John Skylitzes, commonly Latinized as Ioannes[a] Scylitzes (Greek: Ἰωάννης Σκυλίτζης, romanizedIōánnēs Skylítzēs[b], Byzantine Greek[i.oˈan.nis sc̠y̜ˈlit.d͡zis]; Latin: Ioannes Scyllitzes[c], Medieval Latin[jɔˈan.ne̝s sk̟ilˈlit̪.d͡ze̝s]; early 1040s – after 1101[1]), was a Greek historian of the late 11th century.


Very little is known about his life. The title of his work records him as a kouropalatēs and a former droungarios of the Vigla, whereby he is usually identified with a certain John Thrakesios.[2]

His major work is the Synopsis of Histories (Greek: Σύνοψις Ἱστοριῶν, [ˈsy̜.nop.sis is.to.riˈon]), which covers the reigns of the Byzantine emperors from the death of Nikephoros I in 811 to the deposition of Michael VI in 1057; it continues the chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor. There is a continuation of this work, known as Scylitzes Continuatus covering 1057 to 1079; some historians hypothesize that it was also written by Skylitzes.[2]

The Madrid Skylitzes

The most famous manuscript of the Synopsis was produced in Sicily in the 12th century known as the Madrid Skylitzes (Latin: Skyllitzes Matritensis, [sk̟ilˈlit̪.d͡ze̝s ma.t̪riˈt̪ɛn.sis]), and is now at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid. It features 574 miniatures, while some 100 have been lost, and is the only surviving Byzantine illuminated chronicle in Greek, providing an invaluable primary source for the visualization of contemporary Byzantium.[2]


  1. ^ alternate Latinized forms in common use include Joannes, Johannes, Iōannēs
  2. ^ also rendered in Greek as Σκυλλίτζης, Skyllítzēs [sc̠y̜lˈlit.d͡zis], Σκυλίτσης, Skylítsēs [sc̠iˈlit.t͡sis], or Σκυλίτση, Skylítsē [sc̠iˈlit.t͡si]
  3. ^ also rendered in Latin as Scylitia [sk̟iˈliː.t͡si.a], Scylitza [sk̟iˈlit̪.d͡za], or Schillizzi [sk̟ilˈlit̪.d͡zi]


  1. ^ Seibt
  2. ^ a b c Kazhdan (1991), p. 1914