Skip to main content

Nicetas Choniates


Incorrectly called Akominatos, younger brother of Michael Choniates, theologian important Byzantine historian; b. Chonae (Phrygia), 1140; d. Nicaea, 1213. As a child, Nicetas went to Constantinople to study under the guidance of his elder brother. Entering civil service, he became governor of Philippopolis, where he witnessed the destruction caused by armies of frederick i barba rossa on the Third crusade. He served as imperial secretary under Isaac II Angelus.

After the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, Nicetas fled to the court of Theodore I Lascaris in Nicaea, where he turned to writing. Nicetas proved to be one of the better theologians of the time. As a model for his "Treasury of Orthodoxy" he used the "Panoply of Dogma" by Euthymius Zigabenes. Nicetas's chief work is a Chronicle of 21 books covering the period from 1118 to 1206. In this work he used the treatise of Eustathius of Thessalonica in describing the capture of that region by normans in 1185.

Because of his power of vivid description, he was considered the most brilliant historian of medieval Byzantium after Psellus; Nicetas was a fervent Greek patriot, reflecting the rising tide of Byzantine nationalism. He was unusually objective and reliable despite his experiences with the Crusaders' armies. His works helped to make the epoch of the Comneni one of the most brilliant and flourishing periods of Byzantine historiography.

Bibliography: Patrologa Graeca, ed. j. p. migne (Paris 185766) 139:3191057, 11011447; 140:9282,122145. r. ceillier, Histoire générale des auteurs sacrés et ecclésiastiques (Paris 172983) 14:117677; Table 2:208. l. petit, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 190350) 14.1:316318; 16:20. k. krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Literatur (Munich 1890) 281286. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 663666. g. ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State tr. j. hussey (Oxford 1956) 311313.

[m. c. hilferty]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nicetas Choniates." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 17 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Nicetas Choniates." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (February 17, 2019).

"Nicetas Choniates." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 17, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.