Under Alexius I Comnenus he held the offices of commander of the bodyguard and private secretary to the emperor, but in the succeeding reign he retired to Hagia Glykeria (one of the Princes' Islands), where he spent the rest of his life in writing books.
His most important work, Compendium of History, in eighteen books, extends from the creation of the world to the death of Alexius ( 1118). The earlier part is largely drawn from Josephus; for Roman history he chiefly followed Dio Cassius, whose first twenty books are not otherwise known to us. His history was continued by Nicetas Acominatus.
Various ecclesiastical works have been attributed to Zonaras--commentaries on the Fathers and the poems of Gregory of Nazianzus; lives of Saints; and a treatise on the Apostolical Canons--and there is no reason to doubt their genuineness. The lexicon, however, which has been handed down under his name (ed. JAH Tittmann 1808) is probably the work of a certain Antonius Monachus (Stein's Herodotus, ii. 479 f.).
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.