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Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History (AD431-594), translated by E. Walford (1846).  Preface to the online edition

Preface to the online edition

Evagrius Scholasticus (so-called to distinguish him from people like Evagrius Ponticus, the desert father) was born around 536 and died around 600 AD.  He was a lawyer in Constantinople, later imperial quaestor and honorary prefect.  He was strictly orthodox.  His church history in six books covers the period between 431 and 594, and so is important for the history of the Nestorian and Monophysite controversies.  He is truthful and impartial in his reports.  However he shares the credulity of his time where miracles are concerned -- doubtless anything else might even have been dangerous.

The physical book from which I have scanned this text has few footnotes, and does not contain the translators name.  From the online catalogue of the Bodleian library, I discover that the translator was Edward WALFORD (1823-1897), who also translated the epitome of Philostorgius found elsewhere in this collection.  The book is one volume in a six-volume set of ecclesiastical historians.  I have included the advertisment for this found at the back of the book.

The translation seems to have been reprinted in 1854 as part of Bohn's library, but was not translated again until the recent version by Michael Whitby.   However I haven't seen either of these.

There are more details of the manuscripts and editions in the text of Bidez and Parmentier.  Their introduction is as follows:


A Laurentianus LXX 23; 18 1/2 centim. x 15 ; 165 leaves; parchment manuscript, palimpsest, bound. F. 1—156v The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius; 156vl65v Lo&goj ei0j a9giouj tih& pate/raj kai\ ei0j Kwnstanti~non to_n eu0sebe/staton h9mw~n despo&thn lexqei\j para_ Gewrgi/on presbute/rou Kaisarei/aj Kappadoki/aj (printed in COMBEFIS, novum auctarium, II p. 547—568; cf. Migne, PG III 420 sq.).

The rather careless handwriting dates from the end of the 12th century; a few iotas adscript; mistakes in orthography are fairly numerous ; there are some omissions (9, 32. 67, 20. 80, 8. 86, 6 etc.). Before being bound the volume had lost quaternions in five places; a late 14th (?) century hand (A1) has supplied the missing passages on paper leaves: 38, 1—48, 22 (f. 25— 29; a leaf is missing between 25 and 26=39, 11-40, 32); 130, 5—140, 17 (f. 86—91); 167, 15—176, 15 (f. 108—113); 186, 27—199, 16 (f. 122—127); 219, 26-231, 5 (f. 144—149).

On the margins of A and of A1 are scholia, which appear to be by the same hand as the text.

L Laurentianus LXIX 5; 28 centim. x 21 1/2; 290 leaves; fine manuscript on parchment. On the fly-leaf, recto, is the following indication in a different handwriting from the manuscript: Bibli/on th~j sebasmi/aj basilikh~j monh~j tou~ a)rxistrath&gou tw~n a!nw duna&mewn Mixah&l (probably the monastery of Monte Gargano); on the verso we read in the same hand as the text, under the title ττίναξ ακριβης της γραφής του βιβλίου, the titles and the number of the books of the two histories contained in the volume: f. 1—192 the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates; f. 193—290 the Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius. The regular and careful handwriting belongs to the 11th century; there are very few abbreviations ; a few iotas adscript ; orthographical mistakes are very rare. The same scribe, apparently, but with different ink, has revised the text and carefully corrected the mistakes, especially those of breathing, accent, and iotacism. There are scholia on the margins, in two different handwritings : L probably by the same hand as the text, and Ls by a later hand.

P Patmiacus 688 (Sakellion), 31 centim. x 22; 217 leaves. The manuscript is on paper and is unbound, most of the leaves are entirely detached ; the first and last are missing. F. 1—131 Ecclesiastical History of Socrates; 132—217 Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius. Careful 13th century hand. Five leaves at least have disappeared: two after f. 134 (12, 15—17, 14) ; one after f. 192 (168, 6—170, 21); the end is missing from 230, 14. Ρ contains no scholia.

B Baroccianus 142 ; 25 centim. x 16 1/2 ; 292 leaves. Paper manuscript: f. 1—153 Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen; f. 154—202 Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius. See the description that M. de Boor has given of this manuscript in the Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte vol. VI, p. 478 sq., and our article in the Revue de l'Instruction Publique en Belgique vol. XL p. 161 sq. The small and rather careless handwriting seems to date from the beginning of the 14th century. The numerous abbreviations are often indistinct. There are a good many iotas subscript. The very frequent errors are chiefly due to misinterpreted symbols, for example kai\, for w(j, peri\ for para_, -tai for -tej or vice versa. In the margin there are scholia by the same hand as the text.

Five other manuscripts are derived from this Baroccianus (cf. Revue de l'Instruction publique en Belgique, vol. XL p. 170—171):

V Marcianus 337, 15th century.

T Parisinus 1446 (Tellerianus), 16th century.

