Number 2. 2014
Estudios bizantinos is a digital and international open-access journal of Byzantine Studies. It has been created by the Sociedad Española de Bizantinística and it welcomes scientific papers with original and high-quality content on any aspect of the Byzantine civilisation.
 

Sophia Xenophontos
187-204
 




Abstract
The aim of this article is to examine the creative ways in which John Tzetzes (c.1110 – after 1160) uses the figure of Cato the Elder within his Chiliads. In appropriating Cato’s care for his son’s education to his own pedagogical relationship with his father, Tzetzes departs significantly from Plutarch’s original (Life of Cato Maior). This recreation leads him, as I argue, to engage with notions of Hellenism in twelfth-century Byzantium, to uncover his anxieties stemming from the oppressive feeling of poverty, and to castigate current social conditions that irritated him, for instance the corruption of the ecclesiastical establishment. I additionally cast light on Tzetzes’ scholarly inventiveness; that is manifested in the way he infuses his own self-portrait with Cato’s qualities in an attempt to exonerate it from public censure.
Keywords: Byzantine Literature, Reception of Classical Texts in Byzantium, Roman History, John Tzetzes, Plutarch, Cato Maior