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8. Coronation Speeches in the Palaiologan Period

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Chapter Summary

In his history of Byzantine literature, Herbert Hunger pointed to the difficulty of presenting a clear picture of the practice of rhetoric especially regarding epideictic rhetoric. This chapter describes the imperial orations in question, to which Hunger assigned the traditional term stephanōtikoi described by Pseudo-Menander in his treatise on epideictic speeches. As evidence for the existence of this literary group, Hunger briefly referred to three examples of imperial orations all dating from the Palaiologan period. They were written by: a) Maximos Planoudes for Michael IX, b) John XIV Kalekas, patriarch of Constantinople, for John V Palaiologos, and c) John Argyropoulos for Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos. The chapter focuses on these three orations. The use of the term "coronation speech" as a generic name is supported neither in theory nor in practice.

Keywords: Byzantine literature; coronation speech; Herbert Hunger; John Argyropoulos; John XIV Kalekas; Maximos Planoudes; Michael IX; Palaiologan period; stephanōtikoi



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