Chapter 11 Poetry on Commission in Late Byzantium (13th–15th Century)

In: A Companion to Byzantine Poetry 
Andreas Rhoby
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This chapter deals with commissioned poetry in late Byzantium, that is from the time of the Byzantines in exile (after 1204) until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Its purpose is to demonstrate that after a peak in poetic production in the 11th and especially the 12th century, this trend continued in late Byzantium. The emperors at Nicaea, as well as the Palaeologan court (at least until the late 14th century) and the aristocracy, continued to commission poets through their eagerness to (re)present themselves. Manuel Philes, court poet and poet on commission in the first half of the 14th century, is the dominant figure with hundreds of poems, which he wrote for the imperial family and other sponsors belonging to the aristocratic and military elite. However, other poets, from Nikephoros Blemmydes in the 13th century to John Eugenikos in the 15th, also produced considerable amounts of poetry. This chapter also demonstrates that it is not always clear if poets offered their literary productions to their potential sponsors in the hope of payment, or were simply commissioned to write verses.

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