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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 teaching aims to provide the following knowledge, skills and abilities: - read in Greek and translate into Italian some fundamental texts of the Byzantine millennium (until 1453); - know the main Byzantine literary genres in their diachronic development and the contribution of individual authors; - conduct a philological, linguistic, stylistic and literary exegesis of literary texts, including manuscripts; - contextualize the texts both as for their relationship with the cultural heritage of Greco-Roman antiquity and within the specific literary and cultural configuration of the Byzantine age; - identify the role of individual texts and authors in the success of some imperial 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 oral 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 (optional) Flipped classroom will work on the following SOFT SKILLS:

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



The dream of a universal empire

The Byzantine millennium (330-1453 A.D.) feeds on literary traditions rooted in Eastern and Greco-Roman antiquity, as well as biblical and Christian culture. This is why the vast majority of literature in Greek comes to us through Byzantine manuscripts. The programme of the Byzantine literature module includes the reading and analysis of texts that exemplify the late antique and Byzantine ideal/ideology of basileia, starting with the reading of significant manuscripts, moving on to an Italian translation and arriving at a full-length commentary on selected passages. In class, general tools will be provided to orient students in the specific bibliography, also digital, and in the critical apparatus of the reference editions.

Three lessons by dr. Arianna Magnolo, post-doc, will be offered in Italian about “Byzantine Poetry".


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):

Herodotus I 95; 106-107; 130; 177-8; Aristoteles Politica 1284b; Polybius XXIX 21; Diodorus II 32; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman antiquities I 2, 2; Nicholas of Damascus frr. 22 e 66 Parmentier; Strabo XI 13, 5; XV 23, 2; Appianus, Proem 9; Eusebius, Chronicon pp. 98-106 Aucher; Agathias, Histories II 25, 4-9; John Malalas VI 5-11; George the Monk Proem 4, 3-10; I 8, 15; 12, 19-20; 15, 21-23; 19, 25; Suidas Lexicon Alfa 4289, Rho 246

(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.

L. R. Cresci - F. Gazzano (eds.), De Imperiis. L’idea di impero universale e la successione degli imperi nell’antichità, (Rapporti interstatali nella storia. Dall’antichità al mondo contemporaneo 7), Roma 2018.

(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 (




In the week of 23rd September 2024.

Class schedule




Oral exam for everybody.

Erasmus students not proficient in Italian may request a substitutive bibliography, and take the examination in English (or German).


Oral exam: students will be asked to read the Greek text, to translate it and to 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 either fully in English or in a rather accurate Italian (B1 level 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. They are certified by an OpenBadge.

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.


Please contact the professor for any further information in English:

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

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