Irene Jacobs

MOVING MONKS Discourses on (im)mobility in middle-Byzantine saints’ Lives Irene Jacobs

 MOVING MONKS Discourses on (im)mobility in middle-Byzantine saints’ Lives Irene Jacobs

Colofon ISBN: 978-94-6483-678-3 Copyright 2023 © Irene Jacobs The Netherlands. All rights reserved. No parts of this thesis may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission of the author. Cover images: Icon of The Dormition of Saint Ephraim the Syrian (mid-15th century), Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens. © ebyzantinemuseum; Folio 1r of Gr. 5 (Ascetic Miscellany, late 10th century), Uppsala University Library, Uppsala. Provided by thesis specialist Ridderprint, Printing: Ridderprint Layout and design: Anna Bleeker,

MOVING MONKS Discourses on (Im)mobility in Middle-Byzantine Saints’ Lives Proefschrift ter verkrijging van de graad van doctor aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen op gezag van de rector magnificus prof. dr. J.M. Sanders, volgens besluit van het college voor promoties in het openbaar te verdedigen op woensdag 7 februari 2024 om 14.30 uur precies door Irene Maria Elisabeth Jacobs geboren op 19 juli 1992 te Helmond

Promotoren: Prof. dr. O.J. Hekster Prof. dr. D. Slootjes (Universiteit van Amsterdam) Copromotor: Dr. L. Foubert Manuscriptcommissie: Prof. dr. A.P.M.H. Lardinois Prof. dr. J. Hahn (Universität Münster, Duitsland) Dr. K. Ihnat Prof. dr. K. de Temmerman (Universiteit Gent, België) Dr. M.E.S. Whiting (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Table of contents Acknowledgements 8 Introduction 12 Chapter 1: A reconsideration of the ideal of stability in Byzantine monasticism 1.1 Introduction 36 1.2 Stabilitas loci: the term 38 1.3 Stabilitas loci: the concept 40 1.3.1 The Rules of Basil of Caesarea (ca. 330 - 379) 42 1.3.2 The Council of Chalcedon (451) 49 1.3.3 Justinian’s Novels (534-565) 54 1.4 Conclusion 61 Chapter 2: Mobility, immobility and sainthood: a semantic and discourse analysis of hesychia in the Lives of Gregory of Decapolis, Euthymius the Younger and Elias the Younger 2.1 Introduction 68 2.2 Hesychia: a semantic analysis 72 2.2.1 Roots: hesychia in late-antique monastic literature 72 2.2.2 Hesychia according to Photius 75 2.2.3 An activity or a state of being? Hesychia as a verb 78 2.3 Hesychia, space and (im)mobility in the Lives of Gregory of Decapolis and Euthymius the Younger 82 2.3.1 The relation between hesychia and space 82 2.3.2 Types of spaces and their qualities 83 Interior, enclosed spaces 84 Exterior spaces: wilderness versus the city 88 Shared spatial characteristics: visibility 91 Shared spatial characteristics: permeable boundaries 93 2.3.3 Space, hesychia and the representation of sainthood 93 2.3.4 Hesychia, immobility and mobility 94 2.4 Hesychia, immobility and mobility in the Life of Elias the Younger 99 2.5 Conclusion 105 6

7 Chapter 3: Representations of travel motivation in the Lives of Gregory of Decapolis, Euthymius the Younger and Elias the Younger 3.1 Introduction 112 3.2 Travel motivations: categorisation 113 3.3 Representations of travel motivation in the Life of Gregory of Decapolis 118 3.3.1 The creation of the Life 118 3.3.2 Representation of travel motivation in the Life of Gregory of Decapolis 126 3.3.3 Conclusions 138 3.4 Representations of travel motivation in the Life of Euthymius the Younger 140 3.4.1 The creation of the Life 140 3.4.2 Representation of travel motivation in the Life of Euthymius the Younger 145 3.4.3 Conclusions 152 3.5 Representation of travel motivation in the Life of Elias the Younger 154 3.5.1 The creation of the Life 154 3.5.2 Representation of travel motivations in the Life of Elias the Younger 157 3.5.3 Conclusions 165 3.6 Conclusion 167 Chapter 4: Conceptual metaphors of travel and stability in the Life of Gregory of Decapolis 4.1 Introduction 174 4.2 Conceptual Metaphor Theory 175 4.3 Holiness and metaphors of travel 180 4.4 Immobility, stability and virtue 190 4.5 Conclusion 196 Conclusion 202 Appendices 218 Maps of the saints’ journeys 236 Bibliography 240

