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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53400
Doc. No:TL23354
Call number:‭3195048‬
Main Entry:Ruma Niyogi
Title & Author:Gender, politics, and rhetoric in Byzantium, 1025–1081Ruma Niyogi
College:The University of Chicago
Date:2005
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2005
Page No:293
Abstract:This dissertation is a study in Byzantine historiography with specific emphasis on rhetoric, politics, and gender to show that Byzantine women in the eleventh century were active participants in imperial political history, instead of isolated phenomena separate from the historical record. This dissertation contends, firstly, that narrative and visual sources on Byzantine emperors, both male and female, represent biased and highly rhetorical views of imperial power. Secondly, imperial women, through their role as political legitimators, aided in creating and sustaining a unique imperial political view during the eleventh century---a political view that was affected by and contributed to the instability and fragmentation of this period. In summary, this dissertation makes the following conclusions: (1) The Chronographia of Michael Psellos follows a classical literary model that examines the decline of great empires and has colored his entire narrative and fundamentally affected the understanding of the text in modern scholarship. (2) Non-Greek sources, especially the Arabic source of Yayha ibn Sa' id, directly contradict Greek sources in key places. (3) Byzantine conceptions of imperial ideology are different in practice than in theory. (4) Feminist and comparative approaches to studying Byzantine women are not ideal methodologies for understanding the eleventh century since they are often ahistorical. (5) Visual evidence from the eleventh century supports the traditional, theoretical view of imperial ideology, yet elite narrative sources are often colored by politics and rhetoric. (6) The decline of the Byzantine empire in the eleventh century was not strictly a result of the mismanagement and ineptitude of imperial women, but rather was symptomatic of the overall imperial political, economic, and military decline of the eleventh century. Thus, this dissertation contributes to the understanding of Byzantine history in two ways. First, it demonstrates that questions about the power of imperial women in the eleventh century should not be focused on what the women did, but rather how the sources interpreted their actions. Second, it engages questions of imperial ideology and kaiserkritik to show that the narrative sources of Psellos and Skylitzes present biased accounts, that were often not in line with traditional representations of imperial ideology.
Subject:Social sciences; Byzantium; Gender; Politics; Rhetoric; Middle Ages; Womens studies; 0453:Womens studies; 0581:Middle Ages
Added Entry:W. E. Kaegi
Added Entry:The University of Chicago