Katiodor's letters on Amar Frieda illustrate key aspects of queen's role and, more importantly, discourse around queen that are missing from Vandal Africa. Kasiodoros Roth depicts Amaracrida as an aristocratic adornment of Amal royal family.
This dynastic meaning was central to depiction of late antique and early medieval empresses, figures of women designed to reflect morality and stability of a regime centered on court as family.
The authors argue that centrality of dynastic female figures, often created by and for male rulers and their subordinates, does not necessarily imply their actual political activity.
As Julia Hillner recently emphasized, it is misleading to make a simple connection between references to imperial or royal women and their actual influence or activities, especially since they are accustomed to ways of constructing arguments for or against legitimacy of male rulers.
Even in cases where royal family or royal consorts appear to act independently, they can still only be agents of will of emperor or king.
However, Cassiodoros expected Amara Frida to have moderate influence and be an adviser to Sarah Salmond, which has many parallels to what extent an empress or empress position is an "official" office, and to what extent they had access to, or bypass, more "public" administrative structures, were constant disputes in late antiquity and early Middle Ages.
However, their role is theorized in a specific political context, with closeness to ruler having obvious meaning for spouse as advisor and courtier, a role that is often presented in strictly gender terms as Janet • Janet Nelson traces image of a royal breeder and organizer in context of early Middle Ages.
The authors argue that: these campaigns are by no means a complete compass for seeing what queens and empresses are doing, and criticism of specific women crossing line often reveals these other possibilities while highlighting real and ideological restrictions.
Most importantly, letters of Cassiodorus demonstrate what was fundamentally lacking in vandalistic Africa: the author was interested in political role and representation of queen.
This may simply be a function of literary survival, Vandals of Africa are particularly poorly dressed, and even by post-Roman standards these texts may allow historians to reconstruct new regime, its self-presentation and political structure.
Our understanding of these institutions is made up of a patchwork of heterogeneous and often contradictory material.
The necessary central role in History of Persecution of Victor of Veta is symptomatic, and Vandal Queen's invisibility may simply reflect evidence that Vandal rule was generally unsatisfactory.
While it was to be expected that works hostile to Vandal rule would emphasize role of queen, writers of late antiquity and early Middle Ages were not shy about using imperial or royal women as tools to criticize their rulers.
This type of invective is especially prevalent in texts such as Victor from Weta History, which attempt to denounce Gezeric and Huneric as persecuting tyrants, especially in Victor's History and Ruth The Life of Fulgentius of Spee documents. court intrigues that led to illegal punishment and exile of Bishop of Nicaea.
In these texts, hostile homosexual bishop is often counselor who instigated persecution, unlike any other late antique text that emphasizes queen's role in ecclesiastical disputes.
Gender slurs are directed by members of marginalized church factions against likes of Justina, Udoshia and Pulcheria for their role in expelling their supporters or for centrality of their opponents.
The author argues that contemporary Afro-Nesian writers are aware of force of this accusation, repeated in early fourth-century texts by Vigilius of Tapa and an anonymous Carthaginian miniature. An earlier condemnation of Constantine's sister, Constance, sees him as a propagandist for rehabilitation of heresy of Arius and his followers in last years of reign of first Christian emperor.
In this context, absence of any allegations of persecution of Hastings women is shocking, suggesting that Vandal Queen's invisibility was more than scattered, hostile evidence.
On contrary, author argues:Given that absence of a Vandal queen is a structural problem rooted in special arrangements for succession of Hastings dynasty, each succession begins with Geseric before his death. Order established sometime, most likely at beginning his reign.
This "testament" mandated that eldest of Gaiseric's surviving male relatives should succeed to throne, a corollary of this order and Gaiseric's own remarkable longevity that middle-aged or older monarchs were more likely.
Huneric of 477 and Childeric of 523 were probably over 60, latter's age and lack of military activity received much comment in context of Gelimer's usurpation, so spouses inherited from Hastings most likely died before ascended throne. like Hungarian wife Eudoxia, who left Carthage for Jerusalem and died in 477, these aged Vandal kings may not be a wife at all.
Even this simple explanation is essential to our understanding of Vandal government.
