Elegy for an erōmenos: Paul Silentiarios, Queer Desire, and Funerary Epigram (AP 7.560)


  • Steven D. Smith Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, USA




Greek poetry, epigram, Byzantium, Paul Silentiarios, queer theory, death, Christianity


This essay advances a queer interpretation of a single funerary epigram by the early Byzantine poet Paul Silentiarios (Anthologia Palatina 7.560). The poem commemorates the life of Leontios, a young man from a faraway homeland whose premature death while living abroad (presumably in Constantinople) meant that his parents could not bury him; instead, Leontios’ grave is surrounded by the men who loved him in his adopted city. The essay draws on the insights of queer theorists Leo Bersani, Lee Edelman, and José Esteban Muñoz while also applying a rigorous philological approach to uncover how the poet uses the poetic conventions of funerary epigram to express joy in a shared carnality that affirms the intimacy of homosocial relations.


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How to Cite

Smith, Steven D. 2022. “Elegy for an erōmenos: Paul Silentiarios, Queer Desire, and Funerary Epigram (AP 7.560)”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 17 (4):1151–1166. https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v17i4.1.