Nicephorus Gregoras

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nicephorus Gregoras


Born between 1290 and 1295; died in 1359 or 1360. Byzantine scholar, historian, and theologian. Pupil of Theodorus Metochites. Favorite of Emperor Andronicus II.

Nicephorus Gregoras proposed a plan to reform the calendar. He polemicized with the humanist philosopher Barlaam of Calabria. In 1346 he began to sharply criticize the reactionary mysticism (hesychasm) of Gregory Palamas. In 1351 hesychasm was acknowledged as the official doctrine of the Byzantine church. Nicephorus Gregoras was excommunicated from the church and incarcerated in a monastery. His chief work, Roman History, covers the events of 1204 through 1359, treating primarily the ecclesiastical and theological struggle in Byzantium; the judgments of the author, who is inclined toward self-praise, are very subjective. The works of Nicephorus Gregoras also contain information of a political nature and describe the activities of the Zealots with extreme hostility.


Byzantina historia, vols. 1–3. Bonn, 1829–55.
Correspondance. . .. Paris, 1927.
In Russian translation:
Rimskaia istoriia, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1862.


Guilland, R. Essai sur Nicéphore Grégoras. Paris, 1926.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The topics include theurgy and aesthetics in Dionysios the Areopagite, Proklos and Plethon on beauty, Agathias and the icon of the Archangel Michael, transcendent exemplarism and immanent realism in the philosophical work of John of Damaskos, and the historical memory of Byzantine iconoclasm in the 14th century as illustrated by Nikephoros Gregoras and Philotheos Kokkinos.
Page's main sources for the first part of the work are the histories of Niketas Choniates, George Akropolites, George Pachymeres, Nikephoros Gregoras, and John VI Kantakouzenos.