Lilly Stammler

Owning the Byzantine Literary Tradition: Balkan Adaptation and Transformation

  • Summary/Abstract

    The process of Byzantine intellectual influence on the newly baptized Slavic states has attracted considerable scholarly attention. However, the question of the remodelling of Byzantine literary traditions in the course of their transmission to the Slavs awaits a comprehensive study. Our paper focuses on literary genres and particular texts which undergo changes in their generic characteristics and function when translated into Slavonic. We analyse the appearance of hybrid literary forms unknown in Byzantium as well as the refashioning of the cults of certain saints and the texts related to them. Special attention is paid to historical-apocalyptic literature, to some short narrative forms, and apocrypha (translations and compilations). Observations are also made regarding the tradition of Holy Foolery, which undergoes a variety of transformations in different cultures. A key illustration is St Andrew the Fool for Christ’s sake, whose Byzantine Life is not only translated several times into Slavonic but is also remodelled into a constellation of texts: didactic, apocalyptic, questions and answers, etc. Our principal goal is to trace the causes of the rethinking of the well-established and authoritative Byzantine tradition, looking into inter-textual and extra-textual reasons for the transformations.

    Keywords:

Creating Sacred Space by Commemorating Destruction: The case of the Monastery of Zographou

  • Summary/Abstract

    The destruction of a place or the desolation of a space may be just as laden with information and affective responses associated with political, social, or religious change as their construction. This article aims to establish this thesis by focusing on the example of the Anonymous Story of the Martyrs of the Monastery of Zographou, a source related to the destruction of the Monastery of Zographou on Mount Athos in 1275. The article begins by reviewing the existing scholarship on such unresolved problems as the dating, author, genre, and aims of the medieval text, as well as the circumstances that may have led to its creation. The article then proceeds to offer answers to these problems based on a new interpretation of the text, one that suggests novel connections between the literary qualities of the text and the aims of its author, as well as between its content and its intended audience. The article also proposes a re-evaluation of the historicity of the Anonymous Story of the Martyrs of the Monastery of Zographou, arguing in favor of the possibility that a writer could have departed from the known facts and employed legendary material in order to propagate certain ideas.

    Keywords:

Subscribe to Lilly Stammler