Women of Byzantium

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On detailed inspection, sources relating to the Byzantine empire do contain significant reference to the position and role of women in society. In this study Carolyn Connor presents a window into the 'lives, occupations, beliefs, and social roles of Byzantine women' from Late Antiquity, AD 250, to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Drawing on a wide variety of sources including art, architecture, inscriptions, hagiographies, poetry. histories, legal records and chronicles, each chapter takes a particular theme relating to women such as imperial marriage, women as saints, female pilgrimages, monasticism and women as patrons. Each chapter begins with a general introduction to its central theme and then takes a particular female figure as a case study, covering many different types and social classes of women. The lives of ordinary women, wives, mothers, and sisters are social classes of women. The lives of ordinary women, wives, mothers, and sisters are placed alongside those of the empress Theodora, the empress Zoe, the wife of the emperor Justinian, Anna Kommene, and so on. An impressive and well-written study which is not beyond the general reader.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A splendid achievement. A fascinating exploration of the role and activities of women over centuries of Byzantine history."—John Matthews, Yale University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300099577
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn L. Connor is professor of classics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Table of Contents

Plan of Byzantine Constantinople
Pt. I Late antiquity (250-500 CE)
Introduction : Thekla 1
1 Ascetic women and religious life in early Christianity : Macrina 13
2 Pilgrimage : Egeria 29
3 Female imperial authority : empresses of the Theodosian House : Galla Placidia 45
Pt. II Early Byzantium (500-843)
Introduction : the problematic for a study of Byzantine women 73
4 Sinners and saints : women at risk : Mary of Egypt 78
5 Women and artistic patronage : Anicia Juliana 94
6 The challenge of Theodora 117
7 Ordinary women in the orbit of Theodore of Sykeon 146
Pt. III The middle Byzantine period (843-1204)
Introduction : women, the faith in icons, and the triumph of orthodoxy 159
8 Women's monasticism : Irene of Chrysobalanton 166
9 Women in art : the Byzantine image of female sanctity : Helena 182
10 Imperial women and marriage : Zoe 207
11 The world of Anna Komnene : Anna's passionate voice in the Alexiad 238
Pt. IV Late Byzantium (1204-1453)
Introduction : women's work 263
12 Founding mothers and the testimony of the typika : Theodora Synadene 268
13 Epilogue : the "lady of the Mongols" 309
App List of Byzantine emperors and empresses 319
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