Abstract

This article investigates the strategies of monastic patronage employed by women in medieval Epirus. It looks at how royal and noble women effectively applied this traditional tool of public engagement to a variety of ends—a display of political claims, self-representation, networking, and a rise in the social hierarchy. Recognizing the gradual changes in the public perception of female sponsors, it measures their actions against their perception by male writers and elucidates the most common ways of women’s involvement, from participation in traditional family projects to independent endowment acts distinguished by personal agendas. It also attempts to shed some light on the underrepresentation of female monastic institutions in the region that compelled the local women to offer donations almost exclusively to male foundations. This study considers that the main reason for the patronesses’ behavior was the longevity of prominent institutions and their ability to ensure the donors’ continuous commemoration.

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