A patrician from an old and wealthy family in Constantinople, Anicia
Juliana (c. 421-c. 528) was the daughter of Olybrius, Western emperor from
April to November 472, and Placida, the daughter of Valentinian III; in
512, a mob proclaimed her husband, the general Areobindus, emperor, a post
he declined. She was a patron of the arts and a supporter of the church.
Withstanding pressure from the emperor Athanasios and the patriarch
Timotheos, she remained Orthodox and supported the decisions of
In addition, she corresponded with
Pope St. Hormidas to help end the Acacian
schism. She built churches to St. Euphemia, St. Polyeuktos, and the
Theotokos in her native city. St. Polyeuktos, destroyed by an earthquake
in the twelfth century and excavated in the twentieth century , is thought
to have been the largest church in Constantinople until Hagia Sophia was
constructed. She also gave gold for the adornment of churches. Modem
scholars tend to interpret her actions as a form of covert conspicuous
consumption or as a clever means of avoiding giving money to fund
wars. An illumination from the Vienna Discorides, an herbal
she commissioned, shows her with Megalopsyche and Sophrosyne, an emblem of
her love of wisdom.
Karen Rae Keck
- Carolyn L. Connor:
Women in Byzantium, (2004).
New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005. Chapter 5 talks
of Anicia Juliana as a patron of the arts. The book has a secular
- Anthony Littlewood, Henry Maguire, and Joachim Wolschek-Bulmahn,
Byzantine Garden Culture, (2002).
Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2002.
The information in here is more about the Discorides than about
Anicia Julianna's life.
- R. M. Harrison:
A Temple for Byzantium, (1989).
Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989.
- RELATED PEOPLE:
- Olybrius by Ralph W.
Mathisen ---De Imperatoribus Romanis
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