Wit, irony, drama, lament, devotion, and hope are all to be found in this sleek and elegant volume with poetry from a Byzantium ready for one more social and cultural change. In the decades to follow the composition of the texts translated in this book, appreciation for rhetoric—and especially poetry—became an essential characteristic of a close-knit group, manning church and state administration. The playful rhythm of poetry carried truth and criticism, but also Christian piety and personal emotions. John Mauropous
The present volume, published for the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, provides an essential edition of the Life of Saint Neilos of Rossano, perhaps the most complex and interesting of the bioi of Italo-Greek saints. The translation—the first into English, as mentioned in the preface—is on the whole quite correct and even. The mere fact of providing an English version will guarantee the success of the work and will bring it to the attention of a wider audience of readers interested
This volume brings together nine Latin texts, composed between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, that narrate the life of Muhammad. Taken together, these nine texts represent an interesting selection of the various Latin portrayals of Muhammad in the Middle Ages. The English translations are accurate, clear, and eminently readable. These translations make these texts, and the strange medieval European portrayal of the prophet of Islam, available to non-Latinist students and scholars and will be valuable for use in the classroom.
Christianity and Islam have each always accorded great importance to one central figure on which their theology pivots. As tensions between the two religions heightened, Christian polemics turned to composing vitriolic accounts of Muhammad’s life, in order to appeal to an audience that—especially in the Middle Ages with its rich hagiographical practice—was highly receptive to biographical storytelling. In tracing how the depictions of Muhammad evolved in the medieval West, this handsome volume brings into focus how the gradual manifestation of
The poems of the sixth-century poet Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus sometimes seem to have flown under the radar of the late antique and early medieval studies. Certain poems are well known while the context from which they come, and the collection as a whole, is rarely considered. A full English translation of the poet’s work has been a scholarly desideratum for a while. Michael Robert’s splendid translation is the first to render all eleven books of Fortunatus’ verse into English
The volume under review is a welcome addition to the literature in English on the medieval “empire” of Trebizond. The editor, Scott Kennedy, chose to combine two very different sorts of texts: the late fourteenth-century chronicle of the imperial secretary Michael Panaretos, “a drab but reliable narrative” in the words of A. A. Vasiliev, and the consciously literary, fifteenth-century encomium of Trebizond by the future cardinal Bessarion but written at a time when he was still only a Basilian monk. Kennedy’s