Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

Translation of the Month

July 2022

The Tale of Livistros and Rodamne: A Byzantine Love Romance of the 13th Century. Translated with an introduction by Panagiotis A. Agapitos. Liverpool University Press, 2021. ISBN 9781789622164 (hbk); 9781800856035 (pbk).

Alexander the Great meets Candace, Alexander Romance, 14th c., Byzantine, Venice, Hellenic Institute, Codex Gr. 5, fol. 161r (Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain).

"This volume offers the first fully scholarly translation into English of the Tale of Livistros and Rodamne, a love romance written around the middle of the 13th century at the imperial court of Nicaea, at the time when Constantinople was still under Latin dominion. With its approximately 4700 verses, Livistros and Rodamne is the longest and the most artfully composed of the eight surviving Byzantine love romances. It was almost certainly written to be recited in front of an aristocratic audience by an educated poet experienced in the Greek tradition of erotic fiction, yet at the same time knowledgeable of the medieval French and Persian romances of love and adventure. The poet has created a very 'modern' narrative filled with attractive episodes, including the only scene of demonic incantation in Byzantine fiction. The language of the romance is of a high poetic quality, challenging the translator at every step. Finally, Livistros and Rodamne is the only Byzantine romance that consistently constructs the Latin world of chivalry as an exotic setting, a type of occidentalism aiming to tame and to incorporate the Frankish Other in the social norms of the Byzantine Self after the Fall of Constantinople to the Latins in 1204."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

Ikone der Heiligen Eudokia, Einlegearbeit in Stein und Elfenbein, 10. Jh.Indexers select a translation each month that is significant in the ideas it presents.  This gives users an opportunity to see a range of newly translated medieval works of importance for women's and gender studies.  It also will build an archive of references to translations that will be useful as classroom readings.

Depending upon the content, an entire work may be indexed as a single title like the vita of a saint or the collected cartularies of a countess.  But in many cases the translation deals only in part with issues involving women and gender.  In those instances, indexing goes to a deeper level, identifying and describing specific sections within a text.  For example, there are 93 records for pertinent sections in the Siete Partidas.

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There are currently over 1800 records for translations in Feminae.  There are also over 300 records for editions in original languages.

Feminae welcomes unpublished translations and editions that authors may wish to make available.