Margaret Mullett

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


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Byzantine letters have been viewed by Byzantinists as significant artefacts of Byzantine literature that offer a glimpse into Byzantine society. Composed in an elaborate prose style and influenced by epideictic rhetoric, such letters have the potential to shape events outside the text. They were carried by letter-bearers and often accompanied by poems, perfumes, food, or gifts. Letters of various kinds were cast in epistolary form, such as Photios's Bibliotheca, and generally preserved as single sides of a correspondence. This article focuses on epistolography during the Byzantine Era. After providing a background on the theory of the letter, it looks at Byzantine letter-writing.

Keywords: Byzantium; letters; correspondence; letter-writing; epistolography; Byzantine literature; Byzantine Era

Article.  4831 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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