Monday, May 05, 2008

Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (March 2008)

Here are some abstracts from volume 32, issue 1 of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies.

Onomastics, gender, office and images on Byzantine lead seals: a means of investigating personal piety, by John Cotsonis pp.1-37

Abstract: Based upon a database of 7,390 lead seals that bear religious figural imagery in conjunction with the names and official titles of their owners, this paper investigates the contribution of lead seals to our understanding of the choice of various religious images as an expression of personal piety. The study examines the roles of homonymity, gender, family names and official titles in individuals' selections of sacred images for their seals. Tables and figures display the numerical and statistical results that are compared to trends found in other media.

Exile and return in John Mauropous, Poem 47, by Christopher Livanos pp.38-49.

Abstract: The author reads an epigram by John Mauropous as an engagement with epic and biblical traditions. Critical studies of exile and return from different eras of the Greek literary tradition by Émile Benveniste, Gregory Nagy and Nancy Sultan are used to provide a theoretical approach to the tradition with which Mauropous engages. It is suggested that Mauropous' wanderings in the territory of the xenos and return to the familiar world of the philos, and especially his personification of his home as a trophos (nurse), allude to Homer, and that epic language and motifs strengthen the poet's assertion of selfhood and make ancient literary themes relevant to Mauropous' life as a scholar and churchman.

Relations between the Fatimid and Byzantine empires during the reign of the caliph al-Mustans ir bi'llah, 1036-1094/427-487, by K.E.F. Thomson, pp.50-62

Abstract: Throughout the history of the Fatimid empire (909-1176/296-566), Byzantine sources support the idea that contact was kept to a minimum for trade. However, Arab historians reveal that in fact al-Mustansir engaged in correspondence, gift exchanges and embassies with several emperors. Descriptions of these mutual relations in the reign of al-Mustansir are a political mirror to the international effects of events such as the arrival of the Seljuk Turks, uprisings and civil war, and are also a fascinating insight into the diplomacy of Muslims and Christians banding together at a time of significant crisis for both.

On historical linguistics, linguistic variation and Medieval Greek, by Io Manolessou, pp.63-79

Abstract: This article focuses on two questions: the application of current historical linguistic methodologies to vernacular Medieval Greek in comparison to similar research in other medieval languages, and the notion of linguistic variation in Medieval Greek, in parallel with the possible methods for its fruitful investigation.