Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Theophylactus Simocatta

Theophylactus (1) Simocatta, an Egyptian by birth, related to Peter who was viceroy of Egypt at the death of the emperor Maurice in 602. His Oecumenical History, or Historiae Mauricii Tiberii Imperatoris, is very important for Byzantine history at a critical period, just before the rise of Mahomet, and during the beginning of the struggles with the Turks and Slavs. For church history his historical writings are interesting, as giving a vivid picture of the rites, superstitions, and ideas of the close of cent. vi. They shew, e.g. that the emperor Maurice was in many points superior to his spiritual teachers. Thus in lib. i. c. 11 we have the story of a sorcerer named Paulinus, whom the patriarch of Constantinople brought before the emperor, pressing for his capital punishment. The emperor suggested that instruction, rather than punishment, was required. Many other points of interest occur, e.g. the frequent use of a miraculous image (ἀχειροποίητος) of our Lord (ii. 3; iii. 1); the conversion of Chosroes (v. 15), and of a woman of noble birth among the Magi of Babylon, named Golinducha, her escape, pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and life at Nisibis (v. 12); the continued existence of the Marcionists (viii. 9); the church in honour of St. Paul at Tarsus (viii. 13); the incredulity of the emperor about the liquefaction of the blood of St. Euphemia (viii. 14); his overthrow and murder by Phocas, and the miraculous announcement of it by his statues at Alexandria the same night (viii. 13). The History of Theophylact is included in the Bonn series of Byzantine historians, but the most complete and convenient ed. is by C. H. Fabrottus in Labbe's Corpus Hist. Byzant. (Paris, 1648).