The poem Εἰς τὸν μονόκερων by Michael Choniates transposes into hexameters one of the most appreciated parables of Barlaam and Josaphat, “The Man in the Well”. The author revisits his primary source through a sort of exegetical approach alluding to biblical passages and through the Physiologus’ descriptions. The final couplet unfolds the moral aim of the poem; the author shows himself as a devout Christian when he reprehends the depravity of sinning. However, the verses are not to be considered a moral or didactic Christian poem stricto sensu. In fact, the author employs the traditional poetical pattern of admonition against the sinner but, rather innovatively, he intensifies the style and conformity of his poem to the highest linguistic standard required by the hexametric verse genre. Michael’s stylistic mode features the adoption of an epic linguistical code – inspired by his poetical models (Homer, Pindar, Callimachus, Apollonius of Rhodes, Gregory of Nazianzus) – and applies it to a popular content such as Barlaam’s parable, quite fashionable at the time. Undoubtedly, this literary elegance is neither traceable in the verses by Constantinus Manassas (Carmen morale, vv. 147-159 Miller) nor in Manuel Philes’s work (I 246, I 249-251 Miller), and not even in the western vulgar poems on Barlaam (e.g. Gui de Cambrai). Michael’s take on the hexametric genre is quite original; in a single short poem, he conjugates epic traditional form to the twelfth-century cultural trends and he reinterprets the canons of Greek poetry applying his deep literary knowledge to a popular content. On the basis of these premises, this paper examines Michael Choniates’ poem in the context of the Komnenian literature and elucidate the approach of the author towards his poetical composition as well as providing an analysis of his erudite combination of classical and popular sources.
The Learned Bishop and the Unicorn (Mi.Chon. Carm. 5 Lambros) / U.C.L. Mondini. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Byzantine Poetry in the “Long” Twelfth Century (1081-1204): texts and contexts tenutosi a Wien nel 2018.
|Titolo:||The Learned Bishop and the Unicorn (Mi.Chon. Carm. 5 Lambros)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||15-giu-2018|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-FIL-LET/07 - Civilta' Bizantina|
Settore L-FIL-LET/02 - Lingua e Letteratura Greca
|Enti collegati al convegno:||Austrian Academy of Sciences|
|Citazione:||The Learned Bishop and the Unicorn (Mi.Chon. Carm. 5 Lambros) / U.C.L. Mondini. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Byzantine Poetry in the “Long” Twelfth Century (1081-1204): texts and contexts tenutosi a Wien nel 2018.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|