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Byzantine Women and Their Role in Byzantine History - Essay Example

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Name Student identification Course Institution Date (all above optional – if you need them) History and Political Science Topic Society, Politics and Culture in Byzantium; Byzantine Women and their Roles in Byzantine History: Clues from the Vitae of the Holy Women of Byzantium Outline Accounts of the lives of holy women in Byzantium are used to illustrate how valuable such biographies are to assist the modern historian to derive some knowledge and clarity regarding Byzantine society generally…
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Byzantine Women and Their Role in Byzantine History
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Download file to see previous pages The focus then becomes women and their roles in Byzantine society. Women’s challenges, power relationships, and even their daily routines are revealed in these stories of holy individual women, from all walks of life. Each of the saints is used to illustrate to a greater or lesser degree, the following aspects of Byzantine women’s lives: Marital violence Transvestite monks Travel for women Married women as saints The conclusion is then reached that the Vitae of the Holy Women of Byzantium are valuable historical tools, of interest to modern audiences because of their relevance to modern women’s rights movements. The Essay Introduction This paper explores the information to be gained from accounts of the lives of holy women in Byzantium as they are recounted in texts called vitae – the stories of these women’s lives as summarized by biographers, showing their holiness and aspects of their lives relating to their sainthood (B). The stories are used to illustrate how such accounts are highly valuable to assist the modern historian to derive some knowledge and clarity about these women and their lives and position in their society (A). While the focus will remain on the women and their role in Byzantine society, some points are also to be made about the social, economic, cultural and political conditions within Byzantine society (A). Women’s challenges, power relationships, and even their daily routines are revealed in these stories of holy individual women, from all walks of life (D). With this in mind, the essay begins with an overview of the contents of these vitae. It then explores the dynamic and relevant information revealed through these texts, in the descriptions, sometimes seemingly incidental descriptions, giving clues as to the politics and culture of the time. Especially the roles, conditions and behaviors of these women are then highlighted, and provide insight into the lives of these historical women, for comparison with modern women, and their striving toward equity and respect in modern, western societies (C). It is concluded that the texts provided, while not completely factually accurate as they could be, do give a modern reader and researcher valuable insight into more than just the biographical details of a group of admirable and notable Holy Women in Byzantium. The Vitae and Byzantine Society Written to prove the holiness of a particular person before the recognition of a person as holy by the church, a person’s vita would illustrate why that individual had the qualities required to be what is today understood as a Saint (General Introduction, p. viii). What is convenient to the modern historian, though, is that the descriptions and comments the writers of a vita would use to illustrate the life of the potential saint, are valuable personalized and direct clues which reveal many aspects of the daily lives of people in Byzantine society. To some degree, also, historical events described in these texts assist to verify dates, rulers, political conditions and even the general societal and cultural attitudes of ordinary people in this society. It appears that the outward signs of religious devotion in this society often depended on the philanthropic acts of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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