Aristophanes, son of Philippus, of the deme Kydathenaion, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive complete; these provide the most valuable examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy and are used to define it, along with fragments from dozens of lost plays by Aristophanes and his contemporaries. Known as "The Father of Comedy" and "the Prince of Ancient Comedy", Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author, his powers of ridicule were acknowledged by influential contemporaries. Aristophanes' second play, The Babylonians, was denounced by Cleon as a slander against the Athenian polis, it is possible that the case was argued in court, but details of the trial are not recorded and Aristophanes caricatured Cleon mercilessly in his subsequent plays The Knights, the first of many plays that he directed himself. "In my opinion," he says through that play's Chorus, "the author-director of comedies has the hardest job of all."
Less is known about Aristophanes than about his plays. In fact, his plays are the main source of information about his life, it was conventional in Old Comedy for the Chorus to speak on behalf of the author during an address called the'parabasis' and thus some biographical facts can be found there. However, these facts relate entirely to his career as a dramatist and the plays contain few clear and unambiguous clues about his personal beliefs or his private life, he was a comic poet in an age when it was conventional for a poet to assume the role of'teacher', though this referred to his training of the Chorus in rehearsal, it covered his relationship with the audience as a commentator on significant issues. Aristophanes claimed to be writing for a clever and discerning audience, yet he declared that'other times' would judge the audience according to its reception of his plays, he sometimes boasts of his originality as a dramatist yet his plays espouse opposition to radical new influences in Athenian society.
He caricatured leading figures in the arts, in politics, in philosophy/religion. Such caricatures seem to imply that Aristophanes was an old-fashioned conservative, yet that view of him leads to contradictions, it has been argued that Aristophanes produced plays to entertain the audience and to win prestigious competitions. His plays were written for production at the great dramatic festivals of Athens, the Lenaia and City Dionysia, where they were judged and awarded prizes in competition with the works of other comic dramatists. An elaborate series of lotteries, designed to prevent prejudice and corruption, reduced the voting judges at the City Dionysia to just five; these judges reflected the mood of the audiences yet there is much uncertainty about the composition of those audiences. The theatres were huge, with seating for at least 10,000 at the Theatre of Dionysus; the day's program at the City Dionysia for example was crowded, with three tragedies and a'satyr' play ahead of a comedy, but it is possible that many of the poorer citizens occupied the festival holiday with other pursuits.
The conservative views expressed in the plays might therefore reflect the attitudes of the dominant group in an unrepresentative audience. The production process might have influenced the views expressed in the plays. Throughout most of Aristophanes' career, the Chorus was essential to a play's success and it was recruited and funded by a choregus, a wealthy citizen appointed to the task by one of the archons. A choregus could regard his personal expenditure on the Chorus as a civic duty and a public honour, but Aristophanes showed in The Knights that wealthy citizens might regard civic responsibilities as punishment imposed on them by demagogues and populists like Cleon, thus the political conservatism of the plays may reflect the views of the wealthiest section of Athenian society, on whose generosity all dramatists depended for putting on their plays. When Aristophanes' first play The Banqueters was produced, Athens was an ambitious, imperial power and the Peloponnesian War was only in its fourth year.
