Aspasia and Cleopatra Metrodora: Female pioneers of Medicine in the Christian Roman Empire

In this article we bring to your knowledge two obscure but very important female figures for the History of Medicine, Aspasia and Cleopatra Metrodora. They both lived in the times of the Christian Roman Empire (‘Byzantium’).   Continue reading “Aspasia and Cleopatra Metrodora: Female pioneers of Medicine in the Christian Roman Empire”

Advertisements

Popular And Aristocratic Cultural Trends in Byzance – Part 2

by Ann Wharton Epstein 

© University of California Press

Within the elite, however, clothing did not greatly vary. Ιn this, Byzantium contrasts with late antiquity, when dress reflected class and professional affiliation quite explicitly. Sailors, doctors, lawyers, and teachers, besides senators, each had their particular costume. Such differentiation among the largest sectors of society probably disappeared during the general collapse of urban life in the seventh and eighth centuries. Dress remained a mirror of rank only at a court. There dignitaries were assigned their different colors, special embroideries, and distinct embellishments. The city prefect (eparch), for example, wore a black and white tunic (chiton); its colors symbolized “the judicial axe,” the illegal black being separated from the lawful white (Chr. Mytil. nο. 30). The sebastokrator wore blue shoes and the protovestiarios was entitled to green shoes. Red sandals and purple garments were the prerogative of the emperor, although by the end of the twelfth century a few high officials of the court had the right not οnly to wear purple themselves, but also to adorn their horses with it.(16) Continue reading “Popular And Aristocratic Cultural Trends in Byzance – Part 2”

Popular And Aristocratic Cultural Trends in Byzance – Part 1

by Ann Wharton Epstein 

© University of California Press

Byzantine tendencies toward urbanization and feudalization and the concomitant economic development in the provinces in the eleventh and twelfth centuries certainly affected contemporary culture, although different sectors of society reacted in distinct ways. Ιn Byzantium the peasantry and craft-working classes have left few traces. Even aristocrats and intellectuals can be οnly partially envisioned from their documents and monuments. The subject of this chapter is thus primarily the elite of the society. Twο seemingly contradictory inclinations may be identified within that stratum: first, a popular one, through a consideration of the religion and the mundane habits of the Rhomaioi; and second, an aristocratic one, as apparent from an analysis of family structure and ideal types. Further evidence of both trends is found in Byzantine art and literature. Continue reading “Popular And Aristocratic Cultural Trends in Byzance – Part 1”

The reasons why the term ‘Byzantine’, used to describe the Christian Roman Empire, is incorrect and dangerous

There is no period of history which has been so much obscured by incorrect and misleading titles as the period of the later Roman Empire. It is, I believe, more due to improper names than one might at first be disposed to admit, that the import of that period is so constantly misunderstood and its character so often misrepresented. For the first step towards grasping the history of those centuries through which the ancient evolved into the modern world is the comprehension of the fact that the old Roman Empire did not cease to exist until the year 1453. The line of Roman Emperors continued in unbroken succession from Octavius Augustus to Constantine Palaeologus. Continue reading “The reasons why the term ‘Byzantine’, used to describe the Christian Roman Empire, is incorrect and dangerous”

The Libraries in the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) – The monastic library

The monastic library

The monastic libraries, or the libraries of the monasteries, began their history with the advent of the organized monasticism (this will happen after 313, when the emperor Constantine together with Licinius issued an edict of religious tolerance for the Christians in the Empire, at Mediolanum). Continue reading “The Libraries in the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) – The monastic library”

The Libraries in the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) – The patriarchal library

The patriarchal library

The patriarchal library (it should be noted that the title of ecumenical patriarch, referring to the bishop of Constantinople, appears around the year 582, when St. John the Faster (582-595) starts signing the official documents with the title of ecumenical patriarch. Starting with this year, all the patriarchs of Constantinople will take on this title. Therefore, we cannot properly speak of a patriarchal library between the years 330-582. We can speak at best of a library belonging to the Diocese and Archdioceses of Constantinople. However, as most historians use the term of patriarchal library, we will also use this option) was founded in the same year as the imperial library, having again Emperor Constantine the Great as protector (Ilie, 2007, p. 6). Together with the imperial library, the patriarchal library was one of the largest existing libraries in Byzantium, and was intended for the use of the patriarch and the clergy who were part of Constantine’s entourage. Continue reading “The Libraries in the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) – The patriarchal library”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