1st Edition

Secular Byzantine Women Art, Archaeology, and Ethnography of Female Material Culture from Late Roman to Post-Byzantine Times

Edited By Sophia Germanidou Copyright 2022
    244 Pages 84 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    244 Pages 84 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Secular Byzantine Women examines female material culture during the Late Roman, Byzantine, and Post-Byzantine eras, to better understand the lives of ordinary and humble women during this period.

    Although recent scholarship has contributed greatly to our knowledge of Byzantine and medieval women, such research has largely focused on female saints, imperial figures, and prominent women of local communities. But what about secular and non-privileged women? Bringing together scholars from various fields, including archaeology, history, theology, anthropology, and ethnography, this volume seeks to answer this important question. The chapters examine the everyday lives of lay women, including their working routines, their clothing, and precious possessions.

    This book will appeal to scholars and students of Byzantine history, art, and archaeology, as well as those interested in gender and material culture studies.

    Part I: Modest Vanity, Social Identity

    1. Women’s accessories from a bath house on Santorini (Thira), Cyclades (2th - 4th centuries)

    Marina Vogkli and Stavroula Papanikolopoulou

    2. Unheard voices of Early Byzantine childhood. On the custom of adorning secular girls with earrings as seen through the evidence of burials

    Susanne Metaxas

    3. Not even a band on my finger? Rings of non-elite women

    Florentia Evangelatou-Notara and Kalliope Mavrommati

    Part 2. Working Girls

    4. Women and beekeeping –a forbidden liaison? Scattered evidence with emphasis on Christian era (Byzantine – Medieval culture)

    Sophia Germanidou

    5. Eve at the forge: Byzantine women and manual labour. Comments on a rare iconographical theme and its connection to reality

    Konstantina Gerolymou

    6. Female family status during the Late Byzantine period; evidence from MS Parisinus graecus 135

    Eleni Barmparitsa

    7. Ordinary women in Byzantine funerary contexts from Greece; a view from the bones

    Paraskevi (Voula) Tritsaroli


    Part 3. Earthly delights, holy concerns

    8. The ‘transcendental’ role of woman in Early Patristics (theological and philosophical insights)

    Nevena Dimitrova

    9. Interpreting the female dances of "Ainoi" (Laudes) in the Post-Byzantine painting

    Magdalini Parcharidou

    Part 4. An ethnographic glimpse

    10. Illustrating the daily life of a woman in Mani during the Post-Byzantine period. A small contribution on the subject.

    Sofia Menenakou

    11. Womens’ work in pre-industrial rural Greece. An ethnographic point of view

    Andromachi Ekonomou


    Sophia Germanidou is currently a Marie Curie Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University. Her main interests include Byzantine iconography, vernacular architecture, and the investigation of rural activities in medieval communities.

    ‘A variety of sources and approaches motivates this collective female work that broadens our horizons in this fascinating area of Byzantine culture … Sofia Germanidou responded felicitously to the editorial task, achieving consistent scholarship, uniform, well-documented and convincing papers, amply supported both from primary sources and secondary modern bibliography. As a result, individually and collectively, the essays of the volume offer insight and make a meaningful contribution to the field’ - Byzantina Symmeikta, Volume 32 (2022).