'Modern Greek' in 'Byzantium'? The notion of 'early modern' in Greek studies
Kaplanis, Tassos A.
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When does modern Greek literature begin? Modern Greek and Byzantine scholarship have used various terms in the past in order to describe the same texts of the so-called vernacular Greek literature. Thus, the Epic of Digenis Akritis, the Chronicle of Moreas, the Paleologan Romances, the poems of Sachlikis, Kornaros, Chortatsis, to name but a few, have all been described as “Byzantine”, “late medieval/protoneohellenic”, “medieval”, “late Byzantine, Renaissance and post-Byzantine”, “modern”, “early modern”, even “Neograeca Medii Aevi”. Although most of these terms can easily be proved a-historical anachronisms (“modern Greek” but also “medieval” and “Byzantine” were completely unknown to the peoples/cultures they aim to describe), one can argue for their necessity, provided that they at least describe accurately literary and related phenomena. In this paper, I will advocate the use of the term “early modern” as the best and most accurate description for this “vernacular” Greek literature in all related contexts (linguistic, historical, social) and I will also reshape its boundaries, gesturing both forward and backward (12th–early 19th c.).