His plays express pride in the achievement of the older generation yet they are not jingoistic, they are staunchly opposed to the war with Sparta. The plays are scathing in criticism of war profiteers, among whom populists such as Cleon figure prominently. By the time his last play was produced Athens had been defeated in war, its empire had been dismantled and it had undergone a transformation from being the political to the intellectual centre of Greece. Aristophanes was part of this transformation and he shared in the intellectual fashions of the period—the structure of his plays evolves from Old Comedy until, in his last surviving play, Wealth II, it more resembles New Comedy; however it is uncertain whether he led or responded to changes in audience expectations. Aristophanes won second prize at the City Dionysia in 427 BC with his first play The Banqueters, he won first prize there with The Babylonians. It was usual for foreign d
Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources. Philology is more defined as the study of literary texts as well as oral and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, the determination of their meaning. A person who pursues this kind of study is known as a philologist. In older usage British, philology is more general, covering comparative and historical linguistics. Classical philology studies classical languages. Classical philology principally originated from the Library of Pergamum and the Library of Alexandria around the fourth century BCE, continued by Greeks and Romans throughout the Roman/Byzantine Empire, it was preserved and promoted during the Islamic Golden Age, resumed by European scholars of the Renaissance, where it was soon joined by philologies of other non-Asian and Asian languages. Indo-European studies involves the comparative philology of all Indo-European languages. Philology, with its focus on historical development, is contrasted with linguistics due to Ferdinand de Saussure's insistence on the importance of synchronic analysis.
The contrast continued with the emergence of structuralism and Chomskyan linguistics alongside its emphasis on syntax. The term "philology" is derived from the Greek φιλολογία, from the terms φίλος "love, loved, dear, friend" and λόγος "word, reason", describing a love of learning, of literature, as well as of argument and reasoning, reflecting the range of activities included under the notion of λόγος; the term changed little with the Latin philologia, entered the English language in the 16th century, from the Middle French philologie, in the sense of "love of literature". The adjective φιλόλογος meant "fond of discussion or argument, talkative", in Hellenistic Greek implying an excessive preference of argument over the love of true wisdom, φιλόσοφος; as an allegory of literary erudition, philologia appears in fifth-century postclassical literature, an idea revived in Late Medieval literature. The meaning of "love of learning and literature" was narrowed to "the study of the historical development of languages" in 19th-century usage of the term.
Due to the rapid progress made in understanding sound laws and language change, the "golden age of philology" lasted throughout the 19th century, or "from Giacomo Leopardi and Friedrich Schlegel to Nietzsche". In the Anglo-Saxon world, the term philology to describe work on languages and literatures, which had become synonymous with the practices of German scholars, was abandoned as a consequence of anti-German feeling following World War I. Most continental European countries still maintain the term to designate departments, position titles, journals. J. R. R. Tolkien opposed the nationalist reaction against philological practices, claiming that "the philological instinct" was "universal as is the use of language". In British English usage, in British academia, "philology" remains synonymous with "historical linguistics", while in US English, US academia, the wider meaning of "study of a language's grammar and literary tradition" remains more widespread. Based on the harsh critique of Friedrich Nietzsche, US scholars since the 1980s have viewed philology as responsible for a narrowly scientistic study of language and literature.
The comparative linguistics branch of philology studies the relationship between languages. Similarities between Sanskrit and European languages were first noted in the early 16th century and led to speculation of a common ancestor language from which all these descended, it is now named Proto-Indo-European. Philology's interest in ancient languages led to the study of what were, in the 18th century, "exotic" languages, for the light they could cast on problems in understanding and deciphering the origins of older texts. Philology includes the study of texts and their history, it includes elements of textual criticism, trying to reconstruct an author's original text based on variant copies of manuscripts. This branch of research arose among Ancient scholars in the 4th century BC Greek-speaking world, who desired to establish a standard text of popular authors for the purposes of both sound interpretation and secure transmission. Since that time, the original principles of textual criticism have been improved and applied to other distributed texts such as the Bible.
