Eustathius of Thessalonica

Eustathius of Thessalonica (or Eustathios of Thessalonike; Greek: Εὐστάθιος Θεσσαλονίκης; c. 1115 – 1195/6) was a Byzantine Greek scholar and Archbishop of Thessalonica. He is most noted for his contemporary account of the sack of Thessalonica by the Normans in 1185, for his orations and for his commentaries on Homer, which incorporate many remarks by much earlier researchers.

He was officially canonized on June 10, 1988, and his feast day is on September 20.[1]

A pupil of Nicholas Kataphloron, Eustathius was appointed to the offices of superintendent of petitions (ἐπὶ τῶν δεήσεων, epi ton deeseon), professor of rhetoric (μαΐστωρ ῥητόρων), and was ordained a deacon in Constantinople.

He was ordained bishop of Myra. Around the year 1178, he was appointed to the archbishopric of Thessalonica, where he remained until his death around 1195/1196.[citation needed]

Accounts of his life and work are given in the funeral orations by Euthymius and Michael Choniates (of which manuscripts survive in the Bodleian Library in the University of Oxford). Niketas Choniates (viii.238, x.334) praised him as the most learned man of his age, a judgment which is difficult to dispute. He wrote commentaries on ancient Greek poets, theological treatises, addresses, letters, and an important account of the sack of Thessalonica by William II of Sicily in 1185.

Of his works, his commentaries on Homer are the most widely referred to: they display an extensive knowledge of Greek literature from the earliest to the latest times. Other works exhibit impressive character, and oratorical power, which earned him the esteem of the Komnenoi emperors. Politically, Eustathios was a supporter of emperor Manuel I. An original thinker, Eustathios sometimes praised such secular values as military prowess. He decried slavery, and believed in the concept of historical progress of civilization from a primitive to a more advanced state.