The Rhetoric of Poverty: The Lives and Opinions of Theodore Prodromos
Author: Beaton, Roderick
Source: Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Volume 11, Number 1, 1987 , pp. 1-28(28)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:There has been an upsurge of interest recently in the Greek literary revival of the twelfth century that followed upon the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071, creating by an accident of history a largely Greek-speaking state out of a former `universal' empire. The leading part played in this revival by the court poet Theodore Prodromos who lived from c. 1100 until perhaps the 1170s, and by works attributed to him, has long been recognised, although the dichotomy imposed by nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars between literature in the learned language and literature in the vernacular has obscured the fact that, whether or not the entire `Prodromic' corpus is the work of a single individual, large parts of it are thematically and stylistically unified. Margaret Alexiou's article in the last volume of BMGS, an in-depth analysis of the fourth of the vernacular Poems of Poor Prodromos, goes a long way towards opening up this area to new methods of inquiry (Alexiou, M. 1986). Much however still remains to be done in establishing the nature and context of these innovative works of the twelfth century. The present paper looks at the literary context for the earliest extant use of the Greek vernacular in twelfth-century `begging poetry', and is intended as `prolegomena' to a forthcoming literary analysis of the four Poems of Poor Prodrom os, or Ptochoprodromika.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 1987-01-01