Zonaras, Prefacing the Preface

Ioannes Zonaras, Epitome Historiarum

Preface, Part I

“Some one could rightly jeer at me for assuming a side-project greater than my actual work. Yet it was in truth necessary for one who had set aside his old works, who had held off from disturbance, who had taken himself away from the middle of things, who had chosen a life alone while being condemned to exile from himself, with the one above us thus organizing our affairs (since he broke my chains in depriving me of friends, and he knows for what reasons, in a way which was grievous to me yet nevertheless entirely correct) to enjoy no relaxations except those which would order and purify the soul of the pollution burning inside it through the triviality of its affairs, and those other things which appease God for the offenses which I have committed against him in transgressing his commandments and laws, and in so doing to seek pardon for my sins. Thus, having carelessly performed my actual work through my own indolence respecting beautiful things, I have directed no small zeal to the completion of this side-project.”

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Εὐστόχως ἄν τις εἴποι ἐπιτωθάζων μοι, μεῖζόν σοι τοῦ ἔργου τὸ πάρεργον. ἔδει γάρ με ὡς ἀληθῶς πάλαι τῶν πραγμάτων ἀφέμενον καὶ τυρβάζεσθαι ἀποσχόμενον καὶ τοῦ μέσου μεταναστεύσαντα καὶ καθ’ ἑαυτὸν ἑλόμενον ζῆν ἀειφυγίαν τε ἑαυτοῦ καταψηφισάμενον, οὕτω τὰ καθ’ ἡμᾶς οἰκονομήσαντος τοῦ ὑπὲρ ἡμᾶς, ἐπεὶ τοὺς δεσμούς μου διέρρηξε τῶν φιλτάτων στερήσας με, οἷς οἶδεν ἐκεῖνος λόγοις, ἀλγεινῶς μὲν ἐμοί, συμφερόντως δὲ πάντως, μηδὲν ἕτερον μετιέναι ἢ ὅσα ψυχὴν καταρτίζουσι καὶ καθαίρουσι τῶν ἐντακέντων αὐτῇ μολυσμάτων διὰ φαυλότητα πράξεων, καὶ ἅττα ἐξιλεοῦνται τὸ θεῖον ἐφ’ οἷς παρώργισται παρ’ ἐμοῦ, παραβεβηκότος τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰ δικαιώματα, καὶ ζητεῖν οὕτω συγγνώμην ἐπὶ τοῖς πταίσμασιν. ἐγὼ δ’ ἀμελῶς πρὸς τὸ ἔργον ἐκ τῆς πρὸς τὰ καλὰ νωθρείας διατιθέμενος περὶ τὸ πάρεργον κατέτεινα τὴν σπουδήν.

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