Christophoros Mitylenaios was born in Constantinople at the beginning of the 11th century, apparently to a rather influential and wealthy family that originally had its roots in Lesbos. Living in the Protasiou quarter in Constantinople, he served as court official and exercised a number of honourable offices such as proconsul, protospatharios of the chrysotriklinos and judge of the velum.
Christophoros is the author of four metrical calendars, and of numerous poems. A collection of 145 "Various verses" has been preserved in a heavily damaged 13th-century manuscript from the library of the Badia Greca in Grottaferrata (olim Cryptoferrata), and, albeit extremely partially, in 38 other codices. Set in chronological order, the poems treat a wide range of persons and subjects: emperors and imperial dignitaries, saints, Church fathers and patriarchs, family members and friends, edifices, icons, statues and other works of art, scenes taken from the daily life in Constantinople, as well as descriptions of the nature. The genres are various as well: panegyrics and elegies, riddles and satires.
The present edition of this collection is based on all the manuscripts, and takes also into account a whole range of secondary literature which appeared since the previous edition by Eduard Kurtz in 1903. The introduction is dealing with the author’s identity and works, the manuscript tradition and the metres in use, and concludes with a study on the correct spelling of enclitics. Following the text of the poems, the reader finds an Index locorum Sacrae Scripturae, an Index fontium et locorum conferendorum, a complete Index verborum, an Index initiorum, and a selected bibliography.
Marc De Groote is professor of Ancient Greek Linguistics at Ghent University (Belgium).