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Niketas Choniates' History is the single most important source for a crucial period in Byzantine history, which began with the death of Alexios I Komnenos in 1118 and culminated with the capture of Constantinople by the armies of the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
In this first book-length study of the History in English, Simpson reviews the complex manuscript tradition and transmission of the text, and examines the substantial differences in style, content, and purpose between the two main versions in which it has been preserved. Investigating issues related to historical narrative and imperial biography, including genre and characteristic features, narrative structure, and character depiction, the volume also explores the sources from which Niketas Choniates compiled his account and the literary models and historical concepts which guided him. It emphasizes his literary mimesis of earlier writers, his creative and often innovative use of rhetorical forms and techniques, and his historical methodology and outlook. Finally, the book delves into the author's world in order to uncover his personal prejudices and preoccupations, and takes into account his other works, namely the orations and letters as well as the theological treatise, the Dogmatike Panoplia.
Alicia Simpson is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens. Her research interests lie in the political, social, and cultural history of the Byzantine Empire in the tenth through twelfth centuries.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements Note on Citation and Transliteration Abbreviations and Short Title Introduction 1. The Author, his Life, and Works 2. The Composition and Transmission of the History 3. Historical Narrative and Imperial Biography 4. Sources, Models, and Concepts Conclusion Appendix I: The Manuscripts of the History Appendix II: The Events of the History Appendix III: Niketas on the Latins, the Turks, and the Vlachs-Bulgars Genealogical tables: Table 1: Selected Genealogy of the Komnenoi Table 2: Selected Genealogy of the Angeloi Maps: Map 1: The Balkans in the Twelfth Century Map 2: Asia Minor in the Twelfth Century Bibliography Index