2.1.17

Chronographia (Χρονογραφία) of John Malalas


Johannes Malalas wrote a chronicle of world history, from the creation up until his own time (565 A.D.), in 18 books.
Malalas is an interesting source. Essentially the first of the Universal Chronicles that were to be so popular in Byzantine times it covers the period from the creation of the earth to the present. As the present for this book means the 6th Century it can serve as a valuable source for that period. However for the earlier material it might as well just make everything up. Reading this part as fact will actually damage your knowledge of history. 

Opening a page at random I find that Nero was Claudius' son, had a grey beard, executed Pontius Pilate for killing Jesus, was killed by being stabbed by his successor after being plotted against by Hellenic (ie. Pagan) priests, and that he died at the age of 69. 

He also has Vitellius reigning for 9 years instead of 8 months. Not a one of these facts is correct and the rest of his life is filled with various Christian legends. Clearly using the first section as anything but a study in Byzantine historiography is going to end in a lot of very odd conclusions. 


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