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The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

Hastings' practice of succession limited visibility and influence of Vandal queens, and, ironically, upheavals that these practices periodically caused were in some cases glimpses of wider Sole Cause for royal women.

These women appear either when stability or continuity of regime appears to be under threat, or in context of diplomatic alliances. In recounting these events, royal women are once again more exposed than surrogate mothers.

However, moment of political crisis means significant influence in kingdom's elite network. They also believe that this influence was not connected with power of king and did not exist at his court, but in various families of Vandal princes.

In this sense, it is clear that women of Hastings dynasty were again separated from representation and exercise of royal power by Vandals.

The political assassinations that followed alleged plot are most inflammatory incidents to mention women of Hastings, reflecting more widespread political violence in post-Roman West.

The authors argue that discovering institutions accessible to them requires, paradoxically, a narrative of a series of violent incidents against them that led to their murder, mutilation, or sexual exploitation.

The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

Early in Geseric's reign, king ordered unnamed widow of his brother Gundrik to be drowned in Amsaga River near Silta, Numidia. Constantine of Algiers, who killed her unnamed children, who were, of course, potential rivals for throne.

Victor of Veta does not date events, they either took place shortly after Gandrik's death or are related to a rebellion put down by Gaiseric in 442.

Another form of political violence may also be associated with this uprising.

The sixth-century historian of Constantinople, Jordanes, reported plot as a pretext for dismemberment and abandonment of Hungary's first wife, an unnamed Visigothic princess, in an alleged attempt to poison Gezeric, king had her nose cut off, her ears cut off, and she was sent back to her father in Gaul.

This claim was probably fabricated or used to provide grounds for a unilateral divorce between king and heir, to arrange a marriage between Huneric and Valentinian III's five-year-old daughter Eudoxia.

The significance of this meeting was spelled out by Jonathan Conant in Hetheric's wider diplomatic maneuvers in Mediterranean to get Ravenna to recognize his place in imperial power politics.

Conspiracies led to sack of Rome in 455 after assassination of Valentine and forcible kidnapping of Eudoxia, along with her mother Eudoxia and her sister Placidia.

Some time after she was taken to Africa, Eudoxia married a Hungarian:By agreement with Eastern Emperor Leo, in 461-462, Eudoxia and Placidia were sent to Constantinople.

The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

Eudokia was imprisoned in Carthage for about sixteen years, giving Huneric a son, Childeric, and other unnamed children, before retiring to Jerusalem, following path of women of empire of previous fifth century. She died in early 470s. .

Eudoxia's forced stay in Carthage is a black box and illustrates analytical and ethical difficulties of reconstructing experience of women in late ancient dynasty, and value of an imperial concubine to Hastings dynasty is obvious.

Gezeric and Huneric used this family connection several times to advance their cause in Constantinople and Eastern Court responded in kind, later using one of Eudokia's family as messengers, her symbol is a patent, as can be seen by making his son his heir.

When Childeric finally became king, his regime touted his imperial heritage as a sign of his legitimacy, and a brief ode by Carthaginian poet Luxorius, preserved in a Latin anthology, describes images of king at his residence in Anclas. to celebrate his dual lineage and his descent from emperors Theodosius, Honorius and Valentinian III.

However, this made Eudoxia a potential political player, rather than a passive vessel for public speaking and diplomatic assertions of Hastings empire, and an incubator for Hastings' descendants.

What is even more difficult to determine is that her marriage to Huneric may have been long-awaited, but backstory of marriage, contracted by force in captivity, deprived her of political resources and connections that could normally support status of a woman used for diplomatic marriages .

An Imperial treaty that more firmly cemented her position would simultaneously rob her of her local network of support, and continued unrest in western court, coupled with Geteric's continued desire to maintain her heritage as a condition of treaty negotiations, would set her against more extensive political and diplomatic assistance isolated.

Eudokia's first recorded initiative in Carthage was her last: her supposed escape to Jerusalem, and even then it is hard to see how she could have left without royal permission, as early 9th-century historian Theophanes suggests.

Perhaps Eudoxia's position is best understood as "prisoner of war and "bride won by spear", like Gala Plessy, who was recently revisited by Victoria Leonard. A parallel case with Galla Placidia.

Of course, her disagreement with marriage and subsequent marriages should not be hushed up: after all, unlike Placidia and Atolfos, late antique and early Byzantine authors do not explain what coercion was.

