This course has concessions available

New – Whore, Saint Or Beauty Queen Byzantine Empresses

The careers of women such as Theodora, Irene and Zoe allow us to see how the role of the empress developed and the ways in which exceptional women could wield power in a man's world.

Who is this course for

This course is for anyone with an enquiring mind. No previous knowledge is necessary.
The careers of women such as Theodora, Irene and Zoe allow us to see how the role of the empress developed and the ways in which exceptional women could wield power in a man's world.

What does this course cover

In the Byzantine Empire power was vested in the emperor. Nevertheless a number of empresses played an important part in government and even took control of the empire. Most commonly, empresses came to power as regents for young sons; caretakers until the young emperor came of age. However, not all regents were ready to step aside!
We will discuss the careers of a number of women including: Theodora (d.548) who began her career as a circus acrobat, and Irene (d.803) who must be unique in history in her combination of sainthood and filicide.
By the end of the day you should be able to:
1. Explain the difference between the role of royal consorts in the medieval Latin and Greek states
2. Describe how Byzantine empresses could achieve and maintain power and their limitations by reference to the careers of at least two women.
3. Identify visual iconography used to depict empresses in the visual art.

What will it be like

There will be two presentations during which handouts will be studied and discussion actively encouraged. We will look at visual images in small groups and feedback thereon to the group.
You are encouraged to bring along/describe items you have read in newspapers/heard on radio/seen on TV you think may be of interest to the group.
At the end of the day you will be invited to provide feedback on the course and comment on how far you feel you have progressed.

What else do you need to buy or do

Note-taking materials If you wish to read further on this subject I would recommend: L. Garland, Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204 OR J. Herrin Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium.

What this course could lead to

Concessions:

This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact Mandy Yu, the course administrator.

Unavailable Classes:

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