The Byzantine novel
represents a revival of the ancient Greek romance of Roman times. Works in this category were written by Byzantine Greeks
of the Eastern Roman Empire
during the 12th century.
Under the Comnenian
writers of twelfth century Constantinople
reintroduced the ancient Greek romance novel
, imitating its form and time but somewhat Christianizing its content. Hence the Byzantine stories are traditional in their plot structure and setting (featuring complex turns of events taking place in the ancient Mediterranean
, complete with the ancient gods and beliefs) but are also medieval
, clearly belonging to the era of the Crusades
as they reflect customs and beliefs of that time. A break of eight centuries exists between the last surviving romance novel of late antiquity and the first of this medieval revival.The Medieval Greek Romance
by Roderick Beaton, 1996, , a work describing in detail all four twelfth century Byzantine romances, as well as those of later centuries, including complete plot summaries.
Only four of these novels exist today, just one of which is written in prose: Hysimine and Hysimines
by Eusthatios Makrembolites
. Two are in the duodecasyllable metre: Rodnthe and Dosikles
by Theodore Prodromos
and Drosilla and Charikles
by Niketas Eugenianos
. And one is in "political verse
," Arístandros and Kallithéa
by Constantine Manasses
, but exists only in fragments.
Of these four romances, two have... Read More