαχέρναις ναόν In Templum Deiparae Constantinopoli in Blachernis situm; a short poem in iambic verse. Some works known or asserted to be extant have been ascribed to George, but without sufficient reason. Usher and others have conjectured that he was the compiler of the Chronicon Paschale, but Quercius refutes the supposition. Le Long speaks of Greek commentaries on the epistles of Paul by George of Pisidia as being extant in the Imperial Library at Vienna, but they are not noticed in the catalogues of Lambecius and Reimannus; and it is probable that Le Long's statement is erroneous. Some persons have improperly confounded George of Pisidia with George of Nicomedia, who lived two centuries later; and Cave erroneously makes George of Pisidia archbishop of Nicomedia, although he correctly fixes the time in which he lived: The versification of George is correct and elegant, and inharmonious verses are very rare. He was much adsmired by the later Byzantine writers, and was very commonly compared with Euripides) to whom some did not hesitate to prefer hiem. But his poems, however polished, are frequently dull, though in the Hexaemeron there are some passages of a more elevated character. The Hexasmeron and De Vanitate Vite, with such fragments as had been collected, with a Latin version by Fred. Morel, were first published in 4to, Paris, 1584. Some copies of the edition have the date 1585 in the title-page. The Hexaemeron was also published by Brunellus, as a work of Cyril of Alexandria, together with some poems of Gregory Nazianzene and other pieces (Rome, 1590, 8vo). Both pieces, with the fragments, were reprinted in the appendix to the Bibliotheca Patrusm of La Bigne (Paris, 1624, fol.), and with the version of Morel, and one or two additional fragments, in the Paris edition of the Bibliotheca Patrum (1654, fol.), 14:389, etc. The Latine version of Morel is in the edition of the Bibliotheca (Lyon. 1677, fol.), 12:323, etc. (Quercius, ut sup.; Fabricius, Bibl. Gr. 1:185; 7:450, 472, etc.; 8:612, 615; Cave, Hist. Lit. 1:583). — Smith, Dictionary of Gr. and Rom. Biogaphy, 2:253, 254.