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    • Sources
    • The Role of Aristocratic Women
    • Working Women
    • Women’s Rights
    • Famous Byzantine Women

    Unlike in many other medieval cultures, Byzantine history, as written by the people of the period themselves, almost exclusively focuses on the exaggerated deeds and misdemeanours of emperors along with a separate and equally problematic literatureon saints and squabbles over religious doctrine. Social history is almost entirely neglected and what remains for modern historians to study is, unfortunately, woefully insufficient to comprehensively reconstruct such features of Byzantine history as class relations, family life and economics. As the historian C. Mango regretfully summarises: Another difficulty, and a common one for ancient societies, is that sources are almost always written by men writingfrom their own perspectives and with their own prejudices. Still, we must make the best of what we have and it is possible to make many useful observations on the role of women in Byzantine society by piecing together indirect references, colourful biographies of famous women, sometimes...

    As in most ancient cultures, the women we know most about in Byzantium are those who belonged to the upper classes. One event which greatly affected the role of all women in Byzantine society, though, was the increasing prominence of Christianitythrough the centuries, as here summarised by the historian L. Garland: To better ensure a girl remained a virgin until marriage, some attempt at segregating boys and girls was made with the latter expected to largely remain in the confines of the family home and only come into direct contact with males who were close members of the family. For more well-off families, there was even a segregated part of the home reserved only for the women of the household, the gynaikonitis, but this seems to have been a private space to keep men out rather than a restricted place from which women could not leave. In practice, it is clear that women could and did enter the wider world. Women spent time in public places: among others, shopping in the market sq...

    Women who had to earn a living worked in the agricultural, retail, manufacturing (especially textiles and silk) and hospitality industries. Some of the known jobs which could be performed by women included those of the weavers, bakers, cooks, innkeepers, washerwomen, midwives, medical practitioners, money-lenders and bath keepers. Many of these jobs and the knowledge connected to them would have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of the more unusual female professions were sorcerers and matchmakers. There was nothing to prevent women from owning their own businesses such as inns and shops. Illustrating that women could own their own business and do very well indeed is the case of the well-connected aristocrat Anicia Juliana (c. 461 - c. 527 CE), who became perhaps the richest woman in the empire. Anicia did not simply save her fortune but was a celebrated sponsor of church buildings and art, notably building and furnishing the Saint Polyeuktos and Saint Euphemia ch...

    Women had certain rights regarding property. A wife could not be separated from her dowry and daughters could inherit an equal portion of the family estate with their brothers if no specific will was made. If a husband died, his wife became the official guardian of the children. Women could, then, become landowners in their own right, head a household and be subject to taxes like any landowning male. A woman could not perform any judicial duties or any significant religious function in the Church with the exception of widows over 40 years of age who could act as deaconesses or be involved with services specifically aimed at women such as female baptisms. There were many monasteries devoted to women and at these they held all posts, including that of the abbess. Such nunneries attracted not only those wishing to devote their lives to Christ but also women who had become widows or lacked the means to live independently in the outside world. They were also a place of refuge and help fo...

    Byzantium has a long history and it involves many women of note. Perhaps the first Byzantine woman to achieve lasting fame is Helena (born c. 250 CE), the mother of Constantine I, who famously embarked on a pilgrimage to Jerusalemwhere she built several churches, notably the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, and gave out money to the worthy and needy. According to legend Helena discovered the True Cross on her travels and brought it back to Constantinople. Hypatia of Alexandria (c. 370-415 CE) was a celebrated philosopher, scientist and mathematician who also tutored at the famous university of her home city. Hypatia met a violent end for her pagan views: she was stabbed to deathwith quill pens (or hit with tiles in another version of events) by a group of pro-Christian hospital attendants. Empress Theodora (r. 527-548 CE), the wife of Justinian I, is perhaps the most famous of all the Byzantine empresses today. Overcoming the stigma of her early career as an actress in the Hippo...

    • Mark Cartwright
  1. Women in the Byzantine Empire - Wikipedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Byzantine_Empire

    Women in the Byzantine Empire played an important role, but many details of their lives are a matter of debate. Numerous sources paint a picture of the Byzantine patriarchal society in which women did not have independent significance and were imprisoned in a gynaeceum. For a long time, the attention of historians was attracted only by prominent Byzantine women, mainly the Empress, especially the wife of Emperor Justinian I Theodora, who had a significant influence on the events of the first hal

  2. Theodora | Empress, Biography, Accomplishments, & Facts ...

    www.britannica.com/biography/Theodora-Byzantine...

