Epistolary Poetry in Byzantium and Beyond : An Anthology with Critical Essays book cover
1st Edition

Epistolary Poetry in Byzantium and Beyond
An Anthology with Critical Essays

ISBN 9780367759971
Published May 5, 2021 by Routledge
452 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Letters were an important medium of everyday communication in the ancient Mediterranean. Soon after its emergence, the epistolary form was adopted by educated elites and transformed into a literary genre, which developed distinctive markers and was used, for instance, to give political advice, to convey philosophical ideas, or to establish and foster ties with peers. A particular type of this genre is the letter cast in verse, or epistolary poem, which merges the form and function of the letter with stylistic elements of poetry. In Greek literature, epistolary poetry is first safely attested in the fourth century AD and would enjoy a lasting presence throughout the Byzantine and early modern periods.
The present volume introduces the reader to this hitherto unexplored chapter of post-classical Greek literature through an anthology of exemplary epistolary poems in the original Greek with facing English translation. This collection, which covers a broad chronological range from late antique epigrams of the Greek Anthology to the poetry of western humanists, is accompanied by exegetical commentaries on the anthologized texts and by critical essays discussing questions of genre, literary composition, and historical and social contexts of selected epistolary poems.

Chapters 3 and 4 of this book are freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license available at https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/10.4324/9780429288296

Table of Contents


List of Figures

Notes on Contributors

Notes on Texts and Translations



Krystina Kubina and Alexander Riehle


1 Epigrams and Verse Letters in Palladas and Gregory of Nazianzos

Christos Simelidis

2 Epigrammata epistulam faciunt? Christopher of Mitylene to His Friends

Emilie van Opstall

3 Epistolarity in Twelfth-century Byzantine Poetry: Singing Praises and Asking Favors in absentia

Nikolaos Zagklas

4 Functions of Letters in Verse and Prose: A Comparison of Manuel Philes and Theodore Hyrtakenos

Krystina Kubina

5 Francesco Filelfo’s Verse Letters: Form, Content, and Function

Andreas Rhoby



Palladas (1–2)

Christos Simelidis

Gregory of Nazianzos (3–5)

Christos Simelidis

Agathias — Paul the Silentiary (6–7)

Delphine Lauritzen

Dioskoros of Aphrodito (8)

Alexander Riehle

Theodore the Stoudite (9)

Alexander Riehle

Theodore and Theophanes Graptos — Methodios (10)

Alexander Riehle

Anonymous of Sola (11)

Floris Bernard

John Mauropous (12)

Floris Bernard

Michael Psellos (13)

Floris Bernard

Christopher of Mitylene (14–20)

Emilie van Opstall (14–19)

Przemysław Marciniak and Katarzyna Warcaba (20)

Theophylaktos of Ohrid (21–22)

Nikos Zagklas

Theodore Prodromos (23–25)

Nikos Zagklas

Manganeios Prodromos (26–29)

Elizabeth and Michael Jeffreys

Michael Hagiotheodorites (30)

Przemysław Marciniak and Katarzyna Warcaba

Pseudo-Psellos (31)

Floris Bernard

Euthymios Tornikes (32)

Nikos Zagklas

Libistros and Rhodamne (33–34)

Panagiotis A. Agapitos

Manuel Philes (35–45)

Krystina Kubina

Stephanos Sgouropoulos (46)

Krystina Kubina

Erotopaignia (47)

Alexander Riehle

Gerardos (48)

Alexander Riehle

Francesco Filelfo (49)

Andreas Rhoby

Angelo Poliziano (50–55)

Andreas Rhoby

John Clajus (56)

Andreas Rhoby




General Index

Index of Manuscripts and Papyri

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Krystina Kubina is a research associate at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She specializes in late Byzantine poetry and has published a monograph on the fourteenth century poet Manuel Philes (Die enkomiastische Dichtung des Manuel Philes. Form und Funktion des literarischen Lobes in der frühen Palaiologenzeit, Berlin 2020).

Alexander Riehle is Assistant Professor of the Classics at Harvard University. He specializes in the rhetorical and epistolary literature of late Byzantium. He is the editor of A Companion to Byzantine Epistolography (Leiden 2020) and is currently preparing an edition and translation of the letter-collections of Nikephoros Choumnos (anticipated 2021).