The Excerpta Constantiniana and the Byzantine Appropriation of the Past

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 11, 2018 - History - 352 pages
The Excerpta project instigated by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII turned the enormously rich experience offered by Greek historiography into a body of excerpts distributed across fifty-three distinct thematic collections. In this, the first sustained analysis, András Németh moves from viewing the Excerpta only as a collection of textual fragments to focusing on its dependence from and impact on the surrounding Byzantine culture in the tenth century. He introduces the concept of appropriation and also uses it to study some other key texts created under the Excerpta's influence (De thematibus, De administrando imperio and De ceremoniis). Unlike world chronicles, the Excerpta ignored the chronological dimension of history and fostered the biographical turn in Byzantine historiography. By exploring theoretical questions such as classification and retrieval of historical information and the relationship between knowledge and political power, this book provides powerful new ways for exploring the Excerpta in Byzantine studies and beyond.

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Imperial Court and Knowledge Production
Theory and Practice of Excerpting
Constructing a Research Engine of the Past
Information Management in Constantine VIIs Treatises
Renewal of Historiography under Constantine VII
Distortion and Expansion of the Past in the Excerpta
Classification of the Past in the Excerpta
The Reading of the Excerpta
The Lexicographer and the Excerptor
Manuscripts Index
Subject Index

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About the author (2018)

András Németh is one of the two curators of Greek manuscripts at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Previously, he was a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and a research librarian at the National Széchényi Library, Budapest. He coordinates various activities concerning palimpsests at the Vatican Library and is preparing the catalogue of a select group of Greek manuscripts of this library. He studies the cultural history of the Middle Byzantine period and the reception of Greek manuscripts in Renaissance libraries in Europe and is preparing a monograph on the Greek manuscripts of the Bibliotheca Corviniana.

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