E a manuscript in the Egerton collection in London, 2,626, copied in 1524.

R Parisinus 1444 (Regius), 16th century.

S Scorialensis y—I—3, 16th century.

We have collated all these except S.

For the constitution of the text we have therefore only to consider ALPB. These four MSS., which we shall divide into two families, A and LPB, are derived from an archetype x in which were a certain number of mistakes and lacunae common to ALPB : for example 11, 8. 87, 26. 104, 31. 140, 31. 181, 5 etc.

The archetype x already contained the marginal notes that are found in AL or in ALB, and also doubtless those that are found in A only, and which are decidedly of the same character. It seems probable too that some of the marginal corrections of A were already noted in x, and were introduced later in the text of LPB by the corrector of z (see below, and 204, 10; scholia 108, 8).

The existence of a special archetype for the group LPB is proved by many mistakes and omissions in common, for example: 30, 1. 51,9. 52, 10. 55, 13. 65, 22. 73, 22. 77, 1-6. 90, 28. 102, 28. 108, 5. 114, 28. 120, 31. 127, 9-13. 141, 33. 161, 14. 177,1.

Among the readings of LPB there are a good many which come from a process of revision which M. de Boor has acutely recognised (Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, V p. 315 sq.): 23, 14. 26, 33. 58, 4. 72, 12. 87, 26 u(pegra&yamen because of the mistake oi9 pa&ntej x, etc.

A is therefore the most important MS. because it has escaped the corrections of the archetype LPB (= z). We have reproduced the version of A in the text, and we have adopted that of z only in cases where we find in A one of its usual mistakes: defective orthography, careless blunders (11, 21. 12, 21 etc.), omissions (such as 7, 20, 31. 26, 1. 27, 19. 89, 3), especially of the particles. We have also preferred the text of z in those passages (58, 31. 129, 29 etc.) where documentary evidence is against that of A.

In group z, B differs often from LP, independently of cases in which it has special mistakes. For example in 17, 21. 37, 22. 61, 9 it agrees with A, against LP, which have undergone a special, and in some cases successful revision. Sometimes indeed B alone gives the right reading: 44, 23 (A is missing). 106, 9.

P errs chiefly through omissions. It resembles L closely (38, 20, 23. 42, 14. 65, 15. 111, 28. 114, 4. 115, 30. 124, 27. 138, 15. 163, 1. 173, 4. 182, 26. 206, 5. 225, 1). Moreover the contents of the two MSS. are the same. P does not however seem to be a copy of L : 25, 32. 46, 13, 20. 54, 21. 92, 3 etc., etc. Many of the readings peculiar to L are those of an intelligent reviser : 60, 14. 78, 12. 109, 10. 184, 21. 212, 32. L is by far the least faulty of the representatives of class z, and where A fails it is L that has helped. The text of A1 stands to B in very much the same relation as the text of P to L : 48, 21. 167, 17, 21. 193,1. 195,11,23. 196, 18, 30 etc. etc. Cf. also scholia 136, 32. 195, 9.

To recapitulate, A represents the oldest state of the text ; its tradition dates from the period when Evagrius was still preserved separately. MSS. of this first edition were not multiplied between the years 650 and 850 A.D. and they became scarce at an early date, for Evagrius is hardly ever quoted (cf. testimonia). At the period of the revival of learning a copy was used by the members of the literary circle of Photius. It was doubtless at the same period, and perhaps even from the hands of the same scholars, that a copy (x) received the oldest of our scholia (cf. testimonial schol. 123, 5 and Photii Bibliotheca, cod. 78, 54b, 21; schol. 119, 25 sq. and ibid., cod. 42, 9a, 21 sq.). From this copy, A, which is not altered by learned corrections, is derived. Drawing from the same source x an unknown philologist unites Socrates and Evagrius in one revised edition (z), which perhaps formed part of a corpus of ecclesiastical historians. It is from copies of this edition z that BA1 are derived on the one hand, and on the other the archetype of LP. The beautiful volume of the Laurentian (L) was written for the convent of St Michael, by a monk who carefully revised it and added new scholia (Ls).

As we have already shown (De la place de Nicéphore Kallistos Xanthopoulos dans la tradition manuscrite d'Evagrius, Revue de l'Instruction Publique en Belgique, XL p. 161 sq.), those parts of Evagrius that are preserved in Nicephorus come from B, and the variants of Nicephorus have no value save as frequently happy conjectures.

Laurentianus LXX 8 gives three extracts from Evagrius: V 24, IV 36, and 31. It adds nothing of importance. The same must be said of several catenae that we have examined.


Editio princeps : Ecclesiasticae historiae Eusebii Pamphili, Socratis, Theodoriti, Sozomeni et Evagrii. Lutetiae, Robertus Stephanus 1544, after Regius R, the worst of the derivatives of B.

