STELNIK E.V. Charon in Epitaphs of John Geometres (Kyriotes)


Evgeniy V. Stelnik

Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Lecturer, Department of Service and Tourism,

Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Abstract. Introduction. The poetic system of the images of John Geometres has a traditional antique origin, but surprisingly the characters of Geometres’ Hades and Charon acquire not an antiquarian, literary but a folkloric character.

Methods. The epigrams of the Geometres (Kyriotes) are considered from the point of view of the critical approaches of hermeneutics, as they are formulated by H.-G. Gadamer. In addition, the relationship between Byzantine literature and Byzantine folklore is presented by the author in the categories of psychoanalysis.

Analysis. Based on two epitaphs of the Byzantine poet of the 10th century John Geometres (Kyriotes), it is possible to trace the Byzantine deformation of the ancient literary images of the afterlife. This deformation occurs under pressure, by various ways of poetic tradition, of Byzantine folklore. The resultant poetic images have an original, surrogate character.

Conclusions. Byzantine rhetoricians, John Geometres (Kyriotes) among them, faced with folk ideas about Charos, comprehended them in classical categories. As a result, it was a compromise variant, combining the chthonic power of Charos and the literary tradition of Charon. This deformation takes place under pressure, which in various ways penetrates into the poetic tradition of Byzantine folklore. The resulting poetic images have an original, surrogate character. Byzantine poetry, based on the free play of metaphors and language associations, in contact with the live folk speech, have made it possible to penetrate the folklore ideas of Charos in the “closed” rhetorical genre of Byzantine literature.

Key words: Charon, Charos, Hades, John Geometres (Kyriotes), epitaph, tradition, folklore, deformation of poetic images.

Citation. Stelnik E.V. Charon in Epitaphs of John Geometres (Kyriotes). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 179-185. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

Charon in Epitaphs of John Geometres (Kyriotes) by Stelnik E.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Download this file (3_Stelnik.pdf) 3_Stelnik.pdf