Byzantine scholia on historians and the literature of marginalia: reading and writing practices in the margins of medieval Greek manuscripts

01 October 2021 → 31 October 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Historiography
    • Classical literature
    • Literatures in Greek
    • Medieval literature
    • Philology
Byzantine literature Manuscript studies Scholia and marginalia
Project description

The margins of medieval Greek manuscripts are often filled with annotations of all sorts, from systematic commentaries to occasional reactions of readers. This project aims to study Byzantine marginal texts in all their facets: the material features, the literary form and the cultural circumstances in which they were written. Byzantine scholia are triggered by the main text and at the same time loaded with the intentions of annotators, which often reveal the preoccupations of their time. The genre of historiography was particularly apt to provoke commentaries about the current situations through which the readers perceived their past. This project will examine the changing attitudes of the Byzantines towards the classical past, a decisive yet controversial factor of their own identity, in the margins of the manuscripts of ancient Greek historians. It will also investigate the Byzantine marginalia on medieval Greek historians, as these engage with the literary representation of the recent past. Special attention will be paid to the compositional methods that take place in the margins. As a complement to these interpretative issues, I will prepare modern critical editions of the relevant texts including their codicological and cultural contexts. My approach thus differs from the traditional vision of scholia as mere appendages to a text. I intend to offer a reassessment of scholia as constitutive parts of the practices of reading and writing historiography in Byzantium.