Book Series Byzantioς. Studies in Byzantine History and Civilization, vol. 14

Middle and Late Byzantine Poetry: Texts and Contexts

Andreas Rhoby, Nikolaos Zagklas (eds)

  • Pages: vii + 413 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:1 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2019

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57886-6
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57887-3
  • E-book
  • Available
  • Contains contributions in Open Access

This book aims at a better understanding of middle and late Byzantine poetry by offering both studies on specific authors and their textsμ and editions of so far unknown texts.


“(…) the present volume constitutes an important collection of well-written essays rich in ideas, which will surely contribute to the further development of this field (…) of course, good critical editions are always valuable and deeply appreciated.” (Konstantinos Chryssogelos, in BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA, 31 2021, p. 441-442)



Andreas Rhoby is deputy head of the Division of Byzantine Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Privatdozent at the University of Vienna. He focuses on the study of Byzantine poetry, inscriptions and cultural history.

Nikos Zagklas is Assistant Professor of Byzantine Literature at the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the University of Vienna. His research interests are concerned with Byzantine literary culture, with a particular interest for poetry, didactic works, and the relationship between prose and verse.


It is only in recent years that Byzantine poetry – a long-neglected aspect of Byzantine literature – has attracted the attention of philologists, literary and cultural historians. This holds true especially for the poetry written in middle and late Byzantium.Though many collections of poems are available in modern critical editions, a considerable amount of texts still remains completely unedited or accessible only in outdated and unreliable editions. Moreover, many works of this period have never been studied thoroughly with regard to their cultural impact on society. Issues of authorship and patronage, function, literary motives, generic qualities, and manuscripts still await further study.

This volume aims to take a step to fill this gap. Although it includes studies on poetry from the early tenth to the fifteenth centuries, the main focus is placed on the Komnenian and Palaeologan times. It presents editions of completely unknown texts, such as a twelfth-century cycle of epigrams on John Klimax. It includes studies on various types of poetry, including didactic, occasional, and even poetry written for liturgical purposes. By analysing these works and placing them within their literary and socio-cultural context, we can draw conclusions about the cultural tastes of the Byzantines and acquire a more nuanced picture of middle and late Byzantine poetry.


Nikos Zagklas & Andreas Rhoby, Introduction

Part I: Studies in the Poetry of the Middle and Late Byzantine Period
Section I: Forms, Perceptions & Functions

Floris Bernard, Rhythm in the Byzantine Dodecasyllable: Practices and Perceptions
Nikos Zagklas, Metrical Polyeideia and Generic Innovation in the Twelfth Century: The Multimetric Cycles of Occasional Poetry

Section II: Authors & Texts

Maria Tomadaki, The Reception of Ancient Greek Literature in the Iambic Poems of John Geometres
Przemysław Marciniak & Katia Warcaba, Theodore Prodromos’ Katomyomachia as a Byzantine Version of Mock-Heroic Epic
Andreas Rhoby, The Poetry of Theodore Balsamon: Form and Function
Krystina Kubina, Manuel Philes - A Begging Poet? Requests, Letters and Problems of Genre Definition
Marina Bazzani, The Art of Requesting in the Poetry of Manuel Philes

Section III: Hymnography & Its Contexts

Theodora Antonopoulou, Imperial Hymnography? The Canons Attributed to Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. With the critical edition of the First Canon on St John Chrysostom
Dimitrios Skrekas, Translations and Paraphrases of Liturgical Poetry in Late Byzantine Thessalonica

Part II: The Editio princeps of a Completely Unknown Text

Renaat Meesters and Rachele Ricceri, A Twelfth-Century Cycle of Four Poems on John Klimax: Editio princeps, Translation and Commentary
Renaat Meesters, A Twelfth-Century Cycle of Four Poems on John Klimax: A Brief Analysis