IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 318: The Late Antique Empress, II: How to Read, Write, and View Imperial Women

Monday 2 July 2018, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Women's Classical Committee / Medieval & Ancient Research Centre, University of Sheffield (MARCUS)
Organisers:Julia Hillner, Department of History, University of Sheffield
Victoria Leonard, Institute of Classical Studies, University of London
Moderator/Chair:Robin Whelan, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge
Paper 318-aEmpress, Interrupted: Writing the Biography of a Late Antique Imperial Woman
(Language: English)
Julia Hillner, Department of History, University of Sheffield
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Gender Studies, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Women's Studies
Paper 318-bWomen on the Move: Representations of Imperial Women and Urban Space in Late Antique Rome and Constantinople
(Language: English)
Robert Heffron, Department of History, University of Sheffield
Index terms: Gender Studies, Geography and Settlement Studies, Women's Studies
Paper 318-cLate Antique Empresses and the Queen of Heaven: On the Correlation between Sacred and Secular in the Imagery of a Female Potentate
(Language: English)
Maria Lidova, British Museum, London / Wolfson College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Art History - General, Byzantine Studies, Gender Studies, Women's Studies

Historical studies on late antique empresses have usually been biographies of well-known empresses or single dynasties. This session – the first of two proposed – offers an interdisciplinary perspective on imperial women’s representation and agency. It explores three methodological approaches to the topic: biography, topography, and iconography. Paper -a assesses the benefits and challenges of the biographical approach in light of gender history, paper -b investigates how the study of public space impacts on our understanding of imperial women’s role at court, paper -c analyses the relationship between the late antique empress’s image and the cult of the Virgin Mary.