In our 10th Byzantine Story we look at the life of a provincial magnate. Our way into this world is a text called ‘Advice and Anecdotes’ written by a man named Kekaumenos. He lived in the period after Basil II’s death (1020s-1070s) and was a General and governor.
He wrote this text at the end of his life to give advice to those who had to navigate the Imperial system. It gives us invaluable insights into provincial life and the pressures a man in his position faced.
In part three we look at the role of Empress. The one position in society where a woman could attain true power over men. We also look at the life story of the 5th century Empress Aelia Pulcheria – the woman who helped define the role.
As you may know I have already produced three episodes about Women in the Roman World which are available for you on the Ad-Free Bonus Feed at Patreon.
I now present three more episodes about Women in the Byzantine World. And these episodes are very much a continuation of that series. In part one we talk about how the arrival of Christianity affected Roman women. We also hear a couple of Saints’ Lives. These tales give us a rare glimpse of how women appeared in popular culture.
This first episode is free but parts 2 and 3 are only available on the Ad-Free Bonus Feed at Patreon.
Thanks to the kind listeners who have pointed out that the ‘Immaculate Conception’ is a Catholic concept and not necessarily accepted by the Orthodox. This was entirely my fault, I was looking for a synonym for virgin birth and have blundered.
Find-spots of coins from Byzantine Cyprus by Metcalf
Our first Byzantine Story nominated by a listener is Byzantine Cyprus. We chart the history of the island from the death of Justinian to the re-conquest by Nicephorus Phokas. Between 649 and 965 the island was in a tributary relationship with the Islamic Caliphate which dominates our discussion. By combing through the sources we can piece together a narrative of the period and gain a few glimpses of everyday life.
In Part 2 we explore women’s daily life in Rome. Though their public roles were limited they still managed to live full lives. Class, death and luck all played their role in determining a woman’s independence.
Equestrian statue of Justinian with Theodosius marking (Antoine-Helbert.com)
The Cross-reliquary of Limburg
We go through the sources used to construct episode 168. We survey foreign visitors to Constantinople and the thoughts of local Byzantines on their monuments. Through this survey we begin to discover the Byzantine sense of their past.