Doukas (historian)

Doukas (c. 1400 – after 1462)[1] was Byzantine historian who flourished under Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine Emperor. He is one of the most important sources for the last decades and eventual fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans.



He was the grandson of Michael Doukas, who played an important role in the Byzantine civil wars of the mid-14th century. The date of his birth is not known, as is his first name.[1] He is first mentioned in 1421, living at New Phocaea and serving as the Geneoese governor's secretary. After the fall of Constantinople, he sought refuge in Lesbos, where he entered the service of the ruling Gattilusi family. They employed him in various diplomatic missions to the Ottoman court.[1] He was successful in securing a semi-independence for Lesbos until 1462, when it was taken and annexed to the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Mehmed II. It is known that Doukas survived this event, but there is no record of his subsequent life.


He was the author of a history of the period 1341-1462; his work thus continues that of Nikephoros Gregoras and John Kantakouzenos, and supplements George Sphrantzes and Laonikos Chalkokondyles. There is a preliminary chapter of chronology from Adam to John V Palaiologos. Although unrefined in style, the history of Doukas is both somewhat judicious and more or less trustworthy, and it is a valuable source for the closing years of the Byzantine empire. The account of the Fall of Constantinople is of special importance. Doukas was a strong supporter of the union of the Greek and Latin churches, and is very bitter against those who rejected even the idea of appealing to the West for assistance against the Ottomans.

The history, preserved (without a title) in a single manuscript conserved in Paris, was first edited by I. Bullialdus (Bulliaud) (Paris, 1649); later editions are in the Bonn Corpus scriptorum Hist. Byz., by I. Bekker (1834) and Migne, Patrologia Graeca, clvii. The Bonn edition contains a 15th century Italian translation by an unknown author, found by Leopold Ranke in one of the libraries of Venice, and sent by him to August Bekker.


  1. ^ a b c Kazhdan (1991), p. 656


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Doukas — For the 15th century historian, see Doukas (historian). For the Composer, see Dukas. Doukas, latinized as Ducas (Greek: Δούκας; fem. Doukaina/Ducaena, Δούκαινα; pl. Doukai/Ducae, Δούκαι), from the Latin tile dux ( leader, general , hellenized as… …   Wikipedia

  • Doukas —    Byzantine historian who wrote a history that covers the years 1341 1462, describing events from the accession of John Vto the siege of Mytilene by the Ottomans (qq.v.). The work begins with a brief survey of world history until 1341; after… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Michael Doukas — may refer to: Michael VII Doukas (c. 1050–c. 1090), Byzantine emperor Michael I Komnenos Doukas (died 1215), ruler of the Despotate of Epirus (1205–1215) Michael II Komnenos Doukas (died 1266/8), ruler of the Despotate of Epirus (1230–1266/8)… …   Wikipedia

  • John Doukas, Caesar — John Doukas or Ducas (Greek: Ιωάννης Δούκας, Iōannēs Doukas ), (died c. 1088), was the son of Andronikos Doukas, a Paphlagonian nobleman who may have served as governor of the theme of Moesia and younger brother of Emperor Constantine X Doukas.… …   Wikipedia

  • Michael Doukas Glabas Tarchaneiotes — Not to be confused with Michael Tarchaneiotes. Michael Doukas Glabas Tarchaneiotes or Michael Tarchaneiotes Glabas (Greek: Μιχαὴλ Δοῦκας Γλαβᾶς Ταρχανειώτης; born ca. 1235, died after 1304) was a notable Byzantine aristocrat and general. Contents …   Wikipedia

  • Komnene, Anna —    Historian; eldest daughter of Alexios I Komnenos (q.v.). Her Alexiad, which is a tribute to her father, encompasses the years 1069 1118, and it is a chief source for the 11th century. Until her brother John (II) (q.v.) was born, and… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Kritoboulos, Michael —    Historian of the reign of Mehmet II (q.v.). His History, which covers the years 1451 1467, extols Ottoman sultan (qq.v.) Mehmet II as the new basileus (q.v.), the legitimate successor to the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI (qq.v.). The… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Anna Komnene — Porphyrogenita of the Byzantine Empire Spouse Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger Issue Alexios Komnenos, Megas doux John Doukas Irene Doukaina Maria Bryennaina Komnene Full name Anna Komnene Greek …   Wikipedia

  • Augustus — For other uses of Octavius, see Octavius (disambiguation). For other uses of Octavian, see Octavian (disambiguation). For other uses of Augustus, see Augustus (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Maximian — For other people named Maximian or Maximianus, see Maximianus (disambiguation). Maximian 52nd Emperor of the Roman Empire Bust of Emperor Maximian …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.