Scholars have tried to reconstruct the original readings of the Bible from the manuscript variants. This method was applied to Classical Studies and to medieval texts as a way to reconstruct the author's original work; the method produced so-called "critical editions", which provided a reconstructed text accompanied by a "critical apparatus", i.e. footnotes that listed the various manuscript variants available, enabling scholars to gain insight into the entire manuscript tradition and argue about the variants. A related study method known as higher criticism studies the authorship and provenance of text to place such text in historical context; as these philological issues are inseparable from issues of interpretation, there is no clear-cut boundary between philology and hermeneutics. When text has a significant political or religious influence, scholars have difficulty reaching objective conclusions; some scholars avoid all critical methods of textual philology
Athenaeus of Naucratis was a Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourishing about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD. The Suda says only that he lived in the times of Marcus Aurelius, but the contempt with which he speaks of Commodus, who died in 192, shows that he survived that emperor, he was a contemporary of Adrantus. Several of his publications are lost, but the fifteen-volume Deipnosophistae survives. Athenaeus himself states that he was the author of a treatise on the thratta, a kind of fish mentioned by Archippus and other comic poets, of a history of the Syrian kings. Both works are lost; the Deipnosophistae, which means "dinner-table philosophers," survives in fifteen books. The first two books, parts of the third and fifteenth, are extant only in epitome, but otherwise the work seems to be entire, it is an immense store-house of information, chiefly on matters connected with dining, but containing remarks on music, dances, games and luxury. Nearly 800 writers and 2500 separate works are referred to by Athenaeus.
Were it not for Athenaeus, much valuable information about the ancient world would be missing, many ancient Greek authors such as Archestratus would be entirely unknown. Book XIII, for example, is an important source for the study of sexuality in classical and Hellenistic Greece, a rare fragment of Theognetus' work survives in 3.63. The Deipnosophistae professes to be an account given by an individual named Athenaeus to his friend Timocrates of a banquet held at the house of Larensius, a wealthy book-collector and patron of the arts, it is thus a dialogue within a dialogue, after the manner of Plato, but the conversation extends to enormous length. The topics for discussion arise from the course of the dinner itself, but extend to literary and historical matters of every description, including abstruse points of grammar; the guests quote from memory. The actual sources of the material preserved in the Deipnosophistae remain obscure, but much of it comes at second-hand from early scholars; the twenty-four named guests include individuals called Galen and Ulpian, but they are all fictitious personages, the majority take no part in the conversation.
If the character Ulpian is identical with the famous jurist, the Deipnosophistae may have been written after his death in 223. The complete version of the text, with the gaps noted above, is preserved in only one manuscript, conventionally referred to as A; the epitomized version of the text is preserved in two manuscripts, conventionally known as C and E. The standard edition of the text is Kaibel's Teubner; the standard numbering is drawn from Casaubon. The encyclopaedist and author Sir Thomas Browne wrote a short essay upon Athenaeus which reflects a revived interest in the Banquet of the Learned amongst scholars during the 17th century following its publication in 1612 by the Classical scholar Isaac Casaubon. One of Athenaeus' friends, wrote about the untimely death of Athenaeus in the Athenaeum, it describes the tale of angry peasants who believed that Athenaeus' writings directly contradicted their personal beliefs of the Mithras cult. One night in 191 A. D. they threatened to kill him if he did not stop writing.
When they discovered that he continued writing the Deipnosophistae, twenty-three men stormed into his home and strangled him to death. It is unclear whether Athenaeus finished his work on his own or Timocrates finished it for him, as most of the Athenaeum is lost. Athenaeus described, he mentions that in the Greek city of Sybaris, there were annual culinary competitions. The victor was given the exclusive right to prepare his dish for one year. Swallow song of Rhodes David Braund and John Wilkins and his world: reading Greek culture in the Roman Empire, Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2000. ISBN 0-85989-661-7. Christian Jacob, The Web of Athenaeus, Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University, 2013. Digital Athenaeus Project - University of Leipzig Digital Athenaeus - Casaubon-Kaibel reference converter Works by Athenæus at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Athenaeus at Internet Archive Works by Athenaeus at LibriVox The Deipnosophists, translated by C. D. Yonge, at The Literature Collection The Deipnosophists, long excerpts in searchable HTML format, at attalus.org The Deipnosophists, translated up to Book 9 with links to complete Greek original, at LacusCurtius The Deipnosophists, open source XML version by the University of Leipzig, at Open Greek & Latin Project
Eustathius of Thessalonica
Eustathius of Thessalonica 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 canonized on June 10, 1988, his feast day is on September 20. A pupil of Nicholas Kataphloron, Eustathius was appointed to the offices of superintendent of petitions, professor of rhetoric, 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. Accounts of his life and work are given in the funeral orations by Michael Choniates. Niketas Choniates praised him as the most learned man of his age, a judgment, difficult to dispute, he wrote commentaries on ancient Greek poets, theological treatises, letters, 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 referred to: they display an extensive knowledge of Greek literature from the earliest to the latest times. Other works exhibit impressive character, 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, believed in the concept of historical progress of civilization from a primitive to a more advanced state. His most important works are the following: On the Capture of Thessalonica, an eye-witness account of the siege of 1185 and subsequent sufferings of the people of Thessalonica. In early sections of this memoir Eustathios describes political events at Constantinople from the death of emperor Manuel I through the short reign of Alexios II to the usurpation of Andronikos I, with sharp comments on the activities of all involved; the Greek text was edited with an Italian translation by V. Rotolo.
