Poetry and Romances

Wolfram Hörandner

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

Poetry and Romances

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Byzantine verse-writing cannot be easily categorized into dramatic, epic, and lyric poetry. Poetry and other forms of Byzantine literature have an element of function. In Byzantium, poems, at least those written in the learned language, were commonly written on behalf of a patron, and they almost always served a particular function. In order to better understand Byzantine poetry, its underlying aesthetic principles must be taken into account, along with its role in the life of contemporary society. With respect to Byzantine literature, Karl Krumbacher classified texts according to whether they were written in the learned language or in the vernacular. He further subdivided learned poetry into ecclesiastical and secular poetry. This article examines Byzantine poetry and romances. It first makes a distinction between liturgical and non-liturgical poetry before turning to vernacular poetry, which includes epic and romance, mendicant poems, and verse chronicles.

Keywords: Byzantium; poetry; Byzantine literature; Karl Krumbacher; learned language; vernacular poetry; epic; romance; mendicant poems; verse chronicles

Article.  4967 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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