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CODE 94757
SEMESTER 1° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:


The course offers an overview of some crucial Byzantine literary texts, from scratch to the top: students start reading a manuscript, understanding some layers of the text (in terms of lexicon, style, variant readings, literary imitation, variatio and historical context) and will be guided towards a philological/literary commentary.

A good knowledge of ancient Greek is required.



The educational goals are to gain the following knowledge, skills, and abilities: - understanding the main literary genres of the Byzantine period through their diachronic development and the contributions of individual authors through direct reading of texts - knowing how to conduct philological, linguistic, stylistic, and historical-literary exegesis of Byzantine literary culture texts - knowing how to contextualize texts both in relation to the Attic and Christian cultural heritages, as well as in the specific literary and cultural configuration of the Hellenic Middle Ages; - recognizing the role of individual texts and authors in the fortunes of literary and ideological themes.


For the aims, see the previous item.

Learning outcomes

It is expected that, at the end of teaching attendance and the study of the related program, students will be able:

(a) to read correctly and accurately translate the proposed texts with awareness of the multiple meanings;

(b) to connect the texts to the characters of the literary genre they belong to;

(c) to read the manuscripts which hand down the texts, read the critical apparatus correctly, follow the path that leads from the witnesses to the edition, the translation and the comment;

(d) to critically address the reading of a critical essay/article, drawing up a reasoned report and critical assessment of it.

  • SOFT SKILLS which can be certified to every student upon evaluation of the report:
  • functional literacy competence – basic level;
  • personal competence – basic level;
  • SOFT SKILLS for students who take active part in the flipped classroom:
  • functional literacy competence – advanced level;
  • personal competence – advanced level;
  • learning-to-learn competence – advanced level
  • The SoftSkills can be certified with an OPENBADGE after the exam under certain conditions. Please contact the professor for further information.


A good knowledge of ancient Greek is necessary to take the course.


Lessons will be held in presence. Attendance, although not compulsory, is recommended. Only those who attend lessons in presence will be deemed attending students.

The professor, subject to the University of Genoa guidelines, allows distance learning of lessons and related recordings via Microsoft Teams upon specific request by single students.

Classes will be complemented with Power Point/pdf presentations and various kinds of interaction, including flipped classroom; a laboratory of translation via online lexica (GI, LSJ, LBG and so on) will be complemented by samples of focused commentaries.

Those who take part in the Flipped classroom will work on the following SOFT SKILLS:

  • functional literacy competence – basic level;
  • personal competence – basic level;
  • learning-to-learn competence – basic level.

The final report (see below) allows all students to work on the following SOFT SKILLS: functional literacy competence – basic level; personal competence – basic level.

It is requested to subscribe on Aulaweb as well, in order to get information, didactic material, notices, bibliography and so on.

Non-attending students are requested to contact the professor for supplementary readings and/or a tailor-made content/schedule.


Empire, Republic and Literary genres in Byzantium

The Byzantine millennium (330-1453 AD) shows a literature rich in variety (poikilia) where tradition (mimesis) and innovation are deeply interwoven. After a general introduction to the Byzantine studies, the literature and the ideology of the Empire (basileia), we read (in Greek) and we comment on texts which bear witness to the expansion and extension of literary genres. We are going to analyse some passages relevant to understand the Byzantine literature. Students can find here some general research tools, as well as some updated bibliography, from a selection of the critical apparatuses to the most recent digital big data.

Webinars by some experts in the field will be offered during the lessons.

Three lessons by dr. Marco Enrico, post-doc, will be offered in Italian about “The Other Byzantium. Greek medieval documentary texts”.


Relevant texts and selected pages/open access weblinks can be found on Aulaweb.

Students are kindly asked to wait the lessons start and a confirmation about the bibliography by the professor before buying/loaning the texts.

(a) Byzantine texts in Greek (selected passages will be found on Aulaweb):

Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History (ed. Bardy 1952-1960); Life of Constantine (ed. Winkelmann 1975);

Nonnus of Panopolis, Dionysiakà (ed. Vian et alii 1976-2003); Paraphrasis of the Gospel of st. John (ed. Livrea et alii 1989-2014; Calzascia 2021);

Procopius of Caesarea (ed. Haury-Wirth 1963-1964), WarsSecret HistoryJustinian's Buildings;

Agathias of Myrina, Histories (ed. Keydell 1967);

John Malalas, Chronography (ed. Thurn 2000);

Theofanes, Chronicle (ed. de Boor 1883-85, reprint 1980);

George the Monk, Chronicle (ed. de Boor-Wirth 1978).

(b) Bibliography (a fully English list may be requested instead)

P. Magdalino, Basileia: the Idea of Monarchy in Byzantium, 600-1200, in A. Kaldellis-N. Siniossoglou (eds.), The Cambridge Intellectual History of Byzantium, Cambridge 2017, pp. 575-598.

A.Kaldellis, The Byzantine Republic. People and Power in New Rome, Harvard University Press 2015.

(c) A Summary of Byzantine literature (optional for students who have already passed Byzantine philology):

either - A. Rhoby,  La letteratura bizantina. Un profilo storico, Roma: Carocci, 2022

or - A. KAMBYLIS, Compendio della letteratura bizantina, in H.-G. NESSELRATH, Introduzione alla filologia greca, trad. it., Roma: Salerno Editrice, 2004, pp. 446-478.

Students may choose a wholly English bibliography: please contact the professor as soon as possible via email (


Exam Board

PIA CAROLLA (President)


DOMENICO LOSAPPIO (President Substitute)




CLARA FOSSATI (Substitute)





26th September 2023.

Class schedule




Oral exam


Oral exam: students will be asked to read, translate and provide a historical, literary, philological and linguistic commentary of the texts analyzed during the course, in order to assess their knowledge of the language, literary genre and tradition of each text. The students will present the laboratory activity conducted on the text, from the reading of the manuscript to the elaboration of a commentary.
Before the oral exam, the students will deliver a written report on a critical article/contribution (to be chosen by the student in a list); the aim is to assess their level of proficiency in text analysis and synthesis. The report has to be written in a rather accurate Italian (B1 leveln for non-native speakers) and to summarize the essential contents of the reading. 'Excellence' requirements for the written test are: writing an effective, reasonable report on the argumentation, by underlining its strengths and weaknesses as well. The students email (or hand over) the report before the oral exam.

Minimum 'pass' requirements for the oral exam are: (i) being able to read the manuscript analyzed in class, (ii) being able to translate and (iii) to comment texts by outlining the major linguistic, literary and philological features of such texts.

'Excellence' requirements are: being able to confidently read manuscripts, to translate and comment texts accurately by making connections with Byzantine literary context; being able to point out accurately all aspects of texts: linguistic, historical, literary and philological features.

At the end of the oral exam, the student presents the report, just to confirm his/her authorship and abilities.

The teaching method of the report gives the opportunity to work on the following Soft Skills: (a) Functional literacy basic level; (b) Personal competence basic level.

In addition, those who have actively participated in the Flipped classroom can be given the OpenBadge of (a) Functional literacy advanced level; (b) Personal competence advanced level.c) Learning-to-learn advanced level.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
21/12/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale
01/02/2024 10:00 GENOVA Orale
15/02/2024 10:00 GENOVA Orale
10/05/2024 10:00 GENOVA Orale
30/05/2024 10:00 GENOVA Orale
20/06/2024 10:00 GENOVA Orale
12/07/2024 10:00 GENOVA Orale
13/09/2024 10:00 GENOVA Orale


Please contact the professor for any further information in English:

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Quality education
Quality education
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Peace, justice and strong institutions


 PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica avanzato 1 - A