Non-Fiction Books:

Imperial Women in Byzantium 1025-1204

Power, Patronage and Ideology


Paperback / softback

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Imperial Women in Byzantium 1025-1204 by Barbara Hill

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This, the second book to be published in the medieval tier of the series, Women and Men in History, will be essential reading for anyone studying Byzantine history in this period. It ranges in time from the death of the emperor Basil II in 1025 to the sacking of the city of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusaders in 1204, spanning the rise and fall of the successful Komnenos dynasty. Eleventh-century Byzantine history is unusual in that imperial women were able to wield immense power and in this ground-breaking book Dr Hill explores why this was possible and, equally, why they lost their position of influence a century later. The book opens with a long scene-setting introduction. Here, the author introduces the reader to the sources used, recent scholarship, and - more generally - Byzantine history, and women's place in Byzantine history, in this period. The core of the book explores the acquisition and exercise of imperial power by Byzantine women such as Zoe, Theodora, Anna Dalassene, and Maria of Antioch in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The importance of their role is emphasised by the examination of power holding in key areas of Byzantine life which were equally significant for women and men, like rank, kinship, patronage and politics. The purpose is to explain why visible, powerful women operating during the eleventh century disappear in the twelfth century. The book also explores what power imperial women were allowed to exercise by their society, what power they actually did exercise and if these two are different. Supplementing the main text is a glossary of specialist terms, a map of Constantinople, several figures, four family trees, a chronology of the main events, and an extensive bibliography sub-divided thematically. Although written with the needs of students and the non-specialist reader in mind, the book is sure to be equally welcomed by other scholars working in the field.BARBARA HILL was awarded a PhD in Byzantine Studies from the Queen's University of Belfast in 1994. Author of several scholarly articles, this is her first major book. Back cover illustrations by Danuta MayerBARBARA HILL was awarded a PhD in Byzantine Studies from the Queen's University of Belfast in 1994. Author of several scholarly articles, this is her first major book. Cover: Detail of a mosaic of the [Madonna and Child] with the Empress Eirene of Hungary (1118-1136). The mosaic is situated in the south gallery of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. Reproduced courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Gallery.Back cover illustrations by Danuta MayerVisit us on the world wide web site at http: //
Release date NZ
August 4th, 1999
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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