Women of Byzantium

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Overview

Women played key roles in Byzantine society: some ruled or co-ruled the empire, and others commissioned art and buildings, went on pilgrimages, and wrote. This engrossing book draws on evidence ranging from pictorial mosaics and inscriptions on the walls of churches to women’s poetry and histories, examining for the first time the lives, occupations, beliefs, and social roles of Byzantine women.
In each chapter Carolyn L. Connor introduces us to a single woman—from the elite to the ordinary—and uses her as a springboard to discuss Byzantine society. Frequently quoting from contemporary accounts, Connor reveals what these women thought of themselves and their lives and how they remembered the lives of women who had lived earlier.
Informative, sympathetic, and engagingly written, this book is a window into Byzantine culture and women’s history that has never before been opened.

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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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