90554 - Production and Tradition of Greek Texts in Byzantium (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Giuseppe De Gregorio

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-STO/09

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Philology, Literature and Classical Tradition (cod. 9070)

  • Course Timetable from Mar 19, 2024 to May 09, 2024


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students learn to gain knowledge both about mechanisms of production of Byzantine literary as well as documentary texts and about the practices of material preparation of the related manuscript witnesses, within the Byzantine millennium, with particular reference to Middle and Late Byzantine Era. Moreover, students build abilities, on the one hand, in critically evaluating problems connected to the study of textual transmission and critical edition, also through a consideration of periods and genres of Byzantine literature and of the principal themes related to Mediaeval Greek in its highest register, on the other hand, in interpreting typology and function of the examined artefacts.

Course contents

After an introduction to the Byzantine civilization, with particular reference to the transmission of ancient texts in the Greek Middle Ages as well as to epochs and genres of Byzantine literature, the course is divided into two parts:

  1. Anthology of Byzantine epigrams on objects and works of art: from Theodoros Studites to Manuel Philes. Poems will be read both transmitted in manuscript collections and materially applied to objects of various kinds that still exist today or that can be reconstructed with a good approximation. The targeted small selection will lead, on the one hand, to an examination of the products of Byzantine scholars also well known for their poetic activity – from Theodoros Studites to Ioannes Mauropus and to Christophoros Mitylenaios, from Theodoros Prodromos to Manuel Philes –, on the other hand to the discussion around anonymous carmina, which are likewise affixed directly as metrical inscriptions. Basic notions on the versification technique and on the forms of the Byzantine dodecasyllable will also be provided.
  2. Observations on the transmission of poems in the Anthologia Planudea. Examples of individual poems from the Anthologia Graeca will be exhibited as conveyed by MSS Laur. Plut. 32.16, Vat. Urb. gr. 125, Marc. gr. Z. 481.


General studies:

  • C. Mango, La civiltà bizantina, Rome-Bari 1992 (2. ed.) [Engl.: Byzantium. The Empire of New Rome, New York 1980].
  • A. Kambylis, Compendio della letteratura bizantina, in H.G. Nesselrath (Dir.), Introduzione alla filologia greca, Italian Edition by S. Fornaro, Rome 2004, pp. 446-478.

For the 1st part:


  • M.D. Lauxtermann, La poesia, in Lo spazio letterario del Medioevo, 3. Le culture circostanti, I. La cultura bizantina, a cura di G. Cavallo, Roma 2004, pp. 301-343.
  • G. De Gregorio, Minima epigrammatica Byzantina, in Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici, n.s. 58 (2021), pp. 73-135.
  • G. De Gregorio, Teodoro Prodromo e la spada di Alessio Contostefano (Carm. Hist. LII Hörandner), in Nea Rhome 7 (2010), pp. 191-295.
  • G. De Gregorio, Epigrammi e documenti. Poesia come fonte per la storia di chiese e monasteri bizantini, in Sylloge Diplomatico-Palaeographica. Studien zur byzantinischen Diplomatik und Paläographie, I, hrsg. von Ch. Gastgeber – O. Kresten, Wien 2010, pp. 9-134.


Individual epigrams will be read in the following reference editions:

  • for Theodoros Studites: P. Speck, Theodoros Studites, Jamben auf verschiedene Gegenstände, Berlin 1968;
  • for Ioannes Mauropus: I. Bollig - P. de Lagarde, Iohannis Euchaitorum metropolitae quae in codice Vaticano graeco 676 supersunt, Gottingae 1882 (rist. Amsterdam 1979);
  • for Christophoros Mitylenaios: M. De Groote, Christophori Mitylenaii versuum variorum collectio Cryptensis, Turnhout 2012;
  • for Theodoros Prodromos: W. Hörandner, Theodoros Prodromos, Historische Gedichte, Wien 1974;
  • for Manuel Philes: E. Miller, Manuelis Philae carmina ex codicibus Escurialensibus, Florentinis, Parisinis et Vaticanis, I-II, Parisiis 1855, 1857 (rist. Amsterdam 1967) – Ae. Martini, Manuelis Philae carmina inedita ex cod. C VII 7 Bibliothecae Nationalis Taurinensis et cod. 160 Bibliothecae Publicae Cremonensis, Neapoli 1900.
  • Texts and images also from: W. Hörandner – A. Rhoby – A. Paul, Byzantinische Epigramme in inschriftlicher Überlieferung, I-IV, Wien 2009-2017.

For the 2nd part:

  • For the palaeographical and philological analysis of the selected poems from the Anthologia Planudea, facsimiles from the three main manuscript witnesses of the collection will be provided.

Non-attending Students

To be added to the above indicated bibliography:

  • M.D. Lauxtermann, Byzantine Poetry from Pisides to Geometres. Text and Contexts, II, Wien 2019, pp. 267-362 (Appendix metrica).

Non-attending students are recommended to contact the professor before they start preparing the exam.

Teaching methods

The adopted teaching method will be that of frontal lessons; during the course, students will be involved in the collation of manuscripts and in the reading and commentary of the presented texts.

Assessment methods

Oral interview. The judgment criteria will include an extensive evaluation about the acquired knowledge (translation, exegesis and analysis of the presented texts, display of the main addressed issues), about the use of a good standard technical vocabulary, as well as about the ability in framing the production of the medieval literary texts and the reception of ancient literature in Byzantium in the historical and cultural context of which these phenomena are an expression.

Teaching tools

During the course, reproductions of manuscripts and specimina of critical edition of the presented texts will be provided in both paper and digital format. Teaching support material will be regularly downloadable from the platform page dedicated to the course on the web site https://virtuale.unibo.it/.

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppe De Gregorio