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“How did Byzantines Read Herodotus? The Case of Marginalia in Verse”

Julián Bértola, Hannah Seeger Davis Postdoctoral Research Fellow

December 1, 2023 · 12:00 pm1:20 pm · 103 Scheide Caldwell

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

The Histories’ textual transmission provides an important source of information for the multilayered reception of Herodotus in the Greek Middle Ages. Byzantine manuscripts are often studied not as Byzantine artifacts but as a means to reconstruct ancient texts. However, Byzantine readers also made creative use of the Histories while copying it. In this lecture, I will focus on the marginal annotations written in verse in Herodotus’ manuscripts. Byzantines annotated these texts in a variety of contemporary literary genres, including didactic, polemic, and paraenetic poetry, to express distinctive ideological agendas. I argue that these finely crafted marginalia should be studied as literature in their own right, not merely as subsidiary commentaries or records of the afterlife of Herodotus.

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