Zonaras, Johannes a Byzantine historian, was born in the last part of the 11th century, and died about 1130.. He was secretary to the emperor Alexius Comnenus.
After the death of Alexius (1118) he retired to the monastery of St. Elijah, in Mount Athos, and devoted himself to theological and literary studies. His Chronicle, from the creation till the death of Alexius, is a mere compilation from Josephus, Eusebius, Xenophon, Herodotus, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, etc., and was edited by Hieronymus Wolf (Basel, 1557), Du Fresne (Paris, 1686, 2 volumes), and Pinder (Bonn, 1841-44, 2 volumes). Of more value is his commentary on the Syntagma of Photius: Ε᾿ξήγησις τῶν ἱερῶν καὶ θείων κανόνων τῶν τε ἁγίων καὶ σεπτῶν Α᾿ποστόλων, καὶ τῶν ἱερῶν οἰκουμενικῶν, etc. In Latin and Greek the work was published at Paris in 1619; the best edition, however, is the one published at Oxford in 1672 fol. Zonaras also wrote scholia on the New Test., on which see Zonarae Glossiae Sacrae Novi Testamenti Illustratae a F.W. Schurz (Grimma, 1818-20). On the first two works see Schmidt, Ueber die Quellen des Zonaras, in Zimmermann's Zeitschrift fur die Alterthumswissenschaft (Darmstadt, 1839), volume 6, No. 30-36; Zander, Quibus e Fontibus Joh. Zonaras Hauserit sueos Annales Romanos (Ratzeburg, 1849); Biener, De Collectionibus Canonum Ecclesiae Gricecc (Berlin, 1827); the same, Das Kanonische Recht der griechischen Kirche, in Mittermaier's Zeitschrift (Heidelberg, 1855), volume 28, pages 201-203; Mortreuil, Histoire du Droit Byzantin (Paris, 1843), 3:423-428; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.; Lichtenberger, Encyclop. des Sciences Religieuses, s.v. (B.P.)