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.
Jacopo Strada and Cultural Patronage at the Imperial Court: Antiquity as Innovation, Dirk Jansen provides a survey of the life and career of the antiquary, architect, and courtier Jacopo Strada (Mantua 1515-Vienna 1588). His manifold activities — also as a publisher and as an agent and artistic and scholarly advisor of powerful patrons such as Hans Jakob Fugger, the Duke of Bavaria and the Emperors Ferdinand I and Maximilian II — are examined in detail, and studied within the context of the cosmopolitan learned and courtly environments in which he moved. These volumes offer a substantial reassessment of Strada’s importance as an agent of change, transmitting the ideas and artistic language of the Italian Renaissance to the North.