This project envisages for the first time a systematic, literary-rhetorical analysis of Italo-Greek hagiography, a corpus of which the prominent, narrative qualities have long been recognized but, for historical reasons of academic ideology, have never received serious scholarly attention in their own right. This corpus comprises Lives, martyr acts and encomia written in Greek between the 5th and the 13th centuries and describing the lives of Christian saints and martyrs of Sicily and Southern Italy (a region that culturally had been part of the Greek world ever since the Greek colonization of the western Mediterranean between the 8th and 6th centuries BC). The project examines concepts of fiction in this corpus, which are crucial, it argues, for enhancing our understanding of it as narrative. This field will be tackled through an analysis of character construction. The project both continues and deepens a research line established by my ERC Starting Grant "Novel Saints. Ancient novelistic heroism in the hagiography of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages" (2014-19) and will take it to unexplored horizons both by focussing on one specific tradition of hagiography and by asking new questions based on recent insights.