Byzantine novel

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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 dynasty, Byzantine 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...
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