8 Acknowledgements This dissertation is the result of almost five years of research, and several years of academic training before that. Many people and institutions contributed to the completion of the project. I wish to acknowledge them here. The research project was funded and thus made possible by the HLCS research institute (later RICH) of the Faculty of Arts of Radboud University. Further financial support was provided through the Tsiter-Kontopoulou stipend for a research stay at the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Universität Wien, the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission, the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR) and OIKOS, the National Research School in Classical Studies in the Netherlands. The first people I owe my gratitude to are my supervisors, Olivier Hekster, Daniëlle Slootjes and Lien Foubert. I am immensely grateful for their trust in me to carry out this research in the first place and for their continued trust and encouragement along the way. They were surprisingly often of the same mind, while each of them also added a unique perspective. Together they formed the perfect supervising team and I always enjoyed our discussions together. They read many (!) drafts of chapters, provided essential constructive feedback, asked me critical questions, helped me move forward whenever I got stuck again, made suggestions to improve my (too) long sentences such as this one. In other words, they did everything and more that you would hope from good supervisors. Not only did they do that – they were also incredibly supportive whenever other aspects of life were demanding my attention instead. I am truly grateful for all that. When I made my first steps in academia I had never even heard of Byzantium, let alone dreamed spending many years trying to understand this society. Two outstanding teachers during my Bachelor’s degree, Helle Hochscheid and Hans Bloemsma, planted the seeds for my fascination with Byzantium and inspired an enthusiasm for academic research. Without them I might have never landed on this path. It is difficult to know whether the monks I studied actually enjoyed moving to many different places, but I certainly did, while trying to understand their world. I always gained much inspiration from research stays, visiting conferences, and taking courses. Fortunately, this required regular travels. Apart from the interaction with the hagiographical sources themselves, interactions with fellow researchers from all over the world inspired me the most. There are many individuals whom I had the pleasure to meet and exchange ideas with, but I would like to specifically mention the following people: the many Byzantinists I met during my research stay in Vienna, especially Claudia Rapp and Ewald Kislinger for generously sharing their expertise and the fellow PhDs for making me feel very welcome and socially imbedded in the department, the inspiring teachers who helped me improve my medieval Greek, especially Niels Gaul at the Boğaziçi summer school and Alexander Alexakis and Stratis Papaioannou at the Dumbarton Oaks one, and finally the organisers

9 and participants of the OIKOS 2021 Masterclass in Athens. Each of these experiences proved to be turning points in my research. Moreover, I am very grateful for the global network of friends and colleagues for helping each other gain access to literature, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were many platforms on which I shared my research ideas, but discussing my ideas with peers was certainly among the most beneficial. Thanks to Nadine Riegler for our monthly digital research talks, and thanks to our writing support group – Adriaan, Mirte, Lidewij, Joost, Aomi and Maartje – for giving feedback on some of my chapters in its early stages. Running through arguments and research ideas with Melanie, during runs in the forest around our Nijmegen office, helped refine my ideas and combined ‘het nuttige met het aangename’. The same goes for bike rides with Daniel. I furthermore thank Oliver, Melanie, Daniel, Ketty and Joost for proofreading chapters, and Marije, Bart, Mark and Janric for checking some of my Greek translations and thinking along with me on specific passages. Many thanks to Thijs Hermsen of the Humanities Lab of the Faculty of Arts of Radboud University for creating the maps at the end of this thesis. As to get the actual writing done, I greatly benefitted from writing weeks (thank you Mirte and Ketty), home-office mates (thank you again Mirte, but also Stephan, Mirna and Kirsten), and the digital GSH writing support set up by Mirte during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course also thank you, Joost and Aurora, for being great office mates at the Erasmus building. Many other colleagues in this concrete (not ivory) tower, especially at the fifth, ninth, tenth and eleventh floors, contributed to a warm and social research environment, with many chats and essential coffee breaks. I always looked forward to go to the office again on Mondays and I only hope that I will continue to find such welcoming work environments. I was very lucky to be able to stay over at friends’ places regularly, thereby reducing my commuting time on a train from Utrecht to Nijmegen: thank you Daphne, Simon and Soren for always welcoming me in your home, and Ketty, for doing the same. To all my friends and family, thank you for simply being there. The very first seed for my interest in culture and history must have been planted by my parents, who took us to museums as an integral part of our upbringing. Over the last few years, I gladly took my parents with me. My dear sister kept me sharp by always asking (or was it protesting?) what was so special about all these ‘stones’ or other historical monuments. Finally, I wish to thank my wife, who has always been supportive of all my endeavours and who means the world to me.


12 The movement of individuals from one place to another sets more things in motion than the mere movement itself. It affects the places and people left behind and it triggers experiences, interactions and confrontations with people and places along the way and at the destinations. Moreover, mobility generates discourses. Movement is not perceived as a neutral action, but often has positive or negative associations. Depending on the type of mobility, people will have ideas about whether that type of mobility is desirable or undesirable. Contemporary discourses often relate to the (perceived) effects of mobility, rather than to the act of moving itself. For example, favourable or unfavourable ideas on ‘migration’ focus on the economic, social, demographic or cultural effects of the settling of new people in a land that the representatives of the discourse perceive as their own. Whenever discourses on a type of mobility are unfavourable, they imply that the discourse community thinks that people should to stay in the same place. In other words, discourses on mobility, also imply value judgements on immobility. These discourses reflect values, ideals and fears that people feel strongly about and which are deeply ingrained in the way people think. They reflect, for example, ideas about the perceived connection between place and identity, ideals of economic prosperity (and ideas on how to achieve this) or concerns for human rights. In these discourses, it matters who travels, for what purposes, and how long people will stay in particular places. Aside from prevalent discourses on migration, recent health and climate concerns have prompted new discourses on mobility. A heightened concern for the causes and effects of climate change gave rise to heated debates on the desirability or undesirability of particular means of transport, such as travelling by train versus plane or car. Discourses reflecting environmental and climate concerns exist alongside opposing discourses on the same means of transport, but reflecting the prioritisation of leisure or speed, economic concerns, or the denial or playing down of climate concerns. Mobility became even more a topic of controversy in the COVID-19 pandemic, during which this thesis was largely written. One view that was prominent around the globe was that people should not leave their country of residence, their cities, neighbourhoods or even homes. In this context, discourses on the desirability or undesirability of (im)mobility reflected (global) health concerns.1 These reflections on contemporary discourses on mobility and immobility teach us multiple things that will inform the inquiry in this dissertation: 1) The movement of people and its effects are often not perceived as a neutral phenomenon; conversely, this is also true for its opposite, immobility 2) There exists a plurality of discourses on mobility 3) Many factors of mobility play a part in these discourses: it matters, for example, who moves, why they move, how they move, what they do at their destination and how long they (intend to) stay at a new place 1 For a discussing of discourses on mobility in this context, see e.g., Cresswell (2021).

