1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Symeon Metaphrastes

SYMEON METAPHRASTES,[1] the most renowned of the Byzantine hagiographcrs. Scholars have been very much divided as to the period in which he lived, dates ranging from the 9th century to the 14th having been suggested; hut it is now generally agreed' that he flourished in the second half of the 10th century. Still greater divergences of opinion have existed as to the lives of saints coming from his pen, and here again the solution of the prohlem has been attained by studying the composition of the great Greek menologies. The menology of Metaphrastes is a collection of lives of saints for the twelve months of the year, easily recognizable among analogous collections, and consisting of about 150 distinct pieces, some of which are taken bodily from older collections, while others have been subjected to a new recension (μετάφρασις). Among other works attributed (though with some uncertainty) to Symeon are a Chronicle, a canonical collection, some letters and poems, and other writings of less importance. Symeon's great popularity is due more particularly to his collection of lives of saints. About his life we know only very few details. The Greeks honour him as a saint on the 28th of November, and an office has been composed in his honour.

See L. Allatius, De Symeonum scriptis diatriba (Paris, 1664); F. Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien, pp. 303-355 (Leipzig, 1876); A. Ehrhard, Die Legendensammlung des Symeon Metaphrastes (Rome, 1897); and in Romische Quartalschrift (1897), pp. 67-205 and 531-553; H. Delehaye, La Vie de S. Paul le jeune et la chronologie de MHaphraste (1893); Analecta Bollandiana, xvi. 312-327 and xvii. 448-452.

(H. De.)

  1. The surname is based on the title, Melaphrasis, of some of his works.