Lecture: The Empress’s New Clothes: Foreign Brides in Byzantium

The Fourth Annual Public Lecture in Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies

University of Cambridge, 6 November 2019

Cambridge Ukrainian Studies in association with The Byzantine Worlds Seminar and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities invites you to join us for the Fourth Annual Public Lecture in Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies to be delivered by Dr Petra Melichar, Prague. Dr Melichar will speak on ‘The Empress’s New Clothes: Foreign Brides in Byzantium’.

Dr Petra Melichar earned her PhD from Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven in 2012. At present, she is a fellow of the Slavonic Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague and editor-in-chief of the journal Byzantinoslavica (since 2015). Her recent work centers on late Byzantine elite women in the Palaiologan period (1261–1453).

In her lecture, Dr Melichar will explore the transformation and integration of a foreign bride in the Byzantine environment. When a foreign princess arrived in Byzantium, she was brought into a splendid tent and dressed in a luxurious purple robe. The aim of this and several similar rituals symbolized a hoped-for transformation, a metamorphosis of a foreigner into a Byzantine. While these rituals could be performed within several days, integration into the Byzantine environment was much more complex and difficult as the stories of Maria of Bulgaria, Helene of Serbia, Anna of Savoy or Anna of Moscow reveal.

The event will take place at 17.00 on the 6th November in Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge. The event is free and open to the public.