Dialogues in Byzantine Liturgical Canon Poetry
EVEN though theatre does not survive in Byzantium in its original form –as it was known in Antiquity–, its relics are traced in some aspects of Byzantine life. In Byzantine Hymnography dramatic elements are evident in dialogues, and more specifically in the kontakia by Romanos. Yet, until recently, scholars have not examined the dramatic elements in Canon poetry dialogues. To further the survey in this domain, this paper presents some examples of dialogical expression in four canons. Particular emphasis is given to the fourth one, where a unique case of a Byzantine liturgical text in the form of «ἠθοποιΐα» is discussed. We deal with matters of authorship and form, with emphasis on the expanded use of dialogues in the troparia where the persons exchange verses. In conclusion, we advance the idea that this last canon reflects a liturgical tradition, which is related to the celebration of Christ Feasts and gives to the liturgical texts a dramatic character; this aspect of the text may imply a kind of “dramatic” performance.
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