While it is important to separate her lack of sexual activity from her potential political role, fifteen years in Carthage, including ten years of imperial marriage recognition that led to birth of a rightful heir, seemed to be a long one. politically onfor some time.

The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

Prisoners of war and enslaved women who became wives or concubines in Merovingian Gaul could establish themselves as political players after being made wives or concubines by their royal owners.

Count Sebastian, another imperial figure who sought refuge in Carthage after being expelled from Empire and Visigoth court, became a major player in Carthage in 440s.

As wife of heir, Eudoxia may gain more political influence, but this remains incomprehensible: we are told that all Eudoxia did in Carthage was have children and leave.

With exception of Damira, daughter of Vandal prince Augis, who received an epitaph from Luxorius when she died at age of three, remaining prominent Vandal female royals emerge in early 480s amid Hungary's purge of hostile family members and their supporters.

They include conspiracy execution of unnamed wife of his brother and heir presumptive Diodoric, shameful exile of his unnamed daughter after Dioderic died in exile, and his nephew Godaji Si and his unnamed wife in exile.

As with vandal queens, same is true for wider category of royal women: we just don't see them in day-to-day business of government.

However, extreme circumstances in which they found themselves underlined influence these women had in judicial network, and Victor of Vita, when discussing Hungarian purges, was most outspoken of various reports of mistreatment following conspiracy charges.

Diodoric's unnamed wife was "cunning" and believed to be able to "arm her husband and their eldest son with harsher advice to tyrant, these supposed plots highlight that these royal women are believed to have continued resources, especially in context of individual households provided to princes of vandals.

These families provided support for a wider range of officials and nobility, and, as Victor describes, one of many stages of Hungarian purge included execution of other counts and nobility who were considered supporters of Order.

Author's comment: As stated earlier, execution of Gaiseric's will is not inevitable:It can be challenged each time a transfer of power is to take place.

The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

It was also always possible to overthrow an incumbent king, and this struggle for office provided opportunities for royal women to act as intermediaries, but these opportunities took on a special form due to Hastings's wider distribution of power: both metaphorically through royal family, and spatially establish parallel families as alternative bases of power.

Vandal women royals have been accused of conspiring to overthrow king from outside rather than within his family, whether in palaces in city of Carthage, most likely old consular residence on Byres Hill, or in his own suburbs. influence on other royal favorites.

These accounts of alleged intrigue are closest surviving texts to a representation of women's political representation in Vandal court, and once again show how far these women were from centers of power.

Describing consequences of Reconquista, Procopius of Caesarea described victory of general Belisarius on his return to Constantinople in 534.

Historians note that among vandal war trophies on display are "coaches that used to transport king's wives", indicating that Vandal queen participated in prestigious submissions in court.

It is possible that when Amara's consorts Frida, Childeric, or Gelimer crossed Carthage or built country dwellings within realm, they were a clear reminder of Vandal regime and unique power of Hastings dynasty.

The captured carriage of Belisarius shows that we should not underestimate Vandals' contribution to queen as an expression of their power.

The target of Visigothic princess, Eudoxia and Amara Frida, in dynasty's forays into Mediterranean power politics, and resources and networks implied by allegations of a conspiracy against princess, against Amara Frida Da, against Gandric and unnamed wife of Dioderic.

The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

Moments such as Procopius mentioning queen's carriage or Victor describing Hungarian purges strongly suggest that royal women may have been more involved in self-presentation and court politics of Vandal regime than our texts allow.

At same time, however, this paucity of evidence points to a fundamental limitation on political power and agency of women in Vandal Carthage.

Of course, it should be noted that similar restrictions arose in parallel political contexts of late Roman and post-Roman worlds.

Recent personal research reflects changing political dynamics of representation and activities of empresses and empresses in Late Antiquity.

These narratives suggest that aspects of wider political landscape of 5th century West led to absence of women politicians in contemporary historical narratives and to specific restrictions on women's political activity.

First, an important article by Audrey Becker-Piliou shows that in a context where power relations are often volatile, imperial and royal women are often viewed simply as "pawns in diplomatic service" in internal trade transactions.

More broadly, political structure of first successor kingdoms seems closer to a return to military rule of third and fourth centuries, and therefore closer to practical and ideological role of dynastic women.

As recent work has shown, women of Tetrarchy were rarely used as political capital in homosexual social world of male family ties between co-rulers.