    Theodora, (born c. 497 ce —died June 28, 548, Constantinople [now Istanbul, Turkey]), Byzantine empress, wife of the emperor Justinian I (reigned 527–565), probably the most powerful woman in Byzantine history.

  3. Women in the Byzantine Empire – Brewminate

    brewminate.com/women-in-the-byzantine-empire
    • Introduction
    • Sources
    • The Role of Aristocratic Women
    • Working Women
    • Women’s Rights
    • Famous Byzantine Women
    • Bibliography

    Women in the Byzantine Empire (4th to 15th century CE) were, amongst the upper classes, largely expected to supervise the family home and raise children while those who had to work for a living did so in most of the industries of the period, from manufacturing to hospitality. Although they were the minority, some women did manage to rise above the limitations imposed on them by the male-dominated culture and became hugely successful businesswomen, writers, philosophers and even empresses who ruled as regents or in their own right. Such figures include the empresses Theodora, Irene and Zoe, the biographer Anna Komnene, Hypatia the philosopher, and Kassia the poet.

    Unlike in many other medieval cultures, Byzantine history, as written by the people of the period themselves, almost exclusively focuses on the exaggerated deeds and misdemeanours of emperors along with a separate and equally problematic literature on saints and squabbles over religious doctrine. Social history is almost entirely neglected and what remains for modern historians to study is, unfortunately, woefully insufficient to comprehensively reconstruct such features of Byzantine history as class relations, family life and economics. As the historian C. Mango regretfully summarises: Another difficulty, and a common one for ancient societies, is that sources are almost always written by men writing from their own perspectives and with their own prejudices. Still, we must make the best of what we have and it is possible to make many useful observations on the role of women in Byzantine society by piecing together indirect references, colourful biographies of famous women, sometime...

    As in most ancient cultures, the women we know most about in Byzantium are those who belonged to the upper classes. One event which greatly affected the role of all women in Byzantine society, though, was the increasing prominence of Christianity through the centuries, as here summarised by the historian L. Garland: To better ensure a girl remained a virgin until marriage, some attempt at segregating boys and girls was made with the latter expected to largely remain in the confines of the family home and only come into direct contact with males who were close members of the family. For more well-off families, there was even a segregated part of the home reserved only for the women of the household, the gynaikonitis, but this seems to have been a private space to keep men out rather than a restricted place from which women could not leave. In practice, it is clear that women could and did enter the wider world. Women spent time in public places: among others, shopping in the market s...

    Women who had to earn a living worked in the agricultural, retail, manufacturing (especially textiles and silk) and hospitality industries. Some of the known jobs which could be performed by women included those of the weavers, bakers, cooks, innkeepers, washerwomen, midwives, medical practitioners, money-lenders and bath keepers. Many of these jobs and the knowledge connected to them would have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of the more unusual female professions were sorcerers and matchmakers. There was nothing to prevent women from owning their own businesses such as inns and shops. Illustrating that women could own their own business and do very well indeed is the case of the well-connected aristocrat Anicia Juliana (c. 461 – c. 527 CE), who became perhaps the richest woman in the empire. Anicia did not simply save her fortune but was a celebrated sponsor of church buildings and art, notably building and furnishing the Saint Polyeuktos and Saint Euphemia ch...

    Women had certain rights regarding property. A wife could not be separated from her dowry and daughters could inherit an equal portion of the family estate with their brothers if no specific will was made. If a husband died, his wife became the official guardian of the children. Women could, then, become landowners in their own right, head a household and be subject to taxes like any landowning male. A woman could not perform any judicial duties or any significant religious function in the Church with the exception of widows over 40 years of age who could act as deaconesses or be involved with services specifically aimed at women such as female baptisms. There were many monasteries devoted to women and at these they held all posts, including that of the abbess. Such nunneries attracted not only those wishing to devote their lives to Christ but also women who had become widows or lacked the means to live independently in the outside world. They were also a place of refuge and help fo...

