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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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Mothers and Daughters in the Medieval Greek World

Mothers and Daughters in the Medieval Greek World

(p.80) 4 Mothers and Daughters in the Medieval Greek World
Unrivalled Influence

Judith Herrin

Princeton University Press

This chapter surveys the pattern of the female life cycle that defined most possibilities for women in Byzantium, and explores elements of maternal education, together with the alternative that allowed women to opt out of procreation by dedicating themselves to Christ. It concludes that maternity obviously demanded a certain competence, which was passed through the generations by oral traditions; mothers, grandmothers, and other female relatives might have a profound influence. Within feminine monasteries, abbesses exercised a spiritual maternity over their younger nuns. But for the great majority who had no choice in the matter, maternal roles were constructed and reconstructed at every period, reinforcing the links between mothers and daughters and according women in Byzantium an unrivalled influence.

Keywords:   female life cycle, maternal education, feminine monasteries, maternal roles, mothers, daughters, Byzantium, Byzantine women

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