The papers in this volume derive from the 31st Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies held for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies at the University of Sussex, Brighton, in March 1997. Desire, sex, love and the erotic are not terms usually associated with Byzantium and Byzantine Studies, unlike celibacy, virginity and asceticism, which more readily spring to mind. In order to examine whether the balance between these two extremes needed redressing, desire and denial was adopted as the theme for this symposium. The papers in this volume, by a group of international scholars, explore the many different aspects of Byzantine perceptions towards their own humanity and the frailties of that humanity. Using evidence from archaeology, art history and literary texts, ranging from sermons to legal documents, these chapters reveal writings about love, both secular and religious; images of sexuality and sensuality; the law; and Byzantine attitudes to bodies and the senses. What the symposium illustrated is that the question of desires in the Byzantine world is significant, and that such desires can offer insights into Byzantine conceptions of their own world.
Contents: Preface; Section I: Love Letters?: From Byzantium, with love, Margaret Mullett; ’Shutting the gates of the soul’: spiritual treatises on resisting the passions, Mary B. Cunningham; Section II: Do as your Father tells you: The sexual and social dangers of Pornai in the Septuagint Greek stratum of patristic Christian Greek thought, Kathy L. Gaca; Manly women and womanly men: the subintroductae and John Chrysostom, Aideen Hartney; Anastasios of Sinai’s teaching on body and soul, Joseph A. Munitiz; Divine sex: Patriarch Methodios’s concept of virginity, Dirk KrausmÃ¼ller; The city a desert: Theodore of Stoudios on porneia, Peter Hatlie; Section III: Problems with Bodies: Desires denied: marriage, adultery and divorce in early Byzantine law, Bernard Stolte; Body vs column: the cults of St Symeon Stylites, Antony Eastmond; Christian bodies: the senses and early Byzantine Christianity, Béatrice Caseau; Writing on the body: memory, desire, and the holy in iconoclasm, Charles Barber; Section IV: Fine Manly Bodies: Passing the test of sanctity: denial of sexuality and involuntary castration, Kathryn M. Ringrose; In denial: same-sex desire in Byzantium, Dion C. Smythe; Michael III and Basil the Macedonian: just good friends?, Shaun Tougher; Section V: Byzantine Erotica: Ninth-century classicism and the erotic muse, Marc Lauxtermann; Erotic imagery on Byzantine ivory caskets, John Hanson; Ostentatio genitalium: displays of nudity in Byzantium, Barabara Zeitler; Section VI: Conclusion: Desire in Byzantium” the Ought and the Is, Averil Cameron; Index.
This series publishes a selection of papers delivered at the annual British Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, now held under the auspices of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies. These meetings began fifty years ago in the University of Birmingham and have built an international reputation. Themes cover all aspects of Byzantine history and culture, with papers presented by chosen experts. Selected papers from the symposia have been published regularly since 1992 in a series of titles which have themselves become established as major contributions to the study of the Byzantine world.