Pachymeres, Georgius

Pachymeres, Georgius (Γεώργιος ὁ Παχυμερής), one of the most important of the later Byzantine writers, was born in or about A.D. 1242 at Nicaea, whither his father, an inhabitant of Constantinople, had fled after its capture by the Latins in 1204. Hence Pachymeres sometimes calls himself a Constantinopolitan. Fitted out with a careful and learned education, he left Nicaea in 1261, and took up his abode in Constantinople, which had then just been retaken by Michael Palaeologus. Here Pachymeres became a priest. It appears that besides divinity, he also, according to the spirit of the time, studied the law, for in after-years he was promoted to the important posts of Πρωτέκτικος, or advocate-general of the Church of Constantinople, and Δικαιοφύλαξ, or chief justice to the imperial court, perhaps in ecclesiastical matters, which, however, were of high political importance in the reigns of Michael Paleeologus and his successor. Andronicus the elder. As early as 1267 he accompanied, perhaps as secretary, three imperial commissioners to the exiled patriarch Arsenius, in order to investigate his alleged participation in a suspected conspiracy against the life of Michael Palaeologus. They succeeded in reconciling these two chiefs of the state and the Church. The emperor Michael having taken preparatory steps towards effecting a union of the Greek and Latin churches, Pachymeres sided with the patriarch Joseph, who was against the union; and when the emperor wrote in defence of the union, Pachymeres, together with Jasites Job, drew up an answer in favor of .the former state of separation. When the emperor Andronicus repealed the union, Pachymeres persuaded the:patriarch Georgius Cyprius, who was for it, to abdicate.

It seems that Pachymeres also devoted some of his time to teaching, because one of his disciples was Manuel Phile, who wrote aniambic poem on his death. Pachymeres probably died shortly after 1310; but some believe that his death took place as late as 1340. There is a wood-cut portrait of Pachymeres prefixed to Wolf's edition of Nicephorus Gregoras (Basle, 1562).

Pachymeres wrote several important works, the principal of which are: Historia Byzantina, a history of the emperors Michael Paleologus and Andronicus the elder, in thirteen books, six of which are devoted to the life of the former, and seven to that of the latter. This is a most valuable source for the history of the time, written with great dignity and calmness, and with as much impartiality as was possible in those stormy times, when both political and religious questions of vital importance agitated the minds of the Greeks. The style of Pachymeres is remarkably good and pure for his age: — Καθ᾿ ἑαυτόν, a poetical autobiography of Pachymeres, which is lost. Were this work extant, we should know more of so important a man as Pachymeres: — Epitome in universam fere Aristotelis Philosophiam: — Epitome Philosophice Aristotelie: — Περὶ ἀτόμων γραμμῶν, a paraphrase of Aristotle's work on indivisible lines, formerly attributed to Aristotle himself: -Παράφρασις εἰς τὰ τοῦ ἁγίου Διονυσίου τοῦ Α᾿ρεοπαγίτου εὑρισκόμενα: — De Processione Spiritus Sancti, a short treatise: — ῎Εκφρασις τοῦ Αὐγουστεῶνος, a description of the column erected by Justinian the Great, in commemoration of his victories over the Persians, in the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople: — several minor works. See Leo Allatius, Diatriba de Georgus; Haw. kins, Scriptura Byzantia; Fabrietus, Bibl. Graeca, 7. 775.

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