13 Introduction 4) Discourses on mobility and immobility reflect societal concerns. It is my contention that this complexity and multivocality in the present should also be expected in the past. The past that takes centre stage in this study is the ninth- and early tenth-century Eastern Roman Empire.2 Discourses on mobility in the Eastern Roman Empire after late antiquity so far have been little studied.3 The few studies on the topic represent attitudes to mobility as singular, rather than stressing diversity and complexity. The present study aims to re-assess perceptions of travel in the ninth- and tenth-century Eastern Roman Empire, by studying perceptions of particular societal groups (hagiographers and their audiences) on mobility by a particular type of travellers (monks). In doing so, the lessons from contemporary discourses will be taken into account, and thus the study aims to: 1) Assess whether mobility and immobility were perceived as neutral, or whether people had value judgements (and which ones) 2) Be attuned to the possibility of a plurality of discourses, rather than trying to construct a single pervasive discourse 3) Ask which factors contribute to particular views on mobility and immobility (did it matter who moved, why they moved, where they moved to or where they came from) 4) Ask whether discourses on mobility and immobility reveal deeper societal concerns Asking these questions presents us an opportunity to nuance our understanding of the thought world of the ninth- and early tenth-century Eastern Roman Empire, particularly in 2 In this thesis Eastern Roman and Byzantine will be used interchangeably, as there are merits and cons for each term. ‘Eastern Roman’ recognises the direct continuity of the ancient Roman Empire, after its division between an Eastern and a Western part (a continuation that has historically been played down). Moreover, using the term ‘Roman’ recognises the Roman identity that the citizens of the Empire themselves expressed and the political entity that they themselves considered to be Roman (‘Romania’ ). Using the qualifier ‘Eastern’ has disadvantages as well, as it suggests an opposition to a ‘Western’ part, but by the ninth and tenth centuries, the Western Roman Empire did not exist anymore. The term ‘Byzantine Empire’, if used to mean the Empire from the foundation of Constantinople by Constantine until the eventual fall of the Empire in 1453, has been considered a neutral (albeit modern) term. This term, however, was introduced in the context of politically charged relations between ‘Western’ powers and the emerging modern nation state of Greece, and was used to serve nineteenth-century political ideological aims. Nonetheless, ‘Byzantium’ could serve as a useful term that makes clear which political entity we are talking about. Moreover, the self-defined field of ‘Byzantine Studies’ has claimed this term and standard periodisations are based on it. For a discussion of the emergence of the term ‘Byzantium’, a history of ‘denialism’ of the Empire’s Roman identity in Latin-speaking Europe from the ninth century onwards, and a plea for recognising this identity, see Kaldellis (2019). 3 I use the term ‘late antiquity’ to refer to the period from approximately the fourth until the mid-seventh century. If referring to literature produced within the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire, late antiquity essentially equals the ‘early Byzantine period’ in the periodisation that is standard in Byzantine Studies. In the development of Greek-language Christian literature, which is the focus of this thesis, it made sense to distinguish from later periods the period since the official recognition of Christianity by the state in the early fourth century up to the mid-seventh century. The period from c. 650 to 800 has been characterised by a relatively low (surviving) literary output, sometimes called the ‘Byzantine Dark Age’, and thus is taken as a transition period in our modern period categorisation. See e.g., Efthymiadis (2011a). I

14 the context of monastic culture.4 More generally, the inquiry may contribute to our view of possible responses to mobility in the history of humankind. In the field of Byzantine Studies, but not unique to this field, we come across descriptions of how ‘the Byzantine’ would have perceived mobility.5 The present study is itself not free of the urge to classify and categorise, which will inevitably somewhat simplify the past in order to make sense of the endless complexity of humans interacting with their environments. This study will search for patterns in an attempt to reconstruct particular discourses that may have been prevailing among particular societal groups. However, by examining one type of text (saints’ Lives), focussing on one type of movers (monks), written in the same political entity (Eastern Roman Empire), in the same language (Greek) at approximately the same time (ninth- early tenth century), the inquiry provides an opportunity to ask: between such comparable sources, and even within one text, do we still observe diversity? Or do we indeed see the same discourses and the same ideals reflected in these texts? And if so, what does that mean? These questions may thus invite us to examine whether we can observe a diversity of discourses on mobility. This effort may therefore balance a monolithic view of past perceptions and contribute to our understanding of the complexity of human societies. In sum, the main research question of this study is (how) can we learn about perceptions of monastic mobility by studying hagiography? Hagiography is chosen as the main focus for studying perceptions because the genre represents the richest body of narrative texts surviving for the period. A few hagiographical texts represent frequent-travelling monks. Since scholars have long perceived a tension between mobility and immobility in Byzantine monasticism, monks are a particularly interesting social group of movers.6 Studying perceptions as reflected in a literary genre inevitably needs to deal with representation. Therefore, this study also seeks to address a consecutive question: how did hagiographers represent monastic mobility and to what end? Mobility The Eastern Roman Empire, especially the middle-Byzantine period, has traditionally been characterised as witnessing low levels of mobility combined with a pervasive negative attitude towards travel.7 People would have valued immobility as an ideal and in practice. No one would deny that individuals travelled, but they would have been exceptions.8 This view of the past is perhaps reflective of a more general focus on the importance of places, rather 4 The middle-Byzantine period refers broadly to ninth to twelfth centuries. In this thesis, the focus lies on the ninth and early tenth centuries. 5 See pp. 14-18. 6 See the discussion below in the section ‘mobility’ of this introduction, and chapter 1. 7 The view that (long-distance) travel declined in the middle-Byzantine period compared to earlier and later periods is current in studies on the topic, e.g., in Karpozilos and Kazhdan (1991); Kislinger (1997); Lilie (2009); Kislinger (2011). For studies that emphasise negative Byzantine attitudes towards mobility, see footnotes 19 and 21. 8 Ralph-Johannes Lilie, for example, expressed that ‘die Byzantiner in ihrer Gesamtheit kein mobiles Volk waren, was wohl auch für das Mittelalter als Epoche überhaupt gilt’. Lilie (2009), p. 32.

