Byzantine chronicles have traditionally been regarded as a somewhat inferior form of Byzantine history writing, especially in comparison with 'classicizing' historians. The aim of many of these papers is both to rescue the reputation of the Byzantine chroniclers, especially Malalas and Theophanes, and also to provide some examples of how these two chroniclers in particular can be exploited usefully both to reveal aspects of the past itself, tably of the period of Justinian, and also of how the Byzantines interpreted their own past, which included on occasions rewriting that past to suit altered contemporary needs. For the period of Justinian in particular, proper attention to aspects of the humble Byzantine chronicle can also help achieve a better understanding of the period than that provided by the classicizing Procopius with his emphasis on war and conquest. By considering more general aspects of the place of history-writing in Byzantine culture, the papers also help explain why history remained such an important aspect of Byzantine culture.
Roger Scott is a Principal Fellow in the Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Melbourne, Australia.