By Kate Cooper
During the final centuries of the Roman Empire, the existing excellent of female advantage was once greatly reworked: the natural yet fertile heroines of Greek and Roman romance have been changed via a Christian heroine who ardently refused the wedding mattress. How this new suggestion and determine of purity is attached with--indeed, the way it abetted--social and spiritual swap is the topic of Kate Cooper's full of life book.
The Romans observed marital harmony as an emblem of social unity--one that used to be vital to preserving the power and political concord of the empire itself. this can be nowhere extra transparent than within the old novel, the place the mutual wish of hero and heroine is directed towards marriage and social renewal. yet early Christian romance subverted the most define of the tale: now the heroine abandons her marriage accomplice for an otherworldly union with a Christian holy guy. Cooper lines the reception of this new ascetic literature around the Roman global. How did the ruling periods reply to the Christian declare to ethical superiority, represented by way of the hot excellent of sexual purity? How did girls themselves react to the problem to their conventional position as matrons and matriarchs? In addressing those questions, Cooper offers us a bright photograph of dramatically altering rules approximately sexuality, family members, and morality--a cultural revolution with far-reaching implications for faith and politics, ladies and men.
The Virgin and the Bride bargains a brand new examine principal facets of the Christianization of the Roman international, and an attractive dialogue of the rhetoric of gender and the social that means of idealized womanhood.