15 Introduction than mobility, in historical research of the previous century.9 Currently this is changing. Scholars advancing the ‘mobility turn’ have questioned the focus on fixity, location and space and argued that it has obscured the importance of mobility in understanding human societies.10 Originally the ‘mobility turn’ stressed that mobility was essential to understand contemporary societies, demonstrating that mobility organises and transforms contemporary societies.11 Certainly, today it is possible to cover vast distances in very little time that are unparalleled in earlier human history, and the current high degree of mobility of people and goods is evidently shaping and transforming societies. The ease and affordability of covering vast distances is not to be compared with mobility in pre-modern societies. Nevertheless, in past societies people moved too, albeit for different reasons, at different speed and in different circumstances. While aspects of travel and the role of mobility in the Eastern Roman Empire have not been ignored completely in earlier research, a resurge of interest may be seen since the early 2000s.12 In these efforts the assumption of low levels of mobility for pre-modern societies has been questioned.13 Additionally, corresponding to insights from the mobility turn, more attention is given to the essential role of mobility in structuring and transforming society in the ancient and medieval Mediterranean.14 In the early scholarly efforts to reevaluate the role of mobility, mobility has been claimed as a defining characteristic of the Mediterranean, or for particular regions within it.15 9 Leary (2014), p. 4; For the same shift in focus from fixity to mobility in anthropology, see Adey et al. (2014), p. 3. 10 The ‘mobility turn’ was identified in 2006 in the first issue of the journal Mobilities, which seeks to ‘address this emerging attention to many different kinds of mobility’. Hannam et al. (2006), p. 2. 11 For example, on the structuring role of mobility for a ‘network society’, the editors of the first issue of Mobilities note: ‘mobilities seem to produce a more ‘networked’ patterning of economic and social life, even for those who have not moved’. They also identify various societal and environmental changes that are greatly influenced by increased mobility, illustrating the transformative potential of mobility. Ibid., p. 2. The (critical) observation that the mobility turn is ‘the newest effort in diagnostic descriptions of modern society’ is made in Faist (2013). 12 Studies that have mobility as the central concern of the previous century include for example Dimitroukas (1997); Kislinger (1997); Malamut (1993). The beginning of the second millennium was hallmarked with two impressively extensive publications that have inspired further scholarship on mobility, trade and interconnectedness in the ancient and medieval Mediterranean: Horden and Purcell’ Corrupting Sea and McCormick’s Origins of European Economy. Moreover, in 2000 a conference on ‘travel in the Byzantine world’ reflected contemporary interest in the topic in the field of Byzantine Studies. Horden and Purcell (2000); McCormick (2001); Macrides (2002). 13 Following the publication of the Corrupting Sea, this debate has especially advanced for earlier Roman history, both furthering and nuancing the conclusions made by Horden and Purcell. For discussions on the prevalence of mobility in antiquity, see e.g., Tacoma (2016); Isayev (2017); Moatti (2019). Also for the medieval period, Peregrine Horden proposes to ‘assume mobility in the medieval past unless or until the evidence invalidates this null hypothesis and demonstrates stasis’. Horden (2007), p. xxxiv. 14 E.g., McCormick (2001); Hoerder (2002), pp. 1–134; Preiser-Kapeller and Mitsiou (2019). 15 Schlesier and Zellmann, for example, note with regard to the Mediterranean world that ‘[f]or ancient Greek culture, mobility seems to be a specific characteristic. The same can be said for the Christian, Judaic and Islamic Middle Ages, but under different or changed circumstances’. Constable, working on fondaco’s or travel hostels from late antiquity until the early modern period, observes how the Mediterranean has always been the ‘realm of travelers’. Paul Oldfield focussed instead on a particular region, southern Italy, and argued that due to its position bordering multiple political entities and the changing borders, this region in particular was characterised by a high degree of mobility. Although his main focus in on later centuries (11th-15th centuries), Pietro Dalena also highlights the many travel movements and facilities in southern Italy. Schlesier and Zellmann (2004), p. 7; Constable (2003), p. 2; Oldfield (2016); Dalena (2003). I

