Akritic folksong and Digenis Akritis: central king and peripheral hero?


  • Gianna Goussias Flinders University


In this paper I will attempt to apply the geometrical schema of centre and periphery to the essential relationship between king and hero in Akritic folksong and the Byzantine epic Digenis Akritis. For this purpose, from the cycle of Akritic songs I will refer mainly to the Song of the Son of Andronikos, the three versions of the Song of Porphyris,
the Song of Theophylaktos and the Song of Digenis and the Crab all found in the collection of Petropoulos (Petropoulos, 1958: 36-40,43- 8, 51-3, 16-19). As far as the Byzantine epic is concerned, I will consider mainly the versionĀ  ontained in the Grottaferrata manuscript (Mavrogordato, 1956), though I also refer to the Escorial version (Ricks, 1990). I will, however, extend my comparison to the first
heroic epic, the Iliad, which originally provoked and channelled my inquiry, and I will use this as a gnomon for my discussion.