A number of orations, some of which have been edited by P. Wirth. In 2013 a translation of six of the earliest of these speeches was published with a commentary by Andrew F. Stone. Commentaries on Homer's Odyssey; these address questions of grammar, mythology and geography. They are not so much original commentaries as extracts from earlier commentators - there are many correspondences with Homeric scholia. Drawing on numerous extensive works of Alexandrian grammarians and critics and commentators, they are a important contribution to Homeric scholarship, not least because some of the works from which Eustathios made extracts are lost. Although it is that Eustathios quotes some authors second-hand, he seems acquainted with the works of the greatest ancient critics - Aristarchos of Samothrace, Aristophanes of Byzantium, 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 an avid reader of the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus.
Some of the etymological and grammatical comments by Eustathios's Alexandrian predecessors are full of errors. The first printed edition, by Majoranus, was published in Rome in 1542-1550, an inaccurate reprint being published in Basel in 1559-1560. A. Potitus' edition, 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, 1825-1826, the second, containing the Iliad commentary, edited by J. G. Stallbaum for the Patrologia Graeca, 1827-1829; these were superseded by the edition of 1971 onwards. Extracts from the commentaries are quoted in many editions of the Homeric poems. A commentary on Dionysius Periegetes; this is as diffuse as the commentary on Homer, but includes numerous valuable extracts from earlier writers. A commentary on Pindar. No manuscript of this has come to light. (The introduction was first published by Gottlieb Tafel in his Eustathii Thessalonicensis Opuscula, from which it was reprinted separately by Schneidewin, Eustathii prooemium commentariorum Pindaricorum.
Other published works. Some were first published by Tafel in the 1832 Opuscula just mentioned, some appeared as by P. Wirth for the Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae series. Unpublished works; these include commemorative speeches. Several of the latter are important historical sources. Angold, Michael. Church and society in Byzantium under the Comneni, 1081–1261. Cambridge University Pre
Basil II, nicknamed the Bulgar Slayer, was a Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty whose effective reign—the longest of any Byzantine monarch—lasted from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025. He had been associated with the throne since 960 as a junior colleague to a succession of senior emperors: his father Romanos II, his step-father Nikephoros II Phokas, John I Tzimiskes. In addition to these emperors, Basil's influential great-uncle Basil Lekapenos held power for several decades until he was overthrown in 985. From 962, Basil II's brother Constantine, who succeeded him as Constantine VIII, was nominal co-emperor; the early years of Basil's reign were dominated by civil wars against two powerful generals from the Anatolian aristocracy. Basil oversaw the stabilization and expansion of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire and the complete subjugation of the First Bulgarian Empire, its foremost European foe, after a prolonged struggle. Although the Byzantine Empire had made a truce with the Fatimid Caliphate in 987–988, Basil led a campaign against the Caliphate that ended with another truce in 1000.