16 Currently, the claim that mobility was important in pre-modern societies is hardly controversial anymore, as we begin to realise that mobility is a constant in human history, rather than particularly characteristic for any one area or period.16 Obviously, human history includes the history of Byzantium, and this insight is now finally gaining ground in this field as well: from an Empire once characterised as stiff, immobile and obsessed with fixity, evidence for mobility of different societal groups, its causes and its effects and many other aspects of mobility are starting to reshape our image of the Empire. Especially in the last five years, this ‘emancipatory movement’ re-evaluating mobility has taken off in the field of ‘Byzantine Studies’.17 However, in these attempts to adjust our image of the Empire, one aspect of the traditional view of Byzantium with regard to mobility still needs to be re-evaluated: that is, the idea that the Eastern Roman attitude towards mobility is one of aversion. While major steps have been made in studying discourses on mobility in ancient Roman history,18 analyses of discourses on mobility in the later Eastern Roman Empire so far have been lacking in the recent resurgence of interest in mobility. Earlier studies mostly stressed negative associations with mobility and mostly present a dominant singular view on mobility.19 Although scholarship now recognises that there would have been plenty of people on the move, and that these movements were significant in the shaping and functioning of this past society, we have not yet addressed whether the traditional image of a deeply negative view of mobility in the minds of Roman subjects still holds. Conversely, a re-evaluation on views on mobility should also consider views on immobility: as two sides of the same coin, they are intertwined.20 Let me briefly illustrate the ‘traditional’ image of Eastern Roman views on mobility. Previous studies on attitudes to mobility stress a negative perception on mobility, particularly as being dangerous.21 These studies are not necessarily wrong. There were 16 See e.g., Leary (2014). Also observed by Woolf (2016), p. 439. Of course, fluctuations in the prevalence of mobility throughout history will have happened, although it is difficult as of yet to study these (as the conundrum ‘absence of evidence is no evidence of absence’ elucidates). 17 Most notably, but not exclusively, advanced by Vienna-based researchers in the context of the research project Moving Byzantium: Mobility, Microstructures and Personal Agency in Byzantium led by Claudia Rapp (from 20152021). The main output of the project is a sourcebook that, at the time of writing, has only just appeared: Rapp et al. (2023). Many publications of affiliated and other researchers have preceded it, focussing on various aspects of mobility in the Eastern Roman Empire (and beyond). See e.g., Preiser-Kapeller and Mitsiou (2018); Preiser-Kapeller and Mitsiou (2019); Delouis et al. (2019a); Preiser-Kapeller et al. (2020b); Papavarnavas (2021a); Durak (2022). 18 See e.g., Isayev (2017); Foubert (2016); Foubert (2020); Foubert (2023). 19 For example, focussing on four 12th- and 13th-century Eastern Roman travel accounts, Catia Galatariotou discussed their xenophobia, their sense of cultural alienation when they were away from their immediate familiar milieu and their fear of dangers. Ewald Kislinger expressed in a 1997 publication that from the ninth until the mid-eleventh century generally Byzantines did not like to travel. He repeated this view in 2011. See also footnote 21. Galatariotou (1993); Kislinger (1997), p. 22; Kislinger (2011), p. 387. 20 Franquesa, for example, has argued that a one-sided focus on mobility in the ‘mobility turn’ is problematic, for in prioritizing one aspect – mobility – it obscures other factors relevant to understanding human societies, including immobility; he argues therefore that they should be studied in tandem, particularly the relations between them. Franquesa (2011). 21 For example in Kazhdan and Franklin (1984); Brubaker (2002).

17 Introduction plenty of dangers to be worried about when travelling in the Mediterranean: natural dangers, such as storms at sea, but also dangers due to political instability or the lack of law and order enforcement, such as danger from robbers or pirates.22 A medieval Greek prayer copied in multiple manuscripts, including an early tenth-century version copied in southern Italy, illustrates that these dangers were indeed on travellers’ minds.23 This prayer may thus illustrate the negative perception of mobility that has been taken as the dominant Byzantine view in scholarship so far. Εὐχὴ ἐπὶ ἀποδημούντων24 Ὁ Θεός, ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, ὁ συνοδεύσας τῷ θεράποντί σου Ἰακώβ, καὶ συγξενιτεύσας τῷ δούλῳ σου Ἰωσήφ, συνόδευσον καὶ τῷ δούλῳ σου τούτῳ, Δέσποτα, καὶ ῥῦσαι αὐτὸν ἀπὸ πειρατηρίων καὶ ληστηρίων καὶ πάσης χειμασίας καὶ ἐν εἰρήνῃ καὶ εὐρωστείᾳ ἀποκατάστησον πάσης δικαιοσύνης πρόνοιαν ποιούμενον κατὰ τὰς ἐντολάς σου καὶ πλήρης τῶν βιωτικῶν καὶ ἐπουρανίων σου ἀγαθῶν γενόμενον πάλιν ἐπανελθεῖν εὐδόκησον. Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις.25 A prayer for those setting off to travel God, our God, who travelled together with your servant Jacob, and who shared exile abroad with your servant Joseph, travel along also with your servant here, Lord, and save him from pirates and robbers and from every storm and let him return in peace and with strength, provided that he [your servant] is mindful of every [act of] righteousness according to your commandments, and be pleased that he [your servant] will return again, full of your worldly and heavenly goods. For yours is the kingdom and the power.26 This prayer confirms that a perception of travel as dangerous was one of the responses to mobility. Storms and piracy were on travellers’ minds and prayers were uttered to call upon 22 For a study on banditry in the ninth- to fifteenth century Balkans, see Sophoulis (2020). 23 The prayer has survived in multiple manuscripts, including a southern Italian one (see footnote 25 below). Throughout the dissertation I use the term ‘medieval Greek’ only to refer to the language in which the texts studied were written (‘medieval’ is used to distinguish the language from ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ Greek, while recognising that there was great variety between registers, genres, written and spoken ‘medieval Greek’). The term does not refer to notions of identity or ethnicity. 24 For all Greek citations I will provide the edition used in the footnotes when discussing the text for the first time and indicate how I will refer to the texts thereafter. I will render the citations as presented in the editions, with the exceptions of capitals and iota adscript: for consistency reasons, I will use capitals at the beginning of a sentence, even if they are not represented as such in the editions (e.g., in the edition of Schwartz (1933) of the Canons of the Council of Chalcedon and the edition of Schöll and Kroll (1959) of Justinian’s Novels), and I have changed an occasional iota adscript (also in the edition of Schwartz) to the more conventional rendering of the dative with iota subscript. 25 Prayer 199 in the Ms. Crypt. Γ.β.VII (=gr. 16), in Passarelli (1982), p. 128. My gratitude goes to Claudia Rapp for pointing out these prayers as sources that reveal what aspects of daily life Romans were occupied with. For the team project ‘Daily Life and Religion: Byzantine Prayer Books as Sources for Social History’, see Rapp et al. (2017). 26 Translations throughout this thesis are my own unless otherwise indicated. The translations are as close to the Greek as possible, rather than prioritizing idiomatic English. I

