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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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Toleration and Repression within the Byzantine Family

Toleration and Repression within the Byzantine Family

Gender Problems

(p.261) 12 Toleration and Repression within the Byzantine Family
Unrivalled Influence

Judith Herrin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the concepts of toleration and repression in the Byzantine context. It begins by surveying the framework of patriarchy inherited from Late Antiquity and then proposes several areas of research. Within the household and family, any attempt to study toleration and repression has to be considered under the omnipotent authority of the pater familias. How does this power repress different family members? Do any of them manage to subvert this authority? In hagiographical sources in particular women appear trying to circumvent the patria potestas, especially when it has condemned them to a life they do not wish to lead. Is this more frequently imagined than put into effect? The problematic nature of these stories requires careful textual analysis. Nonetheless, all types of sources concur in the critical power of fathers to decide how the other members of the family shall behave in order to maintain and expand family wealth and resources through strategic marriage alliances.

Keywords:   patriarchy, Byzantium, Byzantine family, toleration, repression, pater familias, fathers, patria potestas

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