Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 March 2023

Psellus, Michaellocked

Psellus, Michaellocked

  • Robert Browning


Michael Psellus (baptismal name Constantine) (1018–after 1081 ce). Byzantine man of letters. Born and educated in *Constantinople, he became an imperial secretary and probably also gave private tuition in philosophy and other subjects. Psellus belonged to a group of young intellectuals, pupils of John Mauropous, which included the future patriarchs John Xiphilinus and Constantine Leichoudes. They played a prominent role—though probably less prominent than Psellus would have us believe—in the revival of higher learning in the 11th cent., and entertained hopes of exercising real power during the enlightened reign of Constantine IX Monomachus (1042–55). Their hopes were not fulfilled, and Psellus found it politic to retire to a monastery in *Bithynia in 1054–5. Constantine IX granted him the title of hypatos tōn philosophōn (‘highest of philosophers’), which seems to have been largely honorific, though it may have implied some kind of supervision of higher education and some teaching duties.


  • Late Antiquity

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription