A memorial in the world: legendary patterns in late antique biography
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 01:11 authored by Matthew O'Farrell
This study identifies and examines a pair of narrative patterns - sequences -associated with royal origins seen in the historical or historicising literatures of a number of west Eurasian societies. Taking a contextual and comparative approach, it will suggest a general theory for the emergence and behavior of both as products of formal, laudatory, and apologetic processes. Central to this examination are two Medieval biographical traditions addressing Late Antiquity: the Kārnāmag of Ardashir I, a Middle Persian tradition that existed in some form by the early 11th century, and the vitae, a number of Greek hagiographies of Constantine I dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries.These are composite traditions drawing together heterogeneous material, including an instance of each sequence, into a longer biographical narrative. Both traditions, particularly the Byzantine, offer a case study in the action of each sequence in a living historical discourse. Finally, the presence of the same sequences, similar structure, and a broadly similar reception allow the narratives seen in the texts of the Kārnāmag and the vitae to be viewed as representative of the same kind of work and thereby offers a new interpretation of the rather opaque Iranian tradition.