This chapter situates Theodore Stoudites in the context of the Dark Ages and the iconoclastic controversy. It then gives an overview of his poetic oeuvre, the largest part of which was written not for circulation in manuscript collections as “literature”, but for concrete use, either in the liturgy (his hymns in rhythmical verse) or as inscriptions on sacred buildings, objects or images (most of his “iambs on various subjects” are in prosodic dodecasyllables). The final section is devoted to his highly artificial figure poems, preserved as part of the anti-iconoclastic treatise Refutation of the Impious Poems.
Flavius Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius of Tyana (Vita Apollonii), written in the first half of the third century CE, is a key text in the cultural, literary and religious history of the Second Sophistic and of Late Antiquity. Its generic and formal diversity, its shifting cultural and historical background, as well as its protean hero, call for a multifaceted and interdisciplinary reading.
Theios Sophistès is the first collection of interpretative essays on the
Vita Apollonii. Leading scholars in the field and younger critics make for a combination of methodological continuity and innovation. The book is divided into two sections, one focusing on literary and philological discussions and relating the Vita to other ancient texts and genres, and one dealing with religious and philosophical aspects. The wide range of approaches and perspectives does justice to the high level of literary, historical and philosophical-religious sophistication of this text.
Book epigrams (or metrical paratexts) are a poetic genre at the crossroads between writing and reading. They are narrowly connected to the production and use of the specific manuscript in which they appear. Book epigrams can be considered as inscriptions on books, sharing many features with inscriptions on other material objects (buildings, works of art, etc.). Book epigrams are paratexts, accompanying the main text of the manuscript. They praise the author of the text, express the motives of the patron, record the work of the scribe, admonish the readers, and structure the content of the book. Book epigrams mostly appear in the margins of the manuscript, or at its beginning or end. They stand visually apart through colour and script. Book epigrams are important sources of information about the patronage of books, reading culture, the reception of literature, and metrical developments, etc. A new online database is hoping to pave the way for new, and more comprehensive, research on this genre.