New Issue of Byzantinische Zeitschrift

Byzantinische Zeitschrift, volume 107, no. 1 (July 2014).


Areopagitic influence and neoplatonic (Plotinian) echoes in Photius’ Amphilochia: question 180
Dr. Theodoros Alexopoulos

Focusing on one of the most representative works of Patriarch Photius, the Amphilochia and precisely on the Question 180, the present study tries to advance our understanding of Photius’ thought and especially to investigate the following important question, namely to what extent Patriarch Photius was influenced by neoplatonism and in which way. In this point lies exactly the contribution of present study, to assess and evaluate the areopagitic and neoplatonic (mostly Plotinian) elements in the thought of this great theological figure of the Eastern Church. The analysis of this specific source from Amphilochia shows a direct influence of the unknown writer of the areopagitic works on Photius and an indirect transfer of neoplatonic elements (through Dionysius) to the philosophical thinking of the famous Patriarch. So Dionysius Areopagites proves to be the mediator between neoplatonic and Christian byzantine thought. Although the mediation of Dionysios between Plotinus and Photius is undisputable, a direct knowledge of the work of Plotinus from Photius cannot be excluded at all. For, central ideas of the metaphysics of the One such as the idea of unity and the apophatic method as a proper way for man to approach God are clearly found in this specific passage of Amphilochia. This result is not only for Photius’ theological system but also for the byzantine Theology and Philosophy in general of great importance. So the study shows something, which was not very well demonstrated so far: Photius’ extensive use not only of Aristoteles but also of Neo- Platonism and through that: The continuity of the byzantine with the ancient Greek thought.

“You possess me, you bring me with you, I am a part of you”: a new Byzantine riddle in the Pal. Gr. 116
Dr. Simone Beta

The final page of the Palatinus Graecus 116, an octavo paper codex bought in Constantinople by Guarino da Verona in 1406, contains four Byzantine riddles. Three are known from other sources as well: they are Milovanović 110 (Θάλασσαν οἰκῶ καὶ βροτοῖς βρῶσις πέλω), 44 (Ἔζων πότ’ ἔζων πλὴν δίχα παντὸς λόγου) and 108 (Ζῷόν τι μικρόν εἰμι τῶν οὐ βρωσίμων). But the incipit of the φουρτη one (Ἔχεις με καὶ φέρεις με καὶ σύνειμί σοι) has no parallel in the Greek poems known to date. The transcription of the text of this last, unedited riddle - and the discovery of its solution - will be the main topic of this article.

The account of Thoulis, king of Egypt, in the Chronographia of John Malalas
Dr. Benjamin Garstad

Thoulis first appears in the sixth-century chronicle of John Malalas. It has been suggested that his name is a corruption of the material found in the traditional Egyptian king-lists, but it seems more likely that he and the narrative associated with him are a fiction of more recent invention. Thoulis is modeled on Sesostris, Osiris, and Alexander the Great and the narrative of his exploits alludes to the stories of these figures. The focus of this narrative is an oracle which deflates the king’s arrogance and obliquely prophesies the doctrine of the Trinity. This oracle is consistent with the exploitation of ostensibly genuine oracles in the pagan-Christian polemics of the fourth century. Indeed, the account of Thoulis as a whole seems to have been drafted to advance the Christian position in this debate, apparently by one Bouttios in the late fourth century.

Psellos in 1078
Prof. Dr. Michael Jeffreys

The much-discussed question of the date of the death of Michael Psellos was solved by Eva de Vries-Van der Velden nearly twenty years ago: he died in spring, 1078, or soon after. But her solution has not been accepted. This paper restates her arguments more firmly and adds several more, particularly on the basis of Psellos’ letters, from which many other details of historical importance remain to be discovered. The paper gives an idea of the careful argumentation needed to use such evidence. It ends with an unhappy picture of Psellos’ psychological state shortly before his death.

