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Barsauma and the Emperors

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon Corcoran


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Barsauma’s visits to Constantinople and interactions with the emperors and their officials are key features in the later part of the narrative in the Life, that help to define Barsauma as a champion of true Orthodoxy from the non-Chalcedonian view-point. These episodes also deal with persons and events attested in other ancient evidence and so can enable us to assess the author’s sources, knowledge and intentions in managing, manipulating, or even inventing his material. For the purposes of this study, I presume that the sections about Barsauma and the emperors have a single author, and side-step any debates about interpolated or revised chapters. My analysis is divided into three sections. In the first I discuss the relations between Barsauma and Theodosius II (r. 402-450), in particular the Barsauma letters issued in the context of the Second Council of Ephesus. In the second, I discuss the contrasting situation of relations between Barsauma and the court and officials of Marcian (r. 450-457) and his wife, Pulcheria (Augusta 414-453), and the events surrounding the Council of Chalcedon. The final section is much briefer, considering the the Life’s unusual view of Valentinian III (r. 425-455). I pass over another imperial, the Augusta Eudocia, since she appears with a rather different role in a distinct part of the Life concerning Barsauma’s interactions with the Jews in the Holy Land, which episodes are well discussed in Drijver’s chapter elsewhere in the volume.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Corcoran S

Editor(s): Hahn J; Menze V

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The Wandering Holy Man: The Life of Barsauma, Christian Asceticism and Religious Conflict in Late Antique Palestine

Year: 2020

Pages: 25-49

Print publication date: 01/06/2020

Online publication date: 16/05/2020

Acceptance date: 30/09/2018

Edition: 1

Series Title: Transformation of the Classical Heritage

Publisher: University of California Press

Place Published: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London


Notes: Ebook ISBN 9780520972957

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780520304147