From Homer to Digenis Akritis: Epics on the Byzantine Frontier

Seminar with Elizabeth M. Jeffreys


In conjunction with the Classical Association of Scotland (Edinburgh and South-East Centre)


This is a public online event, but it requires registration.


byz ceramic_ΒΧΑ
Male figure holding a sword, a shield and a bird. Glazed ceramic bowl from ?Cyprus, 14th c.  © BXM 001250

That important manuscripts of classical Greek were copied in the monasteries of South Italy is well known; much less appreciated by Byzantinists (and classicists?) is that text in vernacular Greek were also known in this environment. Digenis Akritis, Byzantium's only epic, has a complex transmission history with a key version, now housed in the Grottaferrata monastery, produced in South Italy c. 1300: this paper will explore what the implications might be.


Elizabeth M. Jeffreys is Emeritus Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature in the University of Oxford, and Fellow Emerita of Exeter College, Oxford. She has published widely on many aspects of Byzantine literature; her books include editions of the epic Digenis Akritis, the romance The War of Troy, and the letters of the monk Iakovos.




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