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date: 28 January 2023

Tzetzes, Johanneslocked

, 12th cent. CE

Tzetzes, Johanneslocked

, 12th cent. CE
  • Peter Barr Reid Forbes,
  • Robert Browning
  •  and Nigel Wilson


Johannes Tzetzes (12th cent. ce), a copious, careless, quarrelsome Byzantine polymath. In his youth he wrote (ce 1143) a commentary on *Homer's Iliad of which the greater part is still unpublished, followed by Allegories on Iliad and Odyssey (in 10,000 verses), and other verse works on Antehomerica, Homerica, and Posthomerica. His other writings included scholia on *Hesiod, *Aristophanes, *Lycophron ( (b)), and others, and a poem on prosody. His chief work, Βίβλος Ἱστορική, Histories, by its first editor named Chiliades, is a review (in 12,674 verses) of Greek literature and learning, with quotations from over 400 authors. In regard to his poverty and slighted merits Tzetzes displays an engaging lack of reticence. He was not always without taste or discretion; e.g. once, when reduced to selling the rest of his library he retained his *Plutarch; nor is felicity of expression lacking in (for example) his objurgation of *Thucydides (2)'s cross-word style (λοξοσυστρόφοις λόγοις).


  • Greek Literature
  • Late Antiquity

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