0228 Consecrated Virgins as Living Reliquaries in Late Antiquity
This article discusses the ways in which the physical presence of consecrated virgins was perceived, described, and subsequently altered in Late Antiquity. In the course of the fourth and fifth centuries CE, through codes that regulated their behaviour and outward appearance, and through the assignment of specific ritual functions and spaces, bishops constructed a new and long-lasting image of consecrated virgins. The resulting model, the authors argue, was shaped by notions regarding female anatomy as well as by their association with the Virgin Mary; it was similar to a precious reliquary: a container whose aesthetic indicated the consecrated nature of its interior.
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