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Unrivalled InfluenceWomen and Empire in Byzantium$
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Judith Herrin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153216

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153216.001.0001

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Women in Byzantium

Women in Byzantium

(p.1) 1 Women in Byzantium
Unrivalled Influence

Judith Herrin

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents a 2009 lecture titled “We Are All Children of Byzantium”, given at the 19th Annual Runciman Lecture at King's College London. The lecture discussed the gendered character of the imperial court in Constantinople, which brought into focus a set of forces from Roman law to Greek education and Christian monogamy that permitted the quite exceptional, continuous influence of women at the center of the Byzantine Empire through its 1,100 years. Although the empire shared an overwhelmingly patriarchal culture and forms of male domination and female marginalization found in all premodern societies, women can frequently be seen to exercise power. How was it that women so often exercised influence over the millennial empire?

Keywords:   Byzantium, Byzantine culture, Byzantine women, Constantinople, imperial court, Byzantine Empire

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