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Essential Byzantine Greek Classics

  • On Difficulties in the Church Fathers: The Ambigua, Volume I
  • Accounts of Medieval Constantinople
  • The Histories, Volume I: Books 1–5
  • Allegories of the Iliad
  • Animal Fables of the Courtly Mediterranean

The perfect introduction to classic works in Byzantine Greek. Discover more classics in translation from the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library.

Author - Editorial Staff

Date - 18 October 2023

Time to read - 1 min

  • On Difficulties in the Church Fathers: The Ambigua, Volume I

    On Difficulties in the Church Fathers: The Ambigua, Volume I

    Maximos the Confessor, Nicholas Constas

    Maximos the Confessor (580–662) occupies a unique position in the history of Byzantine philosophy, theology, and spirituality. His profound spiritual experiences and penetrating theological vision found complex and often astonishing expression in his unparalleled command of Greek philosophy, making him one of the most challenging and original Christian thinkers of all time. So thoroughly did his t...

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  • Accounts of Medieval Constantinople

    Accounts of Medieval Constantinople

    The Patria

    Albrecht Berger

    The Patria is a fascinating four-book collection of short historical notes, stories, and legends about the buildings and monuments of Constantinople, compiled in the late tenth century by an anonymous author who made ample use of older sources. It also describes the foundation and early (pre-Byzantine) history of the city, and includes the Narrative on the Construction of Hagia Sophia, a semi-lege...

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  • The Histories, Volume I: Books 1–5

    The Histories, Volume I: Books 1–5

    Laonikos Chalkokondyles, Anthony Kaldellis

    Among Greek histories of the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the work of Laonikos (ca. 1430–ca. 1465) has by far the broadest scope. Born to a leading family of Athens under Florentine rule, he was educated in the classics at Mistra by the Neoplatonist philosopher Plethon.

    In the 1450s, Laonikos set out to imitate Herodotos in writing the history of his times, a version in which the armies...

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  • Allegories of the Iliad

    Allegories of the Iliad

    John Tzetzes, Adam J. Goldwyn, Dimitra Kokkini

    In the early 1140s, the Bavarian princess Bertha von Sulzbach arrived in Constantinople to marry the Byzantine emperor Manuel Komnenos. Wanting to learn more about her new homeland, the future empress Eirene commissioned the grammarian Ioannes Tzetzes to compose a version of the Iliad as an introduction to Greek literature and culture. He drafted a lengthy dodecasyllable poem in twenty-four books,...

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  • Animal Fables of the Courtly Mediterranean

    Animal Fables of the Courtly Mediterranean

    The Eugenian Recension of Stephanites and Ichnelates

    Alison Noble

    Animal Fables of the Courtly Mediterranean is a treasure trove of stories and lessons on how to conduct oneself and succeed in life, sometimes through cleverness rather than virtue. They feature human and many animal protagonists, including the two jackals Stephanites and Ichnelates, after whom the book is named, as well as several lion kings. At the heart of this work are tales from the Sanskrit...

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