    Byzantium has a long history and it involves many women of note. Perhaps the first Byzantine woman to achieve lasting fame is Helena (born c. 250 CE), the mother of Constantine I, who famously embarked on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where she built several churches, notably the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, and gave out money to the worthy and needy. According to legend Helena discovered the True Cross on her travels and brought it back to Constantinople. Hypatia of Alexandria (c. 370-415 CE) was a celebrated philosopher, scientist and mathematician who also tutored at the famous university of her home city. Hypatia met a violent end for her pagan views: she was stabbed to death with quill pens (or hit with tiles in another version of events) by a group of pro-Christian hospital attendants. Empress Theodora (r. 527-548 CE), the wife of Justinian I, is perhaps the most famous of all the Byzantine empresses today. Overcoming the stigma of her early career as an actress in the Hip...

    Bagnall, R.S. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History.(Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)
    Gregory, T.E. A History of Byzantium.(Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
    Herrin, J. Byzantium.(Princeton University Press, 2009).
    Mango, C. The Oxford History of Byzantium.(Oxford University Press, 2002).
  4. 10 Facts About Theodora: Byzantine Empress, Courtesan and ...

    www.historyhit.com/facts-about-theodora...
    • She led an unconventional early life. Theodora was the daughter of Acacius, a bear-keeper who worked for the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Little is known of her early years.
    • She abandoned her acting career aged 16. At the age of 16, Theodora walked away from her acting career to become mistress to a Syrian official named Hecebolus, the governor of what is now known as Libya.
    • She converted to an early form of Christianity. After her relationship with Hecebolus broke down, Theodora joined an ascetic community in the desert near Alexandria, where she converted to a branch of early Christianity, Monophysitism.
    • She and Justinian were an unlikely match. After her conversion, Theodora travelled to Constantinople where she met Justinian, who was 20 years her senior.
  5. List of Roman and Byzantine Empresses - Wikipedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_and...

    Another title of the Byzantine empresses was Eusebestatē Augousta "Most Pious Augusta"; they were also called kyría κυρία "Lady" or déspoina δέσποινα, the female form of δεσπότης "despot". Due to the practice of dividing the Roman empire under different emperors, there were periods when there were more than one Roman empress.

  6. People also ask

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  7. New Medieval Books: Theophano: A Byzantine Tale ...

    www.medievalists.net/2020/10/theophano-byzantine...

    Oct 03, 2020 · The Byzantine throne. During that time, Anastasia, a common girl, marries the heir to the throne, enters the palace, and becomes Theophano an ambitious woman ready to climb the ladder of power and sacrifice herself for her children.

  8. (PDF) An Ignored Arabic Account of a Byzantine Royal Woman ...

    www.academia.edu/41482022/An_Ignored_Arabic...

    Imperial and aristocratic Byzantine women had a wide variety of roles with a spectrum of importance. One possible way to enrich our information about Byzantine royal women is to consult the historical and cultural heritage of Byzantium’s adjacent

  9. Byzantine Clothing - Byzantine Empire - Martel Fashion

    www.martelnyc.com/byzantine-empire/introduction.html
    • Constantine and The
    • Galla Placida and I
    • Noble Couple
    • Empress
    • Sixth-Cen
    • Seventh-Century
    • Eighth-Century Townswomen
    • Emperor Romanus II
    • Members of The Court
    • Eleventh-Century

    According to legend, Constantine I (at left) dreamed that an angel told him to go to battle under the Christian cross to achieve a victory. The emperor followed the angel's advice and was victorious, his success leading to his founding the Byzantine empire. gel (fourth century) Constantine's mantle and tunica were depicted in bright primary colors in Byzantine art, the angel's (at right) in pastel tones. The mantle is fastened in typical style over the right shoulder with a jeweled clasp. Constantine wears decorated slip-on shoes. Fourth-century Early Left: The woman wears a long-sleeved tunica under a short-sleeved stola for everyday wear at home. The belted waist gives a blousy effect. Right: The man wears a long-sleeved light-colored tunica and dark wool Christian Commoners cloak, fastened at his right shoulder. Both have multicolored geometric embroidered trim on their garments, she at the neck, sleeves, and waist, he at the sleeves. Fourth-century Byzantine Wc Left: The woman i...

