Learning in Byzantium. A socio-literary study of Greek didactic poetry in the 11th and 12th century

Start - End 
2020 - 2025 (ongoing)
Department of Literary Studies
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Language 
Research Methodology 



Didactic poetry was a popular genre in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. After a lull in production between the 6th and 10th century, we see a resurgence of Greek didactic poetry in the 11th and 12th century, related to the political and socio-cultural circumstances of the Byzantine empire. Many works written in these two centuries have not been published yet, and those that have are largely understudied. As such, our knowledge of Byzantine didactic poetry is rather limited.

This project strives to change that with a two-pronged approach. Firstly, I will create the first critical edition of seven didactic poems of Niketas of Heraklea, an 11th century teacher and author. These editions will include translations and commentary. Secondly, I will analyze these and other contemporary didactic poems and look at their socio-cultural context. In doing so, I aim to answer the following research question: “What characterizes Greek didactic poetry of the 11th and 12th century and how did the socio-cultural context of this period and the defining aspects of this literary genre influence each other?”




Phd Student(s)