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      • 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.
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    What was life like for a Byzantine woman?

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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
  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. Women in Byzantine society - Macedonia

    www.macedonian-heritage.gr/HellenicMacedonia/en/D2.5.html

    A married woman's lot was not a bad one. Christian principles, which determined how Byzantine society was to function, assured her a decent existence. Irrespective of her social class, she was mistress of the house, and bearing children gave her additional standing. Women played but a small part in professional life.

  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 dress - Wikipedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_dress

    Byzantine emperors dress changed considerably over the thousand years of the Empire, but was essentially conservative. The Byzantines liked colour and pattern, and made and exported very richly patterned cloth, especially Byzantine silk , woven and embroidered for the upper classes, and resist-dyed and printed for the lower.

  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.
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