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Slow Violence in a Christian Context: Silencing the Enslaved Martyr’s Female Body

By Barbara K. Gold (Hamilton College)

Female martyrs in the early Christian era are subjected to a particular kind of violence to their gendered bodies. But enslaved female martyrs have a much greater violence inflicted upon them, violence that may be aimed at their class, their gender and their race or ethnicity. I focus on a particular enslaved woman, Felicitas, whose presence in the Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas has been often overlooked in favor of her noble female companion, Perpetua (Gold 2018; Charles 2020).

From the Arena to the Monastery: New Spaces of Judicial Blinding at the End of Late Antiquity

By Jake Ransohoff (Harvard University)

Blinding is among the hardiest perennials in the field of Byzantine punitive practices. Often described as a “uniquely Byzantine” form of punishment, it served as the standard penalty for imperial rivals and defeated rebels in the Eastern Empire for over six centuries. Yet blinding’s longevity has obscured some important changes in the methods, frequency, and venues of this practice. This paper focuses on one such change in particular. It argues that a significant but unnoticed shift occurs in the venues of political mutilation at the end of Late Antiquity.

Violence Spoken and Unspoken: Languages and Power Dynamics in Late Antique North Africa

By Yuliya Minets (Jacksonville State University)

It is relatively well-known that the Roman empire demonstrated great flexibility in language regulation and never, with maybe a short exception during the rule of Diocletian, attempted to impose Latin as an official language on conquered regions. By and large, it functioned as a bilingual Greco-Latin political entity (Jorma Kaimio, Bruno Rochette, J.N. Adams), while multiple local languages were often, though not always, accepted in the public sphere and for a variety of documents (Roger Bagnall, Fergus Millar, Arietta Papaconstantinou).