18 God’s protection. At the same time, the prayer also leaves room for the exploration of other responses and views on mobility in the Eastern Roman Empire. From prayers such as these we also learn that the potential prospect of danger did not withhold people from setting sail, for otherwise there would be no need to include this prayer in a prayer book, nor do we find any principle or ideological objections towards mobility reflected in this prayer. Moreover, the prayer expresses hopes that travel may result in acquiring ‘good things’, both earthly and heavenly.27 While many people may have uttered prayers such as these to ward off dangers on the road, and while people may have felt genuine fear for all possible dangers that could come along with travel, fear surely was not the only reaction to mobility that people would have had, and indeed not the only response that we can find in the sources. In order to examine discourses on mobility and immobility, this thesis will focus on a particular type of mobility: male monastic mobility. Monks are one of the social groups whom we know were among the ‘movers’ in the Eastern Roman Empire. Monasticism in the Eastern Roman Empire has often been characterised by its diversity and flexibility of forms.28 Scholars generally divide monastic practice between cenobitism and eremitism.29 Cenobitic monasteries are communal monasteries, headed by an abbot and with its own rules.30 Hermits are monks who lived a solitary life. An in-between form is recognised in lavrae: monastic communities consisting of monks who lived alone and at some distance from each other in their own individual cells for most of the time, but came together in the weekends to celebrate the liturgy an dine together, etc.31 The distinction between these three forms was not strict, as monks could change from one form to another. Moreover, there were forms in between as well and monastic expressions that did not fit into these categories at all.32 Some of the monastic ways of life included expressions of extreme immobility – most notably stylites who sat on top of a column, sometimes for years – while there were also monks who were known to be continuously on the move.33 Monks could alternate between 27 From the prayer: πλήρης τῶν βιωτικῶν καὶ ἐπουρανίων σου ἀγαθῶν. 28 See e.g., Talbot (2019), p. 2. 29 As is well known, but worth repeating in case of any doubt, there were no orders in orthodox monasticism like those arising in the Latin tradition (e.g. Benedictine monasticism, or much later Franciscans or Dominicans). Rather, each monastic community could have its own set of rules, laid down in typika. For an introduction on Byzantine monasticism, see e.g., Morris (1995); Hatlie (2007); Talbot (2019); Oltean (2020). 30 On how to enter a communal monastic foundation (including a discussion of varying practices in the Eastern Roman Empire), see Oltean (2020). 31 Talbot (2019), p. 3. 32 E.g., ‘domestic’ monastic expressions, particularly attested for female monasticism, who were considered to live a monastic life in their own homes, or wandering monks. An expression in between eremitism and cenobitism are recluses within communal monasteries. For a discussion of the various monastic expressions, see Talbot (2019). 33 Individual wandering monks, such as the fifth-century Syrian monk Barsauma, and the phenomenon of wandering monks so far have been mostly studied for the early centuries of the Eastern Roman Empire, although – as this thesis also illustrates – in later periods, including the ninth and tenth centuries, we continue to find examples of frequent travelling monks. See Hahn and Menze (2020); Caner (2002).

19 Introduction various forms of monastic life, and this also entailed that monks could both have periods in their lives of extreme immobility and periods of mobility.34 Mobile monks are an especially interesting group to study because in current scholarship monastic mobility is often discussed in the context of why they were not supposed to travel. There would be a tension between monastic mobility and a monastic ideal of physical stability (also referred to as stabilitas loci).35 The evidence of monastic mobility in this light is either interpreted as monastic defiance of the rules, or as exceptional.36 Chapter 1 will discuss the evidence for this ideal in more detail. As we will see, ideological objections or legal limitations for monastic mobility were not as definitive nor as pervasive as sometimes has been presented in the scholarly literature. Moreover, as we will see in the rest of this thesis, there was more diversity in perceptions of mobility, also from ideological or moral perspectives. The present study focusses particularly on male monastic mobility. The reasons for focussing only on one gender are twofold: firstly, there are hardly any middle-Byzantine texts in which (historical) female monastic saints travelled extensively.37 Secondly, the current historiography stresses that women, not only nuns, in general were less free to move than men in the middle-Byzantine period, so gender norms will have intersected with perceptions on monastic mobility. We most likely will find different discourses on female monastic mobility compared to male monastic mobility, which merits a study of its own. The present study, aiming to untangle perceptions on monastic mobility and immobility, however, might provide ground for further research exploring how discourses on female mobility intersected with discourses on (male and female) monastic mobility. Apart from the tendency to observe a discrepancy between norms and practice,38 there are some studies that do aim to nuance and diversify our picture of the landscape of Eastern Roman mentalities with regard to monastic mobility, particularly the work of Daniel Caner. In a 2002 monograph Caner presents a complex picture of normative and 34 E.g., Stylites alternating their immobility with moments of mobility. For example, Symeon the Stylite the Younger (d. 592) moved from one column to the next, increasingly taller, or Daniel the Stylite (d. 493), who first travelled before settling on a column in Constantinople, or Lazarus of Mount Galesion (d. 1053), who travelled extensively during his life, but spent the last forty years of his life on top of a column. See a discussion on the mobility and immobility of Symeon and Daniel in Frank (2019). For Lazarus, see Greenfield (2000). For a discussion of the significance of (the alternation of types of) space in Lazarus’ Life, see Veikou (2016). 35 The two main studies dedicated to objections and limitations of monastic mobility are: Herman (1955); Auzépy (2009). Subsequent studies almost without exception mention an ideal of stability as providing a tension with monastic mobility, for example recently in Mitrea (2023a), pp. 3–4. 36 See a discussion of this historiography in chapter 1, section 1.1. 37 The great majority of saints’ Lives for new saints of the ninth and tenth century are celebrating male monastic saints. The female monastic saints whose Lives have survived are not portrayed as frequently undertaking longdistance travel. One of the saints’ Lives in which travel plays a role in the life of a nun is the Life of Theoktiste of Lesbos, but in modern scholarship she is considered to be a legendary figure. Nikolaou identifies a few female saints, including nuns, who travelled according to their saints’ Lives: e.g., women who travel to enter into a monastic community, sometimes cross-dressed as a man (e.g., Euphrosyne and Anna/Euphemianos), and women fleeing for Arab raids (e.g., Theodora of Thessaloniki and Theoktiste of Lesbos). See Nikolaou (2019). 38 Cf. chapter 1, section 1.1. A discrepancy between norms and practice is observed both in studies on Eastern and Western monasticism. See e.g., Luckhardt’s monograph, which draws mainly from Merovingian and Carolingian sources. Luckhardt (2020), p. 15. I