Musculus published a Latin translation of the volume of Estienne at Basle, in 1562. John Christophorson, bishop of Chichester, wrote another, which was published after his death by Edward Godsalvus in 1570 at Louvain in 8° and the same year at Cologne in folio. In 1571 Christophorson's translation was also published at Paris (in folio) with scholia by J. Curterius.

Certain copies of Estienne were enriched by scholars of the time with notes, corrections, conjectures, and different readings derived from other MSS. than the Regius, and these were utilised by later editors. For Evagrius these were by Christophorson, who made extremely interesting conjectures upon the text, by John Scaliger, who made use of the notes of Bon. Vulcanius (now at Leyden 754 A 19), Savilius, Castellanus (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, H inv. 70?) and Méric Casaubon. We only know at second hand of the edition of Paris 1571, and the codex Scaligeri at Leyden.

In 1581, Peter Suffridus of Leeuwarden re-edited at Cologne Christophorson's Latin translation, and gave as an appendix to Evagrius the variants of Christophorson and Curterius. In the new Geneva edition of 1612, a reprint of the Greek texts of Estienne was added to the edition of Suffridus, and in the case of Evagrius the variants of J. Scaliger.

A new period of the history of the text begins with Valois Henry of Valois and the discovery of Laurentianus L. He published the Greek ecclesiastical historians at Paris in 1673 with a Latin translation of which a large part was original. Besides Estienne he made use of Mus-culus, the Geneva edition, the notes of Savilius and Vulcanius, Nicephorus and his translator Langus, and above all Tellerianus T, as well as an incomplete collation of L, made for him by the Florentine Erminius. He often introduced readings of L into the text without stating that he had done so. His edition, furnished with very learned notes, marked a great improvement in the text.

Amongst other reprints of Valois may be cited those of Amsterdam, 1695, and Turin, 1720. That of Reading, Cambridge, 1713, is the most important. Beneath the commentary of Valois he has added several notes, and some conjectures of the English philologist Lowth, and at the end of the volume, a leaf of variants taken from two annotated copies of Estienne : one by Méric Casaubon, the other by Bishop Duchatel. The edition of Reading became the vulgate : the Greek text of this edition was published at Oxford in 1844, with unqualified carelessness and ignorance. Vol. 862 of Migne's Patrologia Graeca (1865) simply reproduces Reading.

Besides these editions, the only works we need mention are two important articles (see above, p. vi and p. vii) by M. de Boor who discovered Laurentianus A and the account of the Oxford edition by Nolte (Theologische Quartalschrift, t. 43, 1861, ρ. 674 sq.), which is worthless. We owe much to the labours of M. de Boor, who has published model editions of Byzantine authors, which even editors of classical texts would do well to imitate.

We have retained the division in chapters of the vulgate, although it is defective (cf. I 6, etc.) and does not always faithfully represent that of z (cf. p. 51, 1. 156, 28 etc.) ; the marginal numbers of A are given in the critical apparatus. We have reproduced the πίνακβς of the two classes of MSS. (for questions concerning these tables, see Revue de l'Instr. Publ. XL p. 167 sqq.). As for Evagrius himself, he has divided his history into six books, which he calls lo&goi, diale/ceij, i9stori/ai, po&noi, bibli/a.

Our critical apparatus contains all the variants of ALPBA1, except iotacisms, ai for e, γ for gn, λλ for λ, vv for v, rr for r, long vowels for short, or vice versa, mistakes of breathing or accent. We note however cases of doubtful orthography, morphological differences worthy of mention, and without distinction all variants of proper names. After a last revision of A, we have noted in the index nominum some details of accentuation which were omitted or inexact in the critical apparatus. For the choice between ei0j or e0j, for the j and ν of euphony we have followed A and in its default L.




Ex Actione quinta vu synodi oecumenicae, a. 787 (Mansi XIII 189) [...]

Ex Bibliotheca Photii, cod. 29 [...]

Ε Vita S. Symeonis iunioris a Nicephoro magistro Antiochiae, ο Ουρανός dicto, conscripta, a. 976—1025 (c. 237, Migne PG 862 3204) [...]

Ex Historia ecclesiastica Nicephori Callisti, lib. I, c. 1 (p. 35). (Nomen Evagrii laudatur prae-terea XVI 31 et xvil 19.) [...]

De se ipse Evagrius: 16, 23. 21, 20. 23, 12, 31— 25, 2. 124, 31. 130, 26. 133, 17. 171, 21. 173, 12. 178, 2. 204, 6. 214, 14. 215, 30. 216, 28. 219, 19, 25. 223, 13. 220, 24. 227, 4. 238, 30. 239, 22. 240, 22. [...]


