Back to publications list

All publications


Publications of the New Europe College reflect the scholarly output of the fellows and researchers, as well as the events and programmes developed by the College.

Browse through our yearbooks

Philagathos of Cerami and the Monastic Revival in the Twelfth-Century Norman Kingdom: Preaching and Persuasion (2009-2010)

Field of study: Medieval History

Philagathos of Cerami is one of the most important representatives of the intense cultural revival in the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, most notably during the reigns of Roger II (1130 – 1154) and William I (1154 – 1166). He was probably born in the last quarter of the eleventh century in Sicily, at Cerami, and became renowned for his distinguished learning, as the epithet ὁ φιλόσοφος certifies. Philagathos is mostly known as the author of a substantial collection of homilies for the Sunday readings and the feasts of the liturgical year, known as the “italo-griechische Homiliar” (A. Ehrhard). He also produced an allegorical interpretation of Heliodorus’ Aethiopica which might have satisfied the Byzantine Italian elite in Sicily as it would have done in Constantinople. Also he may have been the author of a grammatical handbook.4 His literary activity reveals the profound impact that eleventh- and twelfth- century Constantinopolitan literary developments had upon a peripheral region of the Byzantine
commonwealth. This study proposes to examine Philagathos’s preaching activity within the context of the state-building process in Norman Italy, by looking at the state-sponsored monastic revival and at the process of institutionalization of religious life in twelfth-century Latin Christianity. Then I observe the relation between preaching, persuasion and poetical language by looking
at one of Philagathos’s sermons, “On the Widow’s Son” (Περὶ τοῦ ὑιοῦ τῆς χήρας) which will be shown to carry the impress of Heliodorus’s Aethiopica.

Keywords: Philagathos of Cerami, Norman Italy, homilies

Read more