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Codinus, George

CODINUS, GEORGE [Georgios Kodinos], the reputed author of three extant works in Byzantine literature. Their attribution to him is merely a matter of convenience, two of them being anonymous in the MSS. Of Codinus himself nothing is known; it is supposed that he lived towards the end of the 15th century. The works referred to are the following: -

1. Patria , treating of the history, topography, and monuments of Constantinople. It is divided into five sections: (a) the foundation of the city; (b) its situation, limits and topography; (c) its statues, works of art, and other notable sights; (d) its buildings; (e) the construction of the church of St Sophia. It was written in the reign of Basil II. (976-1025), revised and rearranged under Alexius I. Comnenus (1081-1118), and perhaps copied by Codinus, whose name it bears in some (later) MSS. The chief sources are: the Patria of Hesychius Illustrius of Miletus, an anonymous (c.750) brief chronological record , and an anonymous account of St Sophia (ed. T. Preger in Scriptores originum Constantinopolitanarum, fasc. i., 1901, to be followed by the Patria of Codinus). Procopius, De Aedificiis and the poem of Paulus Silentiarius on the dedication of St Sophia should be read in connexion with this subject.

2. De Officiis , a sketch, written in an unattractive style, of court and higher ecclesiastical dignities and of the ceremonies proper to different occasions. It should be compared with the De Cerimoniis of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.

3. A chronological outline of events from the beginning of the world to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks (called Agarenes in the MS. title). It is of little value.

Complete editions are (by I. Bekker) in the Bonn Corpus scriptorum Hist. Byz. (1839-1843, where, however, some sections of the Patria are omitted), and in J. P. Migne, Patrologia graeca, clvii.; see also C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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