20 alternative discourses on monastic mobility, both positive and negative, showing a plurality of discourses in the fourth and fifth centuries in the Mediterranean.39 For later periods in the Eastern Roman Empire such efforts have mostly been lacking. A most welcome observation is made by Olivier Delouis, Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert and Annick PetersCustot in their introduction to a 2019 edited volume dedicated to monastic mobility. There they note that monastic mobility was perceived both negatively and positively in different contexts (in both Eastern and Western monasticism from late antiquity until the Middle Ages).40 However, none of the contributions to the volume has mentalities on monastic travel in the Eastern Roman Empire as its central topic, so unfortunately the volume does not delve deeper into where we might see these diverse perceptions and what underlying ideals or circumstances these reflect. Moreover, while first pointing out diversity, the editors also propose that by the ninth century at the latest monastic travel was hardly justifiable anymore as a form of religious life in the Eastern Mediterranean, except for a few particular reasons (economic necessity, involuntary mobility or the need to solicit the emperor), and that ‘[e]n dehors de ces cadres, comme en Occident, toute errance monastique est suspectée de vagabondage et tout vagabondage d’erreur doctrinale’.41 In other words, the authors still see a single or at least dominant negative discourse on monastic mobility from the ninth century onwards in the Eastern Roman Empire, except for a few specific justifications for monastic mobility. The study of Caner aside, in the current historiography on monastic travel three main issues are debated: its prevalence,42 how the mobility of monks does or does not align with their religious vocation,43 and the role of travel as a literary theme in hagiography.44 In addition to its contribution to the understanding of perceptions and discourses on monastic mobility, this dissertation will also contribute to our understanding of the last two themes.45 39 Caner (2002). 40 Delouis et al. (2019b), par. 5; par. 8. 41 Ibid., par. 6. 42 E.g., Kaplan for monastic travel and pilgrimage (Kaplan argues that monastic travellers were exceptions) or Nikolaou for the mobility of women, including nuns (Nikolaou’s focus is to demonstrate that there were women who travelled, although perhaps less than men). Kaplan (2002); Nikolaou (2019). 43 E.g., Maribel Dietz, who focussed on western travellers from the period of 300-800, argued that travel and homelessness itself gained a religious meaning as a spiritual practice (this view has been critiqued by Richard Goodrich). Dietz (2005); Goodrich (2006). 44 E.g., Mullett (2002); Papavarnavas (2021a); Mitrea (2023b). 45 While this thesis does not explicitly engage with narratology, it touches upon roles of (im)mobility in the narratives in order to see how travel is or is not used for discursive aims, particularly for the construction of sainthood.

