Zoomorphic and Anthomorphic Metaphors in the “Proto-Romance” Digenis Akritis

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


This chapter examines how zoomorphic metaphors that compare humans to wild and domesticated animals and anthomorphic metaphors that compare humans to plants and flowers demonstrate patriarchal ideologies of power and control by disregarding the subjectivity and agency of women and non-human animals. Through a comparison of such metaphors in Digenis Akritis, the story of a biracial Byzantine border warrior, with similar metaphors in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this chapter examines how masculinity and political power are built zoomorphically through rape and sexual violence against women and sport hunting of predatory animals, and anthomorphically through dehumanizing comparisons of women to decorative flowers, ornamental songbirds, and cultivated crops, thus positioning the romantic hero as their protector and gardener.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.North Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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