Theophylact of Ochrid

Theophylact of Ochrid
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Few works exist on Byzantine literature as literature and still fewer studies of individual texts. This reading of the letter-collection (c.1090-c.1110) of Theophylact of Ochrid employs a variety of approaches to characterise a work which is both a literary artefact in a long Greek tradition and the only trace of a complex network of friends, colleagues, patrons and clients within Byzantine Bulgaria and also within the empire as a whole. These letters are of great importance from the point of view of local economic or ecclesiastical history, relations with the Slavs, the arrival of the First Crusade, but have not hitherto been studied as an example of Byzantine letter writing. This was a genre taken seriously by Byzantines, offering us unique insight into the mentality of the Byzantine elite, but also into what the Byzantines regarded as literature. This book is important as an attempt to raise the status of the study of Byzantine literature, and of letters within that literature. It is a first attempt to place an epistolary text in a succession of literary and historical contexts; its aim, too, is to probe the reliability of any rhetorical text for straightforward biography especially at the time of the revival fiction in Byzantium. At the heart of the book is an analysis of the personal network of Theophylact, as presented in the collection, with further methodological discussion of network analysis in medieval texts.

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