Theodoros Prodromos

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Theodoros Prodromos, Enarratio in erotemata grammatica in the manuscript Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut, written in 1314. 55.7, fol. 64v

Theodore Prodromos ( medium Greek Θεόδωρος Πρόδρομος Theodore Prodromos or Θεόδωρος Πτωχοπρόδρομος Theodoros Ptōchopródromos * around 1100 in Constantinople Opel , † 1156-1158) was a Byzantine writer. He worked in the 12th century, which brought a high point in high-linguistic, that is, atticist literature production.

He was born in Constantinople around 1100, received in-depth training in grammar, rhetoric and philosophy and studied the classics of ancient Greece in detail. He probably earned his bread with teaching and poetry on behalf of the imperial court. Material worries should never have left him. As can be seen from his letters, he fell seriously ill with smallpox in 1140 and spent the last years of his life in an old people's home. His death is scheduled between 1156 and 1158.

Of his extensive work, the verse novel Rhodanthe and Dosikles , the satirical drama Katzmäusekrieg, inspired by the frog mouse war , and the Ptochoprodromika (“Poems of poor Prodromos”) are still of literary interest today. The latter are written in the vernacular.

With Rodanthe and Dosikles, Prodromos placed himself in the tradition of ancient novelists, whose conventions and topoi he renewed and revived with great skill. The course of action also follows the traditional scheme: odyssey and separation of lovers, various attacks on their lives and chastity, from which the lovers emerge victorious and happily reunited. The language form of this novel is the standard Byzantine language, which essentially remains indebted to classical Greek. Anyone who has mastered ancient Greek can read and understand this verse novel in the original without much effort.

Editions and translations

  • Emmanuel Miller , Émile Legrand (ed.): Trois poèmes vulgaires de Théodore Prodrome. Paris 1875 (with French translation)
  • Wolfram Hörandner (Ed.): Theodoros Prodromos. Historical poems . Text and comment. Vienna 1974 (Vienna Byzantine Studies 11)
  • Karl Plepelits (Ed.): Theodoros Prodromos: Rhodanthe and Dosikles (= Library of Greek Literature , Volume 42). Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-7772-9612-0 (with translation and explanations)
  • Theodor Prodromos: Katzmäusekrieg (transl. Horst Sitta), in: Greek Kleinepik, ed. Manuel Baumbach, Horst Sitta, Fabian Zogg, Tusculum Collection , 2019 (Greek-German)


  • Michel Cacouros: Théodore Prodrome. In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques. Volume 6, CNRS Éditions, Paris 2016, ISBN 978-2-271-08989-2 , pp. 960–985
  • Roderick Beaton : The Medieval Greek Romance. 2nd revised edition, Routledge, London 1996, ISBN 0-415-12032-2 ( partially digitized )
  • Michael Grünbart : Two letters are looking for their recipient: To whom did Theodoros Prodromos write? In: Yearbook of Austrian Byzantine Studies 51, 2001, pp. 199–214