Byzantine Empire

Mosaic of Theodora and attendants, Basilica de San Vitale (547). Image Credit:,_Italy).jpg, Petar Milošević.

The Byzantine Empire, also known as Byzantium or the Eastern Roman Empire at points during its history, emerged as the continuation of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire during the Late Antique and Middle Ages. It survived until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Byzantium was a centre not only for culture and religion, but also a stopping point for crusaders en route to the Holy Land. At its geographical height during the fourth century, the many ruling dynasties of the empire never succeeded in returning it to its former boundaries, though eastern expansion contributed to its cultural and economic development. Throughout the medieval period there were several prominent female rulers and consorts, and you can find out more about some of them below!


Garland, Lynda. Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium, AD 527–1204. London: Routledge, 1999

Garland, Lynda. “Conformity and License at the Byzantine Court in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries: The Case of Imperial Women.” Byzantinische Forschungen 21 (1995): 101–115

Garland, Lynda. ““The Eye of the Beholder”: Byzantine Imperial Women and their Public Image from Zoe Porphyrogenita to Euphrosyne Kamaterissa Doukaina (1028–1203).” Byzantion 64 (1994): 19­–39

Halkin, François. “Deux Impératrices de Byzance.” Analecta Bollandiana 106 (1998): 5–34

Herrin, Judith. Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001

Hill, Barbara. Imperial Women in Byzantium, 1025–1204: Power, Patronage, and Ideology. New York: Longman, 1999

James, Liz and Barbara Hill. “Women and Politics in the Byzantine Empire: Imperial Women.” In Women in Medieval Western European Culture, edited by Linda E. Mitchell, 157-178. New York: Garland, 1999

Karagianni, Alexandra. “Female Monarchs in the Medieval Byzantine Court: Prejudice, Disbelief, and Calumnies.” In Queenship in the Mediterranean. Negotiating the Role of the Queen in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras, edited by Elena Woodacre, 9–25. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

McClanan, Anne L. Representations of Early Byzantine Empresses: Image and Empire. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

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