Narrating Martyrdom

BookNarrating Martyrdom

Narrating Martyrdom

Rewriting Late-Antique Virgin Martyrs in Byzantium

Translated Texts for Byzantinists, 9

2020

July 2nd, 2020

£85.00

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This book reconceives the rewriting of Byzantine hagiography between the eighth and fourteenth centuries as a skilful initiative in communication and creative freedom, and as a form of authorship. Three men – Makarios (late C13th-C14th), a monk; Constantine Akropolites (d.c.1324), a statesman; and an Anonymous educated wordsmith (c. C9th) – each opted to rewrite the martyrdom of a female virgin saint who suffered and died centuries earlier. Their adaptations, respectively, were of St. Ia of Persia (modern-day Iran), St. Horaiozele of Constantinople, and St. Tatiana of Rome. Ia is described as a victim of the persecutions of the Persian Shahanshah, Shapur II (309–79 C.E), Horaiozele was allegedly a disciple of St Andrew and killed anachronistically under the emperor Decius (249–51 C.E), and Tatiana, we are told, was a deaconess, martyred during the reign of emperor Alexander Severus (222–35 C.E). Makarios, Akropolites, and the Anonymous knowingly tailored their compositions to influence an audience and to foster their individual interests. The implications arising from these studies are far-reaching: this monograph considers the agency of the hagiographer, the instrumental use of the authorial persona and its impact on the audience, and hagiography as a layered discourse. The book also provides the first translations and commentaries of the martyrdoms of these virgin martyrs.

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Author Information

Anne Alwis is Senior Lecturer in Classical Literature at the University of Kent. She is the author of Celibate Marriages in Late-Antique and Byzantine Studies: The Lives of Saints Julian and Basilissa, Andronikos and Athanasia, and Galaktion and Episteme (Bloomsbury, 2011).