The women of Constantine and Valentinian dynasties also appeared from time to time as fourth century passed, and it was only in infant emperors of late fourth and early fifth centuries that imperial women took on a definite figure, as protagonists of these regimes are inevitably bound by courts and struggle for self-assertion during adulthood.

Theodosius' children established a new order in Constantinople before Heraclius at beginning of seventh century: emperor did not personally participate in campaign.

The resilience of their Western counterparts set stage for rise of a powerful generalissimo, fueling ambitions of warlords like Geiselik.

This new military rule set in motion conditions unfavorable for creation of a literary concept of spouse and establishment of its influence through intimacy and ceremonial acts, transformation of leader of clan into ruler of kingdom, and special forms of legitimation that follow from this. help put restraint of vandal women in context.

The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

Of particular relevance here is Smith's recent discussion of how contemporaries built Merovingian dynasty through Clovis's male line, which has important parallels with Hastings' emphasis on Gaiseric, albeit against backdrop of greater queen influence.

Perhaps power of these kings continued to grow in their armies even as they established strong relationships with Roman nobility, leading contemporaries to believe that their power passed from person to person.

The author believes that from very beginning Vandal regime marked its conquest of Carthage in 439 as beginning of its reign.

This wider fifth-century Mediterranean context contextualizes Vandal cause to some extent, but it cannot take us that far.

Firstly, it is in Vandalistic Africa that we can expect a speedy transition to more traditional dynastic legitimate forms, and, of course, Hastings were first new barbarian leaders who announced separate power and institutions of self-government, which and autonomous institutions were rooted in late Roman provincial elite.

Their strategy of legitimization soon included a conscious acceptance of aspects of Roman political self-representation, and furthermore, military exploits of Vandal rulers were often not focus of surviving texts.

Honestly, this was partly because kings after Gaiseric didn't have much success to boast of, though military victories were certainly part of Vandal rule.

Instead, some of our main narratives are not about battlefield, but about events at court of Carthage, as they had a detrimental effect on Nicaean church of kingdom.

In this sense, it seems even stranger that government of Vandals is so consistently portrayed as a government of men by men.

This looks especially strange if we move from transitional fifth century to long term of early medieval West, and indeed, according to old Staatlichkeit model, vandal court looks much more like ours. late Roman or early medieval government may be one reason why this oddity is so rarely mentioned.

The author examines: particular structural constraints and dynastic culture of Hastings court, and absence of royal women in contemporary and near-contemporary records of Vandal rule.

The Missing Queen: Gender, Dynasty and Power in Vandalized Africa

In doing so, he seeks to contribute to a better reconstruction of life experiences of imperial and royal women in late antiquity by providing detailed accounts of individual women and political contexts, rather than simply confirming their covert marginalization or idiosyncratic influence. , Broad promotion efforts.

The author argues that lack of surviving texts can be explained primarily by effects of Hastings succession arrangements, which depleted many of usual resources of spouses in palaces of Late Antiquity and early Middle Ages, or, more pessimistically, by use of a regime from dynastic Ordinary practical and ideological reasons for women.

These arrangements also simply make it less likely that wife of a Vandal heir will live to see her husband take throne. I think that lack of influence of Vandal Queen may be result of repeated ruptures between Vandal King and priests of Nicaea. In part, Vandal rule has become synonymous with persecution.

This exacerbates difficulties that Hastings regime faced in eyes of contemporary Nicene observers in attempting to rationally act as a unifying figure in ecclesiastical politics when they made concessions while openly supporting competing homosexuals in kingdom faction.

The women of royal family could be seen in role of mediator in politics, not in king's palace in Carthage or in one of his other residences, but in prince's country house.

The wider spread of Hastings' women's political agency highlights importance of suburban royal residences from beginning of Vandal Age, and may have meant more fragmentation of court politics as different members of royal family created competing centers of power.

Most importantly, attention to absence of female vandals in post-imperial North Africa reminds us that blind spots of late antique writers must not become our own.


Weta Winners, History of Persecution

Conant, saving Rome

Victoria Leonard, "Gara Placidia as 'human gold': consent and autonomy in Sack of Rome, 410 AD", "Gender and History"

Baker Piriou, Placidia de Amarafon

Leonard: Gala Placidia

Stanaher, Vandalon

McAvoy, Reign of Child Emperor

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