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Publisher: Sociedad Española de Bizantinística
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
The aim of this article is to examine the creative ways in which John Tzetzes (c.1110 – after 1160) uses the figure of Cato the Elder within his Chiliads. In appropriating Cato’s care for his son’s education to his own pedagogical relationship with his father, Tzetzes departs significantly from Plutarch’s original (Life of Cato Maior). This recreation leads him, as I argue, to engage with notions of Hellenism in twelfth-century Byzantium, to uncover his anxieties stemming from the oppressive feeling of poverty, and to castigate current social conditions that irritated him, for instance the corruption of the ecclesiastical establishment. I additionally cast light on Tzetzes’ scholarly inventiveness; that is manifested in the way he infuses his own self-portrait with Cato’s qualities in an attempt to exonerate it from public censure.

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