Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Translation of the Month

October 2016 [Posted September 2017]

Symeon Metaphrastes. Christian Novels from the Menologion of Symeon Metaphrastes. Translated by Stratis Papaioannou. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library Series, 45. Harvard University Press, 2017. ISBN 9780674975064.

Pelagia of Antioch, circa 1000, Constantinople
Pelagia of Antioch, circa 1000, Constantinople, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Ms. Vat.gr.1613: The Menologion of Basil II, p. 97 (Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.)

"Created in the tenth century, most likely as an imperial commission, the Menologion is a collection of rewritings of saints' lives originally intended to be read at services for Christian feast days. Yet Symeon Metaphrastes's stories also abound in transgression and violence, punishment and redemption, love and miracles. They resemble Greek novels of the first centuries of the Common Era, highlighting intense emotions and focusing on desire, both sacred and profane.

Symeon Metaphrastes was celebrated for rescuing martyrdom accounts and saints' biographies that otherwise may have been lost. His Menologion, among the most important Byzantine works, represents the culmination of a well-established tradition of Greek Christian storytelling. A landmark of Byzantine religious and literary culture, the Menologion was revered for centuries—copied in hundreds of manuscripts, recited publicly, and adapted into other medieval languages. This edition presents the first English translation of six Christian novels excerpted from Symeon's text, all of them featuring women who defy social expectations." -- Description 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.

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