BSR Online Lecture | Helena Augusta’s Roman faces: Christian patron or classical benefactress, obscure mother or powerful matriarch?

WEDNESDAY 1 JULY 18.00–19.30 CET

Julia Hillner (Sheffield; BSR) 

This virtual lecture will take place using the online platform, Zoom.

It is generally believed that Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, resided in the city of Rome during some time of her life and her son’s reign. While this assumption can in itself be debated, this paper takes it as plausible based on the available evidence and asks different, more rarely put questions: why was Helena in Rome? How was she perceived by different urban constituents? And how did her residence in the city shape the urban environment? These are important questions because Constantine’s promotion of his mother in Rome – an obscure woman possibly from the Black Sea region in the still most important city of the empire – was nothing short of extraordinary. 

Julia Hillner is a Professor of Medieval History at the University of Sheffield. She is currently writing a biography of Helena, mother of Constantine, for Oxford University Press. She also leads the Leverhulme-funded project ‘Women, Conflict and Peace: Gendered Networks in Early Medieval Narratives’ which looks more generally at how late antique and early medieval authors inscribed women into the stories they told about the great themes of the period: the triumph of Christianity, the end of the Roman empire and the emergence of the post-Roman world.

Please register here as places are limited.