Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Symeon Stylites the Younger and his cult in context : hagiography and society in sixth- to seventh-century Byzantium
Author: Parker, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 724X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This thesis explores the relationship between hagiography and history, with a particular focus on the cult of the little-studied sixth-century Antiochene holy man Symeon Stylites the Younger. It argues that any hagiographic text can only be understood through an appreciation of both its particular historical context and of developments in the genre over time. The first chapter thus addresses the economy, society and culture of the Antiochene area, arguing, against some recent archaeological interpretations, that sixth-century natural and military disasters did have a significant impact on the region. The second chapter turns to the first text associated with Symeon's cult, the sermon collection attributed to the stylite, which reveals how a holy man could construct his own spiritual authority through powerful rhetoric. Starkly polarised in his thought, Symeon eschews the compromises adopted by many clerical preachers, focusing on the opposition of demon and monk, rich and poor, and heaven and hell. The third chapter addresses the Life of Symeon, arguing that it can be read as an extended apology for Symeon's failure to protect the Antiochene from the disasters of the sixth century. The fourth chapter looks at the Life of Martha, Symeon's mother, which contains an original and inclusive vision of holiness, focusing not on asceticism or celibacy but on the redemptive powers of liturgy and the sacraments. The fifth chapter takes a step back, arguing that both Lives reflect broader developments in hagiography in the late sixth and seventh centuries: Symeon's hagiographer's struggle to justify disasters are echoed in other near-contemporary saints' Lives, while Martha's Life resembles in many respects the posthumous miracle collections which flourished in this period and were, in their relatively narrow focus, very suitable for a time of crisis.
Supervisor: Booth, Philip Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; Byzantium ; Late antiquity ; Holy men ; Earthquakes ; Sermons ; Stylite ; Holy women ; Hagiography