Racing with rhetoric: a Byzantine ekphrasis of a chariot race
Prof. Dr. Przemysław Marciniak and Dr. Katarzyna Warcaba

Michael Hagiotheodorites’ poem describing a chariot race is usually dismissed as an imitation of the earlier text composed by Christopher of Mytilene. Such an approach ignores the poetical and rhetorical qualities of Hagiotheodorites’ work, who, in the introduction, skilfully connected the rhetorical framework with the content. The poem is addressed to an unnamed addressee and a definite identification is not possible. However, certain similarities between this text and the works of Constantine Manasses allow a hypothesis that Manasses might have been the recipient of Hagiotheodorites’ letter-poem.

Hypatios of Ephesos and Ps.-Dionysios Areopagites
Dr. Sergei Mariev

This article demonstrates, first, that Hypatios of Ephesos did not consider all the writings of Ps.-Dionysios the Areopagite to be forgeries, but only those citations from this author which the Syrian Orthodox (‘Severan’) bishops offered in support of their claims during the Collatio cum Severianis in 532. It then argues that Hypatios’ text Περὶ τῶν ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις οἴκοις, preserved in Cod. par. gr. 1115, should be considered an important testimony to the pre-Iconoclast reception of Ps.-Dionysios’ doctrine of images (in the sense of Biblical and liturgical symbols). Finally, it shows that this text was altered during the Iconoclast period in an attempt to use the statements that originally were not meant to refer to painted images (icons) in the new polemical context but was ultimately discarded because the arguments it contains appeared unsatisfactory both to the Iconoclasts and Iconophiles.

Kaiser Phokas (602–610) als Erinnerungsproblem
Prof. Dr. Mischa Meier

The paper argues that Heraclius was forced to demonstrate the legitimacy of his rule in a particular manner, because his usurpation in 610 was structurally very similar to that of his predecessor Phocas (in 602), and the condition of the Eastern Roman Empire deteriorated rapidly during the first years of his rule. Considering the fact that not only Phocas but also Heraclius destroyed the well-established order in the view of contemporaries, one gets a notion of what can be meant by ‘legitimacy’ in the early 7th century.Given this situation Heraclius had to distance himself from Phocas as far as possible. The article discusses the most important rhetorical strategies the emperor used to achieve this aim: (1) the damnatio memoriae, (2) the identification of Phocas as an illegitimate usurper (in abundantly describing him as tyrannos), (3) his de-humanization and (4) the characterization of Phocas as a destroyer of the well-established order and Heraclius’ self-representation as its restorer.

Roman identity in Byzantium: a critical approach
Dr. Ioannis Stouraitis

Collective identity in the so-called Byzantine Empire is a much-debated issue that has drawn a lot of attention over the years. The current paper attempts a critical assessment of the hitherto main lines of thinking about Byzantine identity, focussing on the period between the seventh and the thirteenth centuries. By proposing an alternative view on source material based on a comprehensive theoretical framework, I argue that a conceptualization of the collective identity of this medieval imperial social order with its constantly fluctuating geopolitical and cultural boundaries needs to be disconnected from essentialist and reifying views on perennial ethnicity as well as from the modern phenomenon of the nation-state.

Un sigillion inédit du patriarche de Constantinople Jérémie II et d’Alexandre Sylvestre sur la réforme du calendrier
Dr. Vassiliki Ch. Tzoga

With the present investigation, based upon the codex no 2347 (National Library of Greece) including an unpublished patriarchal document, we have the special opportunity to contribute to a further and more detailed examination concerning the reformation of the Gregorian calendar. We also try to study the development of the activity of Jesuits to consolidate this innovation in the area of Russia Minor (Ruthenians) and to provide a useful insight into the relations between the two major churches and doctrines, Orthodox and Roman Catholic. We approach, through their representatives, the historical conditions to the lands dominated by the Ottomans and the Venetians during the second half and especially the two last decades of the 16th century and generally the factors that progressively shaped the attitudes, the argumentation and the ideological views which enable us to understand from that angle the true origins of the conflict relevant to the introduction of the new calendar.

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Posted on Aug 4, 2014 in



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