Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 13659
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Viscuso , Patrick.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Vampires, Not Mothers: The Living Dead in the Canonical Responses of Ioasaph of Ephesos
  • Source: Byzantine Studies Conference. Abstracts of Papers 25, ( 1999): Pages 11 - 12.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Byzantium Canon Law Ioasaph, Metropolitan of Ephesos Mothers Vampires
  • Geographic Area: Eastern Mediterranean
  • Century: 15
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  • Abstract: Byzantine canonical legislation often deals with satanic influences and demonic activity. This brief study will reproduce the historical and theological framework in which the discussion of female vampires or giloudai takes place in the canonical answers attributed to Ioasaph (d. 1437), the metropolitan of Ephesos. The author's canonical discussion represents one of the few such treatments in Byzantine canon law. The role is restricted to women, and the victims to infants. In contrast to images of motherhood, the giloudai are portrayed as taking, rather than contributing blood to children, whom they destroy, rather than birth. This brief examination will attempt to show the historical, medical, and theological precedents to the author's discussion as well as parallel legislation on female vampires in other canonical works. Ioasaph is attributed authorship of fifty-seven answers to questions of a certain presbyter, George Drazinos, apparently resident in Crete. Two manuscripts of the work have been published in rare Russian and Greek editions (1903 and 1933). One of these manuscripts is dated 1438 by the hand of the copyist. Although the work contains few explicit references to Byzantine legal sources, as a former Great Protosynkellos the author based his responses on an expert knowledge of civil and ecclesiastical law. Unlike other similar questions and responses, the writing gives the appearance of a pastoral work directed towards a clerical audience, but not jurists. This study will draw general conclusions concerning the author's views on the nature of women, evil, and the reception of the sacred. These conclusions will contribute to a broader understanding of religious life and women in Byzantine society. [Reproduce by permission of the author.]
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  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1999.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01473387
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