He conducted a campaign against the Khazar Khaganate that gained the Byzantine Empire part of Crimea and a series of successful campaigns against the Kingdom of Georgia. Despite near-constant warfare, Basil distinguished himself as an administrator, reducing the power of the great land-owning families who dominated the Empire's administration and military and filling its treasury, he left the Empire with its greatest expanse in four centuries. Although his successors were incapable rulers, the Empire flourished for decades after Basil's death. One of the most important decisions taken during his reign was to offer the hand of his sister Anna Porphyrogenita to Vladimir I of Kiev in exchange for military support, thus forming the Byzantine military unit known as the Varangian Guard; the marriage of Anna and Vladimir led to the Christianization of the Kievan Rus' and the incorporation of successor nations of Kievan Rus' within the Byzantine cultural and religious tradition. Basil is seen as a Greek national hero but as a despised figure among Bulgarians.
The courtier and historian Michael Psellos, born towards the end of Basil's reign, gives a description of Basil in his Chronographia. Psellos describes him as a stocky man of shorter-than-average stature, an impressive figure on horseback, he had light-blue eyes arched eyebrows, luxuriant sidewhiskers—which he had a habit of rolling between his fingers when deep in thought or angry—and in life a scant beard. Psellos states that Basil was not an articulate speaker and had a loud laugh that convulsed his whole frame. Basil is described as having ascetic tastes and caring little for the pomp and ceremony of the Imperial court wearing a sombre, dark-purple robe furnished with few of the gems that decorated imperial costumes, he is described as a capable administrator who left a well-stocked treasury upon his death. Basil despised literary culture and affected scorn for the learned classes of Byzantium. According to the 19th century historian George Finlay, Basil saw himself as "prudent and devout.
For Greek learning he cared little, he was a type of the higher Byzantine moral character, which retained far more of its Roman than its Greek origin". The modern historian John Julius Norwich wrote of Basil, and it is hardly surprising: Basil was ugly, coarse, boorish and pathologically mean. He was in short un-Byzantine, he cared only for the greatness of his Empire. No wonder that in his hands it reached its apogee". Basil II was born c. 958. He was a porphyrogennetos, as were his father Romanos II and his paternal grandfather Constantine VII. Basil was the eldest son of Romanos and his Laconian Greek second wife Theophano, the daughter of a poor tavern-keeper named Krateros and may have originated from the city of Sparta, he may have had an elder sister named Helena. Romanos succeeded Constantine VII as sole emperor upon the latter's death in 959. Basil's father crowned him as co-emperor on 22 April 960, his brother Constantine in 962 or 963. Only two days after the birth of his youngest child Anna, Romanos II died on 15 March 963 at 24 years of age.
His unexpected death was thought at the time to be the result of poisoning with hemlock. Basil and Constantine were too young to rule in their own right when Romanos died in 963. Therefore, although the Byzantine Senate confirmed them as emperors with their mother as the nominal regent, de facto power passed for the time into the hands of the parakoimomenos Joseph Bringas. Theophano did not trust Bringas and another enemy of the powerful parakoimomenos was Basil Lekapenos, an illegitimate, eunuch son of Emperor Romanos I – Basil's great-grandfather. Lekapenos himself had been parakoimomenos to Constantine VII and megas baioulos to Romanos II, yet another enemy of Bringas was the successful and popular gene
Diogenes Laërtius was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is definitively known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is a principal source for the history of ancient Greek philosophy, his reputation is controversial among scholars because he repeats information from his sources without critically evaluating it. He frequently focuses on trivial or insignificant details of his subjects' lives while ignoring important details of their philosophical teachings and he sometimes fails to distinguish between earlier and teachings of specific philosophical schools. However, unlike many other ancient secondary sources, Diogenes Laërtius reports philosophical teachings without attempting to reinterpret or expand on them, which means his accounts are closer to the primary sources. Due to the loss of so many of the primary sources on which Diogenes relied, his work has become the foremost surviving source on the history of Greek philosophy. Laërtius must have lived after Sextus Empiricus, whom he mentions, before Stephanus of Byzantium and Sopater of Apamea, who quote him.
