Byzantine Historiography in Slavonic Disguise: Мом Изгубљеном Београду, с Љубављу (To My Lost Belgrade, with Love) Cover Image
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Byzantine Historiography in Slavonic Disguise: Мом Изгубљеном Београду, с Љубављу (To My Lost Belgrade, with Love)
Byzantine Historiography in Slavonic Disguise: Мом Изгубљеном Београду, с Љубављу (To My Lost Belgrade, with Love)

Author(s): Ljubica Jovanović
Subject(s): History, Language studies, Language and Literature Studies, Cultural history, Studies of Literature, Middle Ages, Philology, Translation Studies
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN

Summary/Abstract: The present paper examines the transmission and transformation of the literary patterns of prognostication, as described in the Byzantine historiography of Niketas Choniates, into the South Slavonic tradition. Twelfth-century Byzantine historiography follows in the footsteps of the Classical and Hellenistic scientific, literary, and re- ligious traditions. The sequence of divine signs, which Choniates describes, follows a certain pattern: it starts with the saintly people, continues with astronomical bodies, then points to certain changes in the emission of sunlight, discusses the transmission of light, and ends with its effects on the surface of water. We will find this model partially or fully transposed and transformed in the Slavonic literary tradition of various genres, such as in the fifteenth-century script of Žitie Asenethi. What is interesting is that it appears almost intact in an orally transmitted Serbian humorous epic poem from nineteenth century, The Beginning of the Revolt against the Dahias (Početak Bune protiv Dahija). This article argues that the literary pattern of prognostication, based on the progression of light and performance of lecanomancy, persisted from the Hellenistic period, through the long centuries of the Byzantine Empire, up to ninetieth century, in other words as long as its message expressed reality as understood by its interpretive community. This literary pattern was used and reused across genres without evolving into a literary formula.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 16-17
  • Page Range: 279-292
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English