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Sexuality, Marriage, and Celibacy in Byzantine Law

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Matthew Blastares compiled the most important legal collection of the late Byzantine Empire, a collection that Orthodox ecclesiastical judges continued to use in the Ottoman Empire. The collection ranges from church law that any Christian might recognize to laws that seem bizarre to the modern eye (such as multiple restrictions on menstruating women) to those that retain their relevance for contemporary debates (such as those related to homosexuality). No English translation of significant portions of the work has existed before this publication by Patrick Viscuso.

"I know of nobody more suited to introduce and translate these texts; Viscuso's grasp of late Byzantine legal texts is unparalleled. The result, not surprisingly, is a masterful and significant work of legal scholarship and a cogent, clear, annotated translation that belongs on the bookshelf of all who study Byzantium and its church." Tia Kolbaba (Rutgers University)


Principal Abbreviations

p. viii


p. ix

Part I: Introduction

The Historical Place of the Alphabetical Collection

p. 1

The Late Byzantine Justice System

p. 3

A General View of Law

p. 7

Sexual Purity and Defilement in the Alphabetical Collection

p. 19

Formation of Marriage

p. 28

Select Bibliography

p. 43

Part II: The Translation

Overview of the Translation

p. 47

Translation Contents

p. 49

Letter A

p. 59

Letter B

p. 67

Letter Γ

p. 89

Letter Κ

p. 145

Letter Μ

p. 149

Letter T

p. 173

Letter Φ

p. 175

Letter X

p. 179


p. 185

About the Author

p. 195

Product Description


195 Pages


Holy Cross Orthodox Press



Product Dimensions:

9 x 6


Patrick Viscuso

Publication Year:


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