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Litanic Verse I

Origines, Iberia, Slavia et Europa Media


Witold Sadowski, Magdalena Kowalska and Magdalena Maria Kubas

The book contains comparative analyses of the development of litanic verse in European poetry, from medieval to modern times. Litanic verse is based on different syntactic devices, such as enumeration, parallelism, anaphora and epiphora. However, it is not to be seen merely as a convention of versification as the popularity of different variants of the verse in Europe reflects the religious, intellectual, social and political history of various European regions. The essays in the first volume focus on the origins of the Litany (the Near East, Greece, Byzantium, Rome), as well as the emergence of litanic verse in the Iberian languages (Castilian, Catalan, Galician, Portuguese) and Slavic and Central European literatures (Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Serbian, Russian).

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Religious Poetry, Religio Amoris and Panegyric Poetry in Spain before the End of the Fifteenth Century


In the mid-eighteenth century Manuel Vélez Marín stated that the concept of litany was very broad and included both rogations offered to God in any intention and the supplicatory prayers exomologesis that asked for the pardon of one’s sins. The erasure of the difference between these two ideas occurred in the Visigoth period, as the definition in Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae demonstrates. According to Vélez Marín, litany was present in the Spanish Church from its very beginning, since it took from the first Christians the custom of praying to God on fasting days for the pardoning of the supplicants’ sins, but the prayers were also said on other days.1 The tradition was very much alive in the Iberian Peninsula even before the conversion of the Visigoths to Catholicism in 589, since the existence of the tradition finds its confirmation in the decrees of the Synod of Gerona in 517.

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