The absence of a central female figure in Carthaginian court had a number of practical and ideological implications, however, apart from a number of notable examples of royal restraint, we would still expect at least some of these Vandal kings to remarry or have least sexual intercourse. female partner.
In this context, I don't want to attribute too much to marriages outside of officially recognized diplomatic alliances, volatility of political marriages in post-Roman West was most evident in Merovingian Gaul, where status of royal consorts varies widely.
Gregory of Tours described some Merovingian consorts as concubines, and while this less formal partnership did not detract from their political resources, it is equally possible that Vandal kings had consorts, but they were not important enough to regime's self-awareness. representations or court constellations that should be mentioned in surviving texts.
The best explanation for this diminished importance is that Vandal succession arrangements placed extreme limits on its potential influence and symbolic utility, as pioneering research in various contexts has shown importance of succession to popularity and power of queens in early Middle Ages.
Indeed, death of a monarch is a turning point where power of a queen or queen can be combined with addition of her legitimate son, a key motif for portrayal of royal consort in various media.
In a more traditional succession, there is a chance that, in a minority, new ruler's mother will act as a key intermediary, this potential future empowers an empress or empress at court even during their husband's reign.
Given these inheritance mechanisms and their stages in life cycle, it is theoretically unlikely that a Vandal king would need an officially recognized mating partner for legitimate potential offspring.
On contrary, in surviving texts, this role is played by founder of dynasty, Geserik, from whom male descendants are key to legitimate succession, and it is indeed unlikely that current queen will be next to rule mother of victim.
Gezeric always had adult male relatives, and their power was established through subsidiary courts in and around Carthage, as evidenced by fall of Amara Frida. It is hoped that Derek's accession led to a change in direction of Hastings' diplomacy with Ravenna and his predecessors allied themselves with Amarafreda's brother Dioderic and appealed to Eastern Roman court in Constantinople.
If allegations of a conspiracy against her are true, former queen had to push for an alternative candidate for throne in order to maintain her influence at court, but this strategy failed.
The lack of direct biological and ideological involvement in succession to throne significantly reduced chances of royal wife to establish a network of power in Carthage. In a narrower sense, it reduces usefulness of institutions that flaunt them.
Of course, as Merrills points out, Geteric's "testament" has been questioned several times, and these succession crises highlight Hastings' broader women's corps positioning itself as a powerful political force.
Contemporary discussions about these women and their often gruesome fate also suggest that their activities were seen as key to support of these schemes by noble factions.
Amamaracrida's alleged attempt to pass on inheritance and her mobilization of support from her Moorish allies, as well as Gaiseric's extraordinary longevity, impact of his succession arrangements on status of Vandal queens, depended on dynastic intrigues, unpredictable outcome of coup and subsequent purges.
In other cases, these powerful princesses may have inherited position of empress, bringing with them patronage that developed during their husband's attempts to shorten succession.
Indeed, they were killed or exiled as a result of dynastic purges, queens in these courts were unable to transfer their influence to royal family, and somewhat unstable system of succession became an obstacle to political activity of women, which led to powerful men. thus threatened royal women with murder, expulsion, or abandonment.
Whether we see it as result of Gaiseric's will, or as violent revenge on royal women by accidental use in moments of dynastic stress, Vandal queens do not appear in contemporary texts as powerful political figures. .
Controversial documents produced by Nicaean clergy indicate that church representatives made repeated attempts to petition their rulers for specific rulings or changes in royal policy.
Not once in these accounts do we see queen being used as a path to power, instead where an intermediary is mentioned, a subject through his male officials, especially those in control of his court: praepositus regni or maior Domus asks king for help.
The Victor of Vita depicts negotiations between Huneric and Bishop of Nicaea, showing petitions against king and his answers and explanations sent back by priests or appointed notaries.
The anonymous author of Life of Fuergence also describes transition between Trasalmonde and Fulgencius of Ruspe, when former invited latter to Carthage for a doctrinal debate. The deputy appointed by king conducts a single channel of communication.
There is no doubt that Victor and saint's anonymous biographer underestimated choice of these bishops in a court that included Nicene Christians.
