Alice-Mary Talbot

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Classical Studies
  • Middle Eastern Languages


Show Summary Details


The term "hagiography", which literally means "writing about saints", refers to edifying compositions about the life and deeds of a holy man or woman, and may also be defined as a scholarly discipline that studies saints and the literature related to them. Hagiography is often classified as a genre of Byzantine literature, but it also includes all kinds of literary works that promote the veneration of saints, including acts of martyrs (passiones), vitae (lives), enkomia, accounts of translations of relics and miracles, and even hymnography. One form of hagiographic literature that arose in Late Antiquity was collections of miracles. This article focuses on hagiographical composition as a type of literature, the cult of saints, and the history of scholarship in this field. It outlines hagiography in the early Christian centuries and Late Antiquity, along with Middle Byzantine hagiography (eighth-twelfth centuries), and the revival of hagiography in the Palaiologan Era.

Keywords: hagiography; hagiographic literature; saints; Late Antiquity; Palaiologan Era; miracles; Byzantine literature; hymnography

Article.  4151 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.