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Title: The Rhetoric of Gluttony and Hunger in Twelfth-Century Byzantium
Contributor(s): Garland, L (author)
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: To the Byzantines in the twelfth century little was more amusing or more appropriate as a target for abuse than food-related humour, whether epitomised by depictions of the struggles of penurious literati to acquire a square meal or the excesses displayed by emperors, monks and prominent officials at the dinner table. This overwhelming interest in food and food-abuse becomes in the twelfth century a marked facet of popular and learned literature, in which unpopular and jumped-up bureaucrats or gluttonous abbots can be attacked for their obsessions (often for the most unlikely comestibles), and the denisons of the capital mocked for their lowly tastes and their inability even to purchase the simplest of foods. The Ptochoprodromic poems are particularly valuable in this regard. Narrated from various contradictory stances - the narrator is a downtrodden husband, penurious priest with a numerous family, a much put-upon monk, and an unemployed scholar with a cupboard filled but with useless papers - the assumption of poverty in all cases, particularly focussing on the narrator's hunger, clearly allows the poet to play on a specific type of humorous situation in which he attempts to entertain by poking fun at his own series of predicaments.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Feast, Fast or Famine: Food and Drink in Byzantium, p. 43-56
Publisher: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies
Place of Publication: Brisbane, Australia
ISBN: 1876503181
Field of Research (FOR): 210307 European History (excl British, Classical Greek and Roman)
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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