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Female Power and Performance at the Late Roman Court

Published on352 pagesISBN:9781802075939 (Hardcover) |eISBN:9781802075649 (PDF) |eISBN:9781835532478 (ePub)

Ebook available to libraries as part of

Empresses-in-Waiting comprises case studies of late antique empresses, female members of imperial dynasties, and female members of the highest nobility of the late Roman empire, ranging from the fourth to the seventh centuries AD. Situated in the context of the broader developments of scholarship on late antique and byzantine empresses, this volume explores the political agency, religious authority, and influence of imperial and near-imperial women within the Late Roman imperial court, which is understood as a complex spatial, social, and cultural system, the centre of patronage networks, and an arena for elite competition. The studies explore female performance and representation in literary and visual media as well as in court ceremonial, and discuss the opportunities and constraints of female power within a male dominated court environment and the broader realms of imperial activity. By focusing on imperial women, the volume not only addresses questions of gendered rhetoric and agency but throws into relief general dynamics in the exercise of imperial power during a period in which the classical Mediterranean world at large, as well as the Roman monarchy, underwent crucial transformations.

Christian Rollinger is Reader in Ancient History, Trier University.

Nadine Viermann is Assistant Professor in History of Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium, Durham University.

Table of Contents

Christian Rollinger and Nadine Viermann, Empresses-in-Waiting? An Introduction
Anja Wieber, Towards a history of scholarship on late antique imperial women –From Theodora, the tigress to matronage
Mads Lindholmer, Constructing Power through Rituals: The Case of Theodora
Pavla Drapelova, Empresses on Early Byzantine coins (6th to 7th centuries): Evidence of Power?
Silvia Holm, Empress with Agency: Eusebia’s Efforts to Consolidate the Constantinian Dynasty
Belinda Washington, John Chrysostom’s Letter to a Young Widow: Reflections on Imperial Women Roles at Regime Change 106
Silvio Roggo, The Empress Sophia Reconsidered
Lewis Dagnall, The Empress Sophia and East Roman Foreign Policy
Nadine Viermann, Dynasty, Endogamy and Civil Strife: Martina Augusta and the Role of Imperial Women in the Early Seventh Century
Geoffrey Nathan, Augusta unrealized: Anicia Juliana and the Logistics of Place
Christopher Lilington-Martin, Antonina patricia: Theodora’s Fixer at the Female Court and the Politics of Gender in Procopius
Marco Cristini, Matasuintha: From Gothic Queen to Imperial Woman
Julia Hillner, Epilogue: Imperial Women After Curtains