1st Edition

Epistolary Poetry in Byzantium and Beyond An Anthology with Critical Essays

Edited By Krystina Kubina, Alexander Riehle Copyright 2021
    452 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    452 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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


    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


    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).