However, model likely reflects shape of Hastings court, absence of a powerful royal consort depriving petitioners of one of key "alternative avenues of power" through which they can actually exercise royal authority. sentence.
It also shuts down institutions' ability to make decisions, including a way to accept appeals favorably without being too explicitly tied to a change of course, so absence or impact of absence of a Vandal queen could limit Carthage's post-Roman political options.
The theme of these petitions hints at another potential consequence of decline of women's royalty. The Vandal regime, unlike other post-imperial kingdom fandom regimes, frequently promulgated and enforced anti-heretical laws against Church of Nicaea.
This prompted Nicene writers to portray Vandal kings as tyrannical persecutors, in contrast to generally favorable views expressed by Nicene writers of southern Gaul and Italy, Burgundian and Ostrogothic kings, whose regimes established more conciliatory relations with Nicene ecclesiastical institutions in its orbit.
The promulgation and enforcement of anti-Nicene policy by Vandal kings was neither inevitable nor consistent, and their application was particularly strict and widespread under Huneric in 484, after which Victor wrote his history.
But regimes of Geseric, Hungarian, Gontamund, Trasalmond, and Hildric also sometimes tried to appease Nicene clergy, who could also sometimes be more conciliatory about their rule.
However, there remains a marked contrast between vandalist Africa and rest of post-imperial West in nature of royal policy, relationship between homosexual regime and Church of Nicaea, and resulting descriptions of rulers. On contrary, reasons for this have been subject of considerable debate.
The authors argue that these differences in royal politics and reputation are partly due to the absence of a prominent queen of significant influence.
The regimes of fifth and sixth centuries in Mediterranean used patronage of ruler's wife or relatives in ecclesiastical disputes to keep rival factions at bay.
In Burgundian kingdom in southern Gaul, Gibicho's royal family included both Nessians and homosexuals, and in Ostrogothic Italy, Erelieva/Eusebia, mother of Homean Theodoric, patronized members of Church of Nicaea.
Perhaps best known is that in Eastern Roman Empire, Justinian and his wife Theodora acted as a double act of reconciliation between groups that supported and opposed formula of Council of Chalcedon (451).
In latter case, it is clear that these parallel initiatives serve to continue ecclesiastical dialogue and maintain political loyalty of anti-Chalcedonists, even as they begin to create independent ecclesiastical institutions.
Imperial or royal women can be effectively used to soften anti-heretical policies, capture ecclesiastical dissidents, and reduce accusations of doctrinal or ecclesiastical differences between regimes and church members.
Without a powerful royal consort to keep court at bay, Vandal regimes can find it harder to grant patronage to those they would otherwise consider disloyal heretics.
The absence of queen from political life undermines ability of these regimes to encourage useful open interpretation of these policies by ecclesiastical dissidents.
History of persecution and life of Fuergentius an overview of efforts of Huneric and Trasalmond to reconcile as a result of "wild trick", deliberate deception or a covert program of persecution.
This frustration appears to have been primarily due to overtly coercive tactics adopted by both kings later, however failure of these initiatives and their subsequent rationalization also reasonably arose from intercourse between these kings and their bishop of Nicene character.
Coming from one official source, offering to state king's personal views, suggesting revisiting doctrinal issues, or making time-limited concessions is hypocritical at best and slyly malicious in eyes of Nicene observers.
This encouragement from royal consort, a semi-autonomous figure prominent within regime but outside formal institutional hierarchy, may have been more successful in containing Nicene opposition as one of several simultaneous initiatives.
Author's comment: The Queen's political invisibility may help explain peculiar ecclesiastical policies pursued by Vandal regime and notoriety that led to Vandal rule in West in fifth and sixth centuries.
Whatever value of this assumption, its absence and its implications for representation and management practice remain clear.
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Whelan, Being a Christian
Paulin Stafford, Empresses, Concubines and Queen Mothers: Wives of Kings in Early Middle Ages
Almsgiving, Mother of God
Adrastos Omissi, Emperors and Usurpers in Late Roman Empire: Civil Wars, Anthems, and Building Legitimacy
Victor from Vet, a history of persecution
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