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Byzantine vs Anglo-Latin Anthologies of Poetry (1200- ca 1350)

Byzantine vs Anglo-Latin Anthologies of Poetry (1200- ca 1350)
59 Queen's Park Crescent East, PIMS Room A
Time: Nov 25th, 1:00 pm End: Nov 25th, 3:00 pm
Interest Categories: Medieval Studies (FAS), History (FAS), Comparative Literature (FAS), Classics (FAS), Book History/Print Culture, 1200-1500
LMS Research seminar with Dr. Foteini Spingou, Mellon Fellow and LMS candidate

The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies is pleased to present an LMS Research Seminar

Dr. Foteini Spingou, Mellon Fellow and LMS Candidate

Byzantine vs Anglo-Latin Anthologies of Poetry (1200 - ca 1350)

This paper outlines the first step towards a comparative study of Anglo-Norman and Later Byzantine verse epitaphs written in the sacred languages of the time (Latin and Greek respectively). This first step demands the analysis of the media through which these anthologies are transmitted: the manuscripts.
    The dissolution of monastic establishments by Henry VIII and the vicissitudes of Byzantine monumental art after 1204 and 1453 resulted in very few inscribed verse epitaphs surviving in perpetuity. However, the scarcity of the evidence preserved in situ is substituted by the existence of medieval poetic anthologies. These poetic anthologies exhibit a remarkable number of common features, a realization that underscores the scholarly rationale for their comparison. In both traditions, no two anthologies are the same. In both traditions, the anthologies are built around the names of a close group of prominent authors of the time (Marbod and Hildebert for the Anglo-Latin, Prodromos and Philes for the Byzantine), which are paired with additional pieces of “occasional poetry.” In both traditions, the collected material does not predate the creation of the compilation with more than a 150 years. In both traditions, the compilation of the anthologies is related to schools. Finally, the habit of anthologizing such “occasional poetry” reaches its peak in the 1200s and sharply declines around 1350s.
    Taking into account these preliminary observations, I will relate the compilation of the anthologies to the concept of cultural memory as pioneered by Jan and Aleida Assmann. After trying to establish a universal definition of the terms “anthology” and “occasional poetry,” I will address questions related to the aims of the anthologies, the identity of the compilers, and the importance of authorship within the anthology itself, based on evidence that previous scholarship has meticulously brought to light.
    In the last fifteen minutes of the paper, I will present the preliminary results of the codicological analyses of two poetic anthologies, one Anglo-Latin and one Byzantine. Sampling the first results from my research on the relevant manuscripts will allow me to put in public discussion my methodological concerns about comparing literary products and their means of survival, as well as to seek advice at the beginning of this highly innovative and experimental project.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is not required.  For further information, please contact the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies at (416) 926-7142.

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