Psellos and the Patriarchs
Letters and Funeral Orations for Keroullarios, Leichoudes, and Xiphilinos
256 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268033286 | September 2015
Hardcover | 9780268175146 | September 2015
Psellos and the Patriarchs: Letters and Funeral Orations for Keroullarios, Leichoudes, and Xiphilinos contains translations of the funeral orations written by Michael Psellos, the leading Byzantine intellectual of the eleventh century, for the three ecumenical patriarchs of Constantinople whom he knew best: Michael Keroullarios (1043-1058), Konstantinos Leichoudes (1059-1063), and Ioannes Xiphilinos (1064-1075). The orations are significant sources for the lives and reputations of these patriarchs; they are also a prime source for the educational reforms made by the emperor Konstantinos IX Monomachos in the mid-1040s, and for many events of that turbulent century that Psellos witnessed, including popular uprisings, plots, civil wars, and the battle with the Catholic legates in 1054. Never before translated into English, the orations and letters are introduced by a detailed analysis of Psellos’ historical relationships with the patriarchs and an interpretation of the works.
The orations are not only important historical sources: they are crucial specimens of Byzantine rhetoric in a period of transition, as well as being key texts in the corpus of Psellos himself. Psellos used them to score important points in support of his own philosophical agenda and to make broader claims about ethics and metaphysics and the role of learning in political and ecclesiastical life. The orations are here accompanied by translations of a long letter that Psellos wrote to Keroullarios and a pair of letters to Xiphilinos, in which he defended key aspects of his philosophical project.
Michael Psellos was a Byzantine Greek monk, writer, philosopher, politician, and historian.
Anthony Kaldellis is professor of classics at The Ohio State University.
Ioannis Polemis is professor of Byzantine literature at the University of Athens.
"Learning, philosophy, complex theology, the call of monasticism, high politics, and deep intrigue make up the world of eleventh-century Byzantium. Michael Psellos belonged to this world and wrote about it in an engaging and gossipy way. His funeral orations on three patriarchs of Constantinople, together with some of his letters, shed much light on the detail of this period. The translators, who, by editing these works, rescued them from oblivion, have put the world of scholarship deeply in their debt". ~Andrew Louth, emeritus, Durham University