"Empresses, Bishops and Exile in Late Antiquity: A Quantitative Approach," Julia Hillner, Sheffield University

March 8, 2018
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 5:00pm
Dulles Hall, Room 250
Julia Hillner

Abstract: Hundreds of Christian clerics were banished during late antiquity (4th-6th centuries). This phenomenon is traditionally investigated from the perspective of either banished cleric or banishing emperor and council. This paper will approach the topic from a different angle. It will investigate the relationships between banished clerics and late antique imperial women, which our sources mention consistently for the entire period. Drawing on data collected by the Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity project database (https://www.dhi.ac.uk/clericalexile/), as well as quantitative methods championed by this project such as social network analysis, I will discuss how late antique authors exploited these (at times fabricated) relationships for their narrative agendas. I will argue that this approach does not only deepen our understanding of clerical exile, but also yields new insight into the changing status of the late Roman empress, as such bringing together two vibrant research fields.

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