Back to the Paradise: Adam and Eve in Romanos Melodos

Erkki Koskenniemi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


    Adam isclearly the most mentioned biblical figure in the canticles of Romanos Melodos,the greatest of the Byzantine poets. Adam is mentioned 163 times by name and 20times as ὁ πρωτόπλαστος / ὁ πρωτοπλάστης. Following the style of Syrian masters,Romanos often mentions Adam or the events told in Gen 2-4 in the refrains ofhis canticles, making Adam and Paradise the focus of the hymns. When Adam alsoappears in dialogue in Canticle 2, with several singers apparently presentingthe “sermons in verse”, a singer may have played Adam’s role.


    Thebiblical stories were told and retold in early Judaism and then in early Christianity,and these interpretations were mixed with rich folklore well before the time ofRomanos. The use of this material does not confirm the late report of hisJewish origin, although of course it remains possible. Romanos uses biblicalmaterial very freely, occasionally linking his canticles with extra-biblicaltraditions. However, his use of Adam is defined by his Orthodox creed. Thefigure of Adam is used to honour the second Adam, who came to bring fallenhumanity back to Paradise.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Title of host publicationAdam and Eve Story in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Perspectives
    EditorsAntti Laato, Lotta Valve
    PublisherÅbo Akademi University
    ISBN (Print)978-952-12-3497-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

    Cite this