Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)




Hagiography, or Saints’ Lives or Miracles, often record significant details about the period in which the saint under discussion lived or the period in which the hagiography originated. These documents are useful in attempting to understand the Seventh Century Crisis Period, the period when the Eastern Roman Empire transitioned into the Byzantine Empire. Central to this is the survival of a Romano-Byzantine identity throughout the crisis period and beyond. This dissertation examines six Byzantine Hagiographies in an attempt to understand this critical and complex period in Byzantine and Near Eastern History: the Life of Symeon the Holy Fool, the Life of St. John the Almsgiver, the Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon, the Miracles of St. Theodore The Recruit, the Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon, the Miracles of St. Theodore the Recruit, the Miracles of St. Demetrius, and The Miracles of St. Artemios. Each of these hagiographies deals with a different city and a different series of events. However, when examined as a whole, there are discernable patterns of transition and continuity. The seventh-century saints’ hagiographies present a picture of life in the Byzantine Empire in which distinctive aspects, such as continuity of urban structures, multinationalism, trade, and state control remain central to the lived experience. Changes in this way of life may be described as a matter of degree rather than by the extremes of collapse or continuation. The strength of the hagiographies, and their importance to the historical record is tied directly to the way in which the hagiographies reflect the complex nature of Romano- Byzantine identity and therefore, the diversity of Byzantine urban life. The Byzantine state survived the Seventh Century Crisis with strong continuities to the earlier Roman period. These continuities are reflected in urban diversity, in the survival of political institutions, and in the perseverance of trade and a complex economy. All of these identifiers are present in the hagiographies, and they are a significant source of history for the seventh century in Byzantium.