Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

Translation of the Month

September 2023

John Geometres. Life of the Virgin Mary. Edited and translated by Maximos Constas and Christos Simelidis. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. Harvard University Press, 2023. ISBN 9780674290808 (print).

Detail of a mural on the wall of the Panagia tou Araka church
Virgin Arakiotissa, detail of upper half, Church of Panagia tou Arakos, south wall, east side,1182-83, Lagoudera, Cyprus (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain). See 121 photographs of wall paintings from the church on this Harvard University website.

"John Geometres (ca. 935–ca. 1000) was one of the most highly esteemed poets and authors in Byzantium; yet his most important text, the Life of the Virgin Mary, remains largely unknown today. This literary and rhetorical masterpiece stands as a work of outstanding theological sophistication, animated by deeply felt devotion to the Mother of God. Geometres’s distinctive and idiosyncratic narrative offers a comprehensive biography, from Mary’s ancestry to her death and beyond, with special emphasis on her direction of Christ’s female disciples, her active participation in the passion and resurrection, and her leadership of the nascent Church. The Life has been rightly considered a critical missing piece in a larger puzzle connecting early Marian writings with later works. Based on a completely new edition of the Byzantine Greek text, this is the first complete translation of the Life of the Virgin Mary into a modern language."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

Ikone der Heiligen Eudokia, Einlegearbeit in Stein und Elfenbein, 10. Jh.Indexers select a translation each month that is significant in the ideas it presents.  This gives users an opportunity to see a range of newly translated medieval works of importance for women's and gender studies.  It also will build an archive of references to translations that will be useful as classroom readings.

Depending upon the content, an entire work may be indexed as a single title like the vita of a saint or the collected cartularies of a countess.  But in many cases the translation deals only in part with issues involving women and gender.  In those instances, indexing goes to a deeper level, identifying and describing specific sections within a text.  For example, there are 93 records for pertinent sections in the Siete Partidas.

To see more translations, go to the Advanced Search Page  and put "Translation" in the Article Type box.  Add specific terms to Keyword, Century or Geographical Area as needed.  

There are currently over 1800 records for translations in Feminae.  There are also over 300 records for editions in original languages.

Feminae welcomes unpublished translations and editions that authors may wish to make available.