A Companion to Byzantine Epistolography introduces and contextualizes the culture of Byzantine letter-writing from various socio-historical, material and literary angles. While this culture was long regarded as an ivory-tower pastime of intellectual elites, the eighteen essays in this volume, authored by leading experts in the field, show that epistolography had a vital presence in many areas of Byzantine society, literature and art. The chapters offer discussions of different types of letters and intersections with non-epistolary genres, their social functions as media of communication and performance, their representations in visual and narrative genres, and their uses in modern scholarship. The volume thus contributes to a more nuanced understanding of letter-writing in the Byzantine Empire and beyond.
Contributors are: Thomas Johann Bauer, Alexander Beihammer, Floris Bernard, Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis, Carolina Cupane, Niels Gaul, Cecily J. Hilsdale, Sofia Kotzabassi, Florin Leonte, Divna Manolova, Stratis Papaioannou, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Alexander Riehle, Jack Tannous, Lena Wahlgren-Smith.
Alexander Riehle (Ph.D. 2011, University of Munich) is Assistant Professor of the Classics at Harvard University. He has published on Byzantine epistolography and rhetoric, and is currently preparing an edition and translation of the letter-collections of Nikephoros Choumnos.
Scholars and students of the Byzantine world, and anyone interested in the cultural practice and literary genre of letter-writing.