Nicetas David

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The Paphlagonian tenth-century disciple of Arethas, rhetor and prolific writer of encomia on Apostles, saints, and martyrs. Nicetas main work is the life of the Byzantine Patriarch ignatius, which was probably composed in 907. In opposition to photius, Nicetas presents his hero as a true saint who never yielded to the pressure of civil authorities or became unfaithful to his principles. Nicetas considered the patriarchs who succeeded Ignatius as unworthy because they shared Photius's lust for power: Stephen, Anthony, Nicholas, and Euthymius. He branded the last three as almost heretics because they had sanctioned the third and fourth marriages of the Emperor leo vi.

As a radical opponent of tetragamy (fourth marriage), Nicetas composed a treatise against the Patriarch Euthymius and the Emperor and, disgusted by the fact that even his teacher Arethas had been induced to approve the tetragamy, retired to a hermitage near Media on the Bulgarian frontier. Suspected of espionage, he was arrested and brought to Constantinople. Because of his writings against the Patriarch and the Emperor, he would have been severely punished had he not been saved by the intercession of the Patriarch Euthymius, who allowed him to become a monk in his monastery of Agathos.

As a monk, Nicetas chose the name of David; he stayed in the monastery until 910. He devoted the rest of his life to the writing of homilies and encomia. These writings were attributed to another Nicetas, called the philosopher, but this attribution is wrong. Nicetas, the rhetor and philosopher, should be identified with the author of the life of Ignatius. The opinion that he was bishop of Dadybra is likewise false; this error was caused by a misinterpretation of the abridged form of his monastic name, David, in a manuscript. Nicetas seems to have written most of his compositions between 913 and 963. His life of Ignatius was later introduced into the antiPhotian collection and used by the opponents of Photius in their campaign against the second patriarchate of Photius and the repudiation of his immediate successors.

Bibliography: k. m. loparev, "Zhitie," Russkīĭ Arkheologicheskīĭ Institu Izvι[symbol omitted]stīι[symbol omitted] 13 (1908) 173181. j. d. mansi Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio (FlorenceVenice 175798) 16:209296, Vita Ignatii, 409458, AntiPhotianist collection. Patrologia Graeca. ed. j. p. migne (Paris 185766) 105:488574, Vita Ignatii; ibid. 15487, homilies and encomia. Acta Sanctorum April 3:ixxvi, app., St. George. a. vogt, ed., "Deux discours inédits de Nicétas de Paphlagonie," Orientalia Christiana 23 (1931) 597. p. karlin-hayter, ed., "Vita S. Euthymii," Byzantion 2527 (195557) 1172. f. dvornik, The Photian Schism (Cambridge, Eng. 1948). r. j. h. jenkins, "A Note on Nicetas David Paphlago and the Vita Ignatii," Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 1941) 18 (1965).

[f. dvornik]