His work makes no mention of Neoplatonism though it is addressed to a woman, "an enthusiastic Platonist". Hence he is assumed to have flourished in the first half of the 3rd century, during the reign of Alexander Severus and his successors; the precise form of his name is uncertain. The ancient manuscripts invariably refer to a "Laertius Diogenes", this form of the name is repeated by Sopater and the Suda; the modern form "Diogenes Laertius" is much rarer, used by Stephanus of Byzantium, in a lemma to the Greek Anthology. He is referred to as "Laertes" or "Diogenes"; the origin of the name "Laertius" is uncertain. Stephanus of Byzantium refers to him as "Διογένης ὁ Λαερτιεύς", implying that he was the native of some town the Laerte in Caria. Another suggestion is that one of his ancestors had for a patron a member of the Roman family of the Laërtii; the prevailing modern theory is that "Laertius" is a nickname used to distinguish him from the many other people called Diogenes in the ancient world.
His home town is unknown. A disputed passage in his writings has been used to suggest, it has been suggested that Diogenes was a Pyrrhonist. He passionately defends Epicurus in Book 10, of high quality and contains three long letters attributed to Epicurus explaining Epicurean doctrines, he is impartial to all schools, in the manner of the Pyrrhonists, he carries the succession of Pyrrhonism further than that of the other schools. At one point, he seems to refer to the Pyrrhonists as "our school." On the other hand, most of these points can be explained by the way he uncritically copies from his sources. It is by no means certain that he adhered to any school, he is more attentive to biographical details. In addition to the Lives, Diogenes was the author of a work in verse on famous men, in various metres, which he called Epigrammata or Pammetros; the work by which he is known and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, was written in Greek and professes to give an account of the lives and sayings of the Greek philosophers.
Diogenes divides his subjects into two "schools" which he describes as the Ionian/Ionic and the Italian/Italic. The biographies of the "Ionian school" begin with Anaximander and end with Clitomachus and Chrysippus; the Socratic school, with its various branches, is classed with the Ionic, while the Eleatics and Pyrrhonists are treated under the Italic. Henricus Aristippus, the archdeacon of Catania, produced a Latin translation of Diogenes Laertius's book in southern Italy in the late 1150s, which has since been lost or destroyed. Geremia da Montagnone used this translation as a source for his Compedium moralium notabilium and an anonymous Italian author used it as a source for work entitled Liber de vita et moribus philosophorum, which reached international popularity in the Late Middle Ages; the monk Ambrogio Traversari produced another Latin translation in Florence between 1424 and 1433, for which far better records have survived. The Italian Renaissance scholar, painter and architect Leon Battista Alberti borrowed from Traversari's translation of the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers in Book 2 of his Libri della famiglia and modeled his own autobiography on Diogenes Laërtius's Life of Thales.
Diogenes Laërtius's work has had a complicated reception in modern times. The value of his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers as an insight into the private lives of the Greek sages led the French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne to exclaim that he wished that, instead of one Laërtius, there had been a dozen. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel criticized Diogenes Laërtius for his lack of philosophical talent and categorized his work as nothing more than a compilation of previous writers' opinions. Nonetheless, he admitted that Diogenes Laërtius's compilation was an important one given the information that it contained. Hermann Usener deplored Diogenes Laërtius as a "complete ass" in his Epicurea. Werner Jaeger damned him as "that great ignoramus". In the late twentieth
This article is about the 11th-century Byzantine historian and philosopher. For the 9th-century Byzantine Emperor with the byname Psellus, see Michael II. "Michael Psellus the Elder" is covered below under Pseudo-Psellos. Michael Psellos or Psellus was a Byzantine Greek monk, writer, philosopher and historian, he was born in 1017 or 1018, is believed to have died in 1078, although it has been maintained that he remained alive until 1096. The main source of information about Psellos' life comes from his own works, which contain extensive autobiographical passages. Michael Psellos was born in Constantinople, his family hailed from Nicomedia and, according to his own testimony, counted members of the consular and patrician elite among its ancestors. His baptismal name was Constantine. Psellos was a personal by-name referring to a speech defect. Michael Psellos was educated in Constantinople. At around the age of ten, he was sent to work outside the capital as a secretary of a provincial judge, in order to help his family raise the dowry for his sister.
