The Case of the Angels: The Relevance of the Research by Classical Scholar John Cuthbert Lawson (1874-1919) on Modern Greek Culture


  • Michał Bzinkowski Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland



Modern Greek literature, Modern Greek folk poetry, demotic songs, Modern Greek folklore, folk eschatology, personification of Death, Byzantine eschatology, Byzantine orthodoxy, reception of Antiquity, John Cuthbert Lawson, angels in Byzantium


Case of the Angels: The Relevance of the Research by Classical Scholar John Cuthbert Lawson (1874-1919) on Modern Greek Culture

In my paper I focus on the well-known John Cuthbert Lawson’s study about Modern Greek folklore (1910) and I venture to verify if it may be regarded as a reliable source of information about Greek folk beliefs. I base my argument on the eschatological remarks Lawson made concerning the personification of Death – Charos and his relationship to the Christian Angels. Confronting Lawson’s views and his source material with other similar demotic songs, mainly from the collections he had had access to, I try to show in what way the older collections of folk-songs might have distorted or falsified the eschatological images of Charos and the Angels, and what he overlooked while analyzing the sources. I also shed some light on possible influences of Byzantine orthodoxy on Modern Greek folk tradition to which Greek demotic songs belong.


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How to Cite

Bzinkowski, M. “The Case of the Angels: The Relevance of the Research by Classical Scholar John Cuthbert Lawson (1874-1919) on Modern Greek Culture”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 18, Sept. 2015, pp. 83-110, doi:10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.04.