21 Introduction Hagiography In order to examine perceptions of monastic mobility and immobility this study turns to one particular genre: hagiography, more particularly medieval Greek saints’ Lives.46 Hagiography is perhaps the richest corpus of literary medieval Greek texts surviving for the ninth and tenth centuries.47 Especially when it concerns monks and monasticism, including travelling monks, saints’ Lives are probably the most extensive narrative sources that have survived for the period. The research will be centred on three saints’ Lives written in the ninth and early tenth centuries: the Life of Gregory of Decapolis, the Life of Euthymius the Younger and the Life of Elias the Younger.48 These saints were all historical persons who lived in the ninth century and their Lives were most likely written within a generation.49 They are thus ‘new’ saints.50 Saints’ Lives detail the life and deeds of individuals considered saints.51 In the surviving manuscripts they are often titled ‘βίος καὶ πολιτεία καὶ θαύματα of saint x’ (‘life and way of life and miracles’).52 They narrate just that: the biography from birth to death, including miracles, and character traits of the saint (notably their virtues). They sometimes also include events after the saint’s death, particularly posthumous miracles or the translation of relics. Medieval Greek saints’ Lives are literary texts written in a particular form: they start with a prologue, subsequently include a biography, and end with an epilogue. In the prologue the hagiographer typically uses more figurative language (compared to the main narrative) and often compares the saint to biblical models or addresses a biblical theme which the author connects to the life of the individual. The following ‘biography’ treats events mostly in chronological order and is divided in short ‘chapters’.53 These thematic 46 Since I particularly focus on saints’ Lives, a literary genre narrating a biography of individuals considered saints, whenever I use hagiography, I refer to saints’ Lives. I am aware that there has been critique to use the term ‘hagiography’ or even to see it as a genre, because as a term it is introduced only in the nineteenth century and medieval authors would not be making a distinction between hagiography and historiography. Since I use it in a narrow way to refer here to saints’ Lives, which I do think can be considered as a genre, I think it is still possible to use the term, and thereby place this research in dialogue with other studies on hagiography, particularly in the field of Byzantine Studies. See Lifshitz (1994). 47 See also the comments in Kazhdan and Talbot (1998) ‘Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database: Introduction’,, p. 3. 48 I used the following editions for the texts of these Lives: Makris (1997); Alexakis (2016); Rossi Taibbi (1962). In these editions the Lives are divided into numbered ‘chapters’, corresponding to the tradition in medieval manuscripts to divide a text in small blocks (see footnote 53). Hereafter I will cite from these Lives by indicating the Life (e.g., Life of Elias the Younger) and the relevant ‘chapter’ in the Life as corresponding to the edition. 49 The criteria for selecting these specific Lives is elaborated on below, see pp. 29-31. 50 A large part of the hagiographical production during the ninth and tenth centuries included also the writing or rewriting of Lives of saints that would have lived centuries earlier, particularly early Christian martyrs. Efthymiadis (2011a), p. 96. 51 In the Byzantine tradition there was no official canonisation process for the recognition of saints similar to processes of pontifical canonisation that evolved in the western tradition and currently still in place in Catholicism (however, in the ninth and tenth centuries, these processes were also not yet established in the western tradition). On the development of official canonisation processes in western Europe, see Vauchez (1997). 52 And variations, sometimes leaving out πολιτεία or θαύματα. 53 These blocks are often referred to as ‘chapters’ in the editions, but they sometimes consist only of a few lines. In the surviving manuscripts such divisions are visible, such as in the oldest manuscript containing the Life of Gregory of Decapolis (from the ninth or tenth century), In this manuscript the start of a new chapter is indicated by the placing of the first letter of the section, capitalised, in front of the main text column. I

22 blocks generally each treat one episode or one aspect of the saint’s life. The epilogue concludes the narrative and often includes an invocation to the saint. It has often been observed that hagiographical texts display a great deal of overlap in the themes and particular episodes they narrate. Such ‘standard’ elements that are typical of the genre are called topoi.54 The authors of the texts discussed in this thesis employed many of these topoi, but as this thesis will demonstrate, also made their own narrative choices that distinguish each Life. Moreover, not all themes discussed in the Lives are topoi. For example, the high number of journeys and the prominence of the travel theme in the three Lives discussed is in fact not very typical for ninth- and tenth-century saints’ Lives.55 This is perhaps surprising, as travel did play an essential role in some of the most influential texts in the history of literary culture in the Eastern Roman Empire. These include, for example, the Odyssey, which continued to be read, commented on and alluded to,56 and Acts in the New Testament, which is structured by the missionary travels of Paul.57 Also in hagiographical and related genres there are several examples from late antiquity in which travel plays a prominent role, such as the Life of Barsauma, John Moschus’ Spiritual Meadow, the Life of Mary of Egypt and the Life of Matrona of Perge.58 However, these earlier examples and influential texts did not result in a prominent tradition of frequent travelling protagonists in ninth- and tenth-century hagiography. Although a degree of travel is common in most hagiographies, the number and geographical extent of journeys narrated in the Lives of Elias the Younger, Euthymius the Younger and Gregory of Decapolis are exceptional. Each narrative includes about 15 to 20 journeys made by the respective saint, which does not find a parallel or approximation in other Lives of new saints written in the ninth or tenth century.59 In other words, the prevalence of travel in a hagiographical text written in the ninth and tenth centuries does not reflect a literary topos. Nevertheless, certain types of journeys are topoi. For example, at the start of a monastic Life, the monk-to-be usually removes himself from his familiar surroundings. This can take the form of a journey to a monastery or to a spiritual father in a different place. This initial journey is the first step of taking up a monastic life. It not only serves the purpose of finding a monastery or a spiritual father in order to receive instruction, it also removes the saint 54 For an overview of topoi in middle-Byzantine hagiography, see Pratsch (2005). 55 Also observed in Kaplan (2002), p. 127. 56 Homer was essential reading in Byzantine education and was appreciated highly, at least in intellectual literary circles. Robert Browning e.g., identified various citations and references to the Odyssey in Byzantine texts (e.g., by John Cameniates in the tenth century, by Eustathius of Thessaloniki (1115-1198), who wrote a commentary on the Odyssey, and by Nicetas Choniates (c.1155-c.1216)); a search on the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae for the lemma ‘Ὀδυσσεύς, ‑έως, ὁ’ learns that numerous well-known Eastern Roman authors referred to the hero of the Odyssey (e.g., Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) and Basil of Caesarea (330-379), monastic authors such as Theodore the Studite (759-826) and many entries in the late tenth or early eleventh-century Byzantine lexicon the Suda). Browning (1975). 57 For the reception and transmissions of the New Testament in Byzantium see Krueger and Nelson (2016). 58 See e.g., Talbot (1996), pp. 13–93; Flusin (2011), pp. 212–214; Drijvers (2018), pp. 368–369; Hahn and Menze (2020). 59 A total of 119 surviving Byzantine hagiographies of new saints from the eight until the tenth century are listed in the Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database.