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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53672
Doc. No:TL23626
Call number:‭3312481‬
Main Entry:Nikolaos Panou
Title & Author:How to do kings with words: Byzantine imperial ideology and the representation of power in pre -Phanariot admonitory literatureNikolaos Panou
College:Harvard University
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:287
Abstract:This thesis studies the process of intellectual, cultural, and political osmosis between Greeks and Romanians in the pre-modern period mainly by examining crucial aspects of early Modern Greek moral and political literature, as it was cultivated in Wallachia in the late seventeenth century. Through a focused analysis of representative specimens of the philosophical production of the period, it retraces the first formative steps of Greek ethico-political discourse, indicating its primary ontological, ethical, or sociological preoccupations, and its decisive ideological orientations. It is argued that they all converge and are effectively epitomized in the work of Sevastos Kyminitis (1632-1702), a prolific Greek-speaking intellectual of the pre-Phanariot era, a philologist, philosopher, and theologian active in Istanbul, Trebizond, and Bucharest. In essence, this is an exploration of the relationship between power, language, and representation in early modern philosophical discourse; or, to put it differently, of the symbolic construction of power and authority through rhetoric and within the medium of a written text. The point of reference is Kyminitis' series of paraphrases of ancient Greek and Byzantine mirrors for princes, a project that was undertaken and completed in Bucharest within a few years and under the auspices of the Wallachian ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714). The paraphrased authors are as diverse as Isocrates, Synesius of Cyrene, Agapetos Diakonos, and Theophylact of Ochrid. The texts, most of which are only available in manuscript form, have to this day remained very little known to cultural historians and literary critics alike. The discursive rehabilitation of major sources of Byzantine imperial ideology, through a series of paraphrases intended to make them available to a wider audience, is interpreted as a conscious gesture towards the consolidation and dissemination of the monarchical image of Brâncoveanu within the conceptual frameworks of Byzantine political theory on the one hand, and neo-Aristotelian philosophy on the other. The aim has been to indicate to what extent Kyminitis' project stems from and was conceived as an instrumental part of Brâncoveanu's state policy. To that end, special attention is given to the way the paraphrases are rhetorically designed to propagate and legitimize the Wallachian ruler's cultural and political agenda serving as fully integrated tools of the princely propaganda. More than that, however, it is claimed that Kyminitis' programmatic paraphrasing of seminal ancient and medieval admonitory texts into vernacular Greek contributed to a gradual but steadily paced process of instigation and solidification of a new kind of political and moral consciousness in the Ottoman Balkans which prepared the ground for the reception and successful assimilation of Enlightenment tensions in the area a few decades later.
Subject:Language, literature and linguistics; Admonitory literature; Byzantine; Greece; Imperial ideology; Kyminitis, Sevastos; Mirrors for princes; Power; Pre-Phanariot; Romania; Comparative literature; Slavic literature; 0314:Slavic literature; 0295:Comparative literature
Added Entry:G. Nagy
Added Entry:Harvard University