    Galla Placida was the half-sister of Emperor Arcadius and the mother of Emperor Valentiriian III (he ruled the western Roman empire from 425 to 455, after the division of the empire into east and west). Left: Galla Placida wears a camisia with jeweled sleeves under a long, ror Valentinian III brightly colored silk tunica and a palla of royal purple. Right: Her son, Valentinian III, is wearing a brocaded tunica, as well as a brocaded mantle fastened with a fibula. His stockings and slippers are brightly colored. Fifth-century Man of Rank and Woman of Faith Left: The man wears a brightly colored tunica under a is dressed in a light-colored camisia covered by a dark mantle of contrasting color. His stockings and boots circular cloak and light-colored mantle, are also crafted in jewel-like colors. Right: The woman Fifth-century Evangelist and Warrior Left: The evangelist is dressed in a dark tunica with over a leather apron and white camisia. He has leather light trim worn under a dark...

    Phrygian cap is made of brightly colored felt. Right: The noblewoman wears an embroidered dalmatic over a long camisia. Her flowing silk palla is the same color as her camisia.

    Shown here are two costumes attributed to Theodora. In her day, she was considered to be the most beautiful, as well as the most powerful, woman in the world. Left: Theodora wears a patterned stola over a jeweled, embroidered camisia, topped by a jeweled collar and Theodora belt. Her palla is made of sheer silk edged with teardrop pearls. Right: The empress wears a semi-circular palla, edged with pearls and decorated with an embroidered religious tablion. Her coif and collar feature large pearls and precious stones.

    A courtier couple at Emperor Justinian's court. Left: The man wears a heavily brocaded mantel with a tablion over a brightly colored tunica, which is decorated with multicolor embroidery. His hose are patterned, and his boots are of brightly colored soft Courtiers leather. Right: The woman wears a long, patterned tunica with embroidered patches. Her palla is also made of patterned, brocaded silk. On her head she wears a light-colored rolled-brim turban. Seventh-century Cav A cavalryman and a foot soldier show the subtle differences in military costume. The cavalryman wears long, fitted sleeves with leather arm bands. His cloak is shorter and he wears hose, whereas the foot soldier is nan and Foot Soldier bare legged; the cavalryman's shield is smaller than the oblong one carried by the foot soldier. Their helmets are generally the same, but the cavalryman has a feather crest. Seventh-century Court Performer This dancing girl is performing the dance of Salomé at gown is decorated wit...

    Left: The courtier wears a brightly colored short tunica with embroidered sleeves over his light-colored camisia and cloth leggings; an embroidered purse hangs from his belt. His mantle has a richly embroidered border Courtier and Priest and tablion and is fastened with a fibula. He wears tall leather boots with open toes. Right: The priest wears a long camisia under his tunica; the circular mantle is topped by a lorum embroidered with crosses. Eighth-century Townswoman and Foot Soldier Left: The townswoman wears a plainly cut, natural-colored dalmatic-style tunica over her linen camisia. Her hair is bound in a linen coif with a woolen cap. Right: The foot soldier wears a mail lorica with leather strips for skirt and shoulder guards over his linen camisia. His legs are bare, and he wears leather high-topped sandals. His lorica has leather shoulder straps, which are held down by a band of cloth wrapped around the chest. He also has on a short cloak, and he wears a metal helmet.

    Two townswomen are shown here wearing long dal- with embroidered edging. These garments would have ma tic-style tumcas over their camisias, as well as pallas displayed muted coin's derived ffoZZ7dl Ninth-century Commoners Both of these ninth-century men wear short tunicas delettes. The man on the right wears leather boots and with embroidery trim over loose cloth hose. The man on hose tied with fabric garters. Again, their costumes the left wears a short cloak; his leather-soled shoes are would be made of subdued colors derived from natural secured to the leg with a wrapping of leather ban- herbal dyes in shades of tan, soft green, and pale yellow. Tenth-century Priest This Byzantine priest wears a dark pallium decorated cut long in the back so it could be draped over the with white panels and black crosses over his brocaded arms in the front, as shown here, tunica and long camisia. The ecclesiastical pallium was

    These images of Emperor Romanus II (ruled 959-963) and his first wife, Empress Eudokia, are derived from a late eleventh-century ivory carving, once thought to depict Romanus IV and his wife, Empress Eudoxia. and Empress Eudokia Here, the emperor and empress wear splendidly ornate costumes embroidered with pearls. Their crowns are embellished with ornamental pendants.

