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Holy Byzantine Women - Term Paper Example

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 Byzantine Holy Women Jessica Schuette Wayne State University  Byzantine Holy Women Introduction The history of the Byzantine Empire is fascinating. The accounts we have of Byzantine life allow us to have a glimpse into the political, religious, social, economic life of a time long gone…
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Download file to see previous pages While we do have well documented accounts of powerful empresses, it is often more beneficial to understand the plight of the average Byzantine woman to truly understand the inner-workings of this particular civilization. Many women during this time period were quite religious and became the saints of their particular generation. Thankfully we do have some wonderful and cherished memories of their lives that will prove most helpful in this endeavor. It is important to see, through the perspective of history, the important role that women played in many different aspects of Byzantine society. This will allow us to envision that life, without Byzantine women, would have been difficult at best. Through a careful examination of four different holy Byzantine holy women, we will establish that the economic, social, and religious contributions of the common Byzantine woman enabled the continued existence of this society for centuries.  Biographical Analysis Saint Theodora of Arta is the first holy woman we will discuss. As is typical of Byzantine women, we do not know exactly when she was born, but it must have been somewhere between 1224 and 1230. She was from Servia and her father was John Pertraliphas. He was quite famous in his own right, being the governor of Thessaly and Macedonia. She became married to the ruler of Epirus and Thessaly, apparently when she was still a child. This happened shortly after the husband’s accession to the throne in 1231. She became saintly due to her circumstances. Her husband preferred his mistress, which meant that Theodora was not allowed in the house or on the grounds, forcing her into a life of poverty on the streets. From written accounts, she suffered through these various hardships without complaining, even while she was pregnant, eventually gaining the attention of a village priest. The priest gave her shelter for nearly five years until Theodora’s husband saw the error of his ways and invited his wife back to live with him. From this account, we envision that Theodora’s mind and heart was pure. She did not choose the life she was given, yet she remained of positive attitude and worked hard to do right by her child and her God. Over the course of her life, she founded the convent of St. George, which was in Arta, and actually lived there after her husband died. To this day, her tomb is a pilgrimage site and many have ascribed miracles to it. Another saintly woman that we have a written account of is Saint Thomais of Lesbos. Thomais was in Lesbos, but spent much of her life in Constantinople. Subsequently, much of what we know about her is confined to that region. The parents of Thomais were named Michael and Kale. From all accounts, they were quite a pious and god-fearing couple. In addition, they were happy as a couple, so we are left to assume that Thomais was raised in a solid and pleasant environment and, while they did not have much, she received love and compassion at home. Sadly, her particular marriage was not so happy. She married Stephen and we read that their marriage was a disaster. Thomais was perfectly content staying at home with her parents, and did so until the age of 24, perhaps foreshadowing her own fear of marriage. She did not have children of her own. During her adult life, she was in the habit of walking the streets of Constantinople and was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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