Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Otto Grundler

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The medieval Byzantine world can be perceived as a cultural anomaly in the history of western civilization. During the entire course of its existence, those who endeavored to preserve the light of learning drew inspiration from the classical heritage of Greece and Rome. The education, literature, and language of Byzantium were modeled on what had been bequeathed by the classical world of centuries past.

This paper endeavors to examine the integral role played by the ancient pagan legacy in the curriculum that was followed in Byzantine schools; to illustrate the very potent influence exerted by Homer in the learning and literature of the Byzantine Empire, specifically as it was manifested in the Alexiad of Anna Comnena; and to discuss the Greek language as it both evolved and was hampered from freely developing during this era. Several examples of poetry from the early Byzantine period are included in this section in order to demonstrate that the pagan influence was slow to fade away in this very Christian milieu.