When his sister died, he returned to Constantinople to resume his studies. While studying under John Mauropus, he met the Patriarchs Constantine Leichoudes and John Xiphilinos, the emperor Constantine X Doukas. For some time, he worked in the provinces again; some time before 1042 he returned again to Constantinople, where he got a junior position at court as a secretary in the imperial chancellery. From there he began a rapid court career, he became an influential political advisor to emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. During the same time, he became the leading professor at the University of Constantinople, bearing the honorary title of "Chief of the Philosophers". Despite his leading eminence and prowess in learning, his knowledge of Latin was cloudy enough to confuse Cicero with Caesar; this is cited as one prime example of the paradigm of how the Eastern Roman Empire had lost nearly all of its connection to its nominal Roman roots by the High Middle Ages. Towards the end of Monomachos' reign, Psellos found himself under political pressure for some reason and decided to leave the court, entering the Olympus monastery on Mount Olympus in Bithynia in 1054.
After Monomachos' death, however, he was soon recalled to court by Empress Theodora. Throughout the following years, he remained active in politics, serving as a high-ranking political advisor to several successive emperors, he played a decisive political role in the transition of power from Michael VI to Isaac I Komnenos in 1057. As Psellos had served as Michael's personal teacher during the reign of Michael's father Constantine, as he had played an important role in helping Michael gain power against his adversary and stepfather Romanos, Psellos entertained hopes of an more influential position as a teacher and advisor under him. However, Michael seems to have been less inclined towards protecting Psellos and after the mid-1070s there is no more information about any role played by Psellos at court; as his own autobiographic accounts cease at this point, there is little reliable information about his years. Some scholars believe that Psellos had to retreat into a monastery again at some time during the 1070s.
Following a remark by Psellos' fellow historian Joannes Zonaras, it is believed by most scholars that Psellos died soon after the fall of Michael VII in 1078, although some scholars have proposed dates. What is known is that Theophylaktos of Bulgaria wrote a letter to Psellos's brother comforting him on the death of his brother saying that, "Your brother has not died, but has departed to God released of both a painful life and disease". Psellos' best known and most accessible work is the Chronographia, it is a history of the Byzantine emperors during the century leading up to Psellos' own time. It covers the reigns of fourteen emperors and empresses, beginning with the 50-year-long reign of Basil II, the "Bulgar-Slayer", ending some time during the reign of Michael VII Doukas, it is structured as a series of biographies. Unlike most other historiographical works of the period, it places much more emphasis on the description of characters than on details of political and military events, it includes extensive autobiographical elements about Psellos' political and intellectual development, it gives far greater weight to those periods when Psellos held an active position in politics, giving the whole work the character of political memoirs.
It is believed to have been written in two parts. The first covers the emperors up to Isaac I Komnenos; the second, which has a much more apologetic tone, is in large parts an encomium on Psellus' current protectors, the emperors of the Doukas dynasty. Psellos left many other writings: "Historia syntomos", a shorter, didactic historical text in the form of a world chronicle. A large number of scientific and religious treatises. One well-known example of these is a classification of demons, he compiled an important work on philosophy, the De omnifaria doctrina. Other works deal with topics such as astronomy, music, jurisprudence and laography. Various didactic poems on topi