IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 537: Remembering Constantinople in the 15th Century

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies
Organiser:Aslıhan Akışık-Karakullukçu, General Education Department, Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul / Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Işık University, İstanbul
Moderator/Chair:Aslıhan Akışık-Karakullukçu, General Education Department, Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul / Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Işık University, İstanbul
Respondent:Florin Leonte, Department of the Classics, Palacký University, Olomouc
Paper 537-aFrom West to East: The Legacy of Constantinople in Bessarion's Literary Portrayal of Trebizond
(Language: English)
Annika Asp-Talwar, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Greek, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Rhetoric
Paper 537-bHistorical Memory and Constantinople in Isidore's Encomium of John VIII
(Language: English)
Aslıhan Akışık-Karakullukçu, General Education Department, Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul / Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Işık University, İstanbul
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Greek, Rhetoric
Paper 537-cLiterary Memory and Classicizing Discourse in John Dokeianos's Encomium of Constantine XI
(Language: English)
Anna Calia, Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Greek, Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Rhetoric
Abstract

This panel addresses Byzantine representations of Constantinople in the 15th century. Experimenting with classical rhetorical models, Bessarion, Isidore, and John Dokeianos, all intellectuals in Pletho’s Mistra circle and all with close ties to cities outside Constantinople, constructed novel urban identities that were informed by current political debates. Subverting the traditional Roman Christian formulas to describe Constantinople, these intellectuals remembered ancient history and contemporary events through the lens of Trebizond or alternatively the Peloponnese. Asp-Talwar contextualizes Bessarion’s literary portrayal of Trebizond as a bastion of Hellenism and the ensuing legacy of Constantinople. Akışık explores Isidore’s use of encomiastic writing and historiography to weave together an idealized praise of Constantinople with an historical Peloponnesian strand. Finally, Calia focuses on Dokeianos’ engagement with literary memory and the 1442 Byzantine-Ottoman siege of Constantinople from the vantage point of Mistra.

In their adoption of a highly classicizing register of the language, incorporation of the pre-Christian past into the historical accounts, extensive use of classical rhetorical models, and emphasis on civic identities members of the Mistra circle mirrored similar contemporary developments in late medieval Italy.