Late antique sources remember Flavia Iulia Constantia,1 conventionally for her loyalty to her imperial relatives, both by birth and by marriage, and, more innovatively, for her Christian patronage, a ...
Late antique sources remember Flavia Iulia Constantia,1 conventionally for her loyalty to her imperial relatives, both by birth and by marriage, and, more innovatively, for her Christian patronage, a late antique female imperial activity emerging with the women of the Constantinian dynasty. While her stepmother Helena’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land and her niece Constantina’s devotion to the martyr Agnes initiated an association of late Roman imperial women with Christian popular piety, Constantia is recorded, not always favourably, as taking and giving advice on Christian theological doctrine. As such, her case foreshadows the keen interest later imperial women, particularly among the Theodosian dynasty, took in theological debate and the politics surrounding it. This is not surprising, as among our main sources on Constantia are the 5th-century church historians who wrote under the influence of the Theodosian court and will have found this activity noteworthy. Nonetheless, given the usually scant evidence on imperial women of the 4th century, the comparatively substantial written record on Constantia is remarkable.Less