by Leslie Kelly
This book introduces the student of Late Antiquity and Byzantium to the types of sources they are most likely to encounter in their research, explaining how these genres work and how best to utilize them as sources for history. When attempting to draw on a letter, a legal text, a code of conduct, a sermon, a speech of praise, or a Life, the student of history should be familiar with the usual formats and themes of that genre. The historian should also have in mind how that type of writing functioned within the larger society. This book provides a starting point for these goals. The work is divided into the broad, sometimes overlapping, categories of panegyrics and orations, sermons, hagiography and biographies, legal and administrative texts, and literary letter collections. Each genre is situated into its historical and social context, and its characteristic forms described. Such analyses, the intention behind these texts, what led to their development, and the part they played in their societies, provide a unique lens into the world of Late Antiquity and Byzantium.
Dr. Leslie Kelly is Professor of History at American Public University. She is the author of Dialogue in the Greco-Roman World and Prophets, Prophecy, and Oracles in the Roman Empire: Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman Cultures.