This contribution explores some actions of Aelia Eudoxia and Arcadius in religious matters to argue that they responded to a duly hierarchical, concerted strategy and with roles distributed between them. The Augusta played the effective and necessary co-operator role in certain initiatives that the emperor could not undertake without having his image diminished.
In Late Antiquity, where the main values are violence, heroism and war, some queens embody, either symbolically or in a real way, a pacifying and conciliatory role, which kings are often not allowed to show. In this work, I analyse a series of testimonies in which queens act as peaceweavers, peacemakers, peacekeepers and mediators. I show that, although these actions are not usually the most outstanding nor the most valued in the sources, they are essential for the well-being, survival and stability of the barbarian kingdoms.
Queens Liuwigotho and Cixilo, two of the last known Visigothic queens, are analysed in a case study to stress the problems of their historical contextualisation and the historiographical debate around their significance, as queens and as female characters in a time where few sources are available.
The episcopate of Gregory the Great is a turning point in pontifical relations with the eastern Roman Empire and the western Germanic kingdoms, in which empresses and queens played a prominent role that has not been fully recognised by historiography. Through his epistles, the Gregorian attitude towards women with power and their political transcendence is analysed.
This chapter focuses on Eudokia Ingerina, the wife of the founder of the “Macedonian Dynasty” Basil I (867–886). While Basil has been the subject of much attention, Eudokia has tended to be side-lined. The chapter puts her centre stage, analysing how she is prominently presented in texts and images from the reigns of Basil and her son Leo VI (886–912). The dynasty should be described as that of both Basil and Eudokia.
Many Byzantine empresses of the eighth and ninth centuries are barely visible in the historical record, appearing in brief and often unfounded accounts. Nevertheless, it will be argued that, despite the problems inherent in the sources, these empresses are regularly depicted in ways that betray their active role in the private and public spheres.
In AD 1077, the town of Raidestos rebelled against the Byzantine government. Knowledge of this rebellion and the fact that it was led by a woman known as “Batatzina” mostly comes from Michael Attaleiates’ The History. This article explores previous scholarly analyses of the rebellion and explains the inclusion of Batatzina and her uprising in The History.
Irene is a historical character who is difficult to describe due to her complex and sometimes obscure character. While she was able to stem the Arab and Bulgarian military power, her reign was tainted by the murder of her only son. The only woman to rise to the status of “Emperor of the Romans”, she was also a saint because she eliminated iconoclasm.
This paper aims to reassess the history of Heraclius’ family and the role played by Martina in the turbulent events of 641. Martina’s political defeat was due to her economic lack of resources to support Heraclius II’s claims to the throne, the opposition of the imperial cubiculum, and the Constantinopolitan public opinion’s lack of solidarity. Finally, the article attempts to highlight the silent role of Gregoria (Constant II’s mother), who emerged as a winner from the struggle for power.