Emperors Bishops of Rome  Bishops of Constantinople Bishops of Alexandria Bishops of Antioch Bishops of Jerusalem
431 Theododius II Coelestinus I Nestorius Cyril John Juvenalius
    431 Maximianus      
  432 Sixtus III        
    434 Proclus      
  440 Leo I        
        Domnus II  
      Dioscorus I    
    447 Flavianus      
    449 Anatolius   Maximus  
450 Marcianus          
457 Leo I     Timotheus II Aelurus    
    458 Gennadius I   Acacius Anastasius
      Timotheus III Salophacialus Martyrius  
  461 Hilarius        
  468 Simplicius        
        Petrus Cnapheus  
    471 Acacius   Julianus  
474 Zeno          
      Timotheus II Aelurus (again)    
      Petrus Mongus Petrus Cnapheus (again)  
      Timotheus III Salophacialus (again) Stephanus II Martyrius
      Johannes Tabennesiota Stephanus III  
      Petrus Mongus (again) Calandio  
  438 Felix III        
        Petrus Cnapheus (for the third time) Salustius
    489 Phravitas      
    490 Euphemius   Palladius  
491 Anastasius I     Athanasius    
  492 Gelasius        
  496 Anastasius II 496 Macedonius II     Elias
      Johannes o9 mona&zwn    
  498 Symmachus     Flavianus II  
      Johannes o9 Nikaiw&thj    
    511 Timotheus I      
  514 Hormisdas     Severus Johannes III
      Dioscorus II    
518 Justinus I   518 Johannes II      
      Timotheus IV Paulus II  
    520 Epiphanius      
  523 Johannes I        
  526 Felix IV        
527 Justinianus I       Ephrem  
  530 Bonifacius II        
  532 Johannes II        
  535 Agapetus I        
  536 Silverius 536 Anthimus I Gaïnas — Theodosius    
  537 Virgilius 536 Menas      
        Domnus III Macarius II
    552 Eutychius      
  555 Pelagius        
        Anastasius I  
  560 Johannes III       Macarius II (again)
565 Justinus II   565 Johannes III      
      Johannes IV Gregorius  
  574 Benedictus I        
    577 Eutychius (again)      
578 Tiberius II 578 Pelagius II        
582 Mauricius   582 Johannes IV      
          Johannes IV
  590 Gregorius I     Anastasius I (again)  

[End of Bidez and Parmentier]



-- Patrologia Graeca 86, 2, 2415/2886. 

-- The ecclesiastical history of Evagrius : with the scholia / edited with introduction, critical notes, and indices by J. BIDEZ and L. PARMENTIER. Series: Byzantine texts Publisher: London : Methuen, 1898 Physical Desc.: xiv, 285 p : diagrs., fold. tab ; 23 cm Notes: Greek text, Latin notes, introduction in English. Includes bibliographical references and indexes.  Reprint: Facsimile of work published: London, Methuen, 1898 Edition: 1st AMS ed. Publisher: New York : AMS Press, 1979 Physical Desc.: xiv, 285 p ; 23 cm. ISBN/ISSN: 0404600042 Notes: Reprint of the 1898 ed. published by Methuen, London, which was issued in series: Byzantine texts.


-- Ecclesiastical history. A history of the Church ... from A. D. 431 to A. D. 594, tr. with an account of the author and his writings [by E. Walford]. Publisher: London 1846. Description: cm.22 . Series: Gr. eccles. historians of the first six centuries vol. 6.  Tr.: WALFORD, Edward 1823-1897 (This volume)

-- A history of the church, from A.D. 322 to the death of Theodore of Mopsuestia, A.D. 427 / by Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus and from A.D. 431 to A.D. 594 by Evagrius.  Publisher: London : Bohn, 1854. Description: xiv, 480. 26 p. ; 19 cm.  Tr.: WALFORD, Edward, 1823-1897.

-- The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus. Translator: Michael WHITBY. 352 pages / 5 7/8 x 8 1/4 / 3 maps, 2 plans. Paper 2001 / ISBN 0-85323-605-4 / $19.95s / £14.00. Translated Texts for Historians.  Blurb: "In six books The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius traces the history of the church from the start of the Nestorian controversy in 428 until the death of Evagrius's employer, Patriarch Gregory of Antioch, in 592. It is our best continuous account of these ecclesiastical events and provides an important narrative of disputes within the church in the fifth century, including substantial quotations from relevant contemporary documents, some of them unique. Evagrius's choice and presentation of material illustrate the close interaction of secular and ecclesiastical concerns in the later Roman world, demonstrating that it is impossible to study either in isolation.     Michael Whitby, Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, is coeditor of The Cambridge History of Ancient Warfare."


-- Catholic Encyclopedia Article.  A useful summary.

-- Pauline ALLEN, Evagrius Scholasticus the Church Historian, Leuven, 1981; xxii + 290.

19th October 2002

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This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, 19th October 2002.  All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
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