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Anonymous Poems and Epigrams from Marcianus gr. 524: Edition and Translation

Foteini Spingou, University of Oxford, Fellow 2013–2014

The thirteenth-century manuscript Marcianus gr. 524 is well known for its vast anthology of eleventh- and twelfth-century poetry. The anthology is composed of single-author collections, long poems, and three collections with unattributed poetry (Syllogae A, B, and C). I am particularly interested in Syllogae B and C, which consist of epigrams on works of art, epitaphs, acclamations, and other occasional poems. These texts form a corpus that provides a unique insight into eleventh- and (mainly) twelfth-century Constantinopolitan reality and into the cultural radiation of Byzantium to Southern Italy and the Balkans. The poems talk about lost objects and monuments and tell stories of individuals, illustrious ceremonies, and great triumphs. They map ideas and mentalities as well as literary and artistic tastes.

Despite their immense importance, these texts have yet to be published (though Spyridon Lambros published the transcriptions of some of them in 1911). During my fellowship, I prepared the first full edition, translation, and commentary of Syllogae B and C for Oxford University Press. The book discusses this noteworthy manuscript, and is intended to be a valuable and readily accessible source for literary historians, philologists, art historians, historians, and lovers of Byzantium.