Johannes Malalas Sources Open this page in a new tab

Jeffreys et al (1986:xxiii) describes Malalas' sources as follows:
As indicated in its preface the chronicle may be divided, in terms of sources of information, into two parts. For the period before the emperor Zeno, Malalas had to rely on written records and therefore cites, largely at second hand, numerous Greek and Latin authors, including some that are otherwise unknown. For the period from Zeno onwards (that is, for his own lifetime), he claims reliance on oral sources of information: The preface makes specific mention of Julius Africanus, Eusebios and others, and their use in the chronicle is well signposted. These were among his major sources, along with the chroniclers Domninos and Nestorianos and the 'City Chronicles' of Antioch and Constantinople. Sources are rarely cited in Books 15-18, covering material derived from oral sources and dealing with events likely to have been within the author's personal experience. Still it is possible to identify the origin of certain portions of this material; for example, Marinos the Syrian is likely to have been the source for the rebellion of Vitalian (Bo 402.3-406.8), Julian for the embassy to the Axoumite court (Bo 456.24-459.3) and Hermogenes for the first Persian war of Justinian (Bo 445-477). In addition Malalas clearly made use of documentary sources such as imperial laws, decrees and letters (Scott, 1981 and 1985).