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Preserving, Commenting, Adapting: Commentaries on Ancient Texts in Twelfth-Century Byzantium - 20-21


Every commentary first and foremost is an interpretation or specific reading of the text that is commented upon. In commenting on ‘their’ text, commentators construct questions of meaning and problems perceived as complicating this meaning, neither of which are inherent in the text. Commentaries, therefore, are firmly grounded in their intellectual and socio-cultural context and ‘may come to be studied as cultural or ideological texts in their own right, with didactic aims of their own, steering the “primary” text in a direction intended to answer very contemporary questions of meaning’ (R.K. Gibson, C.S. Kraus (eds.), The Classical Commentary: Histories, Practices, Theory. Leiden 2002). This ‘contemporariness’ of commentaries involves both their production and their reception: on the one hand, commentators tend to read their own (didactic) programme into the ‘primary’ text and address questions of meaning relevant to their intellectual context; on the other hand, commentaries serve to preserve, comment, and adapt a text for contemporary purposes and for a contemporary target audience. As ‘documents of their time’, commentaries thus may be said to form an excellent starting point for exploring the reception of authoritative texts in a certain period. In this workshop, we propose to do exactly this: to explore the use of ancient texts in twelfth-century Byzantium through commentaries. Classical scholarship flourished in twelfth-century Constantinople; scholars such as Eustathios of Thessalonike and John Tzetzes undertook ambitious projects of Homeric exegesis, while Eustratios of Nicaea produced commentaries on various of Aristotle’s works. In a broader sense, treatises like those by John Tzetzes on ancient tragedy and comedy or literary works such as Theodore Prodromos’ Katomyomachia and Bion Prasis can also be said to comment on ancient texts and, thus, reveal the manifold ways in which Byzantines dealt with their ancient heritage.

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 20-21-22/10/2016

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Silesia (Katowice, Poland)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Baukje van den Berg; Tomasz Labuk; Divna Manolova; Przemysław Marciniak; Katarzyna Warcaba

INFO: web -



Friday 20 October 2017 Location: CiNiBa, Sala Seminaryjna, second floor (Bankowa 11a) 16.00-17.00 Coffee / tea & Welcome (Przemysław Marciniak) 17.00-18.00 Keynote lecture: Panagiotis Agapitos, “Scholia, Schede, Paraphrases, Integrated Gnomologia, Overflowing Narratives: The Politics of Commentary in Komnenian Byzantium” Saturday 21 October 2017 Location: CiNiBa, Sala Seminaryjna, second floor (Bankowa 11a) Session I: Aristotle in Byzantium (Chair: Panagiotis Agapitos) 9.00-9.50 Michele Trizio, “Unfolding Meanings, Forging Identities: Commentaries on Aristotle and Authorial Practices in Twelfth-Century Byzantium” Respondent: Andrea Cuomo 9.50-10.40 Melina Vogiatzi, “Aristotle’s Rhetoric in Early Byzantium (Ninth-Twelfth Centuries)” Respondent: Michele Trizio 10.40-11.00 Coffee / tea Session II: Ancient Texts in the Works of John Tzetzes (Chair: Janek Kucharski) 11.00-11.50 Maria Tomadaki, “The Use of Ancient Texts in John Tzetzes’ Theogony” Respondent: Przemysław Marciniak 11.50- 12.40 Joanna Komorowska, “Astrological Theory and Astrological Authorities in Ioannes Tzetzes’ Exposition of the Iliad” Respondent: Inmaculada Pérez Martín 12.40-14.30 Lunch Session III: Eustathios of Thessalonike on Ancient Literature (Chair: Divna Manolova) 14.30-15.20 Baukje van den Berg, “Twelfth-Century Scholars on the Ethics and Rhetoric of Comedy and Ridicule” Respondent: Janek Kucharski 15.20-16.10 Valeria Flavia Lovato, “Odysseus the Schedographer in Eustathios’ Parekbolai” Respondent: Aglae Pizzone 16.10-17.00 Inmaculada Pérez Martín, “The meaning of Eustathius of Thessalonike’s Commentary on Dionysius Periegetes in the Tradition of Homeric Geography” Respondent: Baukje van den Berg 17.00-17.30 Break 17.30-18.30 Keynote lecture: Aglae Pizzone, “Tzetzes on Hermogenes and Rhetoric: from the Ancients to the Self” Sunday 22 October Location: Sala Rada Wydziału, plac Sejmu Śląskiego 1, fifth floor Session IV: Twelfth-Century Commentaries after the Twelfth Century (Chair: Aglae Pizzone) 9.30-10.20 Lorenzo Maria Ciolfi, “Preserving through Adapting: The Case of the Homeric Proverbial Verses” Respondent: Maria Tomadaki 10.20-10.40 Coffee / tea Session V: Commentaries on Ancient Texts in Palaiologan Byzantium (Chair: Przemysław Marciniak) 10.40-11.30 Andrea Cuomo, “The Moschopulo-Planudean Scholia on Sophocles: What Do They Comment on?” Respondent: Lorenzo Maria Ciolfi 11.30-12.10 Francesco Monticini, “The Λόγος and the λόγοι: The Commentaries on Synesius’ On Dreams in Their Context” Respondent: Divna Manolova 12.10-12.20 Concluding remarks (Baukje van den Berg)

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