The Tale of Livistros and Rodamne

BookThe Tale of Livistros and Rodamne

The Tale of Livistros and Rodamne

A Byzantine Love Romance of the 13th Century

Translated Texts for Byzantinists, 10


June 1st, 2021



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This volume offers the first fully scholarly translation into English of the Tale of Livistros and Rodamne, a love romance written around the middle of 13th century at the imperial court of Nicaea, at the time when Constantinople was still under Latin dominion. With its approximately 4700 verses, Livistros and Rodamne is the longest and the most artfully composed of the eight surviving Byzantine love romances. It was almost certainly written to be recited in front of an aristocratic audience by an educated poet experienced in the Greek tradition of erotic fiction, yet at the same time knowledgeable of the Medieval French and Persian romances of love and adventure. The poet has created a very 'modern' narrative filled with attractive episodes, including the only scene of demonic incantation in Byzantine fiction. The language of the romance is of a high poetic quality, challenging the translator at every step. Finally, Livistros and Rodamne is the only Byzantine romance that consistently constructs the Latin world of chivalry as an exotic setting, a type of occidentalism aiming to tame and to incorporate the Frankish Other in the social norms of the Byzantine Self after the Fall of Constantinople to the Latins in 1204.

'[The Tale of Livistros and Rodamne] is a fascinating text that will be of interest to a broad range of scholars including Byzantinists as well as anyone working on cross cultural literary and cultural interactions in the medieval Mediterranean.'
Nicholas Morton, The Journal of Religious History, Literature & Culture

Author Information

Panagiotis A. Agapitos is Professor of Byzantine Literature at the University of Cyprus. His previous publications include The Tale of Livistros and Rodamne: Critical edition of Redaction “alpha” (Athens 2006) and Medieval Narratives between History and Fiction: From the Center to the Periphery of Europe, c. 1100-1400 (edited with L. B. Mortensen, Copenhagen 2012).

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
I.    General issues
      1.    The genre of Byzantine romance
      2.    L&R in older
      3.    Textual
history and editorial situation
      4.    Date,
place of composition, primary audience
II.  Literary matters
      1.   A
brief summary of L&R
      2.    Relation
to the Komnenian and Ancient Greek novels
      3.    Relation
to the Old French romances
      4.    Byzantine
occidentalism? Exoticism in L&R
      5.    The
‘awe-inspiring mysteries’ of a poet’s art
      6.    Narrative
and the organization of time
      7.    Narrative
space and narrated spaces
      8.    L&R as an instruction manual on the
‘art of love’
      9.    Eros,
hybrid power and the politics of desire
      10.  Poetic
language and the blended style in L&R
III.  The translation
The Tale of Livistros and Rodamne