Digenes Akrites: New Approaches to Byzantine Heroic Poetry by Roderick Beaton, David Ricks

By Roderick Beaton, David Ricks

Referred to as variously the ’Byzantine epic’, the ’epic of contemporary Greece’, an ’epic-romance’ and ’romance’, the poem of Digenes Akrites has, when you consider that its rediscovery in the direction of the tip of the 19th century, exerted a tenacious carry at the mind's eye of students from a variety of disciplines and from many nations of the area, in addition to of writers and public figures in Greece. there are various purposes for this, no longer least between them the status accorded to ’national epics’ within the 19th century and for it slow afterwards. one more reason needs to definitely be the work’s specialty: there's not anything rather like Digenes Akrites in both Byzantine or glossy Greek literature. although, this distinctiveness isn't limited to its problematical position within the literary ’canon’ and literary background. As historic testimony, and in its advanced courting to later oral track and to older delusion and story-telling, Digenes Akrites back has no shut parallels of similar size in Byzantine or sleek Greek tradition. no matter if as a literary textual content, a historic resource, or a manifestation of an oral pop culture, Digenes Akrites is still, greater than a century after its rediscovery, repeatedly enigmatic. This Byzantine ’epic’ or ’romance’ has now turn into the point of interest of recent study throughout various disciplines because the booklet in 1985 of a noticeably revised version in line with the Escorial textual content of the poem, through Stylianos Alexiou. The papers during this quantity, derived from a convention held in may well 1992 at King’s university London, seeks to give and talk about the result of this new learn. Digenes Akrites: New techniques to Byzantine Heroic Poetry is the second one within the sequence released by means of Variorum for the Centre for Hellenic experiences, King’s university London.

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See S. Alexiou 1979, 79-84; 1985: cxxiv-cxxvii. ^ Hesseling and Pernot 1910: III 165; cf. Eideneier 1991: IV 190. Cf. 1058 (also 4. 116, 118,163). Against this, see S. Alexiou 1979: 79; 1985: cxxii-cxxiv. Cf. Oikonomid^s 1979: 393; E. Jeffreys in the present volume. 53 Conclusions There is no evidence that E is better than G, although there is plenty of evidence that it is different. The confusion between these two notions must be cleared, the differences between the versions understood and placed in their respective cultural contexts, before qualitative comparison between them is at all possible, let alone meaningful.

There is nothing in Eustathios’ text, or in his sources as they have come down to us, to imply that the complete exploits of Digenes had ever been told before. Mutatis mutandis, I propose that the same was true, of his sources as well, at the time when they were written. This proposal of course draws heavily on the demonstration by David Ricks that the Escorial version was not conceived as a unitary poem, and his apt iden^ For these terms and the interrelation of roles in the late medieval period, see Beaton 1989a: 177-82.

Oxpa<#>el? el? Pwpavtay. 335 Kal dKouaxdv ^y^vexo el? x6y aOpTravxa Kdapoy, that a beautiful girl could defeat a whole army. 48 Kal IxeKe x6y Aiyevf) BaalXetoy ’AKpl*nr|y But then the Emir received a letter. > 0pi^you? y^poyxa, dveiSiapou? S0 *H 8^ M-i'TTIP dpipd ypa^ifiy dird Eupla? 53 (L x^Kuoy TTo0eiy6xaxoy, *rrt3? prixpd? ^TreXd0ou; you’ve put out the light of my eyes, and shamed our family. Don’t you remember the deeds of your [E: grandfather/ G: father]: E255 irdaou? Pcopalou? ^atfia^ey, irdaou?

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