Sacred Founders: Women, Men, and Gods in the Discourse of Imperial Founding, Rome through Early Byzantium

Sacred Founders: Women, Men, and Gods in the Discourse of Imperial Founding, Rome through Early Byzantium

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 0520284011

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Diliana Angelova argues that from the time of Augustus through early Byzantium, a discourse of “sacred founders”—articulated in artwork, literature, imperial honors, and the built environment—helped legitimize the authority of the emperor and his family. The discourse coalesced around the central idea, bound to a myth of origins, that imperial men and women were sacred founders of the land, mirror images of the empire’s divine founders. When Constantine and his formidable mother Helena established a new capital for the Roman Empire, they initiated the Christian transformation of this discourse by brilliantly reformulating the founding myth. Over time, this transformation empowered imperial women, strengthened the cult of the Virgin Mary, fueled contests between church and state, and provoked an arresting synthesis of imperial and Christian art. Sacred Founders presents a bold interpretive framework that unearths deep continuities between the ancient and medieval worlds, recovers a forgotten transformation in female imperial power, and offers a striking reinterpretation of early Christian art.

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analyze in depth several churches, known from excavated remains and/or literary and epigraphic testimony, to explore their founding and assess the symbolic capital they brought to their patrons. These are Eudoxia’s church in Gaza, Galla Placidia’s church of St. John the Evangelist in Ravenna, and three of Anicia Juliana’s churches in Constantinople and its vicinity. THE EUDOXIANA IN GAZA The Vita Porphyrii, attributed to Mark the Deacon (fl. fifth century), is the primary source for the history

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 103 (5):652–86. Drake, H.A. 1976. In Praise of Constantine: A Historical Study and New Translation of Eusebius’ Trincennial Orations. Classical Studies 15. Berkeley: University of California Press. ———. 1985a. “Eusebius on the Cross.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 36:1–22. ———. 1985b. “Suggestions of Date in Constantine’s Oration to the Saints.” American Journal of Philology 106 (3):335–49. ———. 1989. “Policy and Belief in Constantine’s

Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae. Zurich: Artemis. Levick, B. 1978. “Concordia at Rome.” In Scripta Nummaria Romana: Essays Presented to H. Sutherland, ed. K.A.G. Carson and C. Kraay, 217–33. London: Spink and Son. Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae. 1981–97. Ed. H.C. Ackermann and J.-R. Gisler. Zurich: Artemis. Lexicon topographicum urbis Romae. 1993–2000. 6 vols. Ed. E.M. Steinby. Rome: Quasar. Liddell, H.G., R. Scott, and H.S. Jones. 1996. A Greek-English Lexicon.

3, 112, 118, 134–35, 142, 164, 245, 267, 272; obeisance to God, 223; obligations of, 135; paludamenta of, 249; proskunēsis to, 194–98; piety of, 135; queenship of, 255; reciprocal gifts from the populace, 221; residences of, 148; respect for bishops, 216–17; role in imperial succession, 201; with royal symbols, 189, 190; Virgin Mary and, 250–52, 255–59. See also Augustae, Roman Christian; imperial women, Roman Christian Ennius, on augury, 23 Ephesus, coinage of, 105 Ephrem the Syrian, hymns to

IVLIA DOMNA AVG(VSTA) points to a date early in her reign. Similar coins were issued for the emperor.171 The connection between an empress and the cult of Roma in Rome may anticipate Julia Domna’s influence in matters of government.172 Dio Cassius reports that during the reign of Caracalla, Julia was in charge of receiving petitions and Caracalla’s correspondence in Greek and Latin, and that her name “in terms of high praise, together with [Caracalla’s] and that of the legions” was included “in

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