Book Series Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca, vol. 87

Mercurius Grammaticus

Opera iambica

Theodora Antonopoulou (ed)

  • Pages: 118 p.
  • Size:155 x 245 mm
  • Language(s):Greek, English
  • Publication Year:2017

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56457-9
  • Hardback
  • Available

First critical edition of the literary dossier of Merkourios the Grammarian (probably early 14th cent.), including two long unpublished works


“(…) with this study Antonopoulou has succeeded in providing, albeit briefly, a clear framework for the creation of Merkourios’ texts, seeing them from the point of view of their genesis as well as literary products with something to offer per se. In any case, the texts are now available to us in their best possible form for further study and research, adding to the corpus of Byzantine literature and constituting a useful tool and important aid for those interested in Byzantine studies in general and Byzantine poetry in particular.” (Ilias Taxidis, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2017.10.40)

« De par sa clarté et ses qualités philologiques, le présent ouvrage constitue une excellente introduction à l’œuvre du grammairien Merkourios. Les poèmes sont édites avec le plus grand soin et précèdes d’une entrée en matière qui se distingue par sa concision. L’auteure permet ainsi de compléter le canevas de la production hagiographique byzantine, en fournissant aussi un bel exemple de réécriture littéraire. Nous n’avons qu’à espérer que cette publication invitera à tirer de l’oubli d’autres figures méconnues de la littérature byzantine. » (Anna Lampadaridi, dans la Revue des études byzantines, 76, 2018, p. 381)

« De la belle ouvrage, donc, qui montre l’intérêt que peuvent acquérir des écrits mineurs présentés et analysés dans les règles de l’art.  » (Véronique Somers, dans Revue d'Histoire ecclésiastique, 115, 2020, p. 805)


Theodora Antonopoulou studied at Athens and Oxford and received her DPhil from the University of Oxford (1995). She has taught at the Universities of Cyprus and Patras, Greece, and since 2008 is Professor of Byzantine Literature at the University of Athens. She has published extensively on Byzantine literature. Her major works include a study (1997) and critical edition (2008) of the Homilies of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI as well as a book on Byzantine homiletics (2013).


This is the first critical edition of the literary corpus of a minor Byzantine poet, the formerly little-known Merkourios the Grammarian (Mercurius Grammaticus). He wrote after AD 1100 and can probably be identified with the homonymous student of Maximos Planoudes. A dating of his dossier to the so-called “early Palaeologan renaissance“ is, thus, plausible. Merkourios composed four dodecasyllabic poems with a total of ca. 2,190 verses. The two longer ones, which are published here for the first time, are hagiographical rewritings (metaphrases) concerning Sts Theodore Teron and Theodore Stratelates. The third poem is a rewriting of a pseudo-Chrysostomic homily on the Annunciation, whereas the fourth, hymnographic work is an iambic canon on St John Chrysostom. The latter two works were previously published in obscure and inadequate editions.

These texts are particularly noteworthy on account of their literary forms and help acquiring a more precise picture of the extent of Byzantine hagiographical and homiletic literature in verse on the one hand, and iambic hymnography on the other. The edition also contributes towards the completion of the Greek hagiographical, hymnographic, and homiletic dossiers of Sts Theodores, St John Chrysostom and the Annunciation respectively.

The present edition is preceded by an original introduction on the poet and the poems, focussing on their contents, models, structure, genres, possible functions and reasons of composition, metre, vocabulary, manuscript tradition and, where applicable, previous editions. The final chapter presents the editorial principles. The establishment of the text is accompanied by detailed apparatuses, mainly the critical apparatus as well as the apparatus of sources and significant parallel passages. A series of indices completes the work.


Mercurius Grammaticus — Carmen iambicum in S. Theodorum Stratelatem  — ed. Th. Antonopoulou

Mercurius Grammaticus — Carmen iambicum in S. Theodorum Tironem — ed. Th. Antonopoulou

Mercurius Grammaticus — Carmen iambicum in Annuntiationem — ed. Th. Antonopoulou

Mercurius Grammaticus — Canon iambicus in S. Iohannem Chrysostomum  — ed. Th. Antonopoulou