    Otto III, a German warrior-king (ruled 996-1002), conquered Byzantium and became emperor. His tastes were less ornate than those of his predecessors, and for a while Byzantine costumes resembled Germanic medieval garb. Here, a man and woman of rank from Otto III (tenth century) Otto's court wear robes of simple, barely embellished design. The man's cloak is dark; his pale tunica has jeweled, gold-embroidered trim. The woman wears a dark robe with gold banding and a light-colored palla draped over the shoulder and wrapped about the waist. After the reign of Otto III the Greeks regained the empire, and their taste for lavish decoration was reestablished. Emperor Nicephorus III (ruled 1078-1081) and his empress are shown wearing gold brocade coronation robes with embroidered trim. A Emperor Nicephorus III and his Empress multicolored jeweled lorum is wrapped across the emperor's chest and hips. The empress has a jeweled collar and jeweled woman's version of the lorum wrapped around her...

    The empress's dark gown is adorned in the front with a light-colored decorative panel. Multicolored embroidery enhances the ensemble. The emperor is wearing his military apparel, consisting of a dark cloak worn Royal Robes over a white, long-sleeved camisia, a metal lorica, a short tunica with embroidered trim, and cloth stockings. His boots are leather, studded with jewels. Eleventh-century The women of the upper classes were rarely seen in public; nevertheless, the robes that they wore at home were constructed of fine fabrics and were richly jeweled and embroidered. On the right, the woman is depicted jer-class Woman almost entirely covered by her palla, a garment required when she left the home. The palla was generally of a very dark color, whereas the gown would have displayed brighter, more jewel-like tones. Twelfth-century Princess tunica with embroidered trim Left: This Byzantine princess wears ^^ S dark brocaded mantle, which features a and jewel-trimmed camisia with a l>ght...

  10. List of Byzantine emperors - Wikipedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Emperor

    The use of the title "Roman Emperor" by those ruling from Constantinople was not contested until after the Papal coronation of the Frankish Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor (25 December 800), done partly in response to the Byzantine coronation of Empress Irene, whose claim, as a woman, was not recognized by Pope Leo III.

    Name
    Reign
    Notes
    Constantine I the Great (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Αʹ ὁ Μέγας, Latin: Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus)
    19 September 324 – 22 May 337
    Born at Naissus ca. 272 as the son of the Augustus Constantius Chlorus and Helena. Proclaimed Augustus of the western empire upon the death of his father on 25 July 306, he became sole ruler of the western empire after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. In 324, he defeated the eastern Augustus Licinius and re-united the empire under his rule, reigning as sole emperor until his death. Constantine completed the administrative and military reforms begun under Diocletian, who had begun ushering in the Dominate period. Actively interested in Christianity, he played a crucial role in its development and the Christianization of the Roman world, through his convocation of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea. He is said to have received baptism on his deathbed. He also reformed coinage through the introduction of the gold solidus, and initiated a large-scale building program, crowned by the re-foundation the city of Byzantium as "New Rome", popularly known as Constantinople. He was regarded as the model of all subsequent Byzantine emperors.
    Constantius II (Κωνστάντιος [Βʹ], Flavius Iulius Constantius)
    22 May 337 – 5 October 361
    Born on 7 August 317, as the second surviving son of Constantine I, he inherited the eastern third of Roman Empire upon his father's death, sole Roman Emperor from 353, after the overthrow of the western usurper Magnentius. Constantius' reign saw military activity on all frontiers, and dissension between Arianism, favoured by the emperor, and the "Orthodox" supporters of the Nicene Creed. In his reign, Constantinople was accorded equal status to Rome, and the original Hagia Sophia was built. Constantius appointed Constantius Gallus and Julian as Caesares, and died on his way to confront Julian, who had risen up against him.
    Constans I (Κῶνστας Αʹ, Flavius Iulius Constans)
    22 May 337 – January 350
    Born c. 323, the third surviving son of Constantine I. Caesar since 333, he inherited the central third of Roman Empire upon his father's death, and became sole emperor in the west following the death of Constantine II in 348. An ardent supporter of Athanasius of Alexandria, he opposed Arianism. Constans was assassinated during the coup of Magnentius.
    Julian the Apostate (Ἰουλιανὸς "ὁ Παραβάτης", Flavius Claudius Iulianus)
    5 October 361 – 28 June 363
    Born in May 332, grandson of Constantius Chlorus and cousin of Constantius II. Proclaimed by his army in Gaul, became legitimate Emperor upon the death of Constantius. Killed on campaign against Sassanid Persia.