Theodoros Hyrtakenos' life and career span the long and troubled reign of Andronikos II (1282-1328). He taught as a private teacher and among his former students figure Basileios Glykys, Nikephoros Metochites and Alexios Apokaukos, the future megas doux. But as he claimed the pay he received was never adequate to sustain him. He associated with men of power and wealth and yet he had no share of it. His correspondence surviving in Parisisnus gr. 1209, a codex unicus of the fourteenth century, gives a sort of autobiography with an eye to being read and publicized. His letters project the image of an impoverished intellectual, which he consciously cultivated in the hope of winning the sympathy of the Emperor and of men of power and wealth. Being preoccupied constantly with money and other worldly goods, his pleas seem to underline a constant financial insecurity. But flattery of the rich and a display of learning were the standard means by which aspiring intellectuals worked their way to high dignities in the State bureaucracy and the ecclesiastical hierarchy.