Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Psellos and the Patriarchs: Letters and Funeral Orations for Keroullarios, Leichoudes, and Xiphilinos

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Psellos and the Patriarchs: Letters and Funeral Orations for Keroullarios, Leichoudes, and Xiphilinos

Article excerpt

Psellos and the Patriarchs: Letters and Funeral Orations for Keroullarios, Leichoudes, andXiphilinos. Translated by Anthony Kaldellis and Ioannis Polemis. [Michael Psellos in Translation.] (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. 2015. Pp. x, 242. $35.00 paperback. ISBN 978-0-268-03328-5.)

By its translations in numerous languages, Michael Psellos' Chronography made the text accessible to audiences not necessarily familiar with the medieval Greek of one of the most sophisticated Byzantine authors. On the grounds of style, rhetorical vividness, and especially of the authorial-self that pervades it, the text is deservedly considered a major achievement of the eleventh-century Byzantine literary production. In contrast to the Chronography, access to the rest of Psellos' oeuvre, which comprises almost all literary genres, displays a variety of stylistic levels and rhetorical devices, and predominantly sets the subject matter within a theoretical framework, has long been exclusively available to the specialists. In this regard, the series "Michael Psellos in Translation" offers to historians of the Middle Age as well as to the informed public and students a valuable tool for assessing the intellectual aspirations of a key-figure in the development of medieval thought. The first volume of the series presented texts in which are evidenced Psellos' perception of and attitude toward family bonds; the second introduces the long funeral orations he wrote for three successive mid-eleventh century patriarchs of Constantinople, Michael Keroullarios, Constantine Leichoudis, and John Xiphilinos. Letters he addressed to Keroullarios and Xiphilinos complete the selection of texts comprised in the volume.

Aspects of the specific thematic choice are insightfully analyzed by Anthony Kaldellis and Ioannis Polemis in the introductory chapter of the book.

The Funeral Orations were composed to celebrate the memory of the deceased patriarchs on the anniversary of their death. Whether they were actually orally delivered in public or read to a limited group of relatives and friends, the texts, remark Kaldellis and Polemis, are the earliest examples of encomiastic speeches for ecclesiastics, who were not sanctified and therefore did not deserve hagiographical encomia. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.