1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eustathius Macrembolites

EUSTATHIUS, or Eumathius, surnamed Macrembolites (“living near the long bazaar”), the last of the Greek romance writers, flourished in the second half of the 12th century A.D. His title Protonobilissimus shows him to have been a person of distinction, and if he is also correctly described in the MSS. as μέγας χαρτοφύλαξ (chief keeper of the ecclesiastical archives), he must have been a Christian. He was the author of The Story of Hysmine and Hysminias, in eleven books, a tedious and inferior imitation of the Cleitophon and Leucippe of Achilles Tatius. There is nothing original in the plot, and the work is tasteless and often coarse. Although the author borrowed from Homer and other Attic poets, the chief source of his phraseology was the rhetorician Choricius of Gaza. The style is remarkable for the absence of hiatus and an extremely laboured use of antithesis. The digressions on works of art, apparently the result of personal observation, are the best part of the work. A collection of eleven Riddles, of which solutions were written by the grammarian Manuel Holobolos, is also attributed to Eustathius.

The best edition of both romance and riddles is by I. Hilberg (1876, who fixes the date of Eustathius between 850 and 988), with critical apparatus and prolegomena, including the solutions; of the Riddles alone by M. Treu (1893). On Eustathius generally, see J. C. Dunlop, History of Fiction (1888, new ed. in Bohn’s Standard Library); E. Rohde, Der griechische Roman (1900); K. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897). There are many translations in modern languages, of which that by P. le Bas (1825) may be recommended; there is an English version from the French by L. H. le Moine (London and Paris, 1788).