The Medieval Institute is pleased to announce a new annual lecture series, the Mathews Byzantine Lectures. The Mathews Lectures bring a distinguished scholar of Byzantine studies to campus each year to deliver a talk, supported by the Rev. Constantine Mathews Endowment for Excellence in Byzantine Christianity in the Medieval Institute.
Christos Paschon, attributed in all manuscripts to Gregory of Nazianzos but generally now believed to be a product of twelfth-century Constantinople, is a puzzling text. It covers the period from Maundy Thursday to the mission of the Apostles, focusing on the Passion, the Burial, and the Resurrection. It claims to be Euripidean and is a tissue of quotations from Medea, Hippolytus, Rhesus, and Bacchae. It has been studied by Byzantinists trying to prove the existence of a Byzantine drama, exploring the Virgin’s lament and the icontype of the Galaktotrophousa, and by classicists working on the manuscript tradition of the Bacchae. Most scholars, whether classicists or Byzantinists, are uneasy with the combination of sacred drama and secular text; it is only now revealing evidence for identity, appropriation and performance in Byzantium. The lecture will explore issues of genre, content and performance in order to situate the text in twelfth-century literary society.
About the Speaker
Margaret Mullett (OBE) is Professor of Byzantine Studies emerita at Queen’s University Belfast and Director of Byzantine Studies emerita at Dumbarton Oaks. She works on the borderlines of history and literature, starting with letter-writing, literacy, rhetoric, performance, and proceeding to genre, patronage and narratology in prose and verse; she addresses issues of identity, gender, relations and networks, as well as emotions, senses and dream. She is now working on tents and on the Christos Paschon. She directed the British Academy’s Evergetis Project and the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Centre for Byzantine Cultural History in collaboration with the universities of Newcastle and Sussex. She has held visiting professorships at Vienna and Uppsala and is now Honorary Professor in Classics at the University of Edinburgh.