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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 513: The Ancient Novels in Byzantium: Cultural Networks, Readership, and Emotions

Tuesday 4 July 2023, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Mircea Duluș, Institutul de Studii Sud-Est Europene, Academia Română, București
Moderator/Chair:Claire Rachel Jackson, Vakgroep Letterkunde, Universiteit Gent
Paper 513-aHeliodorus in the Margin
(Language: English)
Nunzio Bianchi, Dipartimento di Ricerca e Innovazione Umanistica, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Greek, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Rhetoric
Paper 513-bFraming Conflicting Emotions: The Ancient Novels and the Byzantine Thought-World
(Language: English)
Mircea Duluș, Institutul de Studii Sud-Est Europene, Academia Română, București
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Greek, Rhetoric, Theology
Paper 513-cIntroducing the Novel Echoes Database of References to the Ancient Novels, 200-1200
(Language: English)
Koen De Temmerman, Vakgroep Letterkunde, Universiteit Gent
Nicolò D'Alconzo, Vakgroep Letterkunde, Universiteit Gent
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Computing in Medieval Studies, Technology

The ancient novels were read, harvested and commented upon throughout the Byzantine period. The highest point of interaction is represented by the Komnenian novels which appropriate entire episodes from the ancient novels and refashion their meaning according to the 12th-century Byzantine consciousness. Besides, narrative features harboured in the novel (i.e., genre mixing, irony, humour, self-parody, 'dialogised' literary language, ekphrastic vignettes, etc.) were identified in various genres (i.e., in hagiography, homiletics, and historiography). Foremost, this reception was underpinned by the addition of a rhetorical and moral (Christian) frame to the erotic narratives that ignored the innately erotic qualities of the novels. On the one hand, this session proposes to chart the overall interaction with the ancient novel both in hagiography and secular narrative (intertextual references, allusions and testimonia) by presenting the online database related to the ERC project Novel Echoes. Ancient Novelistic Receptions and Concepts of Fiction in Late Antique and Medieval Secular Narrative from East to West (Principal Investigator Koen De Temmerman, Ghent University). On the other hand, it proposes to shed further light on the Byzantine reception of the ancient novels by introducing the evidence conveyed by manuscript marginalia. Finally, it aims to address the manner in which the ancient novelistic discourse impacted and shaped the representation of emotions through specific case studies as the Homilies of Philagathos of Cerami, the long anonymous poem addressed from prison to George of Antioch in the 1140s by a former courtier of King Roger II (1130 – 1154) - the so-called Anonymous Poet of Malta, Niketas Choniates' Historia and Constantine Manasses Itinerary and Synopsis Chronike.