ABSTRACT:

This article focuses on the Italo-Greek elite of the Sicilian kingdom in the twelfth century and examines how this elite, which owed its social status to the court offices it held, constructed a collective identity to ensure its prosperity and continuity as a sociocultural group. Since proximity to the king was the prime reason for the existence of this elite, the courtier role is the only facet of its identity that is represented in the sources. Therefore, the poems of two Italo-Greek courtiers, the so-called Anonymous Poet of Malta and Eugenius of Sicily, offer insights into how the Italo-Greeks perceived and represented their role as royal courtiers and came to forge a distinct collective identity. The Vita of Bartholomew of Simeri is considered to be part of the same identity construction strategy, since the saint is invested with traits of an Italo-Greek royal courtier.

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