Translation of Socrates Scholasticus

Scope and Content

Typescript translation of The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus by Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare. Socrates Scholasticus, fifth-century Byzantine historian, wrote a history of the Church in seven books, from 306 A.D., when Constantine was declared emperor, until the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius the Younger in 439. The work was intended as a continuation of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History. Robert Estienne issued the first printed edition of Socrates Scholasticus in Paris in 1544.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare (1856-1924), biblical and Armenian scholar, was born at Coulsdon, Surrey, on 14 September 1856. He won a scholarship to University College, Oxford, in 1876, obtained firsts in classical moderations and literae humaniores, and was elected a fellow in 1880 and made praelector in philosophy.

Having a private income Conybeare was able to resign his college appointments in 1887 and to devote himself to researching ancient Armenian manuscripts, particularly versions of Aristotle and Plato. He also produced comments on and translations of other Greek authors and became interested in church history and in the textual criticism of the Septuagint and New Testament. He made several significant discoveries of Armenian and Georgian printed books and manuscripts bearing on the history of early Christianity and its sects, and on general biblical and patristic literature. He also catalogued the Armenian manuscripts in the British Museum and the Bodleian Library, Oxford. In 1904 Conybeare joined the Rationalist Press Association, which published his Myth, Magic, and Morals, a Study of Christian Origins (1909).

Source: D.S. Margoliouth, 'Conybeare, Frederick Cornwallis (1856-1924)', rev. Roger T. Stearn, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the John Rylands Library by Sir John J. Conybeare, in memory of his father F.C. Conybeare, on 13 May 1951.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, and John Hodgson, Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1952-1970 (English MS 1225).

Related Material

The Royal College of Physicians of London holds a war diary and medical notebook (1915-1924) of Sir John Josias Conybeare (ref.: GB 113 MS 11);this catalogue also contains his biography.


See Albert C. Clark and J. Rendel Harris, F.C. Conybeare, 1856-1